A thousand representative men and women, supporters and distinguished workers in the cause of Jewish education were guests of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Chautauqua Society at a testimonial dinner to the founder and Chancellor of the organization, Dr. Henry Berkowitz, on April 26th at the Mercantile Club. The occasion marked the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of the Society, whose headquarters are Philadelphia.
Dr. Israel Abrahams, the distinguished scholar from Cambridge, England, told of the far-reaching influence of the Society’s work, even across the ocean. As the result of a notable gathering held at the London University arranged by him on the occasion of the visit in 1914 of Dr. Berkowitz and his co-worker, the Vice Chancellor, Dr. William Rosenau of Baltimore, a department had been created for Jewish lectures in the University Extension Society of Great Britain. It has continued uninterrupted, even by the war-and during the past summer enrolled 750 students in its summer session.
Dr. Abram Simon of Washington, head of the Staff of Jewish Chautauqua lecture courses at American Universities, set forth the purpose and methods of this department in securing academic recognition for a study of the cultural contribution of the Jews to humanity. Tribute was paid by Dr. Simon to the U.S. Commissioner of Education, Dr. P. P. Claxton, through whose broad-minded incentive and co-operation the Jewish issue at our Universities is being thus met in an effectual manner.
Dr. Arthur K. Stern, President and Toast-Master, announced that as an outcome of the enthusiasm aroused at the last Annual Assembly of the Jewish Chautauqua in Kansas City, Mo., that community, in which Dr. Berkowitz had first conceived and planned the Society, now contributed, according to a telegram from Mr. A. H. Auerbach, Chairman, and Mr. Walter Berkowitz, Treasurer of the Committee, Ten Thousand Dollars for a lectureship at their State University. Mr. Louis Bamberger of Newark volunteered to start a similar fund for New Jersey with a gift of One Thousand Dollars. Mr. Isaac W. Frank of Pittsburgh volunteered to enlist the support of that city, which was the birthplace of the Chancellor, and he added five hundred dollars personally to the previous gifts. It is planned to create such a Lectureship in each state.
Louis Marshall of New York called on the Jews of America to get back of their educational organizations with as much vigor, insight and enthusiasm as they had shown in their splendid charities. He called for ten million dollars annually for Jewish educational work in the United States. He cited the historic fact of Philadelphia (a leadership in pioneering national educational movements, such as the Jewish Publication Society, which owed so much to the late Judge Sulzberger, whom he eulogized in glowing terms; the Jewish Theological Seminary; the Dropsie College; the Graetz College; the National Farm School, under the guardianship of Dr. Krauskopf- and the admirable work being now commemorated “which owed its inspiration to the vision, the self-sacrifice and devoted zeal of Dr. Berkowitz.”
Miss Jeannette Miriam Goldberg, Secretary, told of the Field-work of the Society, of her extensive travels and the institution of Jewish activities in cities, towns, villages and among farmers; of the Reading Courses; publications of the Correspondence Schools and especially of the Annual Assemblies held in cities from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the lakes to the Gulf.
A fine tribute was offered by Dr. Harry W. E###lson in an original poem dedicated to Dr. Berkowitz, his predecessor in the pulpit of Congregation Rodeph Shalom of Philadelphia. Dr. Berkowitz parried all the encomiums of his friends with humorous sallies and called on his wife to read the words of acknowledgment and appreciation he had penned.
Messages were received from Hon. Abram I. Elkus, Hon. Simon Wolf, Dr. Leek. Frankel, George W. Ochs-Oakes, Isaac Hassler, Charles E. Fox and others who had been officers of the Society; from Julius Rosenwald, Mrs. Jacob H. Schoff. Judge Josiah Cohn and wife, I. W. Bernheim, A. Leo Wile, Esq., Dr. Krauskopf, Dr. Cyrus Adler, Dr. Julian Morgenstern, Dr. and Mrs. Margolis, Dr. Philipson, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Dr. Louis Mann, Dr. A. H. Silver, Dr. Nathan Krass, Dr. Stolz, Dr. Heller, Dr. Shanfarber, the New York Board of Jewish Ministers and many other leaders of American Jewry.
The thirty-second Assembly will be held in Washington, D.C.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.