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Tillinger Turns Up in New Orleans

July 16, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Judah Elfen being Tillinger, former rabbi of Jacob Schiff Center. The Bronx, who was unfrocked by a committee of Orthodox rabbis in New York February 19th last, following sensational disclosures that in Austria previous to his arrival in the United States, he had turned priest, and had written a series of articles supporting the medieval blood. Libel against Jews during the famous Leopold Hilsner trial, has made his appearance in New Orleans and has again leaped into notoriety.

Tillinger is suing Dr. Mendel Silber, New Orleans rabbi and editor of THE JEWISH LEDGER, for Lobel following the publication by this paper of the story of the unfrocked rabbi.

The discovery of Dr. Tillinger’s presence in New Orleans was made by Dr. Silber, whose suspicions were aroused when he was informed services in a Presbyterian church and was closely connected with the minister of that church.

Dr. Silber’s investigations revealed that the rabbi was none other than Tillinger. At the time of the investigation, Tillinger was trying to obtain a passport from the Brazilian consul here, claiming that he had the assurance of obtaining a rabbinical position in the South American republic.

When the minister of the Presbyterian Church Learned that Dr. Silber was investigating the matter, he called on the editor and admitting Tillinger’s identity, sought to convince him that Tillinger was innocent of the charges of which he had been convicted at the rabbinical trial in New York. A meeting was arranged between Dr.Silber, the Presbyterian minister and Tillinger himself. At that meeting, Tillinger flatly denied that he had ever forsaken the Jewish religion or that he had written articles justifying blood accusations, or that he had ever known anything of the Hilsner case, in which a blood allegation was involved.

When Dr. Silber confronted Tillinger with copies of Austrian newspapers in which the charges against Tillinger were contained, he mumbled confused and unintelligble phrases, declaring that the articles were untrue.

When asked about his New York trial, he charged that it was all a frame-up by atheists and Bolsheviki to ruin him because of his deep devotion to the Jewish faith.

Dr. Silber then pointed out to him that his trial had been conducted by a committee of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis who represented “the very antithesis of Athemsm and Bolshevism”, and informed Tellinger that he was not satisfied with his defense, adding that he would continue his expose of him. The exposure will appear in THE JEWISH LEDGER for Friday, July 20, and is as follows:

“The motive behind the Presbyterian minister who, as an honorable and intelligent man, can have only the most abhorrent contempt for a creature of that sort, but who nevertheless fraternizes with him, is no other, of course, than the hope of cathhing some Jewish souls through the deceiver’s instrumentality. This in itself is the clearest proof of the unscrupulousness to which certain men and ministers are led by their missionary zeal; of the utter disregard for matters of conscience where missionary methods are concerned. It is the clearest proof also of the extent to which missionary zeal often dulls and cripples men’s psychological powers. To imagine that any Jew would fora moment heed the enticing voice and words of a bogus priest-rabbi is the height of absurdity. To suppose that an individual whose flagrant rascality has been proven in public could fetch Jewish souls into the Presbyterian fold is to be blinded by missionary zeal to the point of criminal credulity.

“Wehave not the least desire to protect our Presbyterian friends against the villainous designs of their new missionary. We think it only right to let their own experience convince them of their folly. And we doubt not that it will, for, even now, while mulcting them of their good shekels, their missionary, we are reliably informed, is planning to go to South America and once more attempt to cheat and swindle some Jewish congregation in the guise and garb of a rabbi.

“In the meantime, the great stir that was caused by Tillinger’s exposure in New York five months ago is now re-echoing in New Orleans and the priest-rabbi, now without a beard but still in the garb of a minister, is continuing to play his deceitful and hypocritical role with the aid and under the protection of a Presbyterian pastor.”

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