Ritualistic wine is used principally in Jewish homes, Roy A. Haynes, United States Prohibition Commissioner declares in today’s instalment of a series of articles on the prohibition situation now appearing in the New York Times. Commissioner Haynes, in his article mentions the case of two rabbis who were convicted of diverting the wines entrusted to their care. He maintains that “the demand for sacramental wine is a legitmate use with the government must always be deeply concerned.”
The problem facing the government, he points out, is not to interfere with the use of wine for legitimate sacramental purposes, but to prevent bootleggers from masking their purposes by throwing over it the religious cloak. Mr. Haynes full statement on sacramental wines follow:
“The demand for sacramental wine is a legitimate use with which the Government must always be deeply concerned. Different as it is in conception from all other legitimate uses, it has this one thing in common with them: careful watching of the supply is constantly, necessary. In the presence of the bootlegger, even the wine of the sanctuary is not safe.
“Permits for sacramental wine are issued by State Prohibition Directors to ministers, priests, rabbis or other church or congregational officials. Approval by the Commissioner is not required.
but strict regulations must be complied with. For churches having a hierarchical form of organization, the head of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction – ordinarily the Bishop of the diocese or a corresponding official who is at the head of a territorial association of churches – is required to approval all applications of his clergy or to designate some other person to act in his stead. In the case of churches having a congregational form of organization, the individual minister, priest, rabbi, or other person authorized by the congregation makes application direct to the Prohibition Director. No ecclesiastical approval is necessary except that the applicant must establish his identity as the representative of a church or religious congregation.
“The larger part of ritualistic wine is used, not in church services but in religious rites in the homes of the members. In the main, these are Jewish homes. Not all Jews, however, observe in their homes rites requiring the use of wine, and those who do not observe such rites clearly are not entitled to take wine into their homes. The responsibility, therefore, is placed on the rabbi to determine whether or not any particular family actually requires wine for use in religious rites. The largest quantity of ritualistic wine that may go into a home is ten gallons a year.
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.