The sum of $200,000 was pledged at the dinner at the Hotel Astor of the Jewish Educational Association toward the half million dollar fund which is being sought.
Among those who spoke were Judge Rosalsky, chairman of the campaign, Louis Marshall and Felix M. Warburg. Samuel C. Lamport presided.
A letter was read from President Coolidge praising the work of the Association. A letter was also received from Israel Zangwill in which he extolled the plan of the Jewish educational Association as “one of the finest manifestations of the abiding interest of the Jews of New York in religious education. Mr. Zangwill stresses the need of teaching Judaism as well as the Hebrew language.
“In my recent speech”, Mr. Zangwill writes, “at Carnegie Hall, I labored to convince the American Jewish Congress that no merely racial aggregation of our people can last except it be in a homeland of its own or in one of those old East European milieus where ancient racial minorities leading a mass life are part of the historic and natural order.
“Even in these communities, however, though our people may have been unconsciously preserved by the will to live of the toughest race in history, the conscious conserving force has always been religion. Still more is Judaism – the frontier of fiery faith – the only means of preserving small and scattered communities.
“I do not believe in ‘Jewish’ education if that merely means artificially teaching children the Hebrew language and history, for that is only carrying on the race isolation, which I do not value except under autonomous conditions, such as in Palestine or in any other political Jewish territory.
“But if it means teaching your children Judaism, then you are placing the great American Jewry on its only right basis.
“I know how abysmal are the depths of Jewish ignorance in the young generation, but the young generation is sometimes wiser than its elders, and when you have put before it a Judaism which can really be practiced in America you will find gigantic campaigns no longer necessary. I write in a sincere effort to bring light, not discouragement, to your great gathering”, the letter reads.
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.