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Lithuania to Abolish Remnants of Jewish Communal Life


A resolution as introduced in the Sejm yesterday, having the support of the majority of the Christian members, to abolish the present law permitting and giving official sanction to the existence of the Kehillahs. A substitute law was proposed to the end that the Jewish Kehillahs should cease to exist as official institutions recognized by the Government, and empowered to collect taxes from the Jewish population for the purpose of maintaining Jewish religious and social institutions. The new law would allow only the existence of voluntary Jewish communities under the authority of the district government, and under the general supervision of the Ministry of the Interior.

This law would bring about the existence of several Jewish congregations in each town, instead of one central community organization embracing the entire Jewish population, as at present.

The birth and death records, it is proposed, should be transferred to the offices of the local Rabbis, who should be paid, not by the State, but by the respective congregations.

This action is the result of a vigorous propaganda carried on recently by the press of the Lithuanian Christian Churches, which is determined to do away with the remnants of organized Jewish communal life in Lithuania, which up till recently was given the sanction of the Government by the existence of a special Ministry for Jewish Affairs. Since the abolishment of this Ministry, Jewish leaders have been endeavoring to secure the official legalization of the “Jewish National Council” which has as its basis the organized Jewish communities; and the Lithuanian press frankly admits that the purpose of the new measure is to destroy the possibility of a central body in charge of the cultural and religious activities of Lithuanian Jewry.

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