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Calls for Chairs of Experimental Religion in Jewish Education Institutes

October 3, 1928
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Establishment of chairs for experimental religion in American Jewish educational institutions for the training of rabbis was advocated by Dr. W. H. Fineshriber of Philadelphia in his address at opening exercises Monday night of the seventh academic year of the Jewish Institute of Religion. Judge Julian W. Mack presided. Beside Dr. Fine hriber the speakers were Rabbi Abraham Dubin, Rabbi Harry S. Lewis and Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the Institute.

In his address Dr. Fineshriber, who deplored what he termed the present chaotic laissez faire police, stated: “Though no idolater of the past, I believe our forebears met this perplexity with keen insight. They surrounded us with Mitzroth, 613 commandments, providing for most of life’s contingencies. Religion was not tangential to their life sphere ## suffused and penetrated every act and thought. The whole of life was saturated with the spirit of holiness and dedication, and I darusay, through I have not to head the facts to buttress my ##tention, that these methods were more truthful ban our present chaotic ## faire policy.“Nor am I pleading for a return to orthodoxy. That were impossible. The religion of our fathers was a religion largely of small towns and country ides. Our life is more and more one of populous cites. Besides, the form and texture of life have changed. Commerce and industry, invention and communications, printing and education have revolutionized our thoughts and behavior. We cannot go back, but we can go forward triumphantly, as Abram did at God’s command!

“Judaism has always reformed and reorganized itself, and we are but carrying on a hallowed tradition when, once again, we reconstruct our methods. But we must begin on a sound basis. Western civilization began in a laboratory. All of our material achievements and many spiritual ones are the fruitage of experiment. Why not apply the scientific method to the religious life? Why not establish a ##


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