The “Jewish Guardian,” orthodox Anglo-Jewish weekly published in New York City, in its current issue expresses resentment editorially at the Christian rites which attended the funeral services of Rear Admiral Louis Maurice Josephthal, last Saturday.
“On Saturday last on the U. S. S. Illinois, the funeral rites for Rear Admiral Louis Maurice Josephthal were held. The services were conducted by Lieutenant Commander Gilbert Darlington, chaplain of the Naval Militia, and Lieutenant Commander Nathan A. Segal, chaplain of the U. S. S. Illinois,” the paper declares.
“Throughout all his lifetime, Rear Admiral Josephthal had been accounted a Jew, having been born one, and whenever distinction came to him the Jewish press and the Jewish community hailed these honors as being bestowed upon a member of the Jewish community. Since there is no record of Josephthal ever having become a convert to Christianity, the manner of his burial with Christian rites came as a distinct surprise and shock to the community.
“But on second consideration, there should be no surprise, for Josephthal belonged to those Jews who placed career and honors high above allegiance to religious principles. He believed that emancipation, the civicequality of the Jew, meant that Judaism was of secondary moment, and that duty to the state, even if this carried with it disloyalty to God and his people, came first. It was this thought that led a one-time Secretary of Commerce and Labor to go to his office on Yom Kippur and the presence of an Episcopal bishop as one of the officiating ministers at his funeral.
“We have no desire to read any one out of the Jewish People or to drive any one out of the Jewish community, but it is only fair to ask whether the community should continue to claim men and women who do not conform to anything Jewish. Hailing these people as Jews, assuming that any honors conferred upon them lend distinction to the Jewish People, works the greatest mischief. It sets a wrong standard and gives our young people the impression that if these men and women can remain in the Jewish community notwithstanding their flagrant violation of every Jewish principle, why cannot they?”
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.