Climaxing a day of turbulent discussion on the limitation of the period of office-holding, the Grand Lodge convention of the Independent Order Brith Abraham, in convention assembled here, finally decided to retain its present restrictions which limit office-holding for its executive board and grand officers, with exception of the secretary, to a period of two years. The original question, the discussion of which consumed nearly the entire day, was in the form of a recommendation by the committee on the grand master’s message, that the present constitutional restriction of two years be removed. An amendment was made to this motion that office holding be limited to three years, and a second amendment that the two-year provision be waived only in the case of the grand master, in order to permit the present incumbent, Max Silverstein, to serve another year. Although Mr. Silverstein declared he would not be a candidate of his own volition, in the final hours of the all-day debate, he consented to be drafted. Both amendments and the original question were defeated by a rising vote of the delegates, although for a time it looked as if the convention might have to resort to a two-hour roll call of its nine hundred delegates in order to definitely settle the hectic matter.
Among the opponents of the change was Judge Gustave Hartman, who declared the present provision was a “safeguard” in the Order’s interests. Judge Hartman declared “When I relinquished the post of grand master in 1927, I declared that never again shall I hold office in this Order, and I intend to abide by this declaration.”
The delegates endorsed the establishment of the Jewish Agency.
The following membership taxes, all of which are the same as last year, were voted: Three cents per member for the American Jewish Congress; two cents per member for the work of the Ort; $500 from the Order’s relief fund, for Hadassah; five cents per member for the Order’s propaganda purposes. The Order recommended financial and moral support for Jewish educational institutions. A motion was made for a one-cent tax per member to create a special fund for this purpose, but Judge Leon Sanders, chairman of the committee on the message, declared that “it would mean only a thousand dollars, whereas a fund of a million would not be enough” for the institutions demanding relief. He declared the purpose of the recommendation was to “bring home to the heart and conscience of our people their neglect of such institutions.” The budget for the next year was adopted, with provision for a seventy-cent per capita tax to meet it.
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A resolution “commending those members of Congress who fought against discriminatory immigration laws” was adopted by the convention, which went on record as favoring repeal of the National Origins plan and urging members “at all times to preach against the un-American doctrine of restriction.”
Toward the close of the afternoon session, Judge Sanders presented a series of recommendations concerning the thorny question of Class “A” fraternal rates, endowments, etc. He preceded this with a plea to the delegates not to disrupt the Order and to follow his guidance in the matter.
A rising vote on the question of Class “A” membership was called but due to the tumult which prevailed, the matter remained unsettled. Max Silverstein said there was a majority for closing but the Judge Hartman forces said there was not. The convention then was thrown into such an uncontrollable state of disorder that Mr. Silverstein declared the matter will have to be settled by roll call Tuesday morning and adjourned the session. There was much bitterness evident among the delegates as they left the hall.
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.