Abraham A. Katz, who headed the committee of the Orthodox members of the Jewish Center here, which waged the legal fight for the restoration of the Orthodox ritual in the Center, is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court against the ruling of the Court of Appeals, dismissing the suit as a strictly ecclesiastical question. The attorneys for the Orthodox committee hold that the present court decision is a reversal of another Court of Appeals decision that the case was not subject to dismissal on a demurrer that had brought a previous dismissal of the suit in the county court.
Rabbi Solomon Goldman, who was instrumental in changing the ritual from Orthodox to Conservative at the Center, recently resigned to head a synagogue in Chicago. He was succeeded by Dr. Harry S. Davidowitz, formerly of New York City. Dr. Davidowitz is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
The opinion written by Appellate Judge John J. Sullivan, unanimously affirmed by his two associates, read:
“The prayer for this court to adopt a rule by which the congregation in question shall abandon its present administration and conform to the doctrine of traditional orthodoxy and Judaism, even if this legal tribunal had the right to interfere in religious matters for which provision has been made as to the control within the church itself, is incapable of being granted for the reason that every member of the congregation of the church might have a different view as to what this doctrine is in all its various phases and it would be impossible to lay down a rule, with these conflicting opinions, which a board of trustees could follow, because in order to do so, the religion would have to be as definite as a science and even with respect to science it would be impossible to do so because of the divurging opinions that exist among scientific men upon scientific principles.”
The suit, which had been previously dismissed by the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, was aimed principally at Rabbi Solomon Goldman, head of the Anshe Emeth Beth Tephilo Congregation, which has been a consolidation of two congregations since January 1, 1917. Among other of the 24 defendants were the trustees of the Center.
Following the consolidation, according to the minority group’s claim, the congregation was operated as strictly Orthodox for about six years. Then, with the installation of Rabbi Goldman and the building of the present Jewish Center, it was claimed, hostility has been shown to Orthodox Judaism and all the ritual and ceremonial observance pertaining to it. Thirty-eight al- (Continued on Page 4)
leged violations of doctrine and ceremony were claimed. These, for the purposes of the suit, were admitted by the Conservative group.
Slurs were permitted against Orthodox traditions, it was said, and the congregation was advised to read “The Mind in the Making,” by Dr. James Harvey Robinson, an anti-Orthodox publication.
The Court’s opinion held that the only remedy for these conditions was in the congregation itself.
“It is unquestionably true that the purposes of the plaintiffs in error are of high character and their devotion to what they believe to be their religious rights is very commendable,” the Court observed. “Their respect for the ancient faith of their fathers is worthy of highest praise. But while all these things are true, yet the judgments of the church, through its regularly ordained ecclesiastical body, is the remedy which they themselves have provided and which undoubtedly they are bound to follow.”
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.