Members of the Menorah Association were yesterday pondering a scathing analysis of Judaism in which Jews were called “one-sided,” “bigoted” and Jewish nationalism a “passing phenomena.”
The analysis was made not at a meeting of the Friends of New Germany, but at a discussion following a Menorah Association dinner at the Roger Smith Restaurant, 40 West Forty-first street, Sunday night. Participants, besides impromptu questioners and commentators, were: Professor Eduard Heimann, Professor Marcus Nadler, and Dr. Koppel S. Pinson.
POSES QUESTION ANEW
The subject of the symposium was, “Where does the Jew Stand Today?” After the scheduled addresses an unidentified diner rose and solemnly asked, “Mr. Chairman, now that the discussion is over, where does the Jew stand today?”
Professor Heimann, a refugee from Nazi Germany, had informed the 250 diners that in Germany, “it is not only blind hate that rises against the Jew today but a reaction against his one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness.” The “one-sidedness” Professor Heimann explained as a lack of representation in the arts and sciencesâ€”in all fields where “direct entanglement with nature is required.”
MUST NOT RETIRE
But in the Jew’s one-sidednessâ€” in prophetic tradition where he excellsâ€”Professor Heimann declared “the world needs the Jews even if the world hates the Jews.” He asserted that the Jews must not retire as a nation to themselves because it is their mission “to teach an all-embracing truth and an all-inclusive justice.”
Professor Nadler’s address, which drew the greatest applause, was a searching analysis of the Jewish problem from the economic point of view. In broad, incisive strokes he painted a gloomy picture of Jewry’s prospects.
“In Poland and Rumania,” he held, “there will be a dying out of the Jews from sheer starvation.” In the United States, he traced the rise of a “Gustigelsluft-proletariat”â€”a class of Jews highly trained and educated who are thrown against their will into the proletariat for lack of opportunity.
SEES SURPLUS OF JOBLESS
“I’m afraid,” he said, “that we in this country are building up a surplus of Jewish men and women looking for employment and not being able to find it.” He described growing discrimination against the Jew, even by Jewish employers.
The reason for the Jews’ precarious position, Professor Nadler pointed out gloomily, is that they are forced into the position of middle-men where they become the scape-goat of governments in explaining poverty to their populations. Furthermore, he asserted, collectivism is increasing and doing away with middle-men.
DEMANDS NEW OUTLOOK
In a shrill, almost angry voice, Dr. Pinson challenged Jewry to reformulate its attitudes. He accused the Jews of “bigotry,” “Jingoism” and of “fostering a cult of primitivism.”
He denounced what he called the tendency of Jews to favor the “hoary past.”
“Dare we criticize Alfred Rosenberg for doing with German culture what we are doing with Hebrew culture?” he asked. He scored Achad Haam, leader of the Hebrew renaissance, for writing “better attacks on Democracy than Mussolini.”
“Can we criticize the cult of blood and racialism in our enemies when in Germany there was a cult of blood and racialism among the Jews?”
Dr. Pinson, in tune with the somber note of the discussion, prophesied that the “Jews will be a symbol of national intolerance.”
After the symposium, discussion from the floor, commending and attacking with equal vehemence the statements of the speakers, held sway, until chairman Henry Hurwitz called a halt at a late hour.
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.