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Cleveland Center Leaders Reply to Orthodox Charges in Well Known Controversy

November 20, 1927
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Dally Bulletin)

A statement refuting the charges of the Orthodox committee against Rabbi Solomon Goldman and the present board of the Jewish Center, which is to be brought to court on November 28, was issued here by S. J. Bialosky president of the congregation and three former presidents, M. D. Shanman, Carl Bader and Louis Sands. The statement reads:

“We, the undersigned, members of Congregation Anshe Emeth Beth Tefilo, known as the Jewish Center, beg to declare: “On November first and second members of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis and the Union of Orthodox Congregations made reply to a series of questions contained in the petition submitted to the Cleveland Court of Common Pleas by a number of dissatisfied members of our Congregation against the congregation and Rabbi Goldman. These questions and answers received wide publicity in the Yiddish press, conveying the impression that the Congregation and Rabbi Goldman are admitting the truth of these charges. In view of the fact that we have been unsuccessful, owing to the store, Mr. Auerback had been in charge of a large department store founded by his father in Salt Lake City. He was the owner of a newspaper and director of banks in the latter city and at the time of his death was a director of one of the largest banks in Hartford.

Miss Mary Hall who is probably responsible for the good character of scores of Hartford Jewish boys and men died this week after a noble career of giving a helping hand to poor young men who found the struggle for life hard during their earlier days. Scores of prominent Jewish doctors and lawyers and business men owe to a great degree their present position to Miss Hall, who for more than 30 years devoted her life to the Good Will Club, an organization founded to support and aid poor boys who desired to enter business or continue with a college and professional career. Her death will be mourned by hundreds in this city.

The congregation Beth Israel will join the Emanuel Congregation in Thanksgiving Day services on November 24, at 11 o’clock. Rabbi Feldman of the Temple Beth Israel will deliver the sermon on “Americanization First.”

Rabbi Feldman also will speak at the dedication exercises of Storrs Community Church at the Connecticut Agricultural College at Storrs, on Sunday afternoon. interference of the Agudath Harabonin and the Union of Orthodox Congregations to bring about an amicable settlement, these questions will be answered in our behalf in the Cleveland courts. In the meantime, may we be permitted to state the following:

1. “The impression has been giver that the Jewish Center has been an Orthodox congregation for fifty years and that Rabbi Goldman, with the assistance of a few newcomers in the congregation, have sought to reform it,

“It is true that our congregation was founded sixty years ago, but for more than a quarter of a century it has been moving in the direction of what is generally known as Conservative Judaism. As a matter of history, the Orthodox members deserted the congregation when our building on Thirty-Seventh Street and Woodland Avenue was erected more than thirty years ago, Some twenty years ago we engaged as our spiritual leader the late Rabbi Samuel Margolis, who was known to shave, to eat without a hat, and seldom if ever attended daily services. Our congregation never pretended to be Orthodox. We have had late Friday evening service for more than a decade. We have had religious school and confirmation of boys and girls together for about fifteen years. We were never, for example, identified with the Mizrachi. Rabbi Margolis was known as a general Zionist and the congregation always followed him. Ours was also one of the first congregations to join the United Synagogue of America. In 1921 prior to Rabbi Goldman’s coming to our congregation we considered a merger with a well-known Conservative congregation in Cleveland.

“Rabbi Goldman was well-known in the city of Cleveland, where he had occupied the pulpit of the Ben Jeshurun for three years prior to his coming to the Center. He never pretended to be an Orthodox rabbi any more than our Congregation pretended to be an Orthodox congregation.

“To this day, however, we have made no radical innovations in our synagogue ritual.

2. “It has been stated that a large clement of the Congregation has brought suit against the Center and Rabbi Goldman.

“This, of course, is equally untrue. The Congregation, which is the largest Conservative congregation in America, consisting of eleven hundred members, is supporting Rabbi Goldman and the Board of Trustees heart and soul. The official list which the opposition has thus far submitted to us consists of thirty-one names. Seven of these are non-members. Of the twenty-four others twelve have returned to the congregation and have ever since attended our services regularly.

3. “All the other charges brought either against Rabbi Goldman or against the Congregation are equally untrue.

“Rabbi Goldman has never ridiculed either Orthodoxy or Orthodox leaders. We have never refrained from inviting lecturers and speakers because of their Orthodoxy. We have not eliminated the saying of grace, the washing of hands at our Congregational dinners. Rabbi Goldman has made no practice of kissing the brides, he does not partake of non-kosher food, he never denied the divine inspiration of the Torah.

4. “It has also been stated that we refused to appear before a Beth Din of the Agudath Harabonim.

“This is true, but our Congregation felt perfectly justified in its action. The summons from the Agudath Harabonim was not sent directly to our Congregation, but to the few opposing members. The summons was photographed and printed as a paid advertisement in the ‘Jewish World’ of Cleveland. It was only after it appeared in the newspaper that it was delivered to us. We considered this act of the Agudath Harabonim un-Jewish and their Beth-Din prejudicial. Then again, we felt that the opposition should have brought the case either to the Rabbinical Assembly of which body Rabbi Goldman is a member or to the United Synagogue of America of which organization our congregation has been a member for the past nine years.”

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