Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Great Sacramental Wine Scandal in N. Y. Charged by Prohibition Office

October 6, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States Federal Grand Jury for New York is investigating the activities of the 600 rabbis in New York City. This was learned through an affidavit filed in the District Court by David H. Blair, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and Chester P. Mills, Prohibition Administrator for this district in answer to a motion made by Rabbi Jacob Waters for a temporary injunction to restrain the Government from interfering with the possession of wine stored at No. 124 East 107th Street, according to the New York “Evening World.”

Up to the present time three rabbis and a salesman have already been indicted for filing false applications for withdrawal permits. It is expected that when the October Grand Jury completes the investigation started by the August body, many others will be added to the list.

Those indicted so far are Rabbi Max Brooks of the Congregational Dlugoschadler Independent Relief Society; Barnard Portnoy, Rabbi of the Congregation B’nai Israel; Abraham Greher, Rabbi of the Congregations Adath Israel and Erste Tyzner K. U. Verein, and Abraham Dembar for causing Rabbi Ephraim Spiegel to make false reports in the filing of his withdrawal permits.

The indictments all charge the defendants with having falsified their applications in that they wrongfully stated the number of members belonging to their congregations eligible for the issuance of wine for religious purposes, the “Evening World” states.

These indictments together with the affidavit confirm the report which has been in circulation that United States District Attorney Buckner is making a determined drive against the rabbis of the city. His assistant, Horace G. Hitchcock, has charge of the investigation and has been presenting his evidence to the jury for two months.

The affidavit filed by Major Mills sets forth the methods used by the Government permits and describes the means employed to violate those permits. In applying for a withdrawal permit the rabbi is compelled to state the number of members in his congregation requiring sacramental wine and upon the granting of the application he is permitted to withdraw one gallon a year for every adult in his church.

That application must be indorsed by the Secretary or President of the congregation before it is granted. For the purpose of aiding in the distribution of this wine former Administrator John B. Foster allowed the rabbis to store this wine in what is commonly known as sacramental wine stores. Those stores were intended merely as a distributing centre from which members of the congregations might obtain their lawful amount of wine without placing the rabbis under the necessity of distributing ### themselves.

The affidavit states further that since the establishment of those wine stores many rabbis have been falsifying or padding their application lists. In the cases of these already indicted it is alleged that the defendants claimed as high as 1,900 members, whereas facts show that there were no more than 300.

Major Mills also states that since his investigation of the sacramental wine stores and denial of permits to operate these stores withdrawals of sacramental wines has fallen from over 1,000,000 gallons in the five months from May through September, 1925, to slightly more than 6,000 in the corresponding period of 1926.

Assistant United States Attorney U. S. Grant argued the motion before Judge Winslow, who reserved decision.

The “Southwestern Israelite,” an Anglo-Jewish weekly, published in Dallas, Texas, appeared with its first issue on September 24. Rabbi David Lefkowitz is editor, Rabbi M. N. Taxon, associate editor and Arthur Adams, managing editor and publisher.

An essay contest to be conducted among workers in the fur industry in New York was announced by the Charity Chest of the Fur Industry. Prizes amounting to $1,000, contributed by Michael Hollander, will be awarded.

The Ku Klux Klan has challenged the Walker Civil Rights Law of New York and asked the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. A case appealed from Buffalo is to be argued in Washington, D. C., within the next ten days.

The Klan attorneys, in a brief filed with the court, contend that the Walker act is aimed at their order, and it is “unconstitutional and void and in contravention of section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in that it deprives the relator (George W. Bryant) and the organization to which he belongs of liberty, without due process of law, and denies him and his organization the equal protection of the law.”

Bryant was arrested for violation of the Walker law, the Klan having failed to furnish the State a roster of its members.

“We could demonstrate to the satisfaction of this Court beyond a reasonable doubt that the sole purpose of this legislation was indirectly to legislate the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan out of existence so far as the State of New York is concerned,” the brief says. “The Legislature has deprived the relator, his brethren and his organization of liberties guaranteed by the Constitution without due process of law, and denied him the equal protection of the law by finding the organization guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors without trial.”

The Klan brief carries Invisible Empire propaganda.

Stabilization of the currencies of all European countries on a gold basis, which already has been accomplished by many States, was urged at the Pan-European Congress in session in Vienna. Other steps toward an economic union of the European countries were:

To allow a longer term in commercial treaties for stabilizing tariff rates.

An extension of the most-favored-nation clause by all European States to all.

A gradual and automatic reduction of tariffs to give the industries artificially built up under protection the opportunity to adapt themselves eventually to the abolition of tariffs.

There is the need to encourage mass production. specialization in industry and the formation of international cartels, it was stated


required by the Act of Congress of August 24, 1912, of THE JEWISH DAILY BULLETIN, Inc., published daily, at 611 Broadway, New York, N. Y., for Oct. 1, 1926.

State of New York,

Country of New York, ss.

Before me, a Notary Public, in and for the State and country aforesaid, personally appeared Samuel Bienstock, who having been duty sworn according to law, deposes an says that he is the Business Manager of the JEWISH DAILY BULLETIN, and that the following is, to the best of his knowledge and belief, a true statement of the ownership, management, etc., of the aforesaid publication for the date shown in the above caption, required by the Act of August 24, 1912, to wit:

1. That the names and addresses of the publisher, editor, managing editor, and business managers are:

Publisher, Jewish Daily Bulletin, Inc., 611 Broadway.

Editor, William Z. Spiegelman, 611 Broadway..

Managing Editor, Jacob Landau, 611 Broadway.

Business Managers, Samuel Bienstock, 611 Broadway.

2. That the owner is: The Jewish Daily Bulletin Co., Inc., 611 Broadway, N. Y. C.

Jacob Landau, 611 Broadway, N. Y. C.

Meer Grossman, London, England.

Samuel Bienstock, 611 Broadway, N. Y. C.

3. That the known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding 1 per cent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities are: None.

4. That the two paragraphs next above, giving the names of the owners, stockholders, and security holders, if any, contain not only the list of stockholders and security holders as they appear upon the books of the company but also, in cases where the stockholders or security holder appears upon the books of the company as trustee or in any other fiduciary relation, the name of the person or corporation for whom such trustee is acting, is given; also that the said two paragraphs contain statements embracing affiant’s full knowledge and belief as to the circumstances and conditions under which stockholders and security holders who do not appear upon the books of the company as trustees, hold stock and securities in a capacity other than that of a bona fide owner; and this affiant has no reason to believe that any other person, association, or corporation has any interest direct or indirect in the said stock, bonds, or other securities than as so stated by him.

5. That the average number of copies of each issue of this publication sold or distributed, through the mails or otherwise, to paid subscribers during the six months preceding the date shown above is 6,421.

SAMUEL BIENSTOCK, Business Manager.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 4th day of Oct. 1926.



My commission expires March 31, 1928.

Organization of a new Orthodox Jewish congregation in Albany, N. Y., was effected and property for a new synagogue, to cost about $250,000, was purchased.

Recommended from JTA