Business and the Holocaust Research


Business and the Holocaust
Historical Media Reports

Copyright, 1921, by The New York Times Company.
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
Unedited Full Text. Used by permission.

May 26, 1921; page 4


Report to Union of Hebrew Congregations Urges Change in Immigration Laws.


Delegates Told of Serious Lack of Religous Educational Facilities for Jewish Children.

Special to The New York Times.
BUFFALO, N.Y., May 25.-Rescinding of the literacy test for immigrants was urged in a report submitted today to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, in session here, made by Simon Wolf of Washington, Chairman of the Board of Delegates on Civil Rights of the union.

Following short business sessions, the delegates to the union convention and to that of the Federation of Temple Sisterhoods went to Niagara Falls for a sight-seeing trip. Dinner was served at the Falls tonight. The convention will end tomorrow with the election of officers and final business sessions.

In his report on immigration Mr. Wolf declared that, if restriction was necessary, laws should be enacted to prevent the revolutionary element from landing.

"When normal conditions revive in Europe, when racial, civil and religious liberty shall be maintained by the will of the people, then immigration will become normal and a gradual flow outward will be a welcome solution," said the report.

"It is brain and brawn that is needed, and that is never dangerous. The dangerous immigration comes in the shape of anarchists, Socialists, revolutionists and Bolsheviki who are capable of speaking, reading and writing several languages and are patriotic in none. The immigrant capable of working brings a valuable asset to the wealth of the nation without endangering its future."

Work for Revival of Judaism.

Another report submitted told of the work of 100 Jewish laymen in an effort to lead a revival of Judaism among the Jews of the nation. These laymen traveled 112,000 miles in the interest of the revival. As a result $3,500,000 was obtained to carry on a ten-year program of synagogue and school extension work.

The annual report of the Hebrew Union College at Cincinnati showed that of seventy-three students now enrolled, twenty-four were from Ohio, New York second with thirteen, and Pennsylvania and Illinois had six, each.

Mrs. Abraham Simon of Washington, D.C., urged Jewish women to study for the ministry.

"Are there not Jewish young women in our land whose intensity of religious feeling is such, and whose mental outlook is broad enough, to urge them to enter the Jewish ministry?" asked Mrs. Simon. "Have we not women who are willing to consecrate their talents to the profession which is to the Jew the most exalted in the world? It is not enough that she contribute her husband and sons. Why may we not stimulate our daughters to preach the Jewish religion?

"Of course we will have a hundred and one objections where traditional Jew and sex distinctions register against this proposition, and you will hear argument and ridicule of all kinds against it, but the practical value of stimulating leadership will outweigh anything that can be offered to the contrary."

Statistics showing a serious condition of neglect of religious education of Jewish youths in New York City were given in the report of the Greater New York Committee on a survey of religious schools in Harlem, whee the population is 50 per cent. Jewish. It was found that of 47,987 Jewish children only 9,603, or 20 per cent., attended any kind of Jewish religious school.

"The Talmud Torah has assumed the leadership in the Jewish educational field in this city, and justly so," the report says. "Jewish religious education was originally considered a private concern, to be provided by the parents for their children in any way they saw fit. Poor children due to the inability of their parents to pay for their instruction, were thus unprovided for until the philanthropic elements in the community undertook to provide for the same, not as a social need of the group, but as a deed of charity to the individual.

"The community has been aroused to a realization of its responsibility. It recognized that not only its poor children, but all its children, were in need of a good religious education. The Talmud Torahs, being the largest schools, were used as a nucleus. Their curriculum was improved and modernized. Their old-fashioned and inefficient teachers were dismissed and able, trained men engaged in their places. All classes of children now go to the Talmud Torah. It no longer is a social disgrace to be a pupil of one of the schools.

Girls in the Schools.

"The Talmud Torahs were originally only for boys. Girls did not seem to require a Jewish education. Little by little, however, our educators are realizing their responsibility to the girls. Today the girls constitute 13 per cent. of the registration of the schools, and more are being admitted day by day. There are many children who find it impossible to attend a daily religious school, and to satisfy their needs the one-session-per-week school, or Sunday school, has come into existence.

"The type of religious school which should be first eliminated is modeled after the European Cheder and has absorbed all of its faults but none of its virtues. It is an entirely un-American institution and a menace to the future of Judaism in this country. The physical conditions existing in these schools are deplorable. The language of instruction is Yiddish, for this is usually the only language that the teacher can use.

"The teacher is usually a recent immigrant and has, in most instances, never taught before. He has taken to teaching because it is the only means open to him for earning a livelihood. The returns are very meagre and therefore attract only the most inefficient. The average melamed hates his work and hates his pupils more for the pranks they play on him. The pupils, for their part, reciprocate this feeling most cordially.

"The duty of the Hebrew school is not only to teach Jewish learning, but also to implant and foster a Jewish spirit. Many Jewish boys and girls, brought up under the influence of the cheder and judging Judaism by this abnormal outgrowth of American Jewish life, have grown up with a contempt and hatred for things Jewish.

"We find that the girls constitute only 29.6 per cent. of the Jewish religious registration in Harlem. This is a decided improvement upon the conditions of ten years ago. People have begun to realize that the religious education of the girls is just as important as that of the boy. Schools which formerly were closed to girls are now beginning to open their doors to them.

"On the average, four out of every five Jewish children are reared without a Jewish education. Our duty is clear. We must create new schools and good schools. We must improve those already in existence and do away with those which are not subject to improvement. We must not rest until every Jewish child has been provided with the possibility of obtaining a good, modern and thorough training in the religion of our fathers."

Discuss Uplift of Judaism.

That there are many Jews who permit the women, children and rabbis to do the worshipping for them was declared by Marcus Aaron of Pittsburgh today in a discussion between the delegates of the two organizations on the betterment and uplift of Judaism and the teaching of the Hebrew faith. Mr. Aaron also criticized strongly the practice of charging a rental for sittings in the temples.

"The Jewish temples are financed by methods hardly justified in a social club," he said. "On the outside of the temple appears the inscription, 'My house shall be a house of prayer for all people.' Inside is the reservation, 'For such as can afford to pay.'

"There is nothing finer in this world than the spirit of America," Mr. Aaron said. "It is often hard to catch a glimpse of this spirit because it is lost in the rush for fame and fortune, but it is here. The Jew has never been granted the freedom in any country that he has enjoyed in America. This reason, if no other reason, should impose upon the Jew the personal obligation to repay America what America has been to him and his.

"America asks but little. She asks that he live for her and give her the best he has. She does not ask for all he has, nor does she ask him to serve any one master or mistress."

It is expected that no action will be taken by the convention on the anti-Jewish propaganda which has been spread broadcast by Henry Ford. Some of the delegates who favor action, however, may bring up the subject at the final sessions tomorrow.

Speakers at today's session of the temple sisterhoods were Mr. Caesar Misch of Providence, R.I.; Miss Alsa Welhl of New York and Mrs. Morris Lazaron of Baltimore. They discussed the influences affecting the religious development of the child.

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