“This is the finger of God!”
Exodus, 8. 15.
Synopsis: In the Bible, there are several examples of God’s warning signals being ignored—the Pharaoh who ignored the ten plagues, Amos’s people who ignored drought, starvation, and revolution. Judaism does not assume mechanistic divine justice and does not judge the moral value or lack thereof by measuring fortune and misfortune. Rather, two perspectives matter: A people’s immorality will be punished sooner or later; and every misfortune that befalls us should lead us to ask, where do I need to improve? During days of recollection, it is not the prayers themselves that matter, but the resolve to change that are motivated by them. When one learns to see misfortune as a means to self-improvement, misfortune becomes a blessing.
And Once Again, “Upper Silesia.”
Synopsis: A response to an article by Rabbi Dr. Kaatz (Hindenburg) in the “Jüdische Volkszeitung” (Vol. 48). Dr. Kaatz’s article was apparently a response to the article on Upper Silesia that appeared in the first issue of the Jewish-Liberal Newspaper.<a href=”https://liberalbreslau.com/2013/04/13/jewish-liberal-newspaper-december-3-1920-p-1/” title=”Jewish-Liberal Newspaper, December 3, 1920, p.1″>
Dr. Kaatz raises three objections. 1) The claim that the Jews of Upper Silesia are liberal is without proof. In response, Dr. Kaatz is invited to a Sabbath stroll through any Upper Silesian town where he’ll find a handful of people in synagogues, but most in the shops and offices. 2) That we are dissatisfied with the Liberalism of the Upper Silesian Jews, which Dr. Kaatz points out is a contradiction of the first claim. Not so, since Liberalism does not consist of simply ignoring tradition and law, but it is a constant seeking to understand Judaism more deeply. And that is the part that is still lacking. 3) That we are inciting divisiveness. Indeed we are—the free clash of intellects is always welcome and necessary for the future of Judaism.
On His 60th Birthday. By Dr. Max Freudenthal.
Synopsis: After recounting the journey to his current position as rabbi of Frankfurt’s largest congregation, Freudenthal praises Cäsar Seligmann for his role in unifying Liberal Jews throughout Germany. In the pages of his publications, he synthesized the proposals and opinions of theologians and laypersons into the first programmatic expression of liberal Judaism’s principles.
by Ludwig Davidsohn.
I. The King’s Lyre. (Conclusion.)
Synopsis: After watching over Jonathan’s body for a day and a night, David buries him with his harp. Exhausted, he falls asleep and dreams of Jonathan playing the harp which brings him deep comfort. The next morning he wakes to find Jonathan’s harp leaning against the burial mound. This is the harp that plays its consoling melody for David and all who hear it on the anniversary of Jonathan’s death.
Direktor Dr. Michael Holzmann (Berlin).
Synopsis: On his 80th birthday. Holzmann was a teacher, enthusiastic follower of Abraham Geiger, and director of the boys’ school (Knabenschule). He worked to ensure that the Jewish teacher training institute received the same rights and recognition as the state-run institutes. Although retired, he continued to be active in the synagogue’s education committee as well as other professional organizations for Jewish teachers.
Aus dem Reich.
Berlin. The Society for the Advancement of the Scientific Study of Judaism met on December 28, 1920 for the first time since 1916. The meeting opened with mention of the many who had since died and the sad political state of Germany and Jews. On a more hopeful note, the loyalty and increasing numbers of the many foreign members were seen as signs that the society could foster better understanding among peoples. The main speaker was Dr. Bloch, former rabbi in Posen, who shared his memories of his friends, Dr. Guttmann and Dr. Brann, on their intellectual development. Both had come from families with long traditions of Talmudic studies. At the seminary, Guttmann was influenced by Joel as he developed his religious philosophy. Brann’s historical studies complemented Guttmann’s philosophical achievements. Brann was an enthusiastic genealogist and influenced by Zacharias Frankel. The meeting concluded with a resolution to take on a new German translation of the Bible.
Note: Our cultural editor, Dr. Ludwig Davidsohn, recently published “Contributions to Social and Economic History by the Berlin Jewry before the Emancipation,” which has been very positively reviewed by Dr. Willy Cohn.
Berlin. Original Sin and Redemption. Pastor Dr. Max Maurenbrecher is taking over the leadership of the radical right-wing Deutsche Zeitung. Maurenbrecher is a former social-democratic member of parliament and anti-monarchist. Now he expresses his support for an unabridged Prussia and German emperor. His agenda is summarized in this sentence:
“The original sin of the 19th century, that is the acceptance of Jews in the state and society, as if they were Germans, must be reversed. Otherwise there will be no redemption.”
Aschersleben. The German Nationalist Protection and Defiance Federation held an anti-Semitic gathering. Pöβl (Nuremberg) spoke against the socialist parties. His statements were countered by Rabbi Dr. Behrens (Göttingen). The next day local papers reported that after heated discussion the anti-Semitic speaker was defeated.
An Evening of Eastern Jewish Comedy
Synopsis: The Association of Eastern Jews in Breslau staged a collection of comedies in Yiddish. The first was a piece, “A Eize” by Shalom Aleichem about a cuckolded husband seeking advice from a lawyer. The two men constantly defend both sides of the argument until the only way to end the dialectic is for the lawyer to bodily throw out his client. The roles were played by Friedmann and Rauch. The second piece was an alphabet lesson in a cheder which featured a boys chorus. Mr. Golombek followed with Yiddish songs and poems accompanied by Miss Recha Dawidow. Next was “Kidush Haschem” that took place during the Spanish Inquisition. The evening closed with “Only a Doctor” by Aleichem about advising a young woman on whether she should marry a merchant or an academic. The female roles were played by Weissblich and Silberbaum. The evening was directed by Mr. Schmulewitz and the proceeds went to his reading- and tea-room for impoverished refugees. The reviewer, Dr. Ino Gaβmann had a few negative words on the costumes and recommended that German translations of the Yiddish be provided, because otherwise it is impossible for those born in Germany to understand everything!
Görlitz. The newly founded Workgroup of Jewish Associations, which includes all confessions, has as its charter the promotion of intellectual and artistic interests. Its first event was an evening of music featuring Dresden’s cantor, Paglin, and readings of Arthur Silbergleit’s poetry. On December 25th, the workgroup opened a “Black and White” exhibition of Jewish graphic artists with a reception that was so well attended that many were turned away. Over 150 works were collected and included works by masters such as Liebermann, Struck, Lesser-Ury, and newer artists, including Budko, Steinhardt, Tischler, Feigl, Pottner, Meidner and Aschheim.
On the Question of the Jewish School.
Synopsis: A letter from Bank Director Loewy (Breslau) in response to Dr. Vogelstein’s article. Loewy corrects Vogelstein’s statement that the planned Jewish school is a post-elementary school. It is an elementary school founded under articles 145 and 146 of the German constitution from August 14, 1919. Vogelstein mistakenly reported that the school is for the children of the rich. Rather, attendance is free. Another clarification—the school is already teaching both boys and girls according to the principle of co-education. The editors of the paper in turn refute Loewy’s statements. Their conclusion is that the Jewish school will be a partisan Conservative school.
Boycott of Jewish Businesses.
Correction. The firm, Schuppelius & Ahrent, requested that we report that their entry in the index of Christian business people and professionals, which we previously shared, occurred without their knowledge, and that they have already requested that the Protection and Defiance Federation strike their name from the index.
This situation sheds light on the way in which registration for the German nationalist list of firms occurred. There is enough basis to the assumption that a whole series of firms were listed without their knowledge and acquiescence.
Confirmation [sic] in the Old Synagogue on January 8, 1921: Hermann Freudenthal. Father: Alfred Freudenthal, Zimmerstraβe 3.
Silver Wedding Anniversary on January 12, 1921: Master Taylor Simon Driaer and his wife, nee Draier, Poststraβe 3. Herr Draier has been especially dedicated to the development of the Jewish Craftsmen Association.
Nursing and Religion.
The Schlesische Zeitung printed an announcement on November 5, 1920 from the local chapter of the Red Cross of the Nationalist Women’s League seeking young Christian women from educated families to be trained in nursing.
The board of the local Central Organization [of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith] inquired whether this announcement excluded Jewish applicants. The letter pointed to the nursing provided by Jewish women during the war. An extract from Mrs. Marie von Klitzing’s response follows:
“The referenced announcement was not written by us (explanation follows) and I am very confident that it was written in this way without knowledge of our circumstances. We have always welcomed nurses of every religion. When selecting young girls we will never ask about their religion, rather solely about their inclination for this work, and we hope that the young girls of your religion will continue to work gladly with us, and that they’ll help us gain new recruits for this work.
We have always thankfully recognized the degree to which the Jewish citizens of our city have always helped us through donations and volunteer work, especially in these difficult war years.
How exemplary the Israelite Hospital is for its care of the wounded and sick is well known. We will never forget how its doctors, despite being overworked, always found time to respond to our requests to train nurses or for other assistance.”
A special process must be established to prevent any abuse. Orders must be placed directly with the board of the synagogue by filling out a form under penalty of perjury. The current forecast is that observant households will receive 3 pound per person (including flour) and non-observant households, 1 pound. This is a very small amount; hopefully this amount will increase. Hopefully all will take into consideration the economic circumstances and comply with these rules. Further information on the schedule for applications are provided in the inserts [in the Announcements and Advertisements section].
Declaration: We herewith declare that Mr. Jakob Lewkowitz of Praschka, currently residing at Wallstraβe 33, Breslau is no longer a member of the board of the Association of Eastern Jews and can no longer represent this organization. He has been replaced by the candidate, Mr. L. Lilienthal.
The Free Jewish High School has published its class schedule for the fourth quarter, January – March, 1921. Courses begin on Monday, January 17. Please see the inserts [in the Announcements and Advertisements section].
Announcements and Advertisements.
For the tax year 1920 (April 1, 1920 to March 31, 1921) contributions to the synagogues are as follows:
1. For congregation members living in Breslau 50%
2. For congregation members living in the county 33 1/3%
of the state tax paid for 1919 will be deducted.
We point out that these rates include surcharges to the 1919 state income tax, but not the Reichs income tax which has not yet been collected.
The deductions will be made by the city tax office. Special tax forms will be distributed to members of the congregation that live in the surrounding county.
The Board of Directors of the Synagogue
Following administrative rulings, orders for Matzah can only be placed with the Synagogue Congregation. Members of the congregation that would like Matzah for Passover 1921 should please let us know what they require according to this schedule:
Those whose last names begin with
A and B: Monday, January 10
C, D, and E: Tuesday, January 11
F and G: Wednesday, January 12
H and J: Thursday, January 13
K: Friday, January 14
L: Monday, January 17
M, N, and O: Tuesday, January 18
P and R: Wednesday, January 19
S, Sch, and St: Thursday, January 20
T, V, U, W, and Z: Friday, January 21
Only between 10 and 1 at Wallstr. 9.
Bring your food ration certificate.
A member responsible for the household must appear personally because the order forms must be signed in our presence.
The Board of Directors of the Synagogue
Free Jewish High School (Breslau).
List of Courses for the 4th Quarter (January/March 1921)
Dr. Aber: The Great Prophets of Judah’s Vision of Life.
Dr. Ludwig Cohn: Great Jewish Personalities of the Last Hundred Years.
Dr. Willy Cohn: The History of Zionism until the Death of Theodor Herzl.
Dr. Ernst Fraenkel: The Anti-Semitic Movement, Its Development, Its Principles, and Its Defiance.
Attorney Jacobsohn: Jewish Social Work in Germany.
Dr. Manuel Joel: The Jews and Mankind’s Dependence on Nature.
Dr. Kaplun-Kogan: Exercises in Jewish Economic Problems.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Lewkowitz: Two Jewish Thinkers: Hermann Cohen and Martin Buber (Introduction to Jewish Cultural Philosophy).
Fräulein Dr. Morawsky: Jewish Contributions to Modern Poetry.
Fräulein Dr. Rieβ: Jewish Contributions to Modern Painting (with projections).
Dr. Schiff: Intellectual Greatness during the Jewish-Spanish High Period.
Rabbi Dr. Vogelstein: Judaism During the Early Development of Christianity