by Dr. Sigfried Behrens (Gottingen).
Synopsis: The world is full of hatred. Many blame the hatred on the psychosis of war which should fade. However, the flames of hatred are easily rekindled. Day and night wise men counsel peace, for violence has never brought peace to countries or peoples. Nations, now having awakened to freedom and self-determination will not be held down. Insight into history and into economic conditions have penetrated into all social classes and it’s as if a common bond is developing among peoples that will empower the good to withstand the will of might. But Central Europe is far from political maturity and wisdom. Emotions rule over hard-won insights, which does not bode well for German Jews. This is especially disappointing in light of their hundred-year struggle for political liberty.
Dr. Behrens points out that the hatred of Jews is found in the most educated classes, who systematically play on the people’s emotions. The universities are the source of much of the anti-Semitic pseudo-science. The anti-Semitism in the press compounds this because the impressionable German citizen believes everything that appears in print. Both science and journalism have not met their responsibility to the truth.
Certainly hatred cannot justifiably be disguised in religion because religion is based on the principle of loving one’s neighbor. Why then do not the religious leaders of the land come together to enlighten the blinded masses? Are they afraid? Of what? Of Jews? Who oppose hatred and maintain their belief in humanity’s goodness?
Dr. Behrens concludes by pledging that the Jews will continue to serve humanity and the fatherland, but withdraw from political engagement and instead work on the ideas that will overcome these deep divisions and give rise to the new Germany.
On the Plight of Employees of Jewish Congregations
Synopsis: Throughout the province, the situation has become catastrophic for the underpaid employees of Jewish congregations. The community has always been ready to help anyone in need whether Jewish or not, yet these employees have been direly neglected. Given that some of the synagogues lack the funds to remedy the situation, the article’s author suggests that the communities organize themselves into a kind of cooperative that can more equally distribute resources. The basis of this organization is already in place for the congregations of the counties of Breslau and Liegnitz which could be extended to include others, at least until the time when the Union of German-Israelite Congregations is finally formed. Which will probably not happen soon enough if the separatist Southern Germans have their way. There is also the possibility of having synagogue employees participate in a pension fund for church employees as the communities of Westphalia and Ratibor have done.
Finally, worse than the poor pay, is the insecurity of the employees’ positions. Even rabbis, who have served for decades, can be let go at a moment’s notice. The employees have no recourse because the congregations are autonomous. Perhaps these conditions contribute to the fact that teacher colleges and seminaries lack students.
Next Sunday, after a three years’ break, the congregations from mid- and lower-Silesia are meeting in Breslau and will hopefully address this problem. This would not be the first time that enlightened attitudes have spread out from Breslau.
“A Trade Means Financial Security.”
On the Question of Career Choice.
Synopsis: The following letter was written in response to the article “A Trade Means Financial Security” that appeared in the 3rd issue (Dec. 17, 1920):
The writer is aware of many members of his community who speak highly of the trades but would never let their sons go into them. Many think that their physically weak boys could not withstand the demands of being a craftsman. However, these boys often grow up to be strong men, especially when they do physical labor. In any case, there are many options that are not physically demanding such as silversmith, optician, furniture maker, painter, or locksmith. While in the old days, apprentices worked 10 to 14 hour days, now they work only 8. The journeyman earns 1,000 to 1,300 Marks a month and the economic forecast for the next 20 years is good. The businessman scarcely earns more. By the way, a craftsman can establish his own business. And earn the respectable title of Master. Let’s not forget that some of today’s successful businessmen started as craftsmen, notably the sculptor Professor Hugo Lederer who started as a stone mason’s apprentice. The letter is signed Moritz Wolff, Master Stone Mason. [Translator’s Note: Is this the same Moritz Wolff who himself was a successful sculptor?]
On the Question of the Jewish School
Synopsis: This contribution to the debate on Jewish schools begins by questioning their practicality since there are so few Jews in Germany with a widely distributed population outside of a few large cities. There are sharp words for Jewish nationalists and the orthodox who hold true to laws that have outlived their relevance. The writer’s central argument is that the Jewish school runs counter to the last 100 years of emancipation and their forefathers’ struggle to gain the right for Jews to attend public schools and integrate into German society. Why turn one’s back on this progress because anti-Semitism in schools is making it hard on Jewish children? These circumstances can only strengthen the children’s character. And anyways, this wave of anti-Semitism will not last much longer.
The writer agrees that religious instruction must be more rigorous but the solution is more hours of class taught by well-trained teachers who teach other subjects at the school as well and who will gain the respect of their pupils. And if the four hours of religious instruction in public schools are not enough, the synagogues’ religious courses must be adjusted to complement them. Finally, the children must learn how to live Jewish lives in the home. Let them experience the beginning of Sabbath on Friday evenings with lighting Sabbath candles, and let us spend an hour or so teaching our children and discussing religious topics. Then will our children remember our traditions and follow the principle of prophetic Judaism—truth, justice, and peace for us and for all people.
Breslau Children Vacation in Segeberg
in the Hamburg Israelite Humanitarian Women’s League’s Home for Recreation, Fräulein Sidonie Werner, Director.
Synopsis: A 5-week stay for Breslau’s disadvantaged children, funded by the Breslau Jewish Women’s Bund, is described by one of the chaperones, Hans Meyer, a medical student . The 70 children between the ages of 6 and 15 were in need of rest, exercise, and good food. The article describes the various activities and outings, for example, to the Ihlsee and the Kalkberg. The local cantor was delighted that the group’s older boys helped him gather a minyan for the Sacharit and Mincha prayers during the holidays for the first time. The children were equally delighted to be able to participate in the services.
Collected Thoughts on the School Question
by Erich Spitz, Attorney (Breslau)
Synopsis: This article continues the debate on the Jewish school that began in the XXX issue. He disagrees with Dr. Carlebach’s assertion that the excessive intellectualism of Jewish pupils can be overcome with better religious instruction and study of the Talmud and Torah. He cites S. M. Melamed’s study of the Jewish psychology which finds that intellectualism is an essential characteristic of the Jewish identity and questions whether intellectualism is something that needs to be overcome. And if it were, Talmudic study would not be the means to do it, since it is a rationalistic and intellectual exercise.
There is an enemy of intellectualism, and that is romanticism. Spitz finds modern Jewish youth to be quite romantic as evidenced by their popular hiking clubs. The Jewish school would rob them of their free Sundays and the hopefulness born of communing with nature and strengthening their bodies.
Spitz concludes by emphasizing that the true site of Jewish education is the home where the youth learn that they are part of a larger Jewish community. And it is the parents that can strengthen their children and encourage them if they are drawn to belong to one of the Jewish youth organizations. Then they will not feel alone as they face attacks and opposition which will in the end make them as resilient as tempered steel.
Aus dem Reich.
Workgroup of Germany’s Jewish-Liberal Youth Organizations
Liegnitz. Synopsis: “Jli” delegates assembled here on January 8 and 9. A new chairman was elected, Mr. Bayer from Breslau, to replace Mr. Stern of Berlin who was given an honorary position. Their publication was discussed. Rabbi Dr. Vogelstein (Breslau) was selected as editor of the “Weltanschaung” section. To the board were also elected Alfred Berger (Breslau) and Mr. Woyda (Berlin). Reports on the goals and methods of the organization were given that illustrated the vibrancy of the Jewish liberal youth. Rabbi Goldmann (Leipzig) lectured on the modern Jewish youth movement. At the end of the conference, a resolution was passed to solicit more involvement from reform rabbis especially to guide the workgroup, to write short propaganda pieces, and to support the founding of new chapters. The Jli workgroup also requests a thorough review of the Jewish religious instruction because they find it important that all German citizens receive the same level of religious instruction whether Jewish or not Jewish. They also issued a statement saying that they opposed establishing a cultural center for Judaism in Palestine, to which they feel a religious and historical connection as all Jews do, but which they see as just one option for a Jewish colony among many for those who do not want to or are not able to assimilate in their homelands.
New Struck Engravings (Euphorion-Verlag).
Synopsis: Hermann Struck numbers among the best of the living etchers. He is known throughout Europe and his drawings and etchings are sought by museums and collectors because they display a timeless art that does not belong to a certain fashion or direction. His landscapes are magical and the portraits of the important men of our times are unforgettable. Always, he emphasizes his Jewish sensibility.
Last year “The Face of Eastern European Jews” written by Arnold Zweig and with illustrations by Struck was published by Weltverlag. And now we have a collection of 23 etchings of Venice accompanied by the poetry of Hamerling published by Euphorion Verlag. The book itself is a work of art and of a quality no longer seen today in Germany which is quickly earning this new publisher recognition. The bibliophile, Fedor von Zobelitz, has already praised it effusively in the Literary Echo. Signed Dr. L. D. [Ludwig Davidsohn]
Black-and-White Exhibit in Gorlitz.
Synopsis: The Work Group of Jewish Organizations in Görlitz mounted an exhibition of graphical works by Jewish artists selected to represent the widest range of contemporary styles. Included were early works by Max Liebermann, Ernst Oppler, Lesser Ury, Emil Pottner, Hermann Struck, Joseph Budko, Friedrich Feigl, Jakob Steinhardt, Ludwig Meidner, Heinrich Tischler (Breslau), and Isidor Aschheim (Breslau). Signed Ludwig Kunz (Görlitz).
Aus dem Reich. [cont.]
Berlin. The Association for Buddhist Life published the following in the Journal of Buddhism:
The ancient and honorable swastika that has been a symbol of brotherhood and love for thousands of years in ancient India has not been spared by our tumultuous times and has become the campaign insignia of political parties that have become embroiled in hateful battles against brothers. Because of this symbol we have been seen as partisans by these parties, which is a complete misunderstanding of our goal, that is, the dissemination of Buddha’s peaceful teachings which are far from every political, economic, and religious conflict. Our friends have urged us to explain and defend ourselves and so it has come to this painful decision, that as long as the swastika is used by political parties as battle insignia, we will not use it.
Berlin. The Association for Jewish History and Literature sponsored a lecture by Alexander Moszkowski on the philosophy of Jewish humor which he traced to its origins in the Ghetto experience, sharp logic, and a talent for making quick associations.
Frankfurt a. M. The Frankfurt chapter of the Jewish-liberal Youth Organization made Dr. Cäsar Seligmann an honorary member to mark his sixtieth birthday. The certificate promised that his work will always renew itself in the Jewish youth such that he himself will never grow old.
Frau Direktor Clara Pawel, the Director of the Pawel Lyceum, has stated that the institution will stay under her direction.
Correction. The Julius Lemos firm, manufacturer of silver goods, reported to us that it regrets having been included in the list of Christian businessmen by mistake, and that they demanded that they be immediately removed from the German Nationalist Protection and Defiance Federation and that they have absolutely no anti-Semitic tendencies.
Confirmation [sic] on January 15th in the Landschul Synagogue: Martin Fuchs. son of Heinrich Fuchs, Freiburgerstraβe 21.