Pacifism and Judaism.
by Dr. Walter Brinitzer (Chemnitz).
A French war song says: “Let us hate and kill, have no other safety than hate, hate is the prize.”
The sixth commandment orders: You shall not kill. The sixth commandment has lifted its voice through millennia, but how few who hold the fate of millions of people in their power have heard it.
War has been the watchword, hatred and killing. How does Judaism stand toward war and peace?
I. Judaism and War
Synopsis: Brinitzer cites from the Bible and the Talmud to support the position that Judaism rejects war as immoral and sinful and calls upon mankind to pursue peace.
II. War and Reality
Is war avoidable? The state only exists in opposition to other, external powers. If the state however is based on justice (Rechtstaat) in contrast to a national state, then it can better project its external power. The state’s duty is to establish the conditions under which its citizens can live and work well together. However, if one were to do away with states in order to do away with these constantly opposing powers, all cultural development would cease.
In this universal state, man would no longer be free because the state would be an absolute despot. Universalism is only feasible once cultural development has reached its apex in the messianic time. For now, similarities and differences in nature, geology, climate, peoples give rise to many individual states. Without a power that exists over the states, the only way to resolve conflicts is through might. War seems to be a natural outcome of the concept of the state.
III. Pacifism and Judaism.
We are always threatened by the possibility of war while its immorality is always apparent. This conflict gives rise to pacifism, which is a thoroughly Jewish-ethical concept with its roots in the messianic idea of peace and the perfection of humanity. Thus, peace does not conflict with love of one’s country, rather it represents its perfection. War is caused by hatred of other peoples and states’ loss of power. Should the ideal of pacifism be realized, there must be some guarantees that eradicate these conditions. There are both moral and legal guarantees. The ethical ones consist of furthering love of peace amongst people and the legal one consists of international courts whose aim is to avoid violent conflicts.
True peace is not created by treaties but by calling forth and nurturing peaceful attitudes, especially when it comes to dealings with other peoples. Science, art, and global business are examples where peoples interact peacefully.
Both Judaism and Christianity have emphasized love of peace. Bernitzer suspects that the German nationalist warmongers who often fall in with anti-Semites. He cites the pope, the Anglican church, the Lutheran churches of Alsace, and Kant as examples of advancing the cause of peace.
As for the legal guarantee, Bernitzer envisions a system of courts that does not force individual states to submit to the power of a universal body; rather these courts objectively and faithfully hand down decisions based on the commonalities shared by states. The current civil court system also replaced an older system based on blood vengeance. This new international court system could have the same effect. Another example is the Hague Convention. Bernitzer believes that wars would no longer result from legal conflicts were such a court system to exist. However, he concedes that animosity is also caused by expansionism or some other need required for its progress. But even here, the courts could assist in finding a solution after objectively weighing the interests.
On the Passing of Dr. S. Horovitz.
by Dr. [Dagobert] Nellhaus (Rybnik, Upper Silesia)
Obituary for Seminarrabbiner Dr. Saul Horwitz, who had taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary for 25 years.
A New Achievement by Euphorion Verlag
A review of the bibliophile edition of the “Klagelieder des Jeremias” opens with acknowledgement of Jewish contributions to contemporary German arts in the areas of theater and publishing, notwithstanding the dire circumstances in which Germany finds itself. The review includes a description of the new edition, of which only 100 copies have been made. The reviewer anticipates that these will all be purchased by foreigners who have more resources. The text is a translation by the renowned biblical translator, Lazarus Goldschmidt.
The illustrations are by William Schocken. The review was written by Dr. Ludwig Davidsohn.
Aid Society of German Jews.
Report from the General Assembly.
by our Berlin correspondent
Synopsis: The conference was held under the leadership of James Simon, chair of the Aid Society of German Jews. After business affairs were attended to, Dr. Bernhard Kahn (director of the Bund) reported on the Aid Society’s wartime activities. “The work of the aid societies from New York and San Francisco in Astrakhan and Odessa is better known and more appreciated than the work done in Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, or Munich.”
When war broke out the Aid Society formed a committee to oversee assistance to some 70,000 Russian emigrants stranded in Germany. To date, these efforts have cost 2.75 million marks. These efforts gained recognition from the German government and military as well as from the enemy Russian government and neutral states. However, as a the eastern regions became occupied, the activity of the Aid Society increased immensely as it spent 7 million marks on aid for Eastern Jews and was able to raise another 70 million marks, which included donations from the American aid committees. The Aid Society also set up a clearinghouse for those seeking relatives, used even by non-Jews, foreign embassies, and the Red Cross. On a single day, the Aid Society received 2,300 letters.
In addition to these war efforts, the Aid Society kept up with its educational mission. It sponsored 50 institutions with 6700 students, 3,000 of which were in Palestine and Asiatic Turkey. When the war started it had to cease its activities in many countries, but institutes in Palestine and Turkey thrived their conquest. The cost of maintaining the schools during the war was 3 million marks. Now the Aid Society has given up its educational work and is focusing all its resources on aiding Eastern Jews who have it so much harder now than during the war—pogroms in Poland and almost daily pogroms in Ukraine have affected at least 1,000 towns resulting in the murder or maiming of 150,000 Jews of all ages. Military administrators expelled circa 750,000 Lithuanian and Latvian Jews to Russia. Of these displaced persons no more than 80,000 are in Germany, according to Paul Nathan, as a result of negotiations with Hindenburg after the occupation of Poland. The Aid Society participated in these negotiations. Two questions were asked:
1. How can one transport the greatest number of people overseas in order to evacuate the area?
2. How can people be brought to Germany to work in munitions factories?
To kick out these Eastern Jews who were forcibly brought to Germany and send them back into a veritable hell is inhumane. No government in Germany has ever planned such a thing. Only anti-Semites and German-national Jews that follow Dr. Naumann would demand this. The Aid Society has always maintained a German and patriotic perspective, which does not preclude humaneness.
Aus dem Reich.
Berlin. The American Jewish organizations report that immigrants who want to enter the United States and now have difficulties with immigration services are being misled by unscrupulous agents to go to Mexico instead of waiting for legal resolution of their issues.
These unfortunate immigrants, who are advised by these agents to take this misguided step find themselves in the most difficult circumstances. The border between Mexico and the United States is most strictly guarded, so that there is no possibility of slipping into the United States. Countless individuals who have attempted this have been interned in the American state of Texas and now await considerable punishment and deportation. Others have been sent back to Mexico and are in the worst of circumstances. Through their ignorance they have now lost every opportunity to go to America.
Naturally, no Jewish organization would condone illegal immigration of this or any other kind. However, the emigrants must be warned against following the promises of unprincipled agents who are only interested in capitalizing on the understandable impatience and misery of the emigrants and do not care what becomes of those who so naively entrusted themselves to them.
It must always be pointed out that any attempt to enter the United States without proper passports and papers will lead to lasting misery.
Berlin. Memorial for Professor Louis Lewandoski.
A concert commemorating Louis Lewandoski’s, the creator of modern synagogal music, hundredth anniversary of his birth was extremely well attended and by members of all Jewish tendencies. The performers hailed from the best of Berlin’s musical circles—Dr. James Simon (piano), Professor Dessau (violin) and Erwel Stegmann (cello). Rabbi Dr. Hochfeld delivered the memorial address which emphasized Lewandoski’s influence in shaping the modern German synagogue service. The concert concluded with Lewandoski’s religious compositions, performed by the choir of the Fasanenstraβe synagogue led by chief cantor Davidsohn. Vera Goldberg and Agnes Laibach performed soprano solos. The organist was Otto Levy.
Magdeburg. Dr. Otto Landsberg, previously Reich Minister of Justice and now representing Germany in Brussels, reports on his journey to observe the Upper Silesian vote. He praises the authorities’ organization skills for being able to shuttle Upper Silesians from all over Germany for the vote and the hospitality of the locals. “German-nationalists should never doubt that Jews can’t feel German–they came in droves to cast their votes for their fatherland. Not one of them thought to disprove stupid prejudices through their votes; they smiled pityingly at the swastikas with which especially tactful volunteers of the homeland protection service had decorated their chests… Their only thought was to save their homeland and Germany from their downfall.
Frankfurt a. M. Fatherland and the German Jews. Ismar Freund lectured on the importance of the German fatherland to German Jews. He began with a review of Rome’s persecutions of Christians and the persecution of Jews in the middle ages before examining the roots and nature of the concept of a Jewish people. With regards to Germany in particular, German Jews regard it as the land of their forefathers since the time of Roman colonization and through common religious foundation feel a kinship with the Christian view of “Germanness.”
Emden. The Jewish school year closed with an impressive ceremony that also served as a farewell to Mr. Selig, who had taught at the school for 32 years. State Rabbi Dr. Hoffmann was the main speaker.
Memorial for Rabbi Prof. Dr. Guttmann.
A small group gathered at Rabbi Guttmann’s grave for a simple yet impressive ceremony to unveil the headstone. Head cantor Cerini sang, “Was ist der Mensch?” and chair of the council Goldfeld presented the memorial to the family. Rabbi Dr. Vogelstein spoke of Guttmann’s accomplishments and virtues. The cantor then sang the El mole rachamim and the service closed with the Kaddish.
The Free Jewish High School will stage the premiere of Heyjermann’s one-act play, “Ahasver.”
Exhibition of modern Jewish ceremonial objects will be hosted by Rosa Freudenthal.
Jettka Finkenstein Jubilee Concert
To celebrate her forty years as a mezzo-soprano and singing teacher, Jettka Finkenstein and her students sang a selection of Lieder, arias, and choral works. The singers were Friedrich Taubert, Albert Wesel, Elli Rosa, Erna Bauer, Hertha Gärtner, Friede Paege-Bohn, Else Daniel-Nolte, and Hilde Hoffmann.
Engagements: Hilde Schwarz with Max Sklarz (Breslau)
Marriages: Adolf Levin with Pine Rosengarten (Berlin); Ismar Hoffmann with Helena Böhm (Breslau); Max Schüftan with Grete Grünpeter (Breslau); Counselor Dr. Friedrich Weiβ with Helene Katz (Nikolai).
Births: Son: Fritz Haberkorn and Elfriede nee Zimmer (Breslau); Kurt Panofsky and Betty nee Schindler (Sohrau, Upper Silesia).
Daughter: Julius Loewenhardt and Dora nee Kamny (Lublinitz).
Deaths: Eduard Jacobwitz (Breslau); David Janower (Breslau); Dr. Saul Horovitz (Breslau); Alexander Dzialoskinski (Breslau); Regina Hammerschlag nee Leubuscher (Breslau).
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