The Old Testament and Judaism, A Response to the “Deutsche Zeitung”.
by Counselor Ed. König (Bonn).
Synopsis: König was taken to task by the “Deutsche Zeitung” for lecturing on what the Jewish and Christian views of the Old Testament have in common. He first defends himself against being labeled a “traditionalist” by citing the modern, critical approach his scholarly work takes to analyzing the bible. He then further supports his claim that the Jewish and Christian views of the Old Testament do not diverge as much as theologians like Franz Delitzsch and Max Maurenbrecher posit. König counters the claim that the Jews regard the Old Testament very differently from how Christians regard the New Testament by describing how Judaism was not solely focused on laws (e.g. the apocryphal and post-exile writings) and how Christianity was much more focused on laws than commonly accepted, both having a strong prophetic tradition.
On the Palestine Question – keren hayesod.
by Max Vogelstein (Breslau).
The editors note that this article is a response to the article, “Muβte das sein?” by R. A. Spitz published in the April 22, 1921 issue.
Synopsis: Max Vogelstein states that he is not representing any official Jewish organization or local chapter as he expresses his opinion. He begins his article by citing a recent article Dr. Paul Nathan where he claims that the barriers that separated Zionists and non-Zionists have fallen in the face of the Palestinian Mandate. Vogelstein disagrees and goes on to assert that, “We hold the Zionist agenda to contradict the essence of Judaism, whether it can be realized or not. That’s why we must reject Zionism and under no circumstances lend it any support.” Even the facts that Nathan brings to bear on this argument can’t change this position. Vogelstein is so critical of the Zionists because their goals in Palestine are national (which keren hayesod represents) and not social. Vogelstein feels that there are so many social issues facing Jews, especially for German Jews whose number one duty must be to help rebuild the devastated fatherland.
As evidence of keren hayesod’s nationalist interests Vogelstein points to their resolutions outlining how to build up Palestine’s national treasury and how to allocate it—one third for land purchases, job creation, education, relief for immigrants, etc. but two thirds for national and economic institutions and endeavors. He quotes Schmarja Levin, a Zionist leader, who says that the keren hayesod is “a matter for the entire Zionist organization and for all the Jewish people.” Then he exclaims, “Only those who feel they belong to the Jewish “folk” should donate. Not us!” And he re-asserts that Zionists and non-Zionists are still going their separate ways.
Vogelstein then brings up the matter of the Eastern European Jews and how their problems must be dealt socially. The money flowing to the keren hayesod would be better put to use helping this population. Moving them all to Palestine is unrealistic and something must be done to improve their situation in the East.
He concludes by pointing out the importance to Jewish “Wissenschaft” to the renewal and strengthening of Judaism and reminding the reader of the dismal state of the rabbinical seminaries, educational institutions, scientific organizations, and libraries. How helpful it would be if keren hayesod could divert some funds to support these. As much as it grieves us, the Palestine work must be left to the Zionists alone.
On the Central Organization’s Palestine Resolution.
The editors received the following editorial from Johannes Wilhelm:
Synopsis: The board of the Central Organization made its position on the Palestine development fund clear at its April 10th meeting, unambiguously distancing itself from Zionist goals. The author critiques the “Muβte das sein?” article for its representation of how a slim majority pushed through this resolution. This author speaks of the courage it took to make this resolution despite the fact that it would cause some to leave the organization, especially those that do not recognize the danger Zionism poses to German Jewry. People from all over the empire voted for the resolution, though Dr. Paul Nathan and a number of Berliners did not support it.
Aus dem Reich.
Berlin. Jewish Children’s Aid
Synopsis: At its last meeting, the German Jews’ Central Aid Committee decided to hold a collection for Jewish Children’s Aid, but to defer it until the German Children’s Aid collection campaign ended. The funds from the German Children’s Aid collection that go to Jewish children are simply not enough given the degree of need.
Berlin. The Aid society for Jewish Emigration Affairs is responsible for regulating the emigration that goes through Germany, for advising emigrants, and for communicating with other organizations to effect systematic and coordinated support of emigrants. Dr. Nathan Ben Nathan has been appointed Secretary of the Central Bureau. Volunteers are welcome. Headquarters are in Berlin, Steglitzerstraβe 12, and local offices are in Hamburg (Ferdinandstraβe 14) and Bremen (Düsternstraβe 7). Other offices at border crossings and main railroad stations are planned. Discussions are being held with shipping companies and foreign Jewish immigration organizations. Just as before the war, the Central Bureau will publish a newsletter with information about emigration and will notify and brief the press about emigration issues.
Von Liebe und Leid.
A biblical novella by Walter Brinitzer.
Synopsis: A man leaves his wife for 7 days to find a certain fruit tree for his orchard. On the day of his return, the kind of ghosts sees her and desires her. He promises to spare her if she promises in turn to follow him wherever he goes. She was true to her word, but one night he cannot control his lust. She is saved when he is struck dead by a bolt of lightning. To give thanks, she builds a temple and selects seven wise men to praise God by preaching his word. Sorrow entered the temple’s door but love came out having heard the word of God.
The husband looked everywhere for his wife, praying all the time for help. God took pity on him and after seven years brought him to the temple. Each of the seven wise men give him advice, but were unable to relieve him of his sorrow. This being a first, they sought out their mistress who had them bring the man to her. She didn’t recognize her husband for sorrow had so distorted his face. She told him that his sorrow could not be as great as hers and she tells her story. They recognize each other, and all ends well.
Munich. Jewish businesses listed in an anti-Semitic directory, titled “Little Unchristian Book of Munich to guide purchases, including a list of German doctors and lawyers” by a “völkisch” publisher. The preface states that the listed businesses are “truly German, that is, completely without Jewish influence.” The directory also includes a number of Jewish companies and doctors that seemed to feel insulted and their businesses compromised, by their inclusion in the book (which is decorated with a swastika), as though they had been trying to be secretive about their Jewishness—they brought a complaint against the publisher to prevent it from further distributing the book as long as their names were included. The state court ordered the publisher to cease distributing the book as long as the names of the Jewish plaintiffs were included or face punishment. During the trial, the accused publisher agreed to stop distributing the directory with the Jewish names and pay all legal fees.
Leipzig. Secret Jewish Laws. The directors of the Central Organization of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith invited Pastor Fiebig (Leipzig) to speak on this topic in the zoo. Moritz Ury welcomed the audience briefly and asked everyone to maintain a calm and sober attitude. Before Pastor Fiebig moved to his central topic, he identified himself as a chronicler and scientist and as such is free of any influence or constraint. God’s people, he continued, have had from the beginning a duty to hold God’s name holy and suffer for his sake. Because rabbinical literature is treated like a stepchild at the universities, the sources that would provide a better understanding of Jewish laws, and their importance to the psyche and morality have remained hidden. That there exist secret, Jewish, inaccessible laws that justify immorality, or tolerate it, must be decisively rejected. Moreover, in order to understand Jews, one must hold to three fundamental concepts: Justice, Casuistry, and Morality. Justice leads to Casuistry and strives to be moral. Justice must be kept in mind if one wants to understand Jewish writings and social laws. One must refute some of the negative accusations that maliciously place Jewish morality under suspicion and undermine it. 3. Moses 20, 10, for example, threatens Jewish adulterers with death. There is no evidence of a secret permission, as is often claimed, for adultery with non-Jewish women. That consorting with non-Jewish women is somehow “rewarded” with impunity is contradicted by Talmudic threat of punishment for adultery. If that is no longer true today, the fault lies in the lack of Jewish judges. The discussion that followed was passionate. One argued for and against the secret laws. A German-Volkist accused Pastor Fiebig of being an obsequious promoter of Jews.
Hamburg. Synopsis: Dr. Holländer (Berlin) spoke at the Central Organization of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith on how things stand with regards to the responsibility of Jews for Germany’s misfortune. Dr. Holländer counters some of the anti-Semitic myths about Jews and their relationship to the war such as profiteering and shirking military duty. Likewise the idea that Jews are responsible for Bolshevism. He is confident that once the nation has recovered, the power of German honesty, culture, and loyalty will put an end to this scapegoating. During the discussion, Professor Roll concluded that the problem stems less from anything to do with the Jewish faith, rather it is an expression of the worry about the German fatherland. Dr. Cimbal disagreed by claiming that Jews did try to avoid military duty and reminded the audience of the long history of anti-Semitism in Germany.
Aus der Presse.
The “Frankfurter Zeitung” printed the following by Dr. Reinhard Strecker, president of the department of education in Darmstadt, under the heading, “Race and Politics.” He asks which educated person takes the grotesque distortions of racial theory seriously. He thinks the cause of anti-Semitic demagoguery lies in the fact that this generation has lost its soul in the quest for profit and individual and national expansion. He finds a parallel between anti-Semitism and the anti-German war-time propaganda—both seek to destroy the opponent. He shows how racialism becomes a double-edged sword by citing that Mussolini’s newspaper, “Popolo d’Italia,” labelled the Romanians a mongrel, barbaric people when they declared war. Soon after, the same paper hailed them as the worthy sons of ancient Romans, privileged to be members of the Latin race.
Jewish Theological Seminary.
Dr. Rabin, on whose appointment to the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary we recently reported, is 38 years old. The son of a Ukrainian rabbi, he followed the typical Talmudic studies in Russia and was authorized as a rabbi by a well-respected Lithuanian rabbi. He studies oriental languages, history, and philosophy in Germany and Switzerland, passing his doctoral exam summa cum laude in Bern where he also received his teaching certification in history, geography, philosophy, and pedagogy. He taught for several years at the teacher’s seminary of the Aid Association of German Jews in Jerusalem and was then selected to lead the rabbinical training institute in Odessa. When war broke out he was in Germany where he was interned, which brought him into personal contact with professors at Giessen. In 1918 he was appointed as a lector at the University of Giessen for post-biblical Jewish history, then at the University of Frankfurt a. M. where he also taught Hebrew. Dr. Rabin will teach biblical exegesis and history at the Seminary, and take over the intermediate course in the Talmud. His main area of focus is the history of the Masoretic text.
The local chapter of the Central Organization of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith reported to us:
In recent days, advertisement editions of the “Schlessische Volksstimme” were sent to numerous Jewish families to elicit subscriptions. They were accompanied by circulation numbers that were confirmed by the solicitor, Czaya.
Our brothers and sisters in faith will hopefully not fall for this aggressive advertisement. This edition sent to expand readership interestingly enough does not contain the anti-Semitic clap-trap that this newspaper rarely lacks. For example, one of the recent editions spread the lie that German Jews were traveling in neutral foreign countries and advocating for the separation of the Rhine’s left bank.
Evening of Song with Anita Frenzel.
Synopsis: The program included Brahm’s “Trenning” and “Salome” aws well as Reger’s “Maria Wiegenlied.” The accompanist was Egmont Pollak whose own compositions were also performed: “Albumblatt” and “Schmetterlinge.” As a solo, he played Rubinstein’s “Spanischer Tanz.”
On the Jewish Kur-Hospital in Warmbrunn in the Riesengebirge.
The hospital was founded 43 years ago but its roots go back to the 1830’s when fellow Jews of modest means received assistance to take a cure. The unforgettable Scheimann Schneller contributed so that land could be purchased in the 1870’s and an imposing building constructed that housed those in need during their cure. Due to recent economic conditions, the hospital now asks those who can to pay for part of their stay. The hospital’s annual report requests additional donations so that they can once again house the ill at no cost to them.
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The girls’ confirmation class begins on May 10.