by Rabbi Dr. Jacob (Dortmund).
Synopsis: An unusual phenomenon in German Judaism is the appearance of a Liberal Zionism. German liberal Jews see their participation in the development of Palestine as a means to increase the influence of Reform Judaism.
[Translation]“Here [in Palestine]a Judaism that’s liberated from the rigidity of orthodox Judaism can exist. For they can conceive of the Judaism of the new Palestine only as one that’s in harmony with modern culture and civilization and frees modern man from intolerable ritualistic rules.”
Synopsis: Dr. Jacob declares both assumptions to be false. He underscores that Judaism will never be a political force, only a religious one and German Jewish influence is not a matter of contributions or representation, but a consequence of its religious values.
[Translation]“In the 19th century, German Jewry did not play a global role—that was left to the philanthropists of England and France (Moses Montefiore, Adolf Cremieux, and the Universal Israelite Alliance). On the other hand, they did have worldwide influence in that Germany was the source of a modern Jewish scientific approach to the history and teachings of Judaism and the basis of the new Jewish religious services and education. What enabled them to play this role was the fact that they grew up breathing German air and fed on the German spirit that was the uncontested world leader in the realm of the scientific approach to philosophy and history. Zunz, Geiger, Frankel, Hirsch, etc. were the disciples of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Böckh, Grimm, Niebuhr, Savigny and the whole host of brilliant minds that will be Germany’s claim to fame for all time, and cannot be confiscated by some council. The German people certainly want political power and have a right to it. But the triumph of Judaism can only be grounded in the intellectual realm. The great man who shows Jews new paths and reveals new depths to our religion will be worth more than all of America’s millions. Bringing such men forth and supporting them in every way is German Jewry’s means to leadership. Then, even if most of the seats in Palestine’s council stagnate religiously, the spirit that leads the council’s administration, organization, and execution will not sink in mediocrity, turning its intellectual and spiritual leaders into bureaucrats and functionaries. Germany may well be politically destroyed, but its spirit which once led the world is not dead, and that’s why the German Jewry is not yet to be written off, if it doesn’t want to be.”
Synopsis: Jacob is puzzled by the recent hopes of Liberal Jews toward Palestine since liberal Judaism sprang from the opposition to Judaism’s rigid ties to Palestine. It took seriously the historical development that separated the people of Israel from Palestine, and because they are committed citizens of the fatherland, which had given them a new history, while Palestine came to be a pious, yet pale memory. One acted consequentially in terms of redefining religious life: all prayers for the restoration of the temple, the sacrificial services, a Jewish kingdom or a return to the holy land were struck and such hopes and longings were ceremoniously denied. And now Liberal Judaism is to go backwards?, he asks.
[Translation]“Those that think Palestine will be the center of Liberal Judaism are deluding themselves. Do they really think that a Synedrion in Jerusalem will allow pork to be eaten, to work, drive, or smoke on the Sabbath, to eat on Yom Kippur? For that’s how “liberalism” or countless Jews is defined. This indifferent libertinism will never be recognized by the orthodoxy. The newly developed Palestine is not meant to be a new beginning, but a continuation, and based on the holy book and law. We should not speak of “rigidity” because it will be influenced by the modern approaches to the studying the sacred texts and teaching theology and will continue to be exposed to new intellectual currents. It’s been thus for all time—during the time of the second temple the land had every imaginable religious belief. There were Shammai-ites and Hillel-ites, Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes, Hellenists and atheists, and the same soil brought forth a new religion that was not only based on Israel’s law and Messiah and testified to the one God of Israel—and became Judaism’s bitterest enemy.
I’ve taken the side of Zionism in my negative critique of modern Judaism and its inner turmoil. The one thing I could hold against it is its name. If Zionism were true to its name it would have Zion at its hear. Zion was the holy mountain on which the temple stood, a lodestone for the land and people of Israel. The goal of a true Zionism must therefore be the rebuilding of the temple on Zion in order to bring the the entire people of Israel under a single ruler of David’s house and to be free from foreign rule and to live according to the old law of the Torah. This has been the hope only of traditional Judaism for two thousand years as expressed in its prayers. How could I recognize a Zionism that is driven by politics and where religion is dismissed as a private matter and is led by atheists? When the people of Israel first entered this land, the first law held that every trace of foreign religions must be destroyed. And now we should have a Palestine in the middle of which rule the cross, a mosque and the savior’s grave? Judaism is appointed to be the protector of these foreign holy places? From a religious perspective, what is the difference between Jerusalem and New York, London or Berlin?
Liberal Judaism, which is rooted in clear ideas should not be caught up in reactionary romanticism that ignores undeniable circumstances nor in a mythical materialism as though the Palestine’s soil and air were imbued with a magical power. A Jewish Palestine will always be called upon to preserve historical ruins and function as a museum guard. Liberalism’s promotion of Zionism might be a clever chess move as it gives the Orthodoxy the chance to show the world the kind of utopia that would result from completely following the law of the Torah. Their experiments will of course reveal many problems which will in the end only serve to enlighten all of Judaism. But such a policy wouldn’t be necessary, because the Orthodoxy doesn’t need any prompting and it would be unworthy since in the area of religion, chess moves don’t win.
Liberalism doesn’t want to be suspected of supporting Palestine out of despair over its own viability in the diaspora, of grasping at this life saver. Or because it doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to adopt this slogan that seems to catch on with the youth. It’s the responsibility of the more mature to warn the youth about misleading slogans, and if it doesn’t have any ideal ones, to provide real ones and not false ones. Let them get to know Judaism through an active religious life and thorough study of our writings in their original language, that is, through learning—without that all discussion of Judaism is just empty talk.
Perhaps those that have thrown themselves in the arms of Jewish-folkish nationalism, see despair about the German people and their future. Certainly, the German people have shown some miserable sides and its future is very dark. But like it or not, this is our fatherland and we are children of its spirit. Whosoever can’t take it any more must leave, but if you stay, you must not work against it.
The only perspective that’s left for contributing to the rebuilding of Palestine is the humanitarian one. I won’t address it in depth, but one thing must be said, as effective a claim on the Jewish heart it is and as much as one wants to follow it in other times, for the German Jews no worse time could have been chosen than now where misery close at hand cries out for help.”
On the Palestine Question.
A letter by Dr. Paul Nathan (Berlin).
Synopsis: Dr. Nathan critiques Max Vogelstein’s portrayal of Zionism in his May 6th article. He maintains that most Zionists have not changed their views—it’s Palestine’s and the world’s situation that has changed. Instead of being in the hands of the weak Turkish empire, the British control holds far more promise, as testified to in a speech Winston Churchill gave in Jerusalem on March 28, 1921. However, Churchill declared Palestine open to Arabs, Jews, and Christians and that it cannot become “the National Home for Jews.” This speech should make clear to the Zionist leadership that their plans cannot be fulfilled, which should end the bitter disputes between Zionists and non-Zionists. With regards to the opinion that German Jews are too poor to contribute to Palestine’s development, Nathan writes that there are certainly both Zionists and non-Zionists who will feel it their duty to rebuild both Germany and Palestine.
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of Germany against the Central Organization of German Jews.
Synopsis: The Rhineland’s union of synagogues sent a letter to its congregations to correct the message contained in a flyer created by the union of orthodox Jewish congregations of Germany (headquartered in Halberstadt). The flyer decries the long-awaited creation of a Central Organization of German Jews, whereas German Jews finally have a means of ending their strife and unifying to deal with the difficult future that they are facing.
Despite Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic campaigning, Americans have signaled that they want nothing to do with this anti-Semitic filth. In addition to John Spargo’s condemnation of anti-Semitism that was signed by many illustrious politicians, poets, and individuals, especially a great number of Catholic and other Christian clerics, the Churches of Christ have also condemned anti-Semitism. The organization includes approximately 149,000 Protestant churches with 19.5 million members. Similarly, the Knights of Columbus declared that anti-Semitism is un-American and must be combated. . .and that proponents of racial hatred are either bolshevist fanatics or other seducers who should be thrown out of the country. American Christians have rightly recognized that making a group into second-class citizens goes against the central principle of democracy.
Gyges – Judaism.
A review of the work written by Rabbi Dr. Fuchs, Chemnitz, published by Verlag Gustav Engel, Leipzig, 1921.
Synopsis: Rabbi Fuchs examines the crisis of Liberal Judaism and its ebbing influence on German Jewry. He sees Liberal Judaism as caught up in theory and not able to give the indifferent masses a sense of Jewish being. The solution is to emphasize the Jewish sense of community. The reviewer agrees with Fuchs up to this point, but in his opinion, a sense of community must be anchored in the Jewish religion.
by Anna Goldschmidt.
Synopsis: Two letters between good friends, Ilse and Anna, cross in the mail. The letters give us insight into how the referendum on the governance of Upper Silesia was experienced on either side of the border. Anna lives in Nordhausen, a town at the foot of the Harz mountains; Ilse lives in Kattowitz, Upper Silesa. In her letter, Anna expresses her concern over the turmoil and tension Ilse must deal with living in Upper Silesia during this troubled time. Ilse’s letter, on the other hand, is filled with exuberance and enthusiasm. The fact that the house is filled with relatives and business acquaintances is a cause for celebration and even gives romance a chance to bloom. As for the political outcome of the vote, Ilse predicts victory for those choosing German over Russian rule.
Aus dem Reich.
Munich. The Jewish Question. The deep alienation among social groups, especially between Jews and Christians, was the impetus behind the Munich chapter of the Central Organization of German Citizens of Jewish Faith’s inviting leading members of both sides to a discussion. This took place in the overly full upper hall at the Bauerngirgl on Monday evening. Dr. Wiener, representing the Central Organization, took over an hour to provide an overview of the many issues subsumed by the Jewish Question topic, supported by many citations of the literature. He emphasized that the Central Organization is firmly grounded in patriotism and aims to strengthen this feeling in its members. He then addressed the individual complaints made about Judaism. One of the most frequent complaints made in Bavaria and Munich is that Jews brought about the revolution. Even if it were true that Jews were the leading figures in the revolutions in Russia and the Bavarian Soviet Republic, one must view these circumstances in their historical context. The Jew is conservative and doesn’t cause upheaval, but in Russia Jews had witnessed horrific persecution at the hands of the Czarist regime and grew to hate this regime. In any case, not all Soviet leaders were Jews. Of the 17 members of the Central Committee, only one was Jewish: Trotsky. Never mentioned is the fact that the absolute enemies of the Bolsheviks were the mensheviks, who were Jews. The Bolshevist rule did not benefit the Jews—over 100,000 Jews were murdered by the Bolsheviks, their economic and religious institutions destroyed. In Germany too, Judaism has nothing to do with the political, Jewish, hotheads of the revolution. It is absolutely incorrect to maintain that the Jews are a unified, single-minded force that seeks world domination. Further, one never mentions that Christians too were and are revolutionaries and that Jews were also held hostage. That Jews belong only to the radical left-wing parties can be explained by the long-time anti-Semitic principles held by the right-wing parties. Because of them, Jews were in large part driven into the leftist parties. It’s also not true that all socialist leaders are Jews—-David Liebknecht, Klara Zetkin, Kautsky, among others are not Jews. As for the Jewish members of government, these don’t want to be thought of as Jewish, just politicians. With regards to the question of the Eastern Jews, the speaker pointed out that during the war about 8,000 to 10,000 Eastern Jews were brought in by the government to replace miners doing military service. And these remain here even now. By the way, these Eastern Jews can be used to develop German trade which is developing in the East—-England is making every effort to win over Eastern Jews to help with their trade. The speaker then addressed the question of race, that German-ness and Germanic roots are not identical in terms of race. It has absolutely not been proven that Arian roots are a requirement for Germanness [Deutschtum]. Many great Germans, who have been appropriated as “German” were and are of Jewish decent.
In response to the accusation that Jews tried to get out of military service, he pointed out that over 11,000 Jews died in battle. In conclusion the speaker turned to the most painful of all accusations—that Jews are not patriotic—that is completely incorrect. His statements were factual and calm, but contrasted to the form and factual presentation of the rest of the lecture. Finally, two speakers, Herr Meyer (from Absberg) and Königbauer, president of the state parliament, spoke words of conciliation complementing the point of the evening. They emphasized the ethical and moral side of the question, wishing for more consideration of Jewish circles by the general populace, but most importantly emphasizing the absolute need for a unified people during these times of shared need. In his conclusion, Dr. Wiener emphasized that patriotic Jews had nothing to do with the Zionist movement , and that instead of labellling Jews and Christians, to recognize that a bridge connects the two cultures.
Hamburg. The local representatives of the Jewish community debated the new constitution of the Central Organization of German Jewry. Orthodox members were concerned that their perspective was not taken into consideration. The delegate to the constitutional committee, Dr. Kalmus, assured them that was not the case. However, the representatives agreed that they would request that a clause be added that no rulings can be made that contradict any orthodox laws.
Heidelberg. Dr. Niebergall, university professor, lectured on the meaning of Israelite propheticism for world history. Jewish intellectual and religious culture can be traced back to two influences—the Israelite and the Greek. The latter resulted in a philosophical approach to religion and also imbued it with mythos and mystery. Israelite prophets saw the world and God very differently. Instead of approaching God through metaphysical thought, they felt and experienced God directly. The lecturer analyzed church history in light of the prophetic and Greek influences. Just when Greek thinking was dominant in the Christian church, Martin Luther pulled Christianity back into the prophetic, biblical tradition. He concluded that both Judaism and Christianity should reflect on the sources of their perspective and values and use them to build bridges.
Chemnitz. Dr. Walter Brinnitzer’s speech on “Pacifism and Judaism” was very well received by the many attendees.
Munich. Synopsis: Anti-Semitic protests interrupted a lecture by Rabbi Dr. Bärwald sponsored by the Gnostic Society. A group of youth assaulted the audience with sticks and chairs. The police was able to arrest some of the assailants.
Vienna. Synopsis: The Arian paragraph in the Austrian Tourist Club. (Adopted after rioting.) Circa 4000 of the 11,000 members attended the annual meeting. A speech against adopting the paragraph was met with members wielding umbrellas and sticks. The well-known anti-Semitic parliamentarian, Dr. Riehl, defended the paragraph as a means of protecting German girls from lustful Jews. 3,056 voted for the paragraph and 784 against. As of today, only Arians can belong to the Austrian Tourist Club.
“Die Nutzniesser des Bolschewismus” by Dimitri Bulaschow. A review of “The Beneficiaries of Bolschevism” by Bernard Segel writing under the pseudonym of Dimitri B[o]ulaschow in 1921.
Synopsis: Segel seeks to prop up the reactionary myth that Russia is ruled by Jews with statistics and facts. The reviewer cites statistics to refute his claim: only about 200,000 Jews live near the centers of Soviet power and only 10 Jews are to be found among the leadership and most of these are alienated from or critical of Judaism. However, there are many Jews to be found in the socialist opposition and in the bourgeoisie. The reviewer notes that the “benefit” Russian Jews have drawn from Bolshevism is half a million victims of pogroms, 400,000 orphans, a ruined economy, and the destruction of hundreds of congregations and synagogues. He concludes by highly recommending that this brochure be read to better fight against anti-Semitism.
Thessaloniki. The Jews in Greece. Synopsis: A rumor of ritual murder has caused unrest here. The rumor is not a symptom of a real anti-Semitic movement, rather it is a sign of misguided rabble. An excerpt from an article in the “Frankfurter Zeitung” is printed: Of the city’s 180,000 inhabitants, half are Sephardic Jews and speak Spaniolish [the Ladino dialect] in addition to the Greek, Turkish, and French spoken in business. The latter they learn in the schools run by the French “Alliance Israelite.” They’ve enjoyed the hospitality of the Turks since they arrived in the fifteenth century and received better treatment than any of Turkey’s foreign Christian populations. Even under Greek rule (Greece having scarcely any Jewish inhabitants), Jews have full rights as citizens, serve in the army, can become officers in the reserves, though there are no active Jewish officers in the Greek army. There is no political anti-Semitism and no ethical prejudice against them. Exactly the opposite, the small Jewish currency exchanges are well respected for their dependability.
Israelite Health Care Institute and Burial Society (Chevra Kadsha).
Synopsis: In these difficult financial times, donations are especially needed if society it to continue doing the work it has done in the community for over two hundred years. The very existence of the institute is at stake.
Attention, Anyone with a Toothache! Recently when a young dental technician apprentice applied for a position with the dental technician, Dr. Arbeiter on Blücherplatz, he was asked about his religion. When he said he was Jewish, he was immediately rejected with the words, “Then you needn’t have even waited.” It is therefore to be assumed that Mr. Arbeiter also does not care to have any Jewish clientele.
Traveling Library. Synopsis: To foster religious life in small congregations, the Union of Synagogues of Breslau and Liegnitz maintain a travelling library. Donations of books are requested.
Society for the Blind, “Harmony”
Synopsis: The society marked its 25th anniversary with a concert. The chairman, Adolf Selten, gave an interesting report on how services for the blind have developed. A choir performed a piece by Mr. R. Winkler with text by Selten. Singers and musicians included A. Stöckel (tenor), Clara Reldner (alto), Lotte Rogosinski (pianist).
Rosa Freudenthal Gallery is currently exhibiting a modern synagogue cloth made by Rosa Weyl.
Engagements: Malli Klinenberger (Breslau) with Joseph Juliusberger, Engineer (Breslau); Lucie Kantorowicz (Breslau) with Dr. Paul Georg Braun (Breslau); Margarete Schwersensky (Breslau) with Georg Zweig (Breslau); Betty Wislicki (Breslau) with David Offenberg (Berlin); Dora Wertheim (Fulda) with Issi Simonsohn (Breslau); Lotte Baron with Dr. Herbert Stein (Munich); Lilly Harry (Breslau) with Rudolf Borowitsch (Dresden).
Marriages: Representative Dr. Mortitz Stern with Aenne Rosenberg (Breslau); Siegbert Gorzelanczyk with Gertrud Lublin (Breslau); dr. Walter Meckauer with Lotte Peiser (Breslau); Walter Stern with Eva Bielschowsky (Breslau).
Births: Son: Richard Callomon and Grete, née Rachwalsky (Breslau); Dr. Erich Simm and Alice, née Eger (Berlin); Mortiz Lippmann and Elli, née Hirschberg (Breslau); James Aron and Margarete, née Gittler.
Daughter: Fritz Wolff and Alice, née Bernstein (Breslau); Willi Ziffer and Rosa, née Moses (Breslau); Louis Pinczower and Paula, née Riesenfeld (Neustadt, Upper Silesia).
Deaths: Sara Miedzwinski, née Singer (Berlin); Julius Michalek (Breslau); Paul Cohn (Reichenbach in Silesia); Gustav Klein (Breslau); Anna Fuchs (Breslau); Johanna Wiener (Breslau); Hedwig Saphir, née Adler (Breslau); Robert Ittmann (Breslau); Curt Ritter (Berlin); Clara Goldstücker, née Forell (Friedenau).