Newspaper Page Text
Friday, September 16, 1921.
THE JEWISH MONITOR Pace Thirteen EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Taxi Ribkl Hanry Caftan Rabbi A. Warn Rabbi Martin Zlalanka Rabbi David Lafkawlta Rabbi David Reaanbaum Rabbi A. K. Abramawlti Rabbi Walfa Maaht Dr. R. Farbar Rabbi tamual Raalniar EDITORIAL EDITORIAL OONTRIBWTVm Oklahoma Rabbi Jaaaah Blatt Rabbi Marrla Tatlar Rabbi Chaa. B. Lata Arkanaaa Rabbi Laanartf RiMiatalw Rabbi Jaaaah H. Rabbi A. B. Rhlna Rabbi Jwmt Mark Lauialana Rabbi A. Brill Ribbl Harry A. Marfald RABBI GEORGE FOX, Editor WE ARE GLAD TO DO IT. In the last issue of the Jew ish Monitor we wrote an edi torial in which we stated that we heard on excellent authority that the rabbis of the last graduating class of the Hebrew Union College had made an agreement not to take any po sition under a certain stipulat ed salary. We further said that if this were so, it was not the proper thing to do. We have, since writing the article, had the personal assur ance of one of the graduating class, that in spite of the statements that are current, this is not a fact. The impres sion, he says, was created by the fact that many of the young men were offered posi tions at salaries lower than those which they finally ac cepted. Some are getting $4500 per year, and none of them are receiving under $3600. It was the refusal of the men to go to work. at salaries which they did not deem high enough that gave the ground for the state ments. The young 'man pointed out the fact that they had a right to wait for the better positions and to accept those places which were attractive from both the service and financial side, but that no agreement or understanding had been arriv ed at by the students, and that such a thing was not thought of. We are publishing this be cause we believe it is the fair thing to do. We see no reason why a rabbi just starting out should not try to get the greatest financial advantage, providing opportunity for ser vice is not sacrificed. We do feel however, that had an agreement been made, it would have been an improper thing to have done ; and we are glad for the sake of the pro fession, that it was not done. THE HOLYDAYS ARE COM ING . Again we sound the ap proach of the High Holy Days, the revival days of American Judaism. We say American, be cause here among the Ortho dox and the Reform, these days are still kept with some measure of loyalty, though much else has gone by the way. It is almost pitiful to see how much of the old faith people have thrown off yet when these Holy Days come, the spirit of Judaism assets itself in spite of everything, and we have crowded Temples and Synagogues. One wonders whether it is the real religious feeling that impells attendance at the Holy Days, whether it is supertition or whether it is just the rem nant of earlier folk-habits. The laxity among the Jews of Am erica, as it appertains to synagogue-worship, is simply as tounding. Here and there a lo cal condition which causes a re vivallargely temporary and an excellent attendance is re corded. But by and large, our houses of worship are deserted on the Sabbaths and on the mi nor festivals, except possibly the Festival of Shabuoth oi Confirmation, which has the chid's part as the attraction, and which does attract more people than the other feasts. The attendance on Sabbaths and in the congregations where services are held on Sundays, is deplorable. The Reformed rab bis are blamed for this. But if it is the fault of the rabbis, why are the Orthodox houses of worship also deserted? Are the Orthodox rabbis to be blamed? Certainly. The laity cannot blame itself for the laity is perfect except on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kip pur when the sense of guilt be comes apparent And when it does, the Temples and the Syn agogues are filled. As a matter of fact, the rab bis contended many years ago that Judaism would have to be reformed in order to draw the young men and women. It was reformed and to this particu lar extent, Reform is a failure, because the laymen who spon sored it failed to live up to the responsibilities it entailed upon them. Reform Judaism teaches that man for religion, therefore those elements in religion which made it a hardship upon its professors; which could not be adjusted to the spirit of the time, and which did not violate the principles and the ethical teachings of of the faith, could be done away with. On this ground Reform did away with the authority of these religious works which posited these elements. For instance, it was declared that the Talmud in which most of the ritualistic elements of Orthodoxy are de veloped, was declared to be sim ply a collecton of thoughts, teachings, decisions and laws, but it was not binding, as the Talmud," upon the Jews. As a logical conclusion Reform did away with most of the ritual determined upon in the Talmud, such as Kashrus, the putting on of the Tallith and the Phyl acteries, the Ritual Bath and other things, well-known Or thodox Jewry. The Talmudic in terpretations of many of the Biblical injunctions not includ ed in the above ceremonies were also done away with. It was hoped that a thoroughly modernized faith would appeal so strongly to the modern Am erican youth that the same zest, the same loyalty and the same sacrifice that characterized the older Jew, would pass to the younger one. Reform simply ap plied the philosophy of religion to the famous Talmudic maxim regarding the Sabbath, viz: "You were not delivered to the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was delivered to you." The early Reformers knew that all relig ion demands a certan sacrifice, but they knew too, that a form of religion out of harmony with modern life, could not survive. The changes were made and Reform made active strides in America, but the sons and daughters of the Reform Jews thoughtlessly cast off too much; their faith became at tenuated ; they mistook Reform for an inexcusable license to tear away, to violate the com mandments and to dsiregard what was left and what Reform itself, held dear. The result is the estrangement of the young er generation from the Temple, and the comprising of Judaism in the consciousness that a Jew must try to live a cleaner life, in the Kaddish and in attend ance at services two days a year. Of course our Temples are supported in a way, so are the Jewish charities, but the real piety and the real religious fervor are absent among most of us though we fight only when we are attacked. And Orthodox Jewry has ar rived at the same state through a different route. The Orthodox rabbis fought Reform and still fight it. They claimed that Reform would kill the faith kill Judaism in America; that the future depended on the strict observance as it had been handed down from father to son. What is the result? Ortho doxy is as badly off as Reform and the remnant in both wings must carry on the ban ner of the faith, even as in prophetic days, the remnant survived. These thoughts are suggest ed by the approach of the com ing Holy Days. Those who have consecrated themselves to the sen-ice of our religion and our people, do feel the pain of the present day indifference and listlessness. We do bemoan the fact that the great heritage which is ours, and which has contributed more to the little good that the world has, than any other single force, receives such light consideration from those who were born or receiv ed into it. It is a shame that the Jew does not know the in estimable value of his undying faith. It is nothing less than disgraceful that we who live in a land of freedom, have become slaves to the basest passions and appetites, those against which Judaism throughout all of its history has stood as an everlasting protest. Perhaps things will change. Perhaps we might through the influence of the Great Days themselves, find ourselves out: perhaps we may gain a new in spiration, a new heart, to live by our religion, sacrifice for it, and achieve through it. May the God of Israel of yesterday, in spire Israel of today, and make us worthy sons of worthy sires.