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The Jewish outlook. (Denver, Colo.) 1903-1913, August 05, 1904, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn91052361/1904-08-05/ed-1/seq-1/

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A 'Weekly Journal Devoted to the Je-wisH Communities of the 4 Region
Volume i
By Dr. E. Schreiber. Written for “The Jewish Outlook."
“Kennt sie nur erst” —‘‘If you only
knew her.” These were the words ad
dressed by the Jew, ‘‘Nathan the Wise,”
to the Christian Templar, while speaking
to him of his adopted daughter Recha.
The same words, put into the mouth of
the Jew by Lessing at the end of the
eighteenth century in his great drama
“Nathan the Wise,” may well be ap
plied to Judaism, not only when spoken
of by non-Jews, but most unfortunately
when criticized by so-called Jews, whose
only Judaism generally consists in the
fact that they were born of Jewish moth
ers. And the number of these Jews in
name only, even among the educated
classes, is larger than is generally admit
ted or known. And how could it be dif
ferent? Our bright young men and
w omen if they attend Sabbath or Sunday
school at all, leave it after confirmation
day. If, as usually is the ease, the sea
son of the Sabbath school closes a few
weeks after confirmation, they do not
even deem it worth while to attend the
school during this short space of time.
For, they, thank Cod. do not need it:
they are “confirmed,” they have said
their allotted pieces according to all the
improved rules of elocution, enunciation,
declamation and recitation, and in the
weighty judgment of some “prominent”
—and they are all prominent, provided
their bank account is large—congrega
tional “bosses” they “did well, very
well, in fact better than the rabbi” —-
“Mein Leibchen was willst do noch
mehr ? ’ ’
Now r , these young people are to he the
future leaders of congregations. Some
of them attend universities, colleges, etc.
They may become good doctors, lawyers,
engineers, business men. and even pro
fessors. But as to the knowledge of what
Denver, Colorado, Friday, August $, 1904
Judaism is and stands for, they are like
the old Bourbons, they have learnt noth
ing and have forgotten nothing. And
yet on account of their standing and po
sition in society, their opinions and
views on Judaism of which they are ab
solutely ignorant, are taken and accept
ed as oracles and as the very essence of
all wisdom and truth by the masses, or
“them asses” as Carlyle puts it, who re
peat and quote them as authorities. Be
ing successful in their vocations, profes
sions and commercial enterprises their
dictum is law for many others, who know
no more of Judaism than they do. These
leaders of public opinion would perhaps
be slow to give opinions on questions of
medicine, chemistry, mining, railroading,
engineering, law and architecture—al
though we have often heard that every
successful Jewish business man considers
himself a good lawyer and architect —
but as to Judaism they know all about
it and a little more, in the bargain. Par
from asking the rabbi, they expect the
rabbi to side with their views, at any
rate not to contradict them openly. Such
course might cost him his position.
If such is the state of affairs with re
gard to the knowledge of Judaism in
general, it is still worse with respect to
Reform Judaism. The ignorance con
cerning this phase of Judaism is apnall
ing in the extreme. It is next to incred
ible what ridiculous views one hears
about Reform Judaism from people of
whom better things are expected. “I am
very much reformed, I do not believe in
anything,” is a remark very frequently
used by Jewish men and women, who
are claimed to belong to the educated and
cultured classes. “I eat ham because I
am reformed,” is another of these smart
phrases often heard especially by some of
our intelligent ladies. Others will in
form you that they do not fast and ab
stain from the pursuit of business on
Yom Ivippur, because they are re
formed. And there are thousands of
Jews, especially among the Russian
Jews, to whom “Reform Jew” and “Me
shimmied” (Baptized Jew) are iden
tical terms. But- to most of the Jews
and I am sorry to say, not a few rabbis,
who ought to knoif better, among them,
Reform Judaism means not more of
Judaism but less of Judaism, not more
of religion, but less of religion. “Father
forgive them, they do not know.” “Ken
nt sie nur erst.” To know what Re
form Judaism stands for, it is absolutely
necessary to know the history and the
literature of this great movement. This
movement is one of the most far-reach
ing of any religious movement within
Judaism since the destruction of the
Second Jewish Commonwealth. The suc
cess of this movement is tantamount
with the success of Judaism as a re
ligion in the Occidental world. Its fail
ure would mean no less and no more
than the utter annihilation and extinc
tion of Judaism among all those Jews
living in Germany, England, France,
Austria Hungary, the United States,
Australia, Canada and South Africa,
and even among those Russian Jews who
are and want their children to become
part and parcel of the Occidental civili
zation. For the fact cannot, be denied,
—and only they deny it, who inten
tionally shut their eyes to the
things going on among them —that
Orthodox Judaism is utterly incapa
ble to' keep the young rising gen
eration within its fold, not even in Rus
sia, Roumania and Galicia, and much
less in the countries just mentioned. We
can plainly see in this country that the
sons and daughters of Orthodox Russian,
Polish and Roumanian Jews far from
remaining ortliodix, throw away not
only their orthodoxy, but very often all
Number 40

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