Newspaper Page Text
of Judaism and religion. That atheism and agnosticism is rampant among them goes without saying. Their only salvation so far as allegiance to the re ligion of their fathers is concerned, is— Reform Judaism. Reform Judaism is not less hut more of Judaism. This is the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth, strange as it may sound to the ears of many. Of course, if the practice of the more than thirteen thousand laws and injunctions of the Shulchan Aruch would indeed, as honest orthodoxy believes, constitute Judaism, then reform could not mean more but less of Judaism. Again, if re form would mean nothing more than the abrogation of the validity and authority of Talund and Shulchan Aruch. then our assertion would not be justifiable. But such ideas of Reform Judaism, although held by not a few rabbis, are erroneous. For, if this notion of reform were true, then Reform Judaism would be only a repetition of the movement started eleven hundred years ago by Anan, the found er of Karaism. The Karaites, who still exist to-day in the Crimea and southern Russia, recognize only as bind ing the laws of the Thorah, the Penta teuch or five books of Moses, but reject the Rabbinical laws of the Talmud. This movement was, however, far from being progressive, retrogressive, reactionary in the extreme, and favors blind idolatry of the letter, stagnation and decay. To give an instance, No matter how cold it is, the Karaites sit freezing on the Sab bath because the Mosaic law forbids to make fire on the day of rest. As this prohibition extends to the manservant and maidservant, there is no way for the Karaite to have warm rooms on the Sabbath. They also sit in darkness for the same reason on the Sabbath, which the prophet Isaiah calls “Day of Pleas ure.” (Oneg.) Reform Judaism is the most progres sive, most liberal, most reasonable phase of our religion. It is the Judaism of the old Hebrew Prophets, plus the accept ance of the results of modern science, and contains therefore all the elements of the future religion of civilized mankind. Reform Judaism is the religion of hu manity, hence it most emphatically op poses the idea of a Jewish nation or race, and can, .if consistent, have no pa tience with Zionism, which advocates a return of the Jews to Palestine. For such foolish doctrine plays only into the hands of anti-semitism, which claims that the Jew cannot be a patriot in the land in which he lives. For already in the first conference of Reform rabbis, held sixty years ago, in 1844 in Braunschweig, Germany, it was unanimously resolved that the Jews of the Occident have ceased to be a nation. This meant, as it means now, that the Jew of Germany is a German, the Jew of THE JEWISH OUTLOOK France a Frenchman, the .Jew of Eng land an Englishman and the Jew of America an American first, and a Jew by religion, afterwards, just as is the case with the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyter ian and Congregational ist. We have ceased to be Palestinians or Zionists nineteen hundred years ago, and do not want to be Palestinians and Orientals to-day. Particularly this free country, in spite of its drawbacks is good enough for us. Reform Judaism regards the Bible merely as literature, and therefore accepts only its spirit, and not its letter, lienee it is in the position to espouse higher criticism. For its principles need not fear the calcium light of scientific re search and of free, untrammeled investi gation. A Darwin, a Spencer, a Hux ley and Tyndall, a Haeckel, a Helmholtz, a Dubois Raymond, a Wellhausen, a Kuenen, a Gunkel and other leaders of physical, geological, sociological and Bib lical science, can go on in their bold criti cisms and discoveries of new ideas, un molested by Judaism. The long ex ploded theory, that where science begins religion must cease, might have its appli cation regarding dogmatic religions and creeds. Judaism is not creed but deed, not faith, but conduct, not dogma but life, not a dead letter, but a living spirit. Judaism is well compared by our sages in the Talmud to water, to a flowing river, and not to a stagnant pool. The theory of evolution is demonstrated by the multifarious stages and phases of Judaism during the four thousand years of its existence. The form changed and will change, but the essence and kernel are immutable, imperishable, eternal like God. “For.” exclaimed Isaiah. “As lit tle as I the Eternal changeth, just as little will Israel perish.” Isaiah. Micah. Jeremiah, Hillel, Joclianan, Ben Saccai, Maimondies, Ibn Ezra Saadiali Spin oza, Mendelssohn and fleiger. each and every one of those leaders of Judaism in the different epochs of its checkered his tory stand for different phases of Juda ism, and yet, Judaism in its spirit is the same as it ever was. All those great teachers are in themselves conclusive proof of the truth of the theory of evo lution in the domain of Judaism and re ligion. Judaism took the best from every civilization without however, thereby losing its identity. It would lead us too far to enter into the details of the Jewish Reform move ment which was started, not in America, but almost eighty years ago in Germany. Those interested in the movement can find all about it in my book. “Reform Judaism and its pioneers,” (1892). As to the status of Reform Judaism in this country there is no better guide than the platform of the rabbinical conference of Pittsburg, held there in 1886. Suffice to say. that only those Jews, who conscientiously observe all the thir toon thousand laws and ordinances of tho Sulchan Aruch have a right to oppose Reform Judaism. All those who do not observe these laws, are, to say the least, most inconsistent by opposing reform. In this country therefore, there is no al to-native for the Jew other than either no Judaism at all or Reform Judaism. For nobody can honestly deny that there is no orthodox Judaism in this country. $l5 to $3O Two and Three Piece _ _ a,57.50 Outing' 5j>11.75„a Suits $15.00 Your PicK. 1005 Sixteenth Street Opposite the Taher SPENCER & KREUZER Wholesale Fancy Ranch Eggs Try Them—They Will Please You PHONE 4443 IM4 MARKET ST. S. S. ELECTRIC CO. Electrical Repairing. Gas Mantles and Burners. Elec tric Supplies, Motors. Phone 1249 Main 214 FIFTEENTH ST. Leading Grocers Denver. Colo. SUMMER. Things to wear and just wliat we can help you to. IDDV®®®d!§ <s® Canvas and Outing Goods THE BROOKS TENT ft AWNING COMPANY 1421-25 16th St. Phone 3107 Denver, Colo.