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The Jewish outlook. (Denver, Colo.) 1903-1913, August 05, 1904, Image 7

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The Synod
The Synod question, so says the Amer
ican Israelite, is the paramount discus
sion in Judaism to-day. We have just
finished reading the report of the chair
man of the committee on Synod to the
central conference of American rabbis
at Louisville. This gentleman received
a doctor title for a thesis on the “Synod
in Judaism’’ and he has been living on
the capital of that thesis ever since. It
is his hobby, his monomania, or shall we
say his megalomania. We were very
anxious to read his report because it had
been characterized as brilliant and schol
arly. The brilliancy and scholarship we
fail to discover. Possibly that is our
fault. What particularly strikes us in
the report is that it is another illustrious
instance of “Incus a non hicenda.” It
tells most emphatically what it is that
the Synod should not do, what is is not
expected to do, what it must by no means
attempt or arrogate itself to do. As to
what there is for it to do the report is
most admirably non-committal, almost
entirely silent. Beyond the formulation
of a creed which shall rule by its own
intrinsic truth but by no authority of
the Synod itself, the report cannot sug
gest a single thing for the Synod’s em
ployment. But if the conference itself
would formulate a creed of such a na
ture that its statement would be uni
versally and unohjectionably acceptable
to and accepted in Israel in what way
would that eredal statement have any
less authority than if it were made by a
Synod which on the plan proposed is not
to be possessed of any other authority
than the compulsion, the native compul
sion of the truth of its announcements'?
We fail to see any imaginable purpose,
object, necessity, justification or call for
a Synod in American Judaism other
than its creation of office and importance
for a handful of opinionated erudites
who, in the present organization and
constitution of Israel in America, find no
opportunity to invest with credit or re
spect among the masses their musty, me
diaeval lore. These erudites of media
eval rabbinism in American Israel would
he a ridiculous set if they were not so
pestiferous. The lore that they plume
themselves on and for which they are
seeking to obtain influence in the ranks
of Reform Judaism is a lore that has
value and weight only in the camp of
ultra-orthodoxy. But if these scholars
of Reform Judaism would betake them
selves to the camp of orthodoxy they
would be laughed at there for their
scholarly pretensions. The very boys
of orthodoxy could beat them at their
own game. So they come to the camp of
Reform where such scholarship has been
put by, abandoned and discontinued long
ago, where nobody but they would waste
time over such useless researches and
studies, and think that with the musti
ness and the cobweb stuff we have cleared
out of our Reform household decades
ago, they can impress and impose upon
modern-day intelligence, and bluff' their
way into influence and prominence.
Their individual successes in securing
the admiration and wonder of the public
for their Hebrew quotations and their
antiquated technical English we would
not grudge them in.
But we do protest, and protest stren
uously, when with their ridiculous ped
antry they would foist upon liberal, in
dependent American Judaism a Jesuit
ical institution which, if once formed,
their restless vanity in their superan
nuated erudition will plot and labor to
change from an institution of apparent
innocence into one of at least vexatious
if not dangerous activity. Reform Ju
daism should be warned in time; but its
rabbinate and its laity should see nbt
simply the uselessness but the possible
peril of this proposed institution. There
is no occasion for it. The central con
ference of American rabbis and the Un
ion of American Hebrew Congregations,
our two existing bodies and bodies of
growing strength and of a progressive
crystalization of our forces, are adequate
for every contingency and demand and
purpose in American Israel to-day. If
it be argued that the rabbis and the lay
men should come together in one author
itative body, the answer is that they do
do so already, namely, in the conven
tions of the Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, whose every convocation
or assemblage has an overwhelming pro
portion of the rabbinate. There is not a
rabbi in the entire Central Conference of
American Rabbis who can not attend
as a full participating delegate and mem
ber every and all the conventions of the
Union of American Hebrew Congrega
tions. Here, in this body, the propa
ganda of Israel is discussed and practi
cally considered, pronouncement is made
of Jewish standpoint and conviction, and
the cause of Reform Judaism, both
among its own and before the world at
large is practically pushed, practically
advanced, without any offensive ecelesi
asticism, such as will attach to a synod.
We have to-day in Reform Judaism ev
erything a synod can give us except its
obnoxiousness, its possibilities of mis
chief and tyranny. The chairman of the
committee on synod points to the “de
mand” for a synod as evidenced in the
recommendation of it from three dif
ferent sources at Detroit last year. First,
there was the Sabbath committee that
recommended it. But this year’s chair
man of the synod committee was a mem
ber of last year’s Sabbath committee,
lie no doubt put the flea into the ear of
the chairman of his last year’s Sabbath
committee. This chairman, Dr. Voor
sanger, shoved the flea on further, into
the ear of Dr. Margolis, the second De
troit recommender of the synod, whose
patron Dr. Voorsanger was and is. So
far there is collusion in this simultaneity
of recommendation. The third recom
mendation came from Dr. Silverman.
But then—Silverman ! This year Dr. Sil
verman’s successor, Dr. Krauskopf, re
peated the recommendation in his presi
dent’s report. But everybody knows that
a president’s report must contain some
thing and must be of an impressive
length, and if there be not something
enough to furnish that impressive
length, why, any old thing is welcome
for stuffing and for ballast. This is the
secret of the persistent synod demand.”
Jewish Chronicle.
Dr. Schumacher, who has charge of
the excavation in Tel Mutesellim
which is only another name for
the Biblical Megiddo, reports that a seal
has been found belonging to Jeroboam
IT.. 785-742 B. C. The seal contains a
lion with gaping jaws, bearing the in
scription “Belongs to Senia the servant
of Jeroboam.” Dr. Schumacher further
reports that many skeletons, weapons
and millstones with old Hebrew inscrip
tions have also been excavated.
Idaho Springs, Colo.,
To the Editor of the Jewish Outlook:
Dear Sir:—There is a rumor current
that in the book of “Don Yoden” by
Rabbi Samson of Asropolia, there is the
following passage taken from Isaiah,
chapter 63, “The day of vengeance is in
my heart and the day of redemption
will come. ” Each letter of the above
passage used in Hebrew, used as the first
letter of words will make the following
sentence, “All Israelites will see and
hear the downfall of Czar Nicolas *of
Russia in his war with Japan and after
his downfall the time of Messiah will
come and the arrival of Elijah the pro
phet will be proclaimed.” (This is a fa
miliar way of Midrashic and Rabbinical
interpretation of Biblical text, where
single letters are taken as initials of full
I was asked by many if this is true. I
have looked through the book Don Yo
den. but could not find the above men
tioned passage, but to-day I received a
letter from the holy city, Jerusalem,
stating that it is to be found in the book
“Machne Don,” a very rare book that I
can not procure, published two hundred
years ago.
In any event, whether this is taken
from an old book or from some contem
porary, the interpretation of the text is
beautiful, and I hope it may be realized.
Copied from “Yalkut Yossef” pub
lished in Hungary by Rabbi Joseph
Schwartz, son-in-law of the Rabbi of the
city Banliad. lam your friend,

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