Religion: Jews v. Jews

  • Print
  • Share

There are two kinds of U. S. Jews. One kind (in its own words) is composed of "Americans who are Jews''—Americans who, as individuals, practice the Jewish faith, or, if they are not religious, admit their Jewish ancestry. The other kind is a smaller but more articulate group of "Jews in America"—Jews who have not only a common religion but a common culture; who believe they are members of a scattered nation; who tend to approve Zionist aims toward a Jewish homeland. Between these two groups there is deep-rooted animosity. Last week, as has happened before, that animosity came out in the open.

No. 1 "Jew in America" is Manhattan's Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise. Since 1924 he has been alternately president and honorary president of the American Jewish Congress which he. Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis. Felix Frankfurter and others founded in 1917, to represent Jews "as a group and not solely as individuals." The Congress is ardently Zionist, zealous in promoting the anti-German boycott and getting up mass protests against Hitler. Last week, Rabbi Wise's deep cello voice was throbbing, his Mosaic profile bobbing, as he stumped in favor of a referendum for a united front for U. S. Jewry. Said he in Cleveland:

"In 1933 we offered German Jewish groups an opportunity to unite but they told us to mind our own business. They said they were Germans first. Germans who happened to be Jews. I am a Jew who is an American. I was a Jew before I was an American. I have been an American all my life, 64 years, but I've been a Jew for 4,000 years."

No. 1 "American who is a Jew"—so far as the referendum is concerned—is Dr. Cyrus Adler, archeologist, president of Jewish educational institutions in Manhattan and Philadelphia, and president of the American Jewish Committee. Founded in 1906. the Committee represents U. S. Jewry at its richest and most conservative, is non-Zionist, lukewarm toward boycotts and protests. Between President Adler and President Wise there is intense personal dislike. Last fortnight, speaking for his Committee and for "Americans who are Jews," Dr. Adler denounced Rabbi Wise's "Hitler plebiscite." In return, on Dr. Adler's home grounds in Philadelphia, Rabbi Wise made a bitter personal attack on Dr. Adler, charging he had known in advance of Hitler's rise to power, had advocated a "do-nothing" policy in the belief that Naziism would die of itself.

By last week, orthodox Jewish bodies, Zionist groups and two lodges had plumped for the referendum. Non-Jews, many of whom were unaware they were taking sides on a partisan Jewish issue, let their names be used. 137 of them ministers, bishops and educators who signed what the Christian Century called "a mischief-making document" circulated among Gentiles by Rabbi Wise.

Time.com on Digg

POWERED BY digg

Quotes of the Day »

HENRY TANG, Hong Kong's chief secretary, urging the Philippine government to launch an investigation into what went wrong when the hijacking of a Manila bus ended with the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists
For use in rail of Articles page or Section Fronts pages. Duplicate and change name as necesssary to distinguish.