The Southern Is ha elite
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writers except those enunciated in the Editorial columns
The Passion Plav
Notwithstanding our respect for the spirit in which the Pas
sion Play was received by its audience and the dignified reviews to
the credit of the critics, we still fail to glimpse any justification
for the production. This impression was induced from knowledge
of the principle of the theme of the pageants, alone, for after its
advertisement, all desire to see the actual presentation was obli-
The play may have been beautiful, full of the reverence and
respect that religious sentiment carries and that the assured sin
cerity of the actors probably expressed, but it must needs have
recalled to the popular mind incidents which to them are the basis
of all the religious prejudice originating in the era protrayed.
Surely tableaux, reproducing the actual inspiration for the almost
blind religious intolerance that exists even today, cannot but arouse
significant anti-Jewish reaction in the hearts of thousands of non-
Most people with any sort of education at all today, religious
or otherwise, realize the false effects and impressions that have
piled up through ignorant instruction and propaganda reverting
to the theme of the Passion Play, but the spirit of the play today
can serve only to aggravate any existing anti-Semitism or awaken
intolerance that has died down.
We should be broadminded and we should certainly look upon
the life of Jesus in the intelligent and significant aspect upon which
the fundamental of Christianity is based, but in the face of all the
distorted and incongrous prejudices and ideas that have developed
since that time as a miserable result of the originally beautiful
sentiment, it seems unnecessary and unjust to the welfare of man
kind to recall these scenes in any such realistic fashion as the Pas
sion Play suggests.
It should be the duty of really sincere Christians to discour
age the performances as far as possible by their restricted patron
age and unenthusiastic propaganda; it should be the good, sound
judgment of intelligent Jews to simply ignore such amusement
The culture of a people, the significance and wealth of its
history, are reflected in its tradition. The individual, in the final
analysis, has his cultural roots in the historical background of his
particular group. The richer the historical tradition of the group,
the finer the cultural heritage of the individual.
Few histories can compare in depth and color with that of our
own. The Jewish calendar is full of the symbolism of that unique
history—vibrant with memories of the millenniums behind us.
The Feast of Hannukah is one of the most beautiful symbo
lisms in our whole calendar. It is the story of a heroic revolt that
had for its object, not the conquest of land or economic liberation,
but freedom of thought and worship. The Maccabees fought not
for political, but primarily religious, freedom. And when the first
decisive victory was won—they came to consecrate anew a dese
crated Temple. Then follows the strange legend of a cruise of oil
that lasted for eight days, until new oil might be prepared for the
Eternal Light in the Sanctuary.
The symbolism of the lighting of the Hannukah candles one
on the first night, two on the second, and so on—is as beauitful
and inspiring a ceremony as that found among any other people.
It should be observed in every Jewish home. The child that wit
nesses the ceremony will grow up to be a man or woman richer in
his cultural heritage—prouder of it.
Hannukah begins this year on the eve of December 26th. Let
the ancient lamps be kindled again.
Temple Topics, Atlanta. Ga.
By CHARLES H. JOSEPH
( opyrigh Ivd
A lady residing in Eau Claire, Wis
consin, writes me that listening to a
radio talk given by Floyd Gibbons, the
well-known correspondent, she heard
him >ay that Charles Steinmetz was a
Protestant. She had always thought
he was a Jew and asked me to express
my opinion. In view ot the fact that
hundreds ol thousand ot others lis
tened in” on the talk, and believing
that others possibly might have mis
understood Mr. Gibbons, I decided to
answer her question through this col
umn. Charles Steinmetz, the late gen
ius >f the General Electric Company,
was a Jew. When Mr. Gibbons said
that he was a protestant he did not
mean Protestant in a religious sense.
Steinmetz was a cripple, he had been
paralyzed and this condition was in
herited as his father had suffered sim
ilarly. Steinmetz felt that those who
were incurably incapacitated as he
should never marry. And he protested
against such marriages being consum
mated. In that sense he was a pro
testant. lb' was also a protestant
against other conventionalities in so
ciety. He was an extreme individual
ist and was regarded by many as ec
centric. When he first went with the
General Electric Company he found a
notice posted in the laboratories that
smoking was prohibited. He immedi
ately notified the company “no smok
ing, no Steinmetz,” so they revoked
the tide for his special benefit. Stein-
met/. though a Jew, was only a Jew by
birth and not by religion.
Through the “Jewish Times” of Bal
timore I am asked the following ques
tion by a reader residing in West Vir
"If a girl’s mother is a Jewess and
her father is a Gentile is she consid
ered a Jewess or a Gentile?”
That is a most difficult question to
answer and depends entirely upon the
point of view, and what we mean by
the terms used. The best authorities
define a Gentile (1) among the Jews,
a person of a non-Jewish race or faith;
(-) among the Christians as one who
is neither a Jew nor Christian; a pa
gan. a heathen; (3) among the Mor
mons one who is not a Mormon; (4) in
India one who is not a Mohammedan.
So a Gentile may be one of many races
ami ot many religious beliefs. A Jew
we are informed, may be Racially a
Jew, or a Jew only through belief in
Judaism; that is, Religiously. If we ad
here to religious terms then it is eas
ier to answer the question. If a Chris
tian and a Jew marry, the offspring
is what their religious training makes
them. It the girl in question is reared
in the Jewish taith she must be con
sidered a Jewess; if in the Christian
ieligion, then she must be recognized
as a ( hristian. In the event that the
parents are indifferent to religious
training and the girl is reared in any
taith, then socially, she is recognized
as a member of the group in which the
parents move. If the husband tvho is
a Gentile decides to throw his lot with
the people of his wife’s faith, who
happen to be Jews, then in all likeli
hood the children will be regarded as
Jews. If the Jewess seeks to escape
from her Jewish social ties and
dates with her husband’s peonl/.t
the children will come to b,.
There have been many instance*
similar cases and it is difficult to m/
an absolute statement regarding qj
hor example: Joseph Pulitzer the 1
owner of the New York “World"'
I believe, the child of just such a n *
ed marriage. He in turn married*
Gentile and his children today are re
garded as Gentiles. But the work! .pi
seems to regard Pulitzer as a J w "
’That is the attitude taken by the ma
jority of the Jewish Press. But da
does not necessarily establish tht- f ac -
that Pulitzer was a Jew. The n n-
Jewish world, it seems to me, ha- m«.
as valid a claim to him. The confusiur
arises because the Jews themselves »r t
not sure whether there is a Jew..?
i ace, and in fact the Reform element
take the definite position that we are
Jews by religion only. But this ha?
created confusion, and contradictions
without number. I know Gentile girl?
who have married Jews and whose
children are being reared as Jews, ir
such cases the world accepts them a*
Jews without question. As 1 started
out to say it all depends upon the in
dividual case and the special circum
stances surrounding it. But goner
ally speaking, I believe that children
of such marriages are regarded as
Jews, though inaccurately, unless
reared as Jews. 1 have propounded
this question to any number of "ex
ports” and I am unable to obtain i
clearly defined status because of the
number of puzzling elements involved
Through the “Jewish Review ant
Observer” of Cleveland, the following
interesting letter is received from ar
earnest-minded Jew associated with
Gratz College in Philadelphia. I ap
preciate very much the interest the
writer takes in me and my writing?
but I hasten to assure him that 1 as
not guilty of the lapse he charges nt
with. I never referred to Moses or to
any other great leader ancient or mod
ern in Jewish life, as a “wiseacre.
If such “epithets” were used it must
have been in nature ot a quotation,
the writer can point out specifics-)
wherein I have so grievously errec >
shall make proper amends. ut
letter is worth the space I f? ive u !
The Gratz College.
Dec. 3, m
“Dear Mr. Joseph:
“Moses, I have often felt, mu*
have written the 90th Psalm a
the time that he received the t0
mand, ‘Go unto Pharaoh and A
unto him, Let my people ‘
when he is eighty years oW “"J
burdens and responsi i 1 > ,
subjection to criticism h
upon him for that indeed he m
have special powers gi'* 3 ' 1
the Guardian of Israel.
“At present I a » °P* r of
conviction that this P .
Moses the man of God ' -
posed in that short period
/ ry ,^,l nn Pag?