top of page
< Back

The Battle for the Sabbath at Geneva

Chief Rabbi J. H. Hertz

<plain_text><page sequence="1">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 189 The Battle for the Sabbath at Geneva By the Very Rev. Dr. J. H. Hertz, Chief Rabbi. Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England. December 16, 1931. I. The title of my paper is " The Battle for the Sabbath at Geneva." I ought to add the dates, " 1924-1931," to indicate that it was not one battle, but a series of battles ; that it was, in fact, a conflict extending over seven years. The scene of conflict, or the preparation for it, shifted from Geneva to Paris, Washington, Frankfort, London; return? ing for its culminating stage to Geneva. Nearly every Jewish com? munity in the world eventually participated in what they deemed to be a Holy War, and millions watched its outcome with the gravest anxiety. But its bearings went far beyond the Jewish camp. Nothing less than the question of the spiritual and human rights of all religious minorities was at stake. Such a conflict is of more than ephemeral interest. And as a coming generation may have to meet a similar and perhaps stronger assault on the Sabbath Day, it is the plain duty of those who fought this fight to record the story, on the one hand, of the far flung activities of the powerful forces in favour of a radical alteration of the Calendar ; and, on the other hand, of the efforts made by world Jewry to ward off the threatened catastrophe to Jewish religious life. It was in 1923 that an autonomous section of the League of Nations ?the one dealing with Communications and Transit?called into existence a Special Committee of Enquiry into the Reform of the Calendar. WThy the Assembly of the League should have given its assent to such an undertaking remains a mystery even to some of the o</page><page sequence="2">190 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. statesmen who are the architects of the League, like Viscount Cecil and General Smuts. Certainly, the time could not have been more ill-chosen. The Great War had been over only four years. In some lands it was followed by massacre, famine and plague ; in others, economic founda? tions were sinking and there was real danger of social disintegration, such as had overwhelmed Russia. And on the morrow of all this woe and disillusion, and on the brink of such threatened upheaval, the League of Nations could still think it worth while to embark on a quixotic enterprise like calendar tinkering. Furthermore, the Gregorian Calendar had, in the course of the twentieth century, become universal. China had adopted it in 1912, Turkey followed in 1917, Russia in 1918, and, finally, Greece in 1923. In that very year, then, when the whole civilised world had at long last acknowledged allegiance to one calendar, the League decided to start a new era of confusion for humanity. More important still, the demand for changing the Calendar, or any demonstration of its alleged need, did not come from the Universities ?from Oxford, Jena, the Sorbonne, Padua, or Johns Hopkins. Neither did it come from great learned societies like the Royal Society in London, or the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The impetus to the whole venture was due solely to American commercial and finan? cial interests ; and, as we shall have abundant evidence, the League Calendar Committee remained under the dominance of these interests to the very end.1 As originally constituted in November, 1923, that Calendar Com? mittee consisted of six members : there was a Dutch professor, a French astronomer, and the President of the International Chamber of Commerce, an American?all advocates of Calendar Reform ; and, in addition, qua si-representatives of the Vatican, the Greek Catholic Church, and the Archbishop of Canterbury respectively.2 You will note that the Church as vitally affected as any by a change of the Calendar?the Jewish Church?was allotted no official member on the Committee. The late Lucien Wolf reminded the parent body of the Calendar Committee of Enquiry that he had received definite pledges from the League that the Jewish community would be given repre? sentation on the same level as the other great churches.3 The American, however, was adamant in his stand against admitting a Jewish repre? sentative ; and his word had soon become law to the Committee.</page><page sequence="3">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 191 The promise was never honoured during all the years that the Calendar was under consideration.4 In the meantime the Calendar Committee had begun its labours. It addressed the Governments and the principal Religious Authorities of the world and asked them, among other things, to state whether they were in favour of a " fixed " calendar?i.e., whether they agreed that the last day of the year should be trimmed off and deemed an extra day, or " blank day," in an eight-day week, so as to permit the remain? ing 364 days to be divided either into four equal quarters of 91 days, or?an even more startling proposal?into 13 equal months of 28 days. That the " blank day " or extra day of the eight-day week would alter the true days of the week was studiously glossed over; and nothing was said of the all-important circumstance that the immemorial sequence of seven-day weeks would thereby be interrupted ; that our whole system of time reckoning, with the sacred traditions and spiritual landmarks built on it, upset; and that the religious, as distinct from the secular. Sabbath would move to a different week-day each year. The League, however, assured the Governments and the Religious Authorities of its instruction to the Calendar Committee " that the changes in existing conditions involved by any reform are only justified if definitely demanded by public opinion." 5 A similar letter duly reached my office. I soon realised the disastrous results which would follow in our religious life in the wake of a movable Sabbath, and I also realised that the economic difficulties of Sabbath observance for the majority of loyal Jews would become overwhelming. In my reply I made it clear that in regard to Calendar Reform the only concern?the vital concern?to Jews and Judaism was :? (1) That in no circumstances shall the present length of the week be interfered with ; and (2) That the regular sequence of seven-day weeks shall at no time and in no way be interrupted by the introduction of a " blank day." On the publication of my reply, the Conference of American Liberal Rabbis 6 and, later, the Rabbinical Authorities of the Conservative and Orthodox groups in America requested me to add their protests to the one I had forwarded. I was thus in a position to inform the League</page><page sequence="4">192 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. that the Jews in America, Orthodox and Liberals alike, were in absolute agreement with their European brethren on this question. This information was not unnecessary. The first evidence heard by the Calendar Committee was that of Mr. M. B. Cotsworth, the determined apostle of a thirteen-month year with a closing week of eight days. His plan had won the enthusiastic support of the late Mr. Eastman, the American millionaire of Kodak fame, who supplied the very ample funds required for world-wide propaganda. Mr. Cotsworth maintained that the benefits which mankind would reap from his Calendar would be endless; and that the Christian, Moslem, Hindoo and Buddhist peoples were all pining for its early adoption. He did not for? get the Jews, and what he called " the old class, Orthodox Ecclesiastics," who opposed his scheme ; but, he said, " The Jews form less than 1 per cent, of humanity. Our sympathies are extended to those harassed Jewish Ecclesiastics who have during recent years had to minister to their scattering brethren." 7 The Committee seems to have been immensely impressed by him ; and it may even be said that he became a member of the Calendar Secretariat. One instance will show that this is no over-statement. When it became known that the League was looking for a new Calendar, no fewer than 183 schemes of Calendar Reform poured into Geneva from all over the world. These had to be evaluated, and their advantages and disadvantages appraised. Now, though Mr. Cotsworth was himself one of the competitors, and his Calendar was one of those to be appraised, he was made the adviser in such evaluation, and was unblushingly thanked by the Secretariat for his services ! 8 The hearing of the Jewish religious leaders was long in coming. It was not until January 31, 1925, that Grand Rabbin Israel Levi; Rabbi Fuerst, of the Agudas Yisroel, Vienna ; Dr. Lewenstein, of Zurich, and myself, were asked to attend the session on February 16, 1925. Thus, not much more than twelve days' notice was given us to a meeting of such great importance to our Cause. Our reception by the Committee, however, was quite cordial. We had co-ordinated our pleas, and each emphasised one special aspect of the danger to Jewry contained in the eight-day week proposal. Mr. Lucien Wolf, who had joined our delegation at Geneva, was the concluding speaker. " In view of the present chaotic conditions in Eastern Europe," he said, " no</page><page sequence="5"></page><page sequence="6">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 193 thinking man can contemplate without anxiety a measure which is calculated at once to undermine the moral anchorages of a large and stable element of the population and to aggravate the economic difficulties of those who wish to remain true to the teachings of a sound policy."9 In the course of the same year, the replies of the Governments to the questions submitted to them in 1923 were published. Great Britain, India, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Finland objected to any interference with the con? tinuity of the week; and, while they were not averse to the idea of a fixed Easter, saw otherwise no necessity for departing from the status quo. Thus, not only small religious bodies, like the Jews or Seventh-Day Adventists, objected to the eight-day week, but Governments, whose combined populations constituted from one-quarter to one-third of the human race, were distinctly averse to Calendar Reform. The whole question seemed definitely closed.</page><page sequence="7">194 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. II. American millionaires, however, never take No for an answer; and, ever since America has refused to join the League, League of Nations Committees are most respectful to Americans. In the same Eeport, in which the Calendar Committee published the opposition of Govern? ments to its main proposal, it urged all organisations in favour of Reform to undertake systematic and co-ordinated propaganda for the " education " of public opinion in that direction. It was counsel after Mr. Eastman's own heart. However, in view of the set-back which he and his friends had received at Geneva, they intended to make assurance doubly sure by starting a parallel offensive at Washington. They organised a newspaper campaign in their country, calling upon the President of the United States to take the initiative in convening a World Conference for the adoption of the thirteen-month " blank day " Calendar. A resolution to that effect, with a preamble that com? mitted the United States to such a Calendar, was actually introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Porter at the end of 1928 ; and it was referred for consideration to the Congressional Com? mittee on Foreign Affairs, of which Porter was chairman. But for the fact that Congressman Solomon Bloom, of New York, was a member of that Committee, the resolution would have slipped through unopposed. He insisted that public hearings be given to all those affected by the resolution. Dr. Moses Hyamson and other Orthodox Rabbis thus had an opportunity to stress the grave threat to religion contained in the resolution. Dr. Stephen Wise, an ultra-Liberal, authorised the state? ment, " Even if there were only 1,000 Jews left in the whole world to whom the Saturday Sabbath is sacred, I would go through fire and water to safeguard their religious liberty." The resolution came to nothing. It is due to the zeal and energy of men like Hyamson and Bloom that the United States Government at no time officially pro? nounced in favour of Calendar Reform.10 The scene of the conflict now changes, and we are back again in the Old World. Defeated in Washington, Mr. Eastman and his friends</page><page sequence="8">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 195 concentrated their efforts on Geneva. The Secretariat of the League Calendar Committee had in the meantime again circularised the Govern? ments of the world ; this time urging them to appoint National Com? mittees of Enquiry on this question, and get into touch, particularly with " the various economic and social interests which may be affected by the disadvantages of the present Calendar." 11 The Secretariat no longer made any attempt to conceal its bias in favour of the Re? formers ; it had become a partisan body, attempting to rush the repre? sentatives of the secular life in each country to commit themselves to the eight-day week Calendar before they realised the far-reaching con? sequences of their action. I stated this in so many words in the evidence I gave before the British Committee of Enquiry into the Reform of the Calendar in December, 1930.12 This evidence was republished in pamphlet form, under the title, Changing the Calendar?Consequent Dangers and Confusions, and was widely circulated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. It did something to counteract the not over? scrupulous propaganda of the professional Reformers, and for the first time brought the question to the attention of many Jews and non-Jews.13 What of Jewish preparedness for the coming conflict ? Those of us who had gone to Geneva in 1925 decided in June, 1929, to constitute ourselves into a standing vigilance committee, with Dr. Lewenstein as Secretary. We adopted his suggestion of a monster Petition to the League against the eight-day week, to be signed by every adult Jew and Jewess throughout the world. He put tremendous energy into the scheme, and achieved gratifying results in Holland and in one or two other countries. In most lands, however, the difficulties in the way of collecting a sufficient number of individual signatures proved insuperable. When, in December, 1930, we again met to review the situation, it was plain that the idea would have to be abandoned ; and that, instead, Resolutions of Protest from the com? munities would have to be arranged for. Moreover, the Grand Rabbin and I felt that, as the threatened attack on the Sabbath was a matter of deepest concern to the whole of Jewry, our Committee must be enlarged so as to include the World Organisation in Defence of the Sabbath, Berlin ; the Rabbinical Authorities of Central and Eastern Europe ; as well as the great Communal Organisations of Jewry. Owing to various unforeseen delays, it was not till May 14, 1931,</page><page sequence="9">196 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. that the enlarged Jewish Committee met at Frankfort-on-the-Main.14 At this meeting the Grand Eabbin explained that, on account of advancing years, he could consent to remain President only if I were willing to become the Chairman of the Executive and undertake to arrange and collect the Resolutions of Protest from Jewish communities of the world. I was forced to yield. To my great good fortune, I succeeded in enlisting the help as Secretary of Dr. Cecil Roth, who brought both enthusiasm and his wide knowledge of Jewry to the task, as well as optimism that, in the very few months available to us, he would get the communities of World Jewry to send in their Resolutions in time for the Conference in October.15 Three weeks later several members of our Executive appeared at Geneva. The Calendar Committee was meeting in extra session to appraise the replies of the various National Committees, tabulate the results, and draft final recommendations for the guidance of the Inter? national Conference that would decide upon the whole question in October. The membership of the Committee had been more than doubled since 1925 ; and, although place was found on it for the Vice President of Mr. Eastman's Society for the Simplification of the Calendar, it contained no Jewish representative. Our reception, on June 9, was distinctly not as cordial as in 1925. After the Grand Rabbin had briefly restated the Jewish position, I reminded the Com? mittee of the fact that when it was originally called into existence it was instructed not to consider any change in existing conditions unless such change was definitely demanded by public opinion. Where, I asked, was the world-wide demand for an eight-day week Calendar ? Dr. Hyamson had also come to Geneva, in the name of the Jews of America. He showed convincingly that it could not truthfully be said that in his country there was a general public demand for any Calendar Reform.16 Our arguments were re-echoed in new accents by Pastor Maxwell, the eloquent representative of the Seventh-Day Adventists. In the course of that session it became known that of the 60 nations requested by the League to form Committees of Enquiry, only 28 had done so. Of these, only 14 had taken the trouble to send in a reply ; six?among them Great Britain, Italy, and the Netherlands?rejected the " blank day " principle or saw no necessity for any reform ; two ?France and Sweden?were indeterminate ; and six favoured radical</page><page sequence="10">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 197 calendar change. And yet, on the strength of these replies, the Com? mittee issued a Report which could only be construed as advising the October meeting to proceed with the reform of the Calendar. The Report was silent on the disadvantages of radical change; it minimised the objections of Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists as " exaggerated," and tacitly endorsed the strange doctrine that the discomforts of a religious minority should not stand in the way of the economic advantages of a majority.17</page><page sequence="11">198 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. III. The outlook could not have been more disquieting. I despaired when I thought of what would happen at the October meeting, with its programme and terms of reference thus practically prescribed for it. And after October, a struggle of years opened before my eyes. This doc? trinaire proposal of a " fixed " Calendar would be sure to make a strong appeal to Germany and the Latin countries. Promises to support the Jewish case had been held out to the Agudas Yisroel by two Continental States with large Jewish populations, but these promises would, I feared, prove broken reeds ; seeing that the National Committees of these States were in favour of the new Calendar, one of them declaring that its excellence justifies both its immediate adoption " et le sacrifice des larges masses de population contraires ? la reforme." (I give these shameless words exactly as they appear in the original.) Our only hope, as far as I could see, lay in the holding up of the scheme by Italy and the Netherlands, and, most important of all, by the British Parliament. But even in the British Parliament the result was not beyond doubt; unless the more important Christian bodies joined the protest made by Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists, and unless the eyes of the leaders of British national life in and out of Parliament were opened to the meaning and menace of an eight-day week Calendar. In regard to the October meeting, there were still two things that had to be done. First, j ust because the maj ority against us might be so over? whelming, it was essential that at least the representative of Great Britain should make a decided stand for sanity, tolerance and religious liberty. Secondly, I felt that at Geneva our protests would be discounted on the alleged ground that they were those of ecclesiastics, and, therefore, out of place at a Conference dealing merely with the social and economic aspects of the problem. Some distinct intervention on the part of the lay leaders of Jewry must, therefore, be arranged. As the Grand Rabbin and Mr. d'Avigdor-Goldsmid agreed with me in this matter, I went to Basle and, in informal consultation with some of those attend? ing the Jewish Agency meeting, arranged that a petition to the League</page><page sequence="12">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 199 be prepared to be signed by leading lay personalities in contemporary Jewish life. Nothing could be done during August, and the end of that month found this country in the throes of an unparalleled political and economic convulsion. Thus, only the few free days in September, in the intervals between the Festivals, remained in which to prepare for the fateful meeting in the middle of October. On September 15 I wrote a letter to The Times calling attention to what the Calendar Secretariat would attempt to force through at the forthcoming Con? ference.18 I then saw my own Member of Parliament, Sir Rennell Rodd, man of letters, statesman, former ambassador. The whole matter was news to him, and he was intensely interested. The same day he gave notice of the following question in Parliament: " To ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether, in the absence of any generally expressed desire in this country for a change in the Calendar, which would introduce an eight-day week at the end of December with one blank day, making the appointed day of rest in certain religious communities nomadic instead of attached to a definite weekday, the Secretary of State will take precautions that this country should not be com? mitted to a prejudicial decision by the appointment to the con? ference for the reform of the calendar, which will meet at Geneva on the 12th October, of a representative who has already definitely pronounced himself as in favour of an eight-day week." The answer was " in the affirmative " ; and no doubt Sir RennelPs intervention secured the selection, as Britain's representative, of a man like Sir John Baldwin, of the Foreign Office, who was to exercise such a decisive influence at the Conference. I also consulted General Smuts and Professor Gilbert Murray in regard to the constitutional position, in case the International Con? ference passed the new Calendar. Was an appeal to the Council of the League, or its Assembly, possible ? They were most sympathetic and, in fact, did not seem quite happy that such a venture was ever set on foot under the aegis of the League. As to the Churches, some of the bishops had long held that " to interfere with the sequence of Sundays which has been continued</page><page sequence="13">200 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. uninterruptedly from about 4000 b.c., would be a disaster." 19 One leading ecclesiastic, in acknowledging my pamphlet, Changing the Calen? dar, expressed his detestation of the " pagan, revolutionary and absurd proposal." No large body of opinion, however, had expressed itself in our favour ; and for a long time all my efforts in that direction were in vain. It was only towards the end of September that, on the motion of the Vice-Chancellor of London University, Dr. J. Scott Lidgett, the Federal Council of the Evangelical Free Churches of England passed a unanimous resolution urging H.M.'s Government " that no alteration should be made in the Calendar without the consent of all the religious communities that would be affected by the change." Within a few days thereafter, the Lord's Day Observance Society, with a membership of hundreds of thousands in the Church of England, proclaimed its firm opposition to any interference with the week. All this was indeed heartening. Not only the Nonconformist conscience was now definitely enlisted on our side, but a considerable volume of Anglican opinion as well. So ominous was this change in the attitude of the religious bodies, that the Reformers were fairly stunned. An anti-Jewish note was henceforth struck in nearly every one of their hectic communications to the Press. The Gregorian Calendar was denominated by them the " Jewish " Calendar. The real Jewish Calendar had long been stigma? tised by them, in connection with the advocated stabilisation of Easter, as the cause of the animosities of sects ; it was now declared to be partly responsible for the financial crisis ! It was clear that the awakening of public men and public bodies was depriving these Reformers of all sense of proportion and responsibility. I began to feel more hopeful. As each of the Churches was entitled to send Observers to the Con? ference, Dr. Roth and I went to Geneva immediately after the Festivals on behalf of the Jewish communities of the countries affiliated with the League of Nations. Jewry in Soviet Russia unhappily remained inarticulate, as in the circumstances was inevitable ; and American Jewry was represented by Messrs. Elkan Adler, Philip Henry and A. LeVine. Dutch Jewry sent independent Observers, one for their Ashkenazim and another for their Sephardim?an unnecessary dis? tinction, bewildering to non-Jews, in a matter equally affecting all congregations alike. On the opening day of the Conference we learned with amazement</page><page sequence="14">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 201 that whereas Observers might, as a matter of courtesy, be given a chance of briefly addressing the Conference once, the spokesmen of the propagandist bodies for the new Calendar were placed on a par with members of a Government delegation, and would therefore have unhmited freedom of speech and debate. No matter how plausibly the Secretariat may explain this procedure, it is difficult to excuse such discrimination against those fighting for their religious rights.</page><page sequence="15">202 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. IV. One hundred and eleven delegates, representing forty-two nations, assembled in the League of Nations' Hall on Monday morning, Octo? ber 12, under the presidency of M. Vasconcellos, the head of the Portu? guese delegation. He proved to be a courteous, firm and impartial chairman. He decided that the Observers of the Churches be accorded the right to speak in the afternoon of that day, and I was among the first to be called upon. The Observers were allowed fifteen minutes each ; and this is all I had in which to make my own appeal to the Conference, acquaint the members with the Resolutions of the Communities as well as the Laymen's Petition, and formally present these documents on behalf of World Jewry. The tremendous importance of the impending decision to millions of Jews throughout the world, and the vast respon? sibility that was mine at that hour, are sufficient justification for giving you my address on that historic occasion in full. I said :? " The members of this Conference may be puzzled by the strenuous and unalterable opposition of Jewish and other religious bodies to the schemes of Calendar change now under consideration. But you will no longer be puzzled, if you learn the implications for the religious life of the crucial feature of these schemes? namely, the proposal to make the last week of each December an eight-day week. As the year consists of 52 weeks and one day over, it is proposed to trim the year of its odd 365th day by deeming it a blank day, or a supplementary day to the last week of the year. But, obviously, such an eight-day week would alter the true days of the week throughout the following year?Sunday, would really be Monday, Monday Tuesday, and so on. And then, with the end of each year, as you had another eight-day week, the true days would be further altered, and the religious, as distinct from the secular, Sabbath would move to a different week-day each year. It is needless to say what endless hardship this would bring to the conforming Jew and, I venture to state,</page><page sequence="16">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 203 to the millions in the other denominations who would remain loyal to their sacred and historic Day of Rest. " Twice before, Jewish religious leaders came to Geneva to voice the legitimate apprehensions of the Jewish people on this question. And to-day again, Jewish religious leaders of every shade of thought and of every land inhabited by Jews, implore you not to destroy the immemorial institution of the seven-day week. As no human authority can change the incidence of the Jewish Sabbath, Jews could concur in a Calendar with the eight-day week feature only at the expense of their conscience. A wandering Sabbath would undermine their religious life. " This attitude of the spiritual leaders of Jewry is paralleled by the action carried out by Jewish men and women of the com? munities throughout the world. Everywhere organised expression has been given to their indignation: and I have been de? puted to transmit World Jewry's Resolutions of Protest to this Conference. These Resolutions have been passed by unanimous votes of Jewish communities in nearly every country affiliated to the League of Nations wherein Jews are settled. Thousands upon thousands of congregations, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, have declared :? " ' This Congregation desires to record an emphatic pro? test against any Reform of the Calendar by the introduction of a blank day or days, thereby making the Sabbath a movable day, involving confusion for Jewish religious life, and entailing grave social and economic disabilities for the overwhelming majority of Jews throughout the world.' 20 " The millions of Jews in the United States of America have expressed their opposition through another channel; while those of Soviet Russia are unhappily, for the moment, inarticulate. Furthermore, Petitions against the proposed change have been signed by hundreds of thousands of individual Jews in twenty eight countries of Europe, Asia and Africa.21 It is profoundly moving to see these documents, with the signatures in many cases of the whole adult population of secluded townships in Poland and Algeria, voicing eloquently the agonised apprehension</page><page sequence="17">204 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. that has spread even to those remote parts. Nearer home, in a country like Holland, with a total Jewish population of 110,000, no fewer than 57,161 signed those Petitions. Let me now read to you the concluding sentence of the covering letter accompanying these Resolutions and addressed by Grand Rabbin Israel Levi and myself to this Conference :? " * We venture to hope that such considered expression of opinion of the whole House of Israel, as to the untold hardships and spiritual loss which must result from the introduction of a " blank day " Calendar, will duly weigh with you in your delibera? tions ; and that, by abandoning these proposals, you will earn the lasting gratitude of all friends of Religious Liberty.' " This opposition on the part of the Rabbis and on the part of the Jewish Communities is supplemented by a Protest of representative Jewish Laymen?bankers, financiers, industrialists, politicians, jurists, educationalists, scholars, and men of letters?whose opinion cannot be dismissed as that of ' reactionary Orthodox Rabbis.' Baron Edmond de Rothschild, of Paris, and Senator Van den Bergh, of the Hague ; Herbert Lehman, Lieut.-Governor of New York State, and Signor Felice Ravenna, of Rome ; Dr. Magnes, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Prof. Sylvain Levi of the Sorbonne ; Mr. Lionel de Rothschild, London, and Dr. Cyrus Adler, Philadelphia ; Mr. d'Avigdor Goldsmid, London; Felix Warburg, New York, and Oscar Wassermann, Berlin; together with Nahum Sokolow, President of the Zionist Organisa? tion, the famous poet Bialik, N. Sondheimer of Frankfort-on-the-Main, and H. Farbstein of Warsaw?all share the feelings of their brethren on this question, and petition this Conference to avert what threatens to be both a spiritual and economic calamity to Judaism and Jewry. They write :? " i Jewish public opinion has expressed itself in this matter with a unanimity rarely attained. Jewish opposition to the " blank day " innovation is by no means based merely on ecclesias? tical grounds, nor is it inspired solely by Rabbinical opinion. We must unequivocally repel the allegation made by some advocates of the " blank day," that the Jewish attitude is due to the intran sigeant stand taken by some reactionary Orthodox Rabbis. The</page><page sequence="18">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 205 Opposition is shared by the whole body of Jewry. The Sabbath is in every sense of the term a fundamental institution in Jewish life. Its regular incidence, at the close of the working week, has an immeasurable spiritual and symbolic influence. With a " float? ing " Sabbath, which in every year must change its position in the civil week, this would disappear. Even those persons who, by stress of circumstances, are not able to continue to observe the Sabbath in the traditional fashion would feel acutely the oblitera? tion of what has been for countless generations the salient factor in their religious background. " 1 But this religious question is at the same time a sociological one. The " blank day " scheme, if adopted, would inevitably spell material ruin to millions of conscientious Jews throughout the world. If this scheme is carried into execution, a majority of the Jewish race will be given the alternative of abandoning their ideals on the one hand, or material ruin on the other. This is indis? tinguishable from persecution in the worst medieval sense. It is to the League of Nations in its capacity as a bulwark against persecu? tion, as protector of the religious rights of minorities, and as guaran? tor of the Treaties in which those rights are safeguarded, that the Jewish People looks for protection from this crushing disaster. In their name, we humbly supplicate the abandonment or modifica? tion of the scheme at present under consideration.' " The reply which the advocates of the new Calendar have at hand to any plea, like the one just read, that the rights of religious minorities are inviolable, throws light on the mentality of the promoters of the eight-day week Calendar. I find their reply in a document just issued by the so-called National Committee on Calendar Simplification for the United States, and a copy has no doubt been circulated to every member of this Conference. It reads as follows : ' If any hardship is to accrue to a minority from the new Calendar, it would be self-imposed, because of continued refusal to conform to the determination of the majority. The disability resides in the religious convictions of the minority in question, and is entirely of its own making.' 22 " I assure you, this is no polemic caricature on my part, nor is it a controversial fiction I am indulging in, but the verba ijpsissima of the p</page><page sequence="19">206 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. apostles of the new Calendar. It is the argument used by all tyrants in the past to justify their bloodiest religious persecutions. This grim doctrine that the sufferings of the victims of bigotry are not due to the ferocity of the persecutor, but to the convictions of the persecuted con? flicting with the laws of the persecutor, sounds most strange when coming from the lips of countrymen of Roger Williams 23 and Woodrow Wilson?both of them revered names in Geneva. Abraham Lincoln, the greatest and wisest of Americans, has once for all disposed of this argument which confronted him also in his fight against slavery. He said : ' It is as if a highwayman pointed a loaded pistol at my head, with the words : " Stand and deliver, or I shoot, and then, you will be the murderer." ' " In conclusion : If there were a world-wide demand for radical Calendar revision, and there is not; if such radical revision would bring with it all the benefits in accountancy and book-keeping that its advocates claim for it, and this is strenuously denied by competent authorities whose disinterestedness cannot be questioned; it would still be the duty of this Conference to ask itself whether those alleged advantages were worth the cost?the destruction of religious and cultural values?which the adoption of that Calendar would entail, and whether mankind was not wider than the book-keeper and accountant and his Big Business Employer. " I leave the answer to this question to you, members of this Conference. I confidently trust that, by your decision, you will definitely end this unfortunate agitation, and ring down the curtain upon the miserable comedy of the eight-day week Calendar movement."</page><page sequence="20">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 207 V. Nothing seemed less likely than that the Conference would ring down the curtain. The President had in his Opening Address adopted the programme laid down by the Calendar Committee at the June meeting, and his words were a fair reflection of the atmosphere of the Conference. After me, Mr. Elkan Adler, in a genial address, asked the Conference to postpone the changing of the Calendar to the Greek Kalends ; and Mr. A. LeVine spoke against the scheme as a Jewish business man. Then followed the Adventist Observers, who pas? sionately pleaded for Religious Liberty and non-interference with the Seventh-Day Sabbath. But the feeling of the Conference remained unchanged. It was soon evident that few of the delegates knew much of the question. Mass suggestion seemed to be at work, and most of the speakers merely repeated the phrases and arguments gleaned from the propaganda literature on the subject.24 The propagandist Re? formers?there were five of them, including the delegate for the United States?took up half the time of the Conference, and read statements of maddening length and monotony. In their main contention?the need for Calendar Reform?they were supported, among others, by the delegates of Argentine, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Yugoslavia and, the most violent of all, the delegate of Switzerland. The first voice in opposition was that of the representative of Colombia, South America (Dr. A. J. Restrepo). He maintained that the addresses of the Observers on the opening day had proved how strong religious convictions were still in the world. He quoted Chateaubriand?that during the French Revolution, when a ten-day week was introduced, even the cattle stopped to rest at the end of every six days as of old. " Any change in the present Calendar would be dangerous," was his concluding warning. The Netherlands representatives, likewise, gave an early indication and reasoned exposition of their rejection of the new Calendar. It was not only the Jews of the Netherlands, they said, but the vast Moslem population of the Dutch Indies, and various Protestant sects as well, whose opposition to the eight-day week proposal was unyielding.</page><page sequence="21">208 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. The outstanding personality among the Opposition?indeed of the whole Conference?was Sir John Baldwin, the representative of both Great Britain and India. He protested ab initio against the very phrase "Calendar Reform." It begged the question. Reform implied an improvement, and he could not agree that any change in the Calendar would improve it. It was true our present Calendar contained irregu? larities, but so did human nature. The changes advocated were because of alleged benefits to business and statistics.25 " His Majesty's Govern? ment had an entirely open mind on the question ; and when the time came it would carefully weigh the claims, on the one hand, of statistics and, on the other hand, of religious scruples." Sir John was correctly interpreting British opinion. That very day, October 13, The Times had an editorial, " Reform of the Calendar," in which it wrote :? " The Chief Rabbi has made it clear in these columns that any scheme for a supplementary day in the year will be unacceptable to conforming Jews. Their religious scruples on a matter so fundamental to them deserve respect, and there will be a large number of Christians sharing those scruples. The question really resolves itself into balancing of simplified book-keeping against religious scruples and liking for variety, and in such a balancing human interests are bound to weigh the more heavily. In the circumstances, most people will probably prefer to keep the present Calendar lest a worse befall." In general the delegates, though they were quick to give expression to their resentment when one of the independent Jewish Observers, with extraordinary lack of discretion, impugned their justice and good faith, were not unfriendly towards those who opposed Calendar Reform. Thus the Czecho-Slovak delegate had remarked that the Jews of his country did not share the general Jewish opposition to the proposed new Calendar, and had registered no protest against it. At these words all eyes turned towards me, as strong doubt had been cast on the bona fide nature of my claims in regard to the pan-Jewish scope of the com? munal protests. I remained silent, for the time being. An ordinary denial, I felt, no matter how emphatic, would carry no weight, either with him or the Conference. Besides, I thought it would be best if</page><page sequence="22">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 209 the confutation came out of his own mouth. At noon, I placed in his hands 126 official Resolutions from the Jewish communities in Slovakia. He himself thereupon publicly corrected his statement at the afternoon session. This one incident fully justified all the exertions in connection with the Communal Resolutions. Again, on Wednesday afternoon, after some severe criticism had been levelled against the Sabbatarian attitude, one of the Seventh-Day Adventists, a French physician of Swiss birth, was permitted to address the Conference in reply. He disposed of various facetious and fallacious arguments that had been adduced in favour of the eight-day week.26 Then he told how in his youth his mother had been continually fined by the Swiss authorities for her refusal to send him to school on Saturdays ; and how he had to leave his native land in search of religious liberty. He begged the Conference to remember that there was such a thing as conscience ; and that the molestation of conscience was incompatible with the ideals of the League of Nations. All the speeches by Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists hitherto had been in English, and reached the many delegates from the Latin countries only in translation. This masterly French address went straight to their hearts. The next day, Thursday, the French delegate, M. Andre Bertaut, who before had favoured Reform, arose and said : " I am neither a Rabbi nor a Seventh-Day Adventist; but we must consider moral, as well as economic, forces. Let us leave academic discussion, and let every speaker henceforth clearly indicate whether he is giving his own private view or that of his Government." The German delegate seconded the suggestion. From that moment the danger of the majority of the Conference recording their own conviction that Calendar Reform was desirable disappeared ; and the whole eight-day week bubble burst. One after the other the delegations had to admit that their Governments had not expressed any desire for change. A Baltic delegate (M. August Schmidt, of Esthonia) pleaded that they should not give the enemies of the League any further occasion for unholy mirth. The League had numberless unratified conventions in its archives. Why add to the number ? Finally, Sir John Baldwin, sup? ported by the Italian delegate, gave the coup de grace to the scheme. They moved that action by the League should be suspended until a greater measure of agreement had been reached not only on Calendar</page><page sequence="23">210 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. Reform, but on the method of applying it. The last phrase is an ironic reference to an amusing feature of the Conference?the constant bickering between the Reformers themselves, between those who advocated a year of thirteen months and those who stood for the retention of the twelve-month year. The Conference, having now sat four days, gladly adopted Sir John's motion, and adjourned till Monday, when the Report to the Governments would be decided upon. When the Conference reassembled on the Monday for its final session, the artificial nature of the whole agitation became ludicrously patent. On an important point involving the whole raison d'etre of the Conference, more than half the delegates present abstained from voting ! No one cared. And yet towards the very end, when the Swiss delegate (M. Emile Marchand) had forced a vote by roll-call, on his proposal that the scruples of any minority in regard to the Calendar should not prevail against the opinion of the majority ; and, further, that the Conference should embody in its Report that the religious objections to the eight-day week Calendar on the part of Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists were " greatly exaggerated," he was over? whelmingly defeated, and only three delegates out of that assembly of forty-two nations supported his contention. Here was a real, live principle, and the delegates did care; and, incidentally, in rejecting the Swiss proposal, they in effect censured the Calendar Secretariat which had endorsed that infamous doctrine of the rightlessness of religious minorities. And thus, after a discussion lasting five hours, the Con? ference was almost unanimous in its decision to inform Governments that: " The present is not a favourable time, taking into account the state of opinion, for proceeding with a modification of the Gregorian Calendar. The introduction of supplementary days bearing no week-day name roused the opposition of various religious communities and certain social organisations, whose representatives were heard by the Conference. Some delegations expressed the same view. The Conference did not think fit to express an opinion on the principle of calendar reform. The League Committee on Communications and Transit will continue its task, which has always consisted, not in any particular propaganda, but in the impartial enlightenment of public opinion." 27</page><page sequence="24">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 211 Despite the whitewash of the last sentence, the League Calendar Committee and the League itself do not issue creditably from the whole agitation. That agitation has shown how easily the League can be entangled in partisan, faddist propaganda ; and it also shows that a considerable portion of its Secretariat has forgotten that the League's most sacred charge is the protection of minorities. The agitators themselves have suffered a shattering, let us hope, an annihilating, defeat. It is doubtful whether in the lifetime of any of them the ques? tion will ever be raised again. Three months before, nothing seemed more certain than that the Conference would pass an eight-day week Calendar ; and now the House of Israel had been vouchsafed a great victory in a fight for liberty second in importance to no other in many a century. The stars in their courses fought for us, even as they did in the days when Deborah sang her Song of Victory unto the Lord. In humble gratitude to Providence, we recall its culminating words :? " So let all thine enemies perish, 0 Lord : But let them that love Him be as the sun when he goeth forth in might." The sacred chronicler who embodies this magnificent Ode of Triumph in the narrative of the Book of Judges, concludes with the comment, " And the land had rest forty years." So may it be also in our own days ! 28</page><page sequence="25">212 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. NOTES 1 The Calendar Committee claimed for itself, on the one hand, that it was the fulfilment of the demand made by various International Congresses between 1900 and 1921 ; and, on the other, that its work was based on a scheme prepared by the International Astronomical Union at its 1922 meeting in Rome. There is very little foundation for the former claim, and even less for the latter. This is evident from the following communication of Pro? fessor Eotheringham, of the University Observatory, Oxford, to The Times of November 15,1926:? 1' Readers of the report of the Committee on the League of Nations on the Reform of the Calendar will note that that Committee was in? structed by the League to take ' as a starting-point the scheme prepared by the International Astronomical Union at the meeting in Rome in May 1922.' The different Governments, religious authorities, and inter? national associations received circulars informing them of proposals purporting to have been prepared or recommended by the International Astronomical Union, and it is clear from their replies that they widely believed that the proposals in question had the authority of that Union behind them. " The facts, as may be learned from the Transactions of the Inter? national Astronomical Union, are that a Committee on the Reform of the Calendar was appointed by the constitutive assembly of that Union, which met at Brussels in 1919. This Committee presented to the Inter? national Astronomical Union at Rome in 1922 a report which contained a statement of the problems, but made no recommendation. The Union resolved not to continue the Committee. Three members of the Com? mittee, however, continued to sit after the close of the Rome Congress, when their powers had expired, and arrived ' by a majority of the members present ' at a series of conclusions. Their proceedings were published by way of courtesy in the Transactions of the Union, with a prefatory note stating that their conclusions had not been approved by the Union, and that Sir Frank Dyson, who had attended the first meeting of the Union's Committee, had expressed his disapproval of them. " I hope this letter will make it clear that the proposed reforms derive no authority from the International Astronomical Union, but merely represent the private opinions of the two eminent French astro? nomers, MM. Bigourdan and Deslandres, who voted for them."</page><page sequence="26">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 213 Less misleading is the statement that the Calendar Committee took as a starting-point for its work the recommendations made by the International Chamber of Commerce at its Congress in London in June 1921. At that Congress, it seems, the American members of its Executive rushed through a series of resolutions on this subject. That these resolutions were but formal and, therefore, of no significance, is seen from the fact that when eventually, in 1930 and 1931, the Chambers of Commerce of Great Britain were asked to give serious consideration to the concrete proposals of Calendar Beform, only 13 out of 104 British Chambers of Commerce took the trouble to reply to the questionnaire sent them ! 2 Jonkheer W. J. M. van Eysinga, Professor at the University of Leyden, Chairman ; M. C. Bigourdan, former Chairman of the International Astrono? mical Union's Committee on the Calendar; Mr. Willis H. Booth, President of the International Chamber of Commerce (these three members were selected by the League Committee on Communications and Transit); the Rev. Father Gianfranceschi, President of the Academy dei nuovi Lincei, for the Vatican ; Professor D. Eginitis, Director of the Observatory of Athens, for the (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ; the Rev. T. E. R. Phillips, Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society of London, for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Secretaries : M. Robert Haas and M. Romein ; and, later, Miss E. Key-Rasmussen. That the representatives of the Roman, Greek and Anglican Churches were only nominal, is seen from their distinct declarations, as reported in the Minutes of the First Session of the Committee of Enquiry into the Reform of the Calendar, May 19,1924. " The Rev. Father Gianfranceschi said he wished to make it clear that he did not in any way represent the Holy See. At their first meeting he had pointed out that he was attending the Committee of Enquiry in a private capacity. Since then the position had changed, for the Holy See had referred the question of the reform of the Calendar to the next (Ecumenical Council and was no longer investigating the matter directly. " Professor Eginitis similarly stated that he did not represent the CEcumenical Patriarchate. The position of the latter body was similar to that of the Holy See, since the Patriarch, as head of the Orthodox Church, could take no final decision on the question. His duty on the Committee of Enquiry was accordingly to act in an advisory capacity and to serve as a link between the Committee and the Orthodox authorities. " The Rev. T. E. R. Phillips also stated that the position of the English Church was similar to that of the two Churches already mentioned</page><page sequence="27">214 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. and that His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury had entrusted the in? vestigation of the reform to a Committee consisting of bishops and various members of the clergy. " The Chairman said that he strongly hoped the three last speakers would continue to give their valuable assistance to the work undertaken by the League of Nations. The Committee of Enquiry fully grasped the position of these members as Intermediaries and assured them that in no case would the Committee interpret their private views as binding the authorities which they represented." 3 From letters of Mr. Lucien Wolf to me :? June 15, 1924 :? " I suppose you know that I have already a promise from the League that a Jewish representative will be admitted to the Committee on the same consultative footing as the representatives of the Pope, the Greek Patriarch, and the Archbishop of Canterbury." September 23, 1924 :? " The Joint Foreign Committee has received definite pledges on this point from the Secretary-General of the League of Nations." February 19,1925 :? " Before leaving Geneva I called on M. Haas and also M. Romein, the Secretary of the Calendar Reform Commission. I gathered the impression that our case is proceeding very satisfactorily. M. Romein told me that our Delegation made a very favourable impression on the Commission, and in the informal consultations which took place after our departure it was provisionally admitted that the Commission could not take any action which would run counter to strongly held religious convictions. I raised the question once more of our representa? tion on the Commission itself. M. Romein said that the great difficulty was that so many Protestant Churches were also asking to be represented on the ground that they did not recognise the authority of the Anglican Church. I admitted the difficulty but I denied the parallel, inasmuch as might be seen from our delegation, all sections of the Jewish Church were united on the Calendar question. It was possible that the question no longer had any practical importance, but it had great importance as a question of principle and right. We Jews objected to be treated as a second-class Church; and, moreover, we have Sir Eric Drummond's pledge which, if broken on the present occasion, may be broken on all future occasions. M. Romein promised me that what I had said should be communicated to the Commission."</page><page sequence="28">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 215 4 See Minutes of Second Session (February 16, 1925) of the Special Committee of Enquiry into the Reform of the Calendar (C. 235, M. 88, 1925, viii.), p. 7. 5 Report on the Reform of the Calendar (League of Nations Publications, A. 33, 1926, viii.), pp. 7 and 82. 6 Washington, D.C., September 6, 1924:? " My dear Dr. Hertz,?Because of the official attitude of detach? ment of our country, an American is greatly embarrassed in discussing questions that are part of the material and procedure of the League of Nations. However, the Central Conference of American Rabbis is seriously concerned with the proposed Reform of the Calendar and desires to join its protest with such as are made by Jewish organisations which have legitimate contacts with the League of Nations. " Your letter addressed to the Secretary-General of the Advisory Committee on Reform of the Calendar of the League of Nations embodies the heart of the objections which our Conference has raised. In view of the non-membership of the United States, will you be gracious enough to add our protest as Jews in America to the ones which you have already forwarded, and select such method of presentation of our statement as you deem best under the circumstances ? " Sincerely yours, " Abram Simon, " President, Central Conference American Rabbis." 7 Minutes of First Session, May 19, 1924, p. 9. 8 Mr. Eastman mentions this fact with pride in his Report of the National Committee on Calendar Simplification for the United States to the U.S. Secretary of State, p. 46. 9 The pleas are given in full in the League Report on the Calendar (A. 33, 1926, viii.), pp. 95-99. They were also reprinted in the Circular Letter which Dr. Lewenstein sent to the Jewish Communities, in English, French, German or Hebrew. 10 Congressman Bloom gave a devastating survey of Calendar Reform in his speech in the House of Representatives, Washington, on June 11, 1929. It was subsequently republished in pamphlet form from the Congressional Record, Seventy-first Congress, First Session. Dr. Moses Hyamson is the</page><page sequence="29">216 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. author of the Memorandum to the League of Nations, submitted by the American League for Safeguarding the Fixity of the Sabbath, of which he is President. 11 The League of Nations and the Reform of the Calendar, Information Section, Secretariat of the League of Nations, 1928, p. 17. The impartiality of this document can be gauged by the fact that Mr. Eastman's organisation, " The International Fixed Calendar League," used it as propaganda for its purposes. 12 The Secretariat advised against the appointment of representatives of the Religious Life on these National Committees, and endeavoured to pre? vent these representatives from even being given a hearing. Thus, when the British Committee of Enquiry, under the Chairmanship of Lord Burnham, had invited me to give them the Jewish view on Calendar Reform, pressure was exercised from Geneva that the invitation be cancelled. The Report of the Proceedings of the meeting on December 10, 1930, page 5, distinctly states that M. Robert Haas had written to the Committee objecting to the hearing of the Jewish representative. But evidently the British Committee was not afraid of the truth. Emboldened by the open co-operation of the Calendar Secretariat, the professional Reformers vigorously continued their work of discrediting Jewish opposition to the new Calendar. Some time before, they had issued Moses, the Greatest of Calendar Reformers, by Dr. C. F. Marvin, of the U.S. Weather Bureau, and M. B. Cotsworth. It maintains that the eight-day week Calendar is Biblical?a fact that has remained unknown to the Jewish people for the last 3,400 years, but which the authors claim to have re-discovered in a mythical " double Sabbath," alleged to be prescribed in the Pentateuch. Evidence of a " double Sabbath " is seen in the fact that Jews observed two days of Pentecost! (p. 15). These sages are not even aware of the fact that Passover, New Year and Tabernacles have likewise " second days." This idea of a " double " Sabbath was also raised on the opening day of the Conference, October 12, 1931, by Mr. Stebbing, the Chairman of one of the two English Parliamentary Committees for Calendar Reform. I curtly replied to it in a written statement to the Conference ; see Records and Texts relating to the Fourth General Conference on Communications and Tran? sit, vol. i., Calendar Reform, p. 13. Cotsworth was immensely pleased with his and Marvin's production, and, on its appearance in 1928, he even approached Mr. Lucien Wolf with the suggestion that the Joint Foreign Committee of the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association translate it into Hebrew and circulate it to the Jewries of the world. He also sent me 100 copies for distribution among</page><page sequence="30">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 217 my clergy and leaders of Jewish opinion. He was later to launch a virulent tirade against me for refusing to act as his postman. Dr. Hyamson published a valuable reply to Marvin and Cotsworth's pamphlet; see Appendix B, p. 59. A far more questionable form of discrediting the Jewish case by the Reformers is disclosed in the following letter which I had occasion to address to Lord Burnham :? " When I had the honour of giving my evidence before your Com? mittee of Enquiry on December 10th last, you showed me a letter signed, ' L. Prins, Secretary of the International Fixed Calendar League,' which stated that at the Jewish International Congress for Safeguarding the Sabbath in Berlin at the end of August last, one of the advocates of Sabbath-safeguarding declared : " ' If Calendar Reform is indeed to benefit the whole of mankind and bring improvement in the international economic conditions, then we Jews will have to accept it.' " I was not in a position to state on December 10th whether that allegation was actually made or not, and had to content myself with the remark that, if it was made, the opinion of one individual in the course of discussion at a Congress in no way binds that Congress. " I have now had occasion to communicate direct with the Head Bureau of the World Sabbath Observance League at Berlin as to the truth or otherwise of the allegation contained in the letter from the International Fixed Calendar League. The President of the Congress, Dr. Samuel Gr?nberg, writes : ' The sentence you quote in your letter has never been uttered.' " I shall be grateful if you will bring this to the notice of the Committee of Enquiry." 13 See Appendix A, p. 51. It was widely republished in the Jewish Press ; translated into Hebrew (m^H ppTl) by Dr. B. Lewin, Jerusalem ; and called forth a violent reply by M. B. Cotsworth, entitled Opposition of the Rabbis to Changing the Calendar, Reply by the International " Fixed Calendar " League (Moses B. Cotsworth, Director) to the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire (Dr. J. H. Hertz). This characteristic production of Mr. Cotsworth purports to be a reply to my presentation of the Jewish case ; but in reality is an unbridled attack on me and the Faith I represent, such as one is not accustomed to see in English. A few of its milder sentences w?l suffice to indicate its nature. He writes :? " The crude opposition of the Rabbis is unhappily bringing world-wide</page><page sequence="31">218 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. Religion into contempt, when dignity and serenity would have upheld real. worship." " The extreme views of Chief Rabbi Hertz are not unanimously shared by his coreligionists as he with Orthodox Rabbis try to make the public believe.'1 44 We submit, for public consideration, the fact that, in seeking by sectarian prejudice to frustrate this world-wide movement for a 4 Fixed Calendar,' the Orthodox Rabbis demand the same special economic privileges for their members, that they have been trying to establish under the present calendar, namely that the more than 99 per cent, of humanity, who are not Jews, should adjust the world's Calendar, economic life and weekly arrangements to enable J ews to rest on their peculiar Sabbath, without economic penalty?by withholding from 99 per cent, of humanity, the important benefits of Calendar Reform." 44 The Chief Rabbi knows that the Calendar's defects were proved by the League of Nations' Committee, half of whom represented the highest authorities of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Religions. Because that Committee of Enquiry later unanimously reported that those defects were 4 a cause of confusion and uncertainty,' the Chief Rabbi does not seem respectful to those highest authorities of Christian Religions (whose members number about 40 times the total number of Jews) by describing the simple remedies they indicated, as if they would bring the4 Consequent Dangers and Confusions ' printed as the sub-title of his pamphlet. That seems the less excusable, because those highest religious authorities know by sad experience throughout their religious history, that the Jewish Calendar is the worst cause of world-wide calendar confusion and religious animosities." 44 It was the moon-wandering of the Jewish Calendar and Passover, which split the Jewish Christians from their brethren in the year A.D. 325, when the 4 Decree of Nicaea ' proclaimed its moon-method for dating future Easter Sundays, so as to avoid concurrence with the Jews and other heretics. When Pope Gregory reformed the Calendar in the year 1582, the Christian Church was split asunder by the confusion caused by the moon-wandering of the Jewish Passover, which caused the Orthodox Eastern Churches to refuse to accept the Gregorian method of dating Easter." But enough of Mr. Cotsworth. In Note 2 it is shown how slender is the foundation for the statement that the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches were officially represented on the Committee. As to the charge that the Jewish Calendar is the cause of calendar confusion and religious animosities, a charge repeated over and over again by Cotsworth in various newspapers, that was ably dealt with by Dr. Cecil Roth in his replies to these partisan communications. Thus, in the Morning Advertiser of September 10, 1931, he wrote :? 44 It is not the case that since Christianity began, the Jewish Calendar</page><page sequence="32">THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 219 has been ' the worst cause of business and social upset in Christian countries.' The ineffable absurdity of this is too patent to need demonstration. In any case, the Jewish system of reckoning as the older, could not be held responsible for the consequences of deliberate deviation from its standards. "Mr.Cotsworth conveys the impression that the opposition to his scheme is confined to the Jews, representing less than 1 per cent, of the world's population. That is not the case. The Jewish opposition must be shared by all Christians who desire to continue to observe their Sabbath on the seventh day, and who hold that the Decalogue cannot be abrogated by Act of Parliament. Once the Church-going public in this country is aroused to the nature of the issue at stake, this scheme will be doomed. It is to be hoped that the awakening will not be delayed until it is too late." See further Notes 16 and 18. Several sympathetic notices of my pamphlet appeared in the Religious Press. The Church Times of May 8, 1931, wrote :? " In Changing the Calendar, the Chief Rabbi, Dr. J. H. Hertz, enters a strong protest, on behalf of Jewish people, against the proposal, put before the League of Nations by American Big Business. . . . Dr. Hertz believes that if the Christian Churches realised the effect of the proposal, they also would strongly condemn it, as a representative of Great Britain already has done. Certainly it appears an unwarrantable interference with religious observance for commercial ends." The pamphlet was sent to the leading ecclesiastics of the United Kingdom. On reading it, various Bishops (of Chichester, Ely, and others) expressed their full agreement with the main contention. Dr. J. Scott Lidgett (Vice-Chan? cellor of London University and leader of the Federal Council of Evangelical Churches) wrote : "I am deeply impressed by your statements and in com? plete agreement with your arguments and your conclusion." 14 Those present, apart from the Grand Rabbin and myself, included :? Oberrabbiher F?rst, Dr. S. Pinchas Kohn, and Leo Deutschl?nder (Vienna); Drs. J. Freimann, S. Gr?nberg, M. Hildesheimer, and Legationsrat Dr. Sobernheim (Berlin) ; Rabbiner Dr. J. Horovitz, Herr Jakob Rosenheim, and Dr. Blau, President of the Jewish Community (Frankfort); Dr. Lewen stein (Zurich); Herr Alexander Levy (Hamburg); Rabbi M. Liber (Paris); Dr. Pf?lzer (Weinheim); Oberrabbiner Senator Rubinstein (Vilna), and Rabbiner Dr. L. Rosenthal (Cologne). Dr. Adolf Jacobus, now of Haifa, was present by invitation. The membership of the Executive Committee was increased from four to eight. The new members were Senator Rubinstein, Dr. S. Gr?nberg, Dr. Jakob Horovitz, and Rabbi Aaron Lewin, Rzeszow, Poland. It was also arranged that Herr Jakob Rosenheim was to be the permanent deputy for Oberrabbiner F?rst.</page><page sequence="33">220 THE BATTLE FOR THE SABBATH AT GENEVA. 15 The Conference contemplated the calling into existence of a Council of the Jewish Communities of the World to whom the Executive would render account, and that this pan-Jewish Council would supply the not inconsiderable funds required. As this Council was never summoned, the task of financing the secretariat and other expenses was left to me. A letter was addressed by me to the leading British congregations, at Home and Overseas, inviting their monetary assistance in this sacred work. In London, the United Synagogue and the Congregation of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews were the first to respond ; the Federation of Synagogues was the most generous in its support. A small contribution was also received from the Adath Yisroel Congregation. The other communities co-operating were :? Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Brighton, Cardiff, Cape Town (Great, and New Synagogue), Coventry, Edinburgh, G