30 June 2018

Henry Joel Cadbury and American Reform Rabbis

The story of the connection between the two started for me with this disturbing NYT quote:

Not knowing who professor Henry J. Cadbury was, I have started googling, and one of the first links happened to be an archive page of JTA, from the year 1934, referenced in the quote above.

Professor Pleads for Accord Between Jews and Germans

Lo and behold: the quote above was sounded not in some judenrein "safe space", but at annual convention of the Central Conference of American Reform Rabbis.
A plea that the Jewish people “display good will instead of hatred” toward the Nazis who are provoked to committing violence by an attitude of antagonism, was voiced by Professor Henry J. Cadbury, of Bryn Mawr, chairman of the American Friends Service Committee, in an address at the opening session of the forty-fifth annual convention of the Central Conference of American Reform Rabbis held here at the South Mountain Manor Summer Resort. More than 150 rabbis from all parts of the United States and Canada attended.

The article doesn't tell about the reaction of the listeners to the good professor's preaching, so we shall never know, probably. Besides, the speaker wasn't unfriendly or ignoring the plight of European Jews:
The speaker described the boycott of products made in Germany as a “declaration of war without bloodshed.” He urged that Christians, “as their duty,” help right the injustice done by the Nazis. He said that “for the sake of Christianity and its doctrines,” non-Jews join in the movement to “help the Jewish people in Germany.”

And then, of course, Google brought in quite a lot of information on professor Cadbury, "a biblical scholar, Quaker historian, writer, and non-profit administrator" or, in other words, "one of the most respected and beloved Quakers of the twentieth century". Being born in 1883, Henry J. Cadbury was mature enough to be opinionated about WW I:
...Henry Cadbury spoke out advocating for peace, and thus became embroiled in a controversy that led to his being forced to resign from the faculty of Haverford College. It was occasioned by peace overtures that the leaders of Germany sent to the Allies in the autumn of 1918.
Not very surprising, and, one might even say, a laudable sentiment. There is no more information on good professor's stance on Nazi Germany and WW II in general before, during or after the war. But there is a fully expected call for rapprochement with Soviet Union:
In accepting the award at Oslo that year, Dr. Cadbury made an appeal to all nations to improve the strained relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.

He urged Norway and other countries to help in building a bridge by not taking a stand for either of the two big powers and to persuade them to cooperate.
Of course, it will be a grave omission to forget the Nobel prize.
Dr. Cadbury, who was a founder in 1917 of the American Friends Service Committee, served as its chairman from 1928 to 1934 and again from 1944 to 1960.

It was during his second term that the committee, was chosen winner, with Britain's Friends Service Council, of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1947.

The prize was made in recognition of the humanitarian work performed by the two groups.
Do you hear a faint echo from the more recent Nobel prizes? Well, I was just asking.

As for the American Reform Rabbis... being an old and crusty atheist, I do not have a preferred group of religious Jews. Well, I might make an exception for Neturei Karta, but it is a different kind of preference I keep for them. Anyhow, isn't it interesting that the predominantly left-leaning Reform folks tend to entertain the same kind of ideas they did so long ago? And that most of the "anti-Zionist" and bothersome groups, like JVP, If Not Now and similar tend to come mostly from this distinguished branch of Judaism?

Dunno what to say.