Abraham Feinstein, Appalachia, Charleston, Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History, Dave Fried, Deborah R. Weiner, history, Huntington, Jews, Ku Klux Klan, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, New York, Philadelphia, West Virginia
From a Logan Banner story dated May 11, 1923 comes this bit of history about Jewish activity in Logan, WV.
Dr. Feinstein Gives Talk to Society
Dr. Abraham Feinstein, of Huntington, addressing the Hebrew Sisterhood of Logan county Wednesday evening, spoke zealously for the establishment of a Jewish synagogue in Logan.
Dr. Feinstein told the gathering that there was one idea uppermost in his mind, which he wanted to submit. And that idea was the establishment of a place of worship and meeting for the Jews of Logan.
This suggestion had a far more deeper significance than was apparent on the surface, the audience was told, because it was the small part of the greatest problem that the Jews of America face today.
And this problem, as Dr. Feinstein pointed out, is “the reclamation of Jews to Judaism. And this can be done only through the mediums of education. Study the history of your people and your race. Jews are Jews merely by accident; understanding Jews study their religion, so that they might know why they are Jews. Familiarize yourself with the prophets, be square-shouldered Jews, proud and happy in being a Jew.
“It isn’t anti-semitism, the K.K.K., Henry Ford with his smug ideas of patriotism, nor Lowell asking for the expulsion of the Jews from American universities, nor the Zionist movement that is your problem. Your problem is education. See to it that this problem is solved and you will have contributed richly to the Jewish life in your city.”
Dr. Feinstein pointed out that in New York, where the largest number of Jewish citizens in the world reside, that seventy-five percent of the children have never received any kind of Jewish education whatsoever. “The more we are attacked and denounced the more schools and synagogues we should build,” he said.
“The greatest enemy of the Jews is the Jew who goes out, ignorant of things Jewish,” Dr. Feinstein said.
These words were quoted from an address of a Philadelphia Rabbi by the speaker: “I am not particularly pleased when I hear of a Jew becoming a great scientist, for Judaism is not a school of science. I am not pleased when a Jew becomes a great actor, a great inventor, a great lawyer, pugilist, statesman, but I exalt and rejoice when a true altruistic man becomes a Jew.”
The order of the meeting follows:
Opening prayer–Dr. Feinstein.
Piano and violin–Mrs. Dave Fried and Mrs. Brown.
Piano Solo–Mrs. S. Michaelson.
Voice–Miss Mellman of Charleston.
NOTE: One excellent source for regional Jewish history is Deborah R. Weiner’s Coalfield Jews: An Appalachian History (2006).