April 24, 2008

by Reb Yudel
Jonathan Mark misplays the Father Coughlin card

Over at the blog of the Jewish Week, Jonathan Mark recently asked, "When Father Charles Coughlin, the most incendiary anti-Semitic preacher of the 1930s, supported Huey Long, do you think Jewish Democrats rolled over and charged that there some unpleasant preachers supporting Alf Landon, too, or do you think Jews in the 1930s had more dignity than that?"

Actually, it turns out that Jews indeed had more dignity back then: Rabbi Walter Peiser of Baton Rouge, according to the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, "refused to say an invocation to the state legislature in 1929 in protest of Governor Huey Long’s political corruption. Peiser explained to Time Magazine that his prayers would have been 'coarsened and cheapened…by a Chief Executive…unworthy of high office.'"

Know of any rabbis who declined an invitation to the White House lately?

My 10 minutes of googling around the internets didn't find much more of a Jewish response to Long, other than Wikipedia entries on the individuals Seymour Weiss, a close Long confidante, and Dr. Carl Weiss, Long's apparent assassin.

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