Excluded from YMCA, Jews built their own ‘Y’

A Narrow Policy

From an undated newspaper clipping, Toronto, about 1913

When the YMCA authorities determined to segregate their 400 Hebrew members they made a false step. It is true that the action is consistent with the policy of excluding Unitarians from the institution, but the general public who have been subscribing freely to the YMCA have done so under the impression that as a Christian institution it was wide open to all who labored or were heavy laden. The broad and unexclusive character of Christianity is at stake in the policy of such a representative organization of the Christian community. If it acts in a narrow and sectarian way, how is it better than the Turks of Constantinople in this respect? What impression of Christian teaching will the Hebrew members receive by such treatment? And how would the Hebrews be judged if they had a palatial building to which everybody had contributed, if 400 Christian members of the institution were suddenly told they were to be treated in a similar way to that to which the Toronto Hebrews are asked to submit?

It is stated that the Hebrew are to raise $300,000 and build a fine institution for themselves. Probably they have no option if the YMCA authorities persist. But it will be most unfortunate if, instead of promoting the assimilation, the goodfellowship and the common citizenship of all races, the YMCA authorities drive the Hebrews to this action.

Probably the older men can give hard-headed business reasons for the policy they have adopted, but hard-headed business reasons have no place in the policies of the Kingdom the YMCA is supposed to be advancing. Indeed, these reasons are more likely to be hard-hearted than hard-headed. A soft heart is more frequently found behind a wise head than is generally imagined.

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From the Globe and Mail, June 4, 1914

New Club for Hebrews

Young Men’s Hebrew Association is Being Organized

YMHA may not be a very serious rival to the YMCA, but it will undoubtedly go good work along many lines. The YMHA is the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, and is being initiated by Rabbi Dr. Price of the University Avenue Synagogue. One of the most useful things that will be carried out will be the teaching of English to those Hebrews who signify their intention of becoming Canadian citizens. Dr. Price will also endeavor to amalgamate the Jewish athletic and social clubs of the city into one big association.

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