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The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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ETHICAL CULTURE, SOCIETY FOR:

A non-sectarian, ethicoreligious society founded at New York by Prof. Felix Adler in 1876. The society assumed the motto "Deed, not Creed," and adopted as the one condition of membership a positive desire to uphold by example and precept the highest ideals of living, and to aid the weaker to attain those ideals. The aims of the society are stated as follows: "To teach the supremacy of the moral ends above all human ends and interests; to teach that the moral law has an immediate authority not contingent on the truth of religious beliefs or of philosophical theories; to advance the science and art of right living." The members of the society are free to follow and profess whatever system of religion they choose, the society confining its attention to the moral problems of life. It has given practical expression to its aims by establishing the Workingman's School, a model school for general and technical education, in which the use of the kindergarten method in the higher branches of study is a distinctive feature. Each of its teachers is a specialist as well as an enthusiast in his subject; the Socratic method is followed. The majority of the pupils are of non-Jewish parentage. Pupils over seven are instructed in the use of tools. The society has also established a system of district-nursing among the poor, and a family home for neglected children.

Branch societies have been formed in Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cambridge (England), and London, and a similar movement was started in Berlin. While originally agnostic in feeling, the society has gradually developed into a simple, human brotherhood, united by ethical purpose, and has, as such, acquired a strong influence in distinctively Christian circles in some parts of Europe. The only approach to a religious service is a Sunday address on topicsof the day, preceded and followed by music. Its chief supporters in New York and Philadelphia are Jews, as is its founder and leader, though the society does not in any degree bear the stamp of Judaism. It has recently erected an elaborate building in New York. A society on similar lines exists at Frankfort-on-the-Main.

E. W. B.
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