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Title: The Allied Countries and the Jews
Author: Enelow, Hyman Gerson, 1877-1934
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  _Aspects of the Bible_
  _The Jewish Life_
  _The Synagogue in Modern Life_
  _The Varied Beauty of the Psalms_
  _The Effects of Religion_
  _The Faith of Israel_



  A Series of Addresses by
  Rabbi H.G. Enelow, D.D.

  New York

    "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many

    "The dense web of the fortunes of man is woven without a
    void."--_Lord Acton._

    "They, hearing History speak, of what men were, And have become,
    are wise."--_George Meredith._


  Preface                                                      11

    I. France and the Jews                                     13
             October 6, 1917

   II. England and the Jews                                    23
             October 20, 1917

  III. Russia and the Jews                                     37
             November 3, 1917

  IV. Italy and the Jews                                       49
             November 17, 1917

  V. Palestine and the Jews                                    63
             December 1, 1917

  VI. America and the Jews                                     77
             December 15, 1917

  VII. The War, the Jew, and the Future                        89
             December 29, 1917


The addresses collected in this little book were delivered at the
Sabbath morning Services of Temple Emanu-El during the autumn and
early winter of 1917-18. I tried to give a bird's eye view of the
relation of the Jews to the several countries with which America is
now associated in the War for the defense of democracy. Also, I tried
to point out how intimately the advance of democracy has been
connected with the improvement of the lot of the Jew. Forming part of
Divine Services, the addresses had to be short, but I hope they
contained enough to illumine the subject and to stimulate thought, if
not further study, as well as patriotic action.

In the present form, the substance is offered of the spoken addresses.
The address on Russia may seem more hopeful than the situation today
would warrant. Right now, unfortunately, chaos reigns in Russia, and
the Jews are said to suffer terribly. Though Trotzky is reported to
have renounced all affiliation with the Jews, or any particular
interest in them, his changes of fortune are likely to react upon the
people from which he sprang. None the less, we must not despair. In
the end, Democracy must win in Russia, and find a way of living
together and working together for the numerous racial and religious
groups which form her vast population.

I wish to express my thanks to the Board of Trustees of Temple
Emanu-El for their kindness in publishing these addresses and for
generously providing a special number of copies for distribution among
Jewish men in our Army and Navy.


Washington's Birthday, 1918.



Every American is now more than ever interested in Europe, and
especially in those countries with which we are associated in the War.
France, in particular, claims our attention. It is for this reason
that as Jews we cannot help being interested in the relation of France
to the Jewish people. Many of our sons soon will find themselves on
French soil to take part in the liberation of France, which now means
part of the defense of our own Republic. Not a few of our women, also,
will be there--are there already, engaged in work of relief and
restoration. It is but proper that we should recall what connection
has existed between the Jew and France.

France has played an important part in Jewish history. There have been
Jews in France from earliest times, perhaps from the very beginning of
the Christian era. About the middle of the fifth century we know
definitely that there was a considerable number of Jews in France and
that they lived on terms of friendship with the rest of the
population. When Hilary, bishop of Arles, died in the year 449, Jews
as well as Christians wept at his funeral, the Jews chanting Psalms in
Hebrew. From that early age on, France has been a most important
factor in Jewish history.

The conditions of life for the Jew have not been the same there
always. There is the usual story of vacillation and misfortune. France
also has had her periods of persecution and expulsion for the
Jews--particularly when she consisted of small provinces and factions.
There was the usual story of malign charges and disputations, and
Hebrew books now and then were confiscated and burnt as containing
attacks on Christianity. The public burning of the Talmud at Paris, in
the year 1242, the several expulsions during the fourteenth century,
culminating in the expulsion of 1394--just about a century before the
expulsion from Spain--are among the tragic incidents of medieval
Jewish history. France did not escape the religious fanaticism which
formed one of the dark features of the middle ages.

But all in all, the Jews have had a glorious history in France,
crowned by the fact that she was the first country in Europe to give
full civil and political rights to the Jews, as she did during the
Revolution, on September 28th, 1791. France thus inaugurated a new era
in Jewish history. Indeed, she thus brought about the modern rebirth
of the Jew--the Jew's full entry into modern life. Therefore, when it
is said that every man has two countries--his own and France, we may
justly apply it in particular to the modern Jew.

Nor was the leadership of France in the modern emancipation of the Jew
an accident. It was part of the liberal spirit which has found varied
expression in France, and which could not ignore the Jew and the
maltreatment that was meted out to him all over Europe.

When Montesquieu wrote his great work, _The Spirit of the Laws_, in
the year 1748, he did not forget all the services that the Jews had
rendered to civilization, nor did he fail to deplore the outrageous
way the Jews were dealt with. The Christians, he affirmed, were
treating their Jewish neighbors in a more inhuman way than the
Japanese of those days treated the Christians. Readers of Montesquieu
could not help remembering that remonstrance, and it is quite likely
that Louis XVI was inspired by it to the abolition of the Jewish
poll-tax, as well as to the appointment of a special commission, under
the presidency of Malesherbes, for the study of Jewish conditions,
with a view to their improvement.

But it is not commonly known that about forty years before Montesquieu
issued his book, there appeared in France an epoch-making work, of
which the leading Jewish historian, Graetz, has well said that it
rendered an incalculable service to Judaism.

This work was the _History of the Religion of the Jews_, by Jacques
Basnage de Beauval, a celebrated scholar and writer, published in the
years 1707-11. It marked the first attempt to write a complete history
of the Jews from the time of Christ to modern times, and was designed
by the author as a continuation of the historical work of Josephus.

It was particularly noteworthy coming from a Christian theologian,
seeing that the conventional Christian view was (and often still is)
that the Jewish religion really ceased with the coming of Jesus.
Christianity was supposed to have abolished and eliminated Judaism.
Yet Basnage realized that the contrary was true. Judaism was not dead.
The Jews were still alive.

For five years he gave himself to the task of collecting material, and
he produced a work which, whatever its shortcomings, was remarkable as
the first of its kind, aside from the enormous amount of scholarship
that went into its composition. But there was more than scholarship in
the work; behind it was a realization of the marvel of Jewish history
and resentment of the brutality with which the Jew was treated. Let no
one wonder, said the author, if we denounce certain charges made
against the Jew. "In the course of the centuries people have
developed a spirit of cruelty and barbarism toward the Jews. They
have been accused of being the cause of all calamities and charged
with all kinds of crimes which never entered their minds. Everywhere
they have been mobbed and massacred. Nevertheless, by a miracle of
Providence, they still exist today everywhere. The bush of Moses,
encircled by flames, has always burnt without being consumed."

The liberal spirit of Montesquieu and Basnage found new expression,
and, we may say its culmination, in the men of the Revolution.
Mirabeau, who in Berlin came in contact with Mendelssohn and got to
know Dohm's famous work on the Civil Improvement of the Jews, issued
in 1781, wrote a warm plea for the emancipation of the Jews, under the
title of _Mendelssohn and the Political Improvement of the Jews_. His
plea was supported by Gregoire, a priest, and Duport, a Jacobin member
of the National Assembly, and it finally resulted in the Assembly's
abrogation of Jewish disabilities, and the invitation to the Jews to
take the oath of citizenship.

Thus, on September 28th, 1791, the Jews of France were liberated, and
the Jews of the world celebrated the beginning of a new era of freedom
and of the opportunities that are bound up with freedom.

In the spiritual history of the Jew, also, France has played an
illustrious part. In the middle ages there was no country where there
was so large a number of brilliant and erudite scholars, and so
energetic an activity, as in the numerous Jewish communities of
France. North and South rivaled each other. Some of the most
influential Jewish teachers of all times came from these French

Think, for instance, of R. Gershom, called the Light of the Exile, in
the eleventh century, who, though he founded a school at Mayence, came
from Metz, and continued to draw disciples from many parts of France.
He was one of the chief organizers of medieval Jewish life. He was the
first to prohibit polygamy among Western Jews.

Then think of Rashi--the greatest of biblical exegetes and

At Vitry, on the Marne, was produced the most important work on the
Jewish liturgy, known as _Mahzor Vitry_. R. Moses of Coucy compiled
the most popular work on religious ordinances, the _Sepher Mitzwoth

Thus, we might go on and name the illustrious talmudists, and
commentators, and philosophers of the Jews in France. Though each
possessed his own characteristics and merits, we may justly say that
the rabbis of France as a class were distinguished for that clarity of
thought, directness of expression, and simple piety which we associate
with France.

The Provence, too, was the centre of the great translators, who turned
the classics of Arabic Jewish learning into Hebrew, and thus made them
accessible to those parts of Europe unfamiliar with Arabic. Indeed, to
this day, thanks to these achievements, the spiritual life of Israel
the world over is, consciously or no, under the influence of France.

When we think of this record, we shall not wonder that the Jews of
France are devoted to their country and prominent in its affairs. It
was this very prominence of the Jews that led some base people to
embrace anti-Semitism, and resulted in the Dreyfus scandal some years
ago. But nothing shows the character of France so clearly as her
readiness to right a wrong. In the Dreyfus case, too, she made _amende
honorable_, and today Captain Dreyfus, the martyr of Devils Island,
Major Dreyfus, as he is now, is actively working for the salvation of
his country.

One good result of the War has been the cessation of anti-Semitism in
France. This is demonstrated by such a book as M. Maurice Barrès's
_Les diverses familles spirituelles la France_. Formerly, M. Barrès,
president of the League of Patriots, as well as one of the most
brilliant writers of France, was an anti-Semite. But now that is all
over. One of his most sympathetic chapters is on the Jews--on their
loyalty and devotion, and he dwells with admiration on the famous
incident of Rabbi Bloch of Lyons, who, in the early days of the War,
died on the battlefield while offering a crucifix to a dying Catholic
soldier, being struck by an enemy's shell. "Here," he says,
"fraternity finds its perfect expression. The aged rabbi offering to
the dying soldier the immortal sign of Christ on the cross, this is a
picture which will not perish." Nor will it perish!

A long history--full of heroism and honor--links the Jew with France.
Let us hope that the future may add to this splendor, and that France
will ever remain the exemplar of liberty, equality, and fraternity,
and that she will continue to play an important part in the spiritual
as well as the secular life of Israel!



Among the allied countries none is more influential than England. It
is perfectly natural, therefore, that the name of England should be on
everybody's lips, and that as Jews we should be particularly
interested in the relation that has existed between England and the

For years there has been no country in the world whose Jewish
population had enjoyed a position of such great power and prosperity,
and such perfect recognition, as Great Britain. Ever since the middle
of the nineteenth century has this been the case. The Jews of England
have occupied positions of honor in their own country and its
colonies, and time and again their influence has made it possible for
them to come to the rescue of their fellow-Jews in other parts of the
world, as happened, for instance, at the time of the blood accusation
in Damascus, in 1840, when Moses Montefiore, with the support of the
English government, saved not only the Jewish community of that
far-off city, but also the honor of Israel the world over.

For over half a century the Jews have enjoyed such a condition of
confidence and happiness in England. Only the other day I ran across
in a German-Jewish journal of the year 1866--Samson Raphael Hirsch's
_Jeshurun_--a glowing account of the induction of a Jew into the
office of Lord Mayor of London. It referred to Benjamin Philips, who
was the second Jew to attain that honor. The writer was greatly
impressed with the marvelous pomp and grandeur of the occasion, but
what struck him above all was this: that though the newspapers for
days had discussed the event, not one of them singled out the fact
that the new Lord Mayor was a Jew. Such perfect naturalization of the
Jew obtained already in the year 1865, though it was only five years
after the complete removal of Jewish disabilities in England. So much
more a surprise might it be to learn by what a slow and laborious
process the Jew won his recognition in England, how many centuries the
struggle for his emancipation consumed, and that there was a time when
the Jews of England suffered humiliation and persecution unsurpassed
in any other part of the world.

As we take a bird's eye view of Israel's history in England, we see at
once that it falls into three distinct periods.

There is the first period, lasting from the arrival of the first
Jewish settlers who followed William the Conqueror from the Continent,
to the expulsion. Who would believe today that there was a time when
England expelled all her Jews? Yet, this is what happened in the year
1290. Moreover, when it did happen it came as a release and a
blessing, seeing that for more than a century before the expulsion the
life of the Jew in England was one drawn-out story of persecution and
every form of misery. It was a century during which the Jews of
England suffered the worst consequences of feudalism, when they formed
the prey and the sport of kings and priests alike, and when they added
to history some of the most tragic chapters of martyrdom for the sake
of faith. It was a century which began, after a period of comparative
security and happiness, with the attack upon the Jews of London and
the provinces, at the time of the Coronation of Richard I, because the
archbishop took umbrage at the temerity of some Jewish delegates to
the ceremony who ventured within the purlieus of the cathedral or the
palace; and with the self-immolation, in the year 1190, of the whole
community of York in the tower of that city--one of the most heroic
incidents in all history. The expulsion thus closed mercifully the
first period of Jewish history in England.

Then follows the period of the re-admission, in the middle of the
seventeenth century, under the leadership of Cromwell and Menasseh ben
Israel, though one is not to believe that in the interval there were
no Jews in England, for there surely were, as recent research has

Finally, we have the third period, which began with the gradual
removal of Jewish disabilities in the nineteenth century. During this
period we witness the Jews of England taking full part in the life of
their country and reaching that present-day position which opportunity
and complete recognition and integration in the national life have put
within their power.

If today the Jews of England form so integral a part of their country,
and if they are so whole-heartedly and single-mindedly devoted to its
welfare, it is not merely because they feel that they have wrought and
fought enough for their patrimony, but also because they are conscious
of their long association with England and her civilization, and of
the fact that their beginnings on English soil go back to earliest
times, to the very time that the Normans came to their shores and
William the Conqueror invited the Jew to follow him to his new domain.

Yet it would be an error to suppose that the emancipation and the
attainments of the Jews in England were due to mere accident. Rather
have they been due to certain characteristics of the English people,
and to those tendencies and qualities of English civilization which
have made it so distinguished and potent in the world. The rise of the
Jew in England may have been slow, but it has been sure, and it came
because it was inevitable under the conditions that have served to
make England herself great and strong and free. It is these facts we
must consider if we would understand the ascendency of the Jew in

First of all, there is the fact of England's democracy. It has often
been observed that in no country is democracy more widespread and
secure than in England. One thing is certainly true, namely, that
England has led in the democratization of the world.

And nothing is more potent a lesson of history than that the Jew has
always been benefited by true democracy. There have been autocrats who
have been kind to the Jews, and there have been times when democracy
has betrayed the Jew; but these are exceptions. As a rule, the cause
of Israel in the world has gone hand in hand with the progress of
democracy--of true democracy. Democracy has been an invariable aid to
the Jew, and not because (as practical politicians assume sometimes)
its government depends on votes, and Jews might command votes; not at
all, but rather because under the protection and in the atmosphere of
democracy it is easiest for principles to be promulgated and for
ideals to penetrate. When we fight for the cause of democracy, when
our sons are preparing to shed their blood for it, when we are asking
for the support of it with our wealth and our work, let us remember
that we are fighting also for the cause of Israel in the world.

That is why the great movement for democratic freedom and justice in
England was bound to make for the recognition and liberation of the
Jewish soul. That is why Cromwell became a champion of the
re-admission of the Jews to England, and namely, of their re-admission
on the most honorable terms, and not, as some of his associates would
have it, surreptitiously and half-heartedly. Nay, that is why, some
forty years before Cromwell's effort, in the year 1614, when Leonard
Busher wrote his noteworthy tract on "_Liberty of Conscience_", he
demanded that such liberty be extended to all alike, including the
Jews. That is why, two centuries later, Thomas B. Macauley could not
help pleading for the removal of the disabilities of the Jews, as he
did in 1830 and 1834 supporting the noble efforts of Lord Holland and
Robert Grant. That is why Gladstone, at first opposed to Jewish
emancipation, could not help coming over to the more liberal view. It
was impossible for the democratic conscience to affirm itself and for
the democratic consciousness to grow in England, without freedom being
granted, and justice being done, to the Jew, seeing it is for freedom
and justice that democracy stands.

Another fact is England's interest in commerce. It is well known that
commerce has helped make England great. Now, the Jew throughout the
ages of his history in Europe has been one of the most important
factors in commerce. Everybody knows what historic conditions served
to bring about this result. The fact is that the Jew became perhaps
the most important commercial factor of Europe, which was responsible
both for his prosperity and persecution.

England has seldom failed to recognize this side of the Jew's
importance. This is why he was first asked to come to England. This is
why he was so often traded about by the feudal kings. This is why they
hated to see him go even when they mocked and mobbed him. This is
chiefly why Cromwell wanted him to return, and it is fear of his
commercial power that often arrayed against him his opponents. Often
short-sighted Englishmen were afraid that by giving equality and
rights to the Jews, they would make it possible for the latter, by
their commercial talent, to overwhelm the rest of the population and
to absorb all the wealth of Britain. It was even feared that the Jews
would buy up St. Paul's Cathedral and turn it into a synagogue! "You
say they are the meanest and most despised of all people," exclaimed
Cromwell, at the Conference on the Re-admission of the Jews. "So be
it! But in that case what becomes of your fears? Can you really be
afraid that this contemptible and despised people should be able to
prevail in trade and credit over the merchants of England, the noblest
and most esteemed merchants of the whole world?"

Cromwell's indignant question has been justified by history. Now,
years after their complete emancipation, the Jews have not yet
appropriated all the wealth of England, they have not yet dispossessed
the rest of Britain's population, nor yet has St. Paul's been turned
into a synagogue. At any rate, England's interest in commerce has
contributed greatly to the ascendency of her Jewish subjects.

Finally, there is the remarkable kinship between the English spirit
and the spirit of Israel.

Leroy-Beaulieu, in his celebrated book _Israel among the Nations_, has
pointed out that the claim of such kinship is made for many nations in
regard to Israel. But surely it is not without reason that some one
has called England the Israel of Europe. There is no modern country
that has been saturated more thoroughly with the spirit of Israel than

No country, for one thing, has been so completely influenced by the
Bible. The English translation of the Bible is an English classic, as
well as Jewish. Insofar as the Puritans molded English civilization,
it meant the introduction of a strong and unmistakable Hebrew
influence. It is in England that Biblical learning, of a devout and
constructive kind, has flourished as nowhere else, there that a
society for the diffusion of the Scriptures first was founded, there
that most has been done for the exploration of Palestine, there that
some of the finest collections of Hebrew books and manuscripts are
found (in the British Museum and in the Bodleian Library at Oxford),
and there that even rabbinical learning has found its most earnest and
sympathetic devotees among non-Jews.

It would take us far afield to trace the relationship between the
English spirit and that of Israel. But we cannot think of it without
realizing why some people should believe that the English in reality
are descendants of the Ten Tribes, why the integration of Israel in
English life should have become so complete, and why the Jew should
finally have found such appreciation and happiness in England.

How about the future? What effect has the War had on the position of
the Jew in England?

It is whispered here and there that the War had created an increase of
anti-Semitism in England. This is impossible. It is true that in the
early days of the War some sensation-mongers tried to cast aspersions
on the Jews. It is true, also, that in those days a serious problem
was created by the presence of many Russian Jews who would not fight
for the old government of Russia, thus giving rise to some slurs upon
the patriotism of the Jews. No less true it is that some few fanatical
journalists seem to regard this as a good time for creating strife and
spreading anti-Jewish prejudice. But the futility of such an
enterprise is self-evident.

The Jews of England are as loyal as the most loyal. Their best sons
were among the first volunteers and martyrs. Their ablest men are
serving in all sorts of positions of trust and leadership, and are
occupying posts of supreme responsibility both at home and abroad. Nay
more, each and every one of them, however lowly and obscure, is ready
to die for England and her cause. These facts speak for themselves,
with a voice louder than fanaticism and bigotry.

As long as England remains true to herself--to her democratic spirit,
to her spirit of enterprise and fair-play, to her spirit of Freedom
and Righteousness, as long as she remains true to that genius for
democracy that has animated her for centuries, that has kept on
asserting itself within her against all handicaps and impediments,
that has kept on moving her toward the democratic goal often in spite
of herself,--as long, I say, as England remains true to democracy, so
long will Israel be safe and happy under her flag!



The ascendency of Russia as a power making for democracy is one of the
miracles of the present War. Who could have foreseen five years ago
that the country suffering under the most despotic autocracy of modern
times would so suddenly become the champion of a most radical
democracy? Yet, this is what is actually happening today.
Notwithstanding the vacillations and frightful uncertainties that
still beset Russia, she seems destined to play an enormous part in the
future definition and direction of democracy, and the world may yet
learn many a lesson from her. This is one of the miracles of the War.
Under these circumstances, we, as Jews, must be doubly interested in
the story of the relation that has existed between Russia and the

Only yesterday the name of Russia was the synonym of nothing so much
as Jewish suffering. Persecution has been the well-nigh universal lot
of the Jew. In even the freest and fairest countries he has had to
endure outlawry and disability. But in no other country was he called
upon to bear persecution so continuous and variegated as in old-time
Russia. There all the persecutions of the past seemed to gain
repetition and culmination. Wherever the Jew turned, he found himself
hedged in by restrictions and humiliations. His dwelling, his
education, his occupations--everything was under the ban. For
centuries he was driven from pillar to post and forced to drink the
cup of calamity to the very dregs.

When we think of all the misery that the Russian Jew had to undergo,
we cannot but marvel that he should have been able to survive it all,
and thus to belie the prediction of that arch-enemy, Pobiedonostseff,
that as a result of the laws against them, one third of the Jews of
Russia would emigrate, one third would be baptized, and the rest would
perish. Thank Heaven, the contrary has come to pass: Pobiedonostseff
and his kind are gone, the autocracy is dead, and the Jew of Russia
is still there, with a new era before him, destined, let us hope, to
surpass in grandeur and glory any that has gone before.

When we consider the story of those horrible persecutions, we find
that the chief excuse for them was the charge that the Jew was not a
true Russian, but a stranger. Yet, this charge was fundamentally
false. It is only necessary to think of the Jew's history, to realize
that he is as little a stranger in Russia as any other part of the

The Jew's beginnings in many parts of Russia go back to the very
earliest times--in some instances beyond the records of history. It is
true that a large part of her Jewish population Russia acquired in the
year 1772, and subsequent years, as a result of the division of
Poland. But in other parts of Russia, the presence of Jews is of much
more ancient date.

In Kieff, the mother of cities to the Russian, Jews were settled as
far back as the eighth or ninth century--some holding that they came
there with the Khazars, who are supposed to have founded Kieff. In
the centuries following the Jews worked and traded and flourished
there and held important official positions, so much so that by the
sixteenth century Kieff became a centre of Jewish learning, with the
motto: "From Kieff shall go forth the law."

As for the Crimea--the beautiful province to which the deposed Czar
was so eager to be sent--its Jewish settlements date back to Hellenic
days, when the Greeks began to found commercial centres on the shores
of the Black Sea, and Jews from the Byzantine Empire, as well as from
Persia and the Caucasus, came along with them, establishing
communities with synagogues and cemeteries and other institutions, as
we know from recently discovered inscriptions, which go back to the
first century.

Similarly, we have early accounts of Jews going and coming in Novgorod
and Moscow--Jews speaking the Slavic dialect and antedating by many
years those from Western Europe who came to Russia as a result of
persecutions in Germany and elsewhere, and who brought with them their
German speech. When we examine these records, we can see how ancient
is the lineage of the Jew in Russia and how groundless, as well as
vicious, was the theory of those who maintained that the Jew of Russia
had to be repressed and oppressed for the reason that he was a
stranger in the land.

There has never been a more complete, nor a more wonderful,
transformation than the one wrought by the Russian Revolution in the
condition of the Jew. One of the first consequences of the Revolution
was the abolition of Jewish disabilities, the specific abrogation of
all Jewish restrictions, the repudiation of all the laws and
regulations against them that centuries had accumulated--the instant
recognition of the Jew. It is nothing short of marvellous to think
that today Jews are found in the highest positions in Russia--in the
Senate, which means their Supreme Court, in the police administration,
in the army, and on most responsible commissions to foreign lands.
Magic could have wrought no more marvellous change.

Yet, it would be wrong to think that all this has no connection with
the previous life and conduct of the Jew of Russia. On the contrary,
the student of the history of the Russian Jew cannot help recognizing
the intimate relation between the life and the achievements of the
Russian Jew in the past and the recognition that has come to him at
the very dawn of the new age. Here, too, there has been no exception
to the normal operation of historic law.

If the Jew of Russia has been adopted so promptly and so fully into
the new-born Russian democracy, it is because in the past he has shown
his mettle, because his whole record has demonstrated his civic worth,
and because his character and his attainments even under the worst
possible conditions demonstrated what he was capable of being and
doing once he was given that boon of recognition and opportunity which
it is the aim of democracy to bring to all men.

This the Jew of Russia has shown, first of all, by his spiritual life.
The Russian poet Pushkin has said that glass is shattered by blows,
but iron is thus made the stronger. This saying has been properly
applied to the effect of persecution upon the character of the
Russian Jew.

Nothing is more remarkable than the spiritual history of the Jew in
Russia. The Russian Jew has been proud of his Judaism, and devoted to
it. Nowhere else do we find from the very beginning so great a
readiness to propagate his ideas. It is remarkable that in Russia, of
all countries, we find the Jewish influence reaching out the farthest
into the non-Jewish world.

Nestor, the old Russian chronicler, relates that in the tenth century
the Jews came to Kieff in order to convert to their religion the Grand
Duke Vladimir. As a matter of fact, the Khazars, a people living in
southern Russia, did become Jews in the eighth century, and remained
such for a couple of centuries. In the sixteenth century the Judaistic
sect sprang up in Novgorod and spread to the very monasteries of
Moscow, and in one form or another, in spite of many efforts to
suppress it, it has not ceased to this very day. Perhaps it is this
persistence of the Jewish spirit and spread of Jewish influence that
made the autocracy fear the Jew as a menace to Christianity.

Even more important, however, has been the spiritual life of the
Jewish community itself. It has thrived despite persecution. It has
created centres of learning, scholars, saints, and above all masses of
learned and saintly men and women, which both in number and character
have never been surpassed in the whole heroic range of Jewish history.
It is this spiritual life of the Jew of Russia--devout, loyal,
God-intoxicated--that could not help but excite the admiration, and
ultimately to gain the recognition, of the world.

Then, there is the contribution that the Jew has made to the life and
civilization of Russia and of other countries. One of the charges of
his enemies was that the Jew of Russia was not a useful subject--that
he was a menace to his neighbors. In vain writers and statesmen of
enlightenment sought to expose the falsehood of this charge; in vain
they insisted that whatever was wrong with the Jew was due to the
restrictions and discriminations that were placed upon him; in vain
did such men as Count Uvarov, as far back as the year 1841, and
Alexander Stroganov, in 1858, demand the creation of educational
facilities, and even complete emancipation, for the Jews in their
interest as well as for the common good. The dread and the tyranny of
the autocracy could not be overcome.

Fortunately, the Jew did not allow himself to be wholly crushed by
these calumnies and calamities. He went on using his powers to the
utmost. He grasped education where-ever he could find it. He became an
important factor in the literary, in the artistic, in the musical, in
the commercial and industrial life of Russia--producing an Antokolsky,
Rubinstein, a Frug, the Polyakoffs and the Ginzburgs, and no end of
others, to say nothing of the vast new Hebrew literature he has
created, including the names of such genuine poets as Lebenson,
Gordon, and Byalik, while the rest of the world has been so vastly
enriched by the work of Russian Jewish exiles that it is no
exaggeration to say that they have covered the face of the earth with
the fruits of their spirit.

Nor must we forget the ineradicable patriotism of the Russian Jew.
Often under the old régime people asked how it was possible for the
Jew of Russia to be patriotic. The answer is that no matter what made
it possible, the Jew of Russia was patriotic. Though he may have had
grievances against the autocracy and its agents, he loved his country
none the less and in war and in peace he was there to show it.

As far back as the Russian War of Liberation, in 1812, the Jew so
distinguished himself in the Russian army, that he evoked the praise
and satisfaction of Alexander I, who was fortified thereby in his good
intentions toward the Jew; unfortunately thwarted later on by hostile
influences and religious apprehensions.

Similar patriotism the Jews have shown on all other occasions,
including the present War. As for the fight for liberty and the
Russian revolutionary movement, the Jews have played a leading part in
it, shrinking not from its severities and hardships, and this they
have done not only for their own sake, but for the common good.

Thus, we can see that the vindication and recognition of the Jew of
Russia today are not without their roots in the life of yesterday.
They are the efflorescence of his spiritual life--of his contribution
to the life of his country and other countries--of his inalienable
patriotism. "The Revolution," Kerensky has said, "is the expiation of
the past and its sins." It may well form such an expiation to the Jew!

How about the future? It would be idle to deny that the peril is not
yet past. The Jew of Russia is not yet out of the woods. But neither
is Russia as a whole. As long as reaction and anarchy threaten, there
is danger for the Jew. But in this regard the Jew of Russia must take
his chance with the rest. His fate is bound up with the complete
triumph of democracy in Russia--democracy founded on self-discipline,
self-sacrifice, and service, toward the firm establishing of which she
is still struggling. If we would help the Jew, we must do what we can
toward the help of Russian democracy. Let democracy triumph in Russia,
and it will mean the triumph of the Jew!



Within the last few days our attention has been focused upon Italy,
because of the reverses which have befallen her army, so soon after
its notable heroic achievements. Knowing the innate courage and
heroism of the Italians, we must hope that their military misfortunes
are only temporary. Meantime, this situation serves to increase our
interest in the relation that has existed between Italy and the
Jews--a question which our association with her in the present
world-struggle has brought to the fore.

It is well to remember that the Jewish community of Italy is the
oldest Jewish community of Europe. Moreover, if the origin of the Jews
in other countries is shrouded in mist, this is not the case here. The
full light of history illumines the earliest period of Jewish life in

In Talmudic literature we read of the journeys of famous rabbis to
Rome and of their activities there; in the New Testament we hear of
the Jews of Italy, and of their synagogues, which formed the scene of
activity for the founders of the new faith; in Philo, the great Jewish
writer of the first century, we have a description of the Jewish
community of Rome in the days of Augustus, with references to their
communal life and religious observances. Similarly, there is an
allusion to the Jews, their number and their influence, at Rome, in
one of Cicero's famous orations.

All this teaches us in unmistakable language that even before the
beginning of the Christian era, Jews in considerable numbers
established themselves in the capital of the Roman empire, and that
before long they attained to a position of marked prosperity and
power, thanks not only to their own industry and intelligence, but
also to the good-will of some of the emperors. When Caesar died, it is
said, the Jews kept vigil at his tomb for three nights.

But the history of the Jews in Italy is remarkable not only for its
antiquity. It is remarkable also for its uninterrupted glory and
magnificence. Italy, it has been said, is the one country in which
there has never been such a thing as Jewish persecution on a large
scale. In England and in France there were periods when the Jews were
banished. In Italy they were spared such a wholesale calamity.

This is not to say that the Jews of Italy were not called upon time
and again to face hardship and misery. This is not to say that now and
then one city or another did not try to expel them. Nor is this meant
to cover up the fact that in Rome, from the year 1555 to the year
1848, the Jews were made to live in a ghetto, which contributed beyond
measure to their material and spiritual degradation. In Italy, as
everywhere else, the Jews had more than their share of sorrow and
misery to endure, owing to the fanaticism of popes and the vacillation
of the masses. But the one thing that never did occur was a wholesale
expulsion of the Jews from all her domain, similar to the one from
England in 1290, from France in 1393, and from Spain in 1492.

As a result, the history of the Jews of Italy affords today a record
of uninterrupted activity and glory, extending over more than the
entire period of Christian history. In every century of Italian Jewish
history, we find men and movements of importance, bearing witness to
the energy of the Jew and to the opportunities for its exercise. And
this long period of the past is worthily crowned by the position that
the Jews occupy in the Italy of today. Though their number is small,
there being but about forty thousand of them in Italy, their influence
is striking, seeing that in every sphere they have risen to exalted
positions, unsurpassed, in this respect, if equalled, by their
brethren in any other part of the world.

When we try to account for this, various facts have to be considered.
First, there is the condition of the country. Then, the character of
the people. And, finally, the part of the Jew himself.

For hundreds of years Italy was broken up into many independent towns
and rival principalities, competing and contending with one another,
which frequently proved to the advantage of the Jew, who, when driven
from one part, found refuge in another. Then, the Italians have always
been known for their love of liberty and justice, of education and
enlightenment, in addition to being a pre-eminently practical and
commercial people. This, in its turn, could not help but make them
hospitable to the Jews.

But all this would not have availed to make the history of Israel in
Italy illustrious were it not for the Jews themselves and for what
they have accomplished in various spheres. It is these latter things
particularly that we must consider in a survey of the Jew's history in

There is, first of all, the part of the Jew in the commerce of Italy,
as well as in her industries.

This we may name first, because history makes it quite clear that the
Jews were first welcomed and appreciated in Rome and her dependencies
and neighbor-cities because of their commercial ingenuity and
enterprise. Well, there is good reason for believing that as far back
as Augustus, the Jews had begun to play an important part as
commercial factors between Italy and other countries.

In the middle ages, however, they became the commonly recognized
bankers of Italy, particularly in the southern parts, so much so that
in some cases the Jews were even compelled to maintain banks and in
some instances their doing so was made part of diplomatic treaties
between cities, as when Venice making an alliance with Ravenna, in the
fifteenth century, it was stipulated by Ravenna that the Jews should
conduct a bank there, and in one case, at least, on record, in Gubbio,
a Jew was paid a salary by the city for maintaining a bank. In this
way the Jews were expected to contribute to the trade of the town and
the relief of the needy, though in the course of time they were called
usurers for engaging in this sort of business, and it was made the
cause of propaganda against them, and of persecution.

Nor is it fair to suppose that the Jews of Italy were merely engaged
in money-lending and commerce. History tells us that they were also
largely represented in the various trades and industries. The
dye-making industry formed one of the chief occupations of the Jews of
Italy in the thirteenth century. In Sicily, documents relate, almost
all iron workers were Jews. In Sardinia there were among the Jews so
many blacksmiths, locksmiths, weavers, and silversmiths that Ferdinand
the Catholic felt impelled to make a law against their plying their
noisy trades on Christian holidays.

It is hard for some people to get away from the notion that the Jew is
nothing but a merchant. No matter how much they hear of tens of
thousands of Jews engaged in various trades, to the extent of having
trade unions of their own, they still cling to their preposterous
notion that the Jews are a people of merchants only, (though every now
and then they will change their tune and charge all Jews with being
socialists, which certainly is not the special characteristic of

It is equally wrong to assume that in the Italy of the past, the Jews
were only bankers and merchants; no, they were also artisans, engaged
in all kinds of trades, including agriculture, and as such they were
of vast importance to their country.

If the Jews of Italy are said to have invented the letter of credit,
thanks to Jewish immigrants in Lombardy possessing valuable interests
in other countries from which they had been expelled, and thus to have
added an important instrument to the conduct of commerce, they were no
less conspicuous in the diverse manual occupations. And the Italians,
knowing the value of commerce and the crafts, stood ready to
appreciate the worth of the Jew.

No less remarkable has been the spiritual history of the Jews of
Italy. Macauley depicts the Italians as possessing a spirit so proud
and fine as to make them equally eminent in the active and the
contemplative life. Even if this description did not happen to apply
to all Jews, it certainly would be applicable to the Jews of Italy.
What would all their distinction in the industrial and commercial
life have signified if they had failed to maintain their spiritual
ideals? As a matter of fact, it is herein that the Jews of Italy have
been especially fortunate.

From the very beginning to this day, as a French writer has put it,
the fire has never died out upon their altars. They were always among
the leaders in Jewish learning and loyalty. Their rabbis were among
the most famous in the world. Some of their works are among the great
classics of Jewish scholarship--such as the _Arukh_, the great
Talmudic cyclopedia of Rabbi Nathan of Rome, or the _Malmad_, the
popular homiletic work of Rabbi Jacob Anatoli, or the _Mesiloth
Yesharim_, the celebrated ethical treatise Hayyim David Luzzatto. Some
of their poets are among the most famous and permanent, like the
satirist Immanuel of Rome, said to have been the friend of Dante.

Perhaps nothing testifies so clearly to the intellectual and spiritual
energy of the Italian Jews as the promptness with which they adopted
the art of printing and the vast number of Hebrew books they issued
soon after the invention of the art. The first Hebrew printed works
appeared in 1475-76, and in the sixteenth century Ferrara, Bologna,
Naples, Cremona, Mantua, became veritable centres for the publication
of Hebrew Bibles, the Talmud, the Zohar, and other rabbinic works. It
is interesting to note that the first Spanish translation of the Old
Testament appeared in Ferrara, and was the work of a Jewish exile, who
by the maltreatment of Spain was not estranged from the love of her

Moreover, the culture of the Jews of Italy even centuries ago had
something that was lacking among their contemporaries elsewhere--it
had breadth, resulting from contact with a cultivated and enlightened
people. Some of the foremost rabbis were also physicians, and were
sought as such by popes, princes, cardinals, and other men of

Frequently, we find Jewish scholars acting as teachers and translators
for eminent Christian scholars and patrons of learning, as, for
instance, Jacob Anatoli, Leo Modena, Elijah Levita, and others.

This breadth of culture is the reason why some of their finest works
were written in Italian, such as _The Dialogues of Love_ by Leo
Hebreo, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, and several of the
religious and ethical treatises of such celebrated scholars as Leo
Modena, Samuel David Luzzatto, and Elia Benamozegh. For breadth, as
well as versatility, the products of Israel's spiritual genius in
Italy have never been excelled.

Finally, one cannot study the history of the Jew in Italy without
realizing the depth and ardor of his patriotism. "From the lowest to
the highest," an Italian writer has said, "the Italian is always a
patriot." This certainly may be affirmed of the Italian Jew. He has
always stood for Italy, and been ready to defend her with his blood.

When in the year 536, Belizar, the commander of Justinian I, besieged
Naples, it was the Jews who opposed the surrender of the city, and
offered not only to participate in the defense, but to support the
population with money during the siege. To them was assigned the
defense of the most dangerous section of the city, facing the sea, and
when the city was captured they were made to pay most severely for
their patriotism. And the example of those heroic patriots was
followed repeatedly by the Jews of Italy. It is such patriotism that
made them defenders of Rome when Louis Napoleon sent an army corps
against it in behalf of the Pope, and such patriotism that made them
take such a prominent part, under Cavour and Mazzini and Garibaldi, in
the days of the Risorgimento, in the struggle that led finally to the
emancipation and unification of Italy.

No wonder, then, that Italy had no sooner won her liberty and unity
than she paid due tribute to the patriotism of her Jewish citizens and
gave them that complete emancipation to which their whole history had
entitled them and for which even some of the most eminent non-Jews had
pleaded for many a day--non-Jews whose spirit of justice and freedom
was sublimely symbolized by that noble priest, Father Ambrosoli, who,
in the Passover night of 1848, when the walls of the ghetto were
demolished, was seen amid the crowd, holding under his cloak a
crucifix, which he was ready to uplift as an emblem of love and
brotherhood in case of any hostile demonstration against the Jews.

What good use the Jew of Italy has made of his new-found liberty, the
record of the years since 1870 tells eloquently! In the sciences, in
the arts, in philosophy, in public service--as diplomats and ministers
of State--in every sphere, the Jews of Italy have become an honor to
themselves as well as to their country.

In Rome you may see today a beautiful new Temple erected on the ruins
of the old ghetto. In the vestibule there is a tablet commemorating
its dedication, in the presence of the King of Italy, and reciting the
fact of its erection on the spot where formerly stood the walls of the
ghetto. When I saw it several years ago, I was deeply impressed with
the beauty of the structure and the loyalty that reared it among those
squalid but historic surroundings.

This Temple is a symbol. It is a symbol of the ancient character of
the Italian Jewry. It is a symbol of its loyalty. But above all, it
is a symbol of the liberty and happiness that the advance of democracy
has brought to the Jew of Italy, as well as of other lands. It
inspires us with the hope that so long as Italy remains true to the
cause of democracy, which is the cause of justice and enlightenment,
so long will the Jew be free and safe and happy within her borders!



One could not read without a thrill the news of the recent advance of
the British army in Palestine. The Holy Land thus is gradually passing
under the control of the Allies, and its destiny is growing of
particular moment to everybody interested in the outcome of the War.
To the Jew, however, this becomes a particular occasion for a
consideration of the relation of Palestine to the Jews.

In the study of the past of the Jewish people, we come across
different countries that have played an important part in Jewish
history. In France, in England, in Russia, in Italy, in Spain--in all
these countries are imbedded important parts and periods of Jewish
history. But no country can compare to Palestine in this respect.

In a way, Israel and Palestine are inseparable. They are synonymous.
In the Hebrew tongue, Palestine is called the Land of Israel, the
name Palestine having been first used by Philo and Josephus, and by
the Romans, and really being derived from the Philistines, who, in
ancient times, fought against the Jews for the possession of this
fertile and beautiful country.

It is true that after the destruction of the Jewish State by the
Romans, in the year 70, and especially after the failure of the last
struggle for independence under Rabbi Akiba and Bar Kochba, the number
of Jews in Palestine decreased, and their part in it grew less and
less significant.

It is true that for centuries Palestine was almost emptied of Jewish
inhabitants, and such as were left were reduced to a life of penury
and desolation. It is also true that in the course of history
Palestine has changed masters frequently, having been in the
possession of the various Canaanite tribes before the coming of
Israel, and since the fall of the Jewish State passing through the
hands of Romans, Christians, and Turks. Yet, on the other hand, it is
no less true that the classic period of Jewish history is associated
with the name of Palestine, just as the classic period of Palestine is
indissolubly bound up with the name of Israel.

Archeologists may unearth in Palestine remnants of a civilization that
antedated by centuries, perhaps by thousands of years, the coming of
the Hebrews, and historians may trace the fate of Palestine since the
banishment of the Jews, from Titus to the Turks; but the most glorious
and most important section of the story of Palestine is the period of
its occupation by Israel. Similarly, we may relate and rejoice in
Israel's achievements the world over, and in the wonderful capacity
the Jew has shown in all countries for growth and grandeur; yet none
can deny that the paramount period of Jewish history coincides with
the Jew's life in Palestine--where his character developed, where his
prophets taught, and where the consciousness of his unity and eternal
purpose took possession of his soul.

"Is there not something," asks Mr. Watts-Dunton, "in the very soil
upon which we are born, in the very atmosphere above it, that aids in
molding our characters, if not our destinies?" In the case of Israel
this question must be answered in the affirmative. Historians agree
that the character of Palestine had much to do with the molding of the
character of the Jewish people and directing its destiny. Such diverse
scholars as Solomon Judah Rapoport, the celebrated rabbi of Prague,
and Miss Ellen Churchill Semple, the eminent American representative
of Anthropologic geography, agree in this view. It is for this reason
that we have a right to say, with the ancient rabbis, that Palestine
and Israel are inseparable.

Moreover, it is an error to assume that when the Jews were forced to
leave Palestine, first by the Romans, and then by the various foes of
Israel who seized it, it ceased to play a part in their lives. There
are those who believe that in the life of human beings two sentiments,
or forces, mean a great deal more than the actualities of the moment,
namely, memory and hope. How often do not these two--memory and
hope--mean more to us than the experience of the present?

This is what happened to the Jew in regard to Palestine after he was
driven from its purlieus. He kept on clinging to it, as both his most
cherished memory and most precious hope. It was the favorite theme of
his meditations. It was the central subject of his prayers. It was the
inspiration of his Muse. Never poet wrote more fervid poems of love
than those the medieval poets of Israel addressed to Zion.

Throughout the ages Palestine continued to form the heart of Jewish
theology and optimism. Time and again Rabbis of piety and prominence
sought to make it anew the centre of religious scholarship and
spiritual authority, as did Rabbi Joseph Caro in the sixteenth
century, and though they failed, they personified the Jews undying
love for the Holy Land.

It is this profound and indestructible love that Judah Halevi voiced
in that elegy of wondrous beauty and pathos, which burst from his soul
when, as an aged man, having left behind him all that was dear to him
in his native Spain, he journeyed, in the year 1140, to Zion, to
behold her desolated beauty and to kiss the dust of her stones. And
this love has been shared by Jews everywhere throughout the ages.

"The cradle of our lives," says Mr. Watts-Dunton, "draws us to itself
wherever we go." This has certainly been true of Israel. The cradle of
his history, Palestine, has drawn him to itself, wherever he went. It
remained his dream, the land of mystic love and longing, and as such
it was even more beautiful, more precious in his eyes than when his in

It is remarkable, however, that in recent years the dream again has
begun to turn into a reality. After a forsaking of hundreds of years,
with but scant interruption, Palestine again has become a centre of
Jewish habitation and happiness. The story of this renewal is one of
the most stirring, and most romantic, in the variegated history of the

For these many centuries the Jew had dreamed and prayed for Palestine.
It had been the theme of his reveries. But it was forty years ago that
men arose and decided that the time had come for making the dream
come true. In different quarters the plan was advanced for settling
Jews on the soil of Palestine, in order thus to restore the ancient
land and also to help solve the problem of Jewish persecution and
distress. It is noteworthy that among the pioneers of this plan were
not only Jews, but also Christians, such as Warder Cresson, the first
American consul in Jerusalem, who became a convert to Judaism, and
Laurence Oliphant, the English philanthropist, who was unofficially
supported by Lord Beaconsfield and Lord Salisbury.

The persecutions in Russia and Rumania emphasized the need of some
radical measure for the improvement of the Jewish situation. Thus, in
1870, we see the beginning of a new Jewish colonization in Palestine
by the founding of an agricultural school, Mikweh Israel, which is
followed in 1878 by the founding of the colony Petah Tikwa, and in
1882 by the colony Rishon Le-Zion.

The men who founded these colonies were real pioneers; they had the
ideals and the courage and the self-sacrifice of real pioneers, and no
one can read their story without marveling at their endurance and
achievements. It was their valiant struggle that led to the
organization of the Hoveve Zion Societies in Russia and England and
other countries. It also gained for them the support of the Alliance
Israelite Universelle, and particularly the devoted and generous
assistance of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, whose munificence saved the
movement in its most critical period. As a result, numerous sections
of the Holy Land have been reclaimed from the waste of centuries, and
there were before the War prosperous Jewish colonies in Judea, in
Galilee, and beyond the Jordan, noted for the bounty and variety of
their products, as well as for the health and happiness of their

It is customary nowadays to give credit for all this renewal of
Palestine to the Zionists. Nor does it matter particularly as to who
gets the credit. But it is an historic fact that Dr. Herzl conceived
the idea of a Jewish State some twenty-five years after the first
Jewish Agricultural School had been founded in Palestine and Jewish
colonization had begun. And it is further an historic fact that Dr.
Herzl and his followers for years opposed the continuation of the
colonizing activity, seeing that their plan was political and they
insisted that unless the Jews first got a Charter to Palestine, they
must not go on with the reclamation and improvement of the land.

However, it would lead us too far afield to pursue this phase of the
subject. Suffice to say that it was the political emphasis of the
Zionists, coupled with the anti-religious attitude of some of their
leaders, that served to create friction in Israel and to alienate for
the time being from the movement for the reclamation of Palestine some
of the most devoted lovers of the Holy Land.

Latterly, however, the practical work was taken up anew, and it is
thanks to this work, promoted partly by some prominent men both here
and in Europe who are not at all votaries of political Zionism, that
Palestine has witnessed such a physical and spiritual renewal at the
hands of the Jewish people.

What the War, with its ravages, has done to the new life of Palestine,
we do not know as yet. But it is natural to ask what the future of
Palestine shall be. The British army is now going forward in
Palestine, thus bringing to an end the Turkish rule which began just
four hundred years ago, when Selim I conquered Egypt and Syria. It is
impossible to ignore the important rôle that Palestine is destined to
play in the future. Its industrial and commercial possibilities are
enormous. Now, as ever, it is on the highway connecting Europe with
Asia and Africa. With the increasing importance of the East, the value
of Palestine is bound to grow.

But there is one essential condition: Palestine needs a population.
And there can be no doubt that none would form so fitting a population
for Palestine as Jews eager to go there and eager to restore the
sacred soil.

It is in this light that we ought to view Mr. Balfour's recent
declaration. If it proves possible, under solemn guarantees of the
nations, to permit Jews to settle in Palestine, and to live there in
security, we may be sure that many Jews will flock thither, and that
they will consecrate all their energies to the restoration of the
land so dear to every true Jewish heart. And thus Palestine would not
only become again an important factor in Jewish life; it would become
again a centre of material and spiritual riches, a land flowing as of
old with milk and honey, and a stronghold of Justice and
Righteousness, which are the core of Democracy.

For that end, however, we ought to put a stop to disputes about
Zionism and anti-Zionism. Particularly, ought we to put a stop to such
controversies carried on in the name of Reform Judaism. Reform Judaism
is not bound up with anti-Zionism, or anti-Palestinism. Certainly
Reform Judaism is not, and never can be, opposed to the restoration of
Palestine. Some prominent Reform rabbis have been sincere believers in
even the restoration of the Jewish State in Palestine, as, for
instance, Samuel Hirsch, one of the most radical of Reform rabbis, who
as far back as 1842, in his addresses on "The Messianic Doctrine of
the Jews," dwelt on that belief as an essential part of Jewish
conviction and hope.

Some others have refrained from engaging in controversy with the
Zionists, though whenever necessary they have not failed to maintain
against them these three essential propositions: first, that we dare
not mortgage the Jewish future to a Jewish State in Palestine;
secondly, that there is no such thing possible as a Jewish people
without Judaism; and, thirdly, that it is wrong to assume that Judaism
cannot flourish outside of Palestine. But all this has nothing to do
with the restoration of Palestine and making it a centre for Israel
and humanity, if we can do it.

Let us, therefore, for once realize that Israel is greater than
Zionism, and Palestine more important than parties. Let us unite for
the common good! It is because of divisions and disputations, the
rabbis tell us, Jerusalem was lost; let us not permit a similar cause
to keep us from restoring it--I don't mean as the capital of a Jewish
State, but as a centre of Jewish energy and revival. Let us work
toward Jewish unification, which, the rabbis believe, must precede
redemption. And thus let us help secure for Palestine also the
benefits of that democracy, that rule of liberty and justice, that
cause of human liberation and opportunity, to the triumph of which
America has pledged so nobly her life and her strength.



America has often been described as the land of opportunity and of
unlimited possibilities. This is one reason why since our entry into
the War, the eyes of the whole world have been fixed upon us. It is
certainly true that to no group of people has America proved more
truly a land of opportunity than to the Jews. A mere survey of the
American period of Jewish history is sufficient to convince us of
this, and such a survey is especially appropriate at present when the
history of the world is being recast and remade, and the future
destiny of both America and the Jew is a subject of frequent

In no other country do we find the strands of Jewish history so
intimately and continually interwoven with the general fabric as here
in America. This is due partly to the newness of the country and the
early arrival of Jewish settlers. Even in the study of Palestine, we
find that there was a time when it contained no Jewish inhabitants,
and various strata of civilization already had disappeared when the
Jews took possession. As for America, however, the Jew's activity is
co-extensive with the history of her civilization.

I shall not dwell here on the well-known fact that Jews were
associated with Columbus in his voyage of discovery, that Jews
supported his enterprise financially and scientifically, and that a
Marrano Jew is said to have been the first member of Columbus's crew
to step on the soil of the New World. But it is certain that from the
very days of the discovery, Jews became frequent on the American
continent, first in South and Central America, and later on in North

The finding of the New World offered timely compensation for the
expulsion from Spain, and Israel lost no time in transferring his
genius for enterprise and continuity, both material and spiritual, to
the new field so providentially opened.

By the middle of the seventeenth century, we see the beginnings of
Jewish migration to North America, owing primarily to vicissitudes of
war in South America, and as that was the time when English
civilization began to establish itself here, the form of civilization
destined to remain permanent, we can see with what right we may speak
of the continuity of Jewish history in our Republic.

It is true that the number of Jews at first was small, but before long
their influence and service transcended their proportions. During the
Revolution, there were only about two thousand Jews in the Colonies;
yet, some of them had become so prominent, that their help was not
inconsiderable, and in several instances of conspicuous and
unforgettable merit. We know, for example, that Washington had an aide
who was a Jew, Isaac Franks, that one of the earliest officers of our
Navy was a Jew, Uriah Levy, and that a Jew, Haym Salomon, an immigrant
from Poland, helped the Revolution financially, aside from what
similar help he extended to some of the heroes of the Revolution
individually, thus rendering it easier for them to do their share of
the common task. Aside from what these instances may mean in
themselves, they are important for the light they throw on the
rapidity with which Jewish settlers made their way in this country, on
the completeness of their civil and political assimilation, and on
their public prominence in the early days of American history.

What progress the Jew has made in America since those days, he who
runs may read. On the material side, she certainly has become a land
of promise to millions of Jews. Gradually the Jewish population has
grown to its present dimensions. During the nineteenth century the
original immigration from mainly Sephardic sources, with an admixture
from Poland, was supplemented by a wave of migration from German
provinces. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, finally, the
intense persecutions in Eastern Europe poured enormous waves of
migration onto these shores. As a result of these successive movements
of people, unprecedented in some respects in human history, millions
of Jews have settled in our Republic, and, on the material side at
least, it has become to them a veritable land of promise.

In all departments of life the Jew has prospered. It may be questioned
whether ever in the past he has been blessed with such success. While
it is erroneous to assume, as some people do, that all Jews are rich,
or that the richest men are Jews (assumptions which are contradicted
by facts), it is true that nowhere else have the Jewish people been
given such an unhampered opportunity for advancement and such an
unrestricted field of work and usefulness.

As a result, Jews are found in every sphere of work, in every
honorable and useful occupation. In commerce, in the liberal and
practical professions, in all the various forms of industry, the
American Jew is found, and many have achieved eminent success. No
longer can it be said, as they were wont to say of old, that the Jew
is nothing but a usurer or a trader. In America hundreds of thousands
of Jews work with their hands, there are numerous trade unions
entirely composed of Jews, and nothing is more significant in this
regard than that the President of the American Federation of Labor for
years has been a Jew (at least, a man born a Jew).

It used to be said that the Jew will not be a farmer. Even if
elsewhere the Jew had not disproved this assertion, he has done so on
American soil, where numerous Jewish families have settled on farms
and demonstrated their fitness to succeed even under adverse

What America has done for the material progress of millions of Jews is
one of the marvels of history--a marvel augmented by the moral
transformation which has accompanied the process. Men, who for
generations had been hounded and haunted by persecution, who had been
engrafted with all the moral evils of persecution, who had been
humiliated and all but crushed--millions of such men by the liberty
and humanity of America have been freed from the old chains, purged of
the old stains, turned into free, strong, courageous, self-reliant,
and self-respecting human beings. For this transformation we can never
be sufficiently thankful, as it must ever continue to excite the
admiration and the wonder of the world.

But the spiritual achievements of the Jew in America have been no less

Now and then on this score we hear laments. Material progress, we are
told, has occurred in American Israel at the expense of his spiritual
life, and lurid pictures are drawn of our spiritual estate. It is even
maintained that there is no hope for us spiritually in America, and
that for this purpose we must turn our eyes to other parts.

Let us not forget, however, that spiritual pessimism is nothing new,
whether among Jews or non-Jews. There have always been men who have
thought their own time and place to be the worst-off spiritually in
history. The student of history and literature finds many such
resemblances through the centuries, and there is nothing said about
our present-day spiritual and moral degeneration that might not be
paralleled in the literature of previous generations, to which we
sometimes look back as the very embodiment of virtue and spirituality.

But pessimism apart--nor is self-criticism altogether undesirable--we
may say that spiritually also the Jew in America has achieved no mean
things. The very fact that we have succeeded in transplanting Judaism
to this country, so different from the Old World, is an achievement of
importance. And the transplanting has been rapid. There have been
losses, quite naturally, but there have been gains, too, and, whatever
is said to the contrary, there is an intense and manifold Jewish
activity in this country today unsurpassed anywhere else, though
perhaps only the historian of the future will acknowledge it, just as
our historians today laud the glories of the past.

When we think of our educational institutions, of our Rabbinical
colleges, of our historical associations, of our synagogues, of such
an achievement as the Jewish Encyclopedia and its counterpart in the
Hebrew language, and many other enterprises, we cannot help but wonder
that in so short a time the Jews of America should have done as much
as they have in the spiritual sphere, particularly when we recall that
the last half-century was a period of sceptism and materialism, which
put all Religion on the defensive, and which made the course of
Judaism in this country, and the process of re-adjustment, so much
more difficult than it might have been.

It is this spiritual and material advance of the American Jew that has
made it possible for him time and again to come to the rescue of his
fellow-Jews in other countries. It would take us too far afield to go
into detail. But no survey of the connection of America with the Jew
is adequate without at least a reminder of how America championed the
rights of her Jewish citizens in Switzerland and Russia, and of how
she intervened in behalf of persecuted Jews in Damascus and in
Morocco, in Rumania and in Russia.

When the history of the emancipation of the Jews is written, a place
of honor surely will be accorded to the help rendered by America,
through some of her foremost and most humane statesmen, from Theodore
Fay to John Hay, and through the energy and self-sacrifice of her
Jewish citizens.

Nor would our survey be sufficient without a reference to the
patriotism of the American Jew. If the patriotism of the Jew has been
proved in every country, nowhere has it been more ardent and ready
than here. We know the early story of Asser Levy who insisted on his
right to stand guard like every other citizen of New Amsterdam, rather
than be exempted and taxed. He is the patriotic prototype of the
American Jew in every age and crisis, in peace and in war. Whoever
doubts the patriotism of the American Jew, does not know him. And
never was the Jew of America more ready than today to do his patriotic
duty, to make all the sacrifices demanded by the hour, to stand guard
for the Republic and for Democracy. This he has shown already, and is
going to continue to show, as the War goes on.

A word about the future. Now and then questions are asked about the
future of the Jew in America. Will he live on? Will he continue in his
present fortunate condition? We hear murmurs about a nascent
anti-Semitism, and what not. To all these questions there is but one
answer: It depends upon ourselves! Let us think of the noble words of
George Washington in his reply to the address presented to him by the
Jewish community of Newport in the year 1790. "It is no more," he
said, "that toleration is spoken of, as if it were by the indulgence
of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their
inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United
States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no
assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection
should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all
occasions their effectual support."

The Jew has nothing to fear from anti-Semitism in America. It amounts
to nothing, except in so far as we help create it. What counts is our
own life and what we do for the maintenance of democracy in America
and elsewhere. As long as we do our duty, as long as we remain true to
the best moral and spiritual traditions of the Jew, as long as we
stand for the noblest ideals of citizenship, and as long as America
remains what her founders designed and dreamed her to be--the home and
the hope of democracy--so long the Jew will be safe for America and
America will be safe for the Jew!



One of the chief benefits of the study of the past is that it throws
light on the problems of the present and helps us to forecast the
future. This is why during the terrible struggle that has been going
on, so many of us have turned to the records of history for help and
direction. It is no less true of our Jewish history. When we engage in
a survey of it, and especially in a study of its course in the allied
countries, it is not merely for the purpose of refreshing our memories
of what happened in days gone by, but also in order to learn what we
might expect to happen in the future and to be fortified in our duty
today. "Universal History," says Lord Acton, "is not a rope of sand
but a continuous development; not a burden on memory, but an
illumination of the soul."

The survey of the course of Jewish history convinces us, first of all,
that nothing has been so helpful and profitable to the Jew as the
progress of democracy. From of old Jewish progress and democracy have
gone hand in hand. Every now and then we hear people complain that the
Jew is not democratic. This has as much truth in it as the off-hand
charge that the Jew is not patriotic or not idealistic. It is a
generality unsupported by the facts.

Much more true it is to say that the genius of Judaism has from the
first been essentially democratic, and that it expressed itself in
democratic institutions and personalities even in remote antiquity,
when the world at large was predominantly aristocratic. The Decalogue
was a democratic code. The Torah was democratic in form and ideal. And
no group of men ever were more representative of democracy in every
way--in origin, conduct, and purpose--than the Jewish prophets.

No one can consider these fundamental facts of Jewish history, and
what followed from them, without realizing the justice of the
affirmation that the Jewish genius has been essentially democratic and
that it has made important contributions to the advance of democracy
in the world.

On the other hand, the progress of democracy has made everywhere for
the advancement and appreciation of the Jew; and this is one of the
most valuable and encouraging lessons we gain from a study of the past.
In France, in England, in Italy, in Russia, in America--everywhere the
promotion of the democratic spirit and law are followed, sooner or
later, often promptly, by removal of Jewish disabilities and
recognition of the rights and powers of the Jew. A country, or a
leader, could not be democratic and fail sooner or later to acknowledge
what was due to the Jew. This is why all champions of democracy were
advocates of the rights of the Jews--Montesquieu and Mirabeau, Cromwell
and Macauley, Cavour and Mazzini, Uvaroff and Milyukoff, Washington,
and every other pioneer and hero of democracy. Gladstone in his early
days was opposed to the removal of Jewish disabilities, but as a
liberal, he was certain finally to turn to the right view, the only
view compatible with the ideals of justice and liberty, which are at
the core of every democratic feeling and force.

What follows? It follows as the night the day that the Jew has a
perfect right to look to democracy for a further vindication of his
rights and his place in the world--to hope that the more certain and
secure the future of democracy in the world, the more certain and
secure shall be the future of the Jew. Some superficial and servile
people may contend that it does not matter what kind of government a
country has, or under what kind of government we live; the student of
history knows that it does matter, that the difference is vital, and
if not apparent at any particular moment, certainly clear as the sun
in the course of time.

Triumphant democracy will lead to full recognition of the citizenship
of the Jew in every country. Apart from basic principles, what the Jew
has done during the War cannot fail to earn for him such citizen
recognition and complete incorporation in the several nations that are
now fighting for life and liberty. The Jew has always been a patriot,
but his patriotic devotion, service, and self-sacrifice shown in the
present War has never been surpassed and in point of magnitude and
scope never equaled. The effect of it will be the abatement of
anti-Jewish prejudice and suspicion, increased respect for the Jew,
and complete recognition of his position and rights as a citizen

Maurice Barrès, a former anti-Semite, has called attention to this
effect that the War has already had in France; but it is destined to
produce the same effect in every country in which the end of the War
will make for the triumph of democracy.

Democracy, however, means not only recognition, but also
responsibility, duty as well as rights, service as well as privilege.
Jewish history teaches nothing so clearly as that the Jew has
persisted not so much because of what the world has done for him, as
because of what he has done for the world. The Jew has served. Through
light and gloom, amid flood and flame, in days happy or adverse, the
Jew has served. He has toiled for mankind. _Ebed Adonay_--God's
servant, he was called by the ancient Prophet; and such he has
been--God's servant among men, with whose bruises others were healed,
and by whose afflictions others were taught and ennobled.

This is why when Democracy finally arose and demanded the freedom of
the Jew, there could be no doubt as to his merit and his right. And in
the future, too, the Jew will have to continue to serve and to bestow
upon the world those benefits for which he was created.

It is foolish to think that the Jew's problem can be solved in terms
merely of happiness and comfort for himself. Not for that was he
created. It can be solved in terms only of service--of service to the
world! The Jew will never be able to run away from recognition of this
fact, which is of the very essence of his soul and his existence.

With the coming of his complete recognition as citizen, will come the
increased spiritual responsibility of the Jew. Not only will he have
to take part in the political and economic reshaping of the world. He
will have to justify his spiritual isolation or separateness. He will
be called upon to make his Religion, his peculiar spiritual ideal,
count in that spiritual and religious reconstruction which the world
will need after the War.

Is there no balm in Gilead? Has the Jew's Religion nothing to
contribute to the healing of mankind's spiritual wounds? If so, the
days of his Religion are numbered. But if it has, as we proclaim it
has, then the Jew will have his part to play, and his duty to perform,
when upon the coming of peace mankind starts to set up again the
fallen tabernacles--enters upon the process of religious and spiritual

And this duty and part the Jew will have not in one corner only--not
in one only secluded, far-off spot, but everywhere, in the midst of
the world, amid the storm and stress of the world's life, amid the
agony of human suffering and need, where every other Religion will be
at work, and men will be engaged in the momentous tasks of rebuilding
and rejuvenation.

There are those who indulge in the sweet, idyllic dream of the Jew
departing from the common strife of mankind and betaking himself to
Zion, and there, amid bucolic surroundings, developing into a
spiritual entity the like of which has never been on land or sea. A
pleasant dream, this! But history is against it. History shows that
although the classical period of the Jew lay in Palestine, since then
the Jewish genius has flourished and produced its best fruits in lands
other than Palestine.

It is idle to expect reproductions of classical periods. The very
contact with the rest of the world, the very friction with other men's
thoughts, the very variety of environment, has made for the vitality
and versatility of Israel's genius. And in the future, also, it is in
the world at large that the Jew will be called upon to serve, and to
prove his capacity and his commission as a factor in the spiritual
advancement and the moral up-building of the human race.

This is not to say that there may not or shall not be a new centre of
Jewish life and glory in the old land of Israel's fathers, in
Palestine. On the contrary, we all pray there may be! Every loyal
Jewish heart is bound to Palestine, and no true Jew but wants to see
it restored and renewed as a place of beauty and of joy. If upon the
close of the War, Jews, under proper guarantees, are allowed to settle
in Palestine as a matter of right and not merely as a favor, let us
hope that those who migrate there, directed by necessity or idealism,
will find their heart's desire and will develop a life of which the
world and the Jew might be justly proud. Toward the securing of such
safeguards we ought all to work together. It must form one of the
fruits of the War.

But to think that the resettlement or reconstruction of Palestine is
going to dispose of the universal Jewish problem, is a chimera. We
need but think of the difficulties that will surround the new
settlement, difficulties of a political and religious, as well as of
an economic, character--of the small number of Jews the country will
be able to absorb, of the many years it will take before Palestine can
support in comfort as many as even a million Jews--we need but think
of the large number of Jews who do not believe in the formation of a
separate Jewish nation, to realize that they who assume that the
creation of a new centre, and particularly of a Jewish State, in
Palestine would wholly solve the Jewish problem, feed on flowers of

The Jew's place is in the world at large, the world now engaged in the
most momentous struggle of history, and in the world at large he will
have to show that capacity for service which will justify his past and
make his future secure and glorious!

In such a spirit let us dedicate ourselves to the defense of democracy
and the championship of Judaism. In such a spirit let us bear the
burdens of the War. Many of our dear ones are engaged in the actual
combat. Let us take pride in their sacrifices! Let us call those
blessed who shall outlive this combat and be allowed a part in the
reconstruction of the future. May they help in the promotion of
democracy, in the perpetuation of Judaism, in the advancement of those
forces of liberty, justice, and brotherhood which are destined some
day to bring peace and joy and good-will to the world!

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