Modern Jewish History - Maurice Harris




Jewish Achievement in the United States.

The first great wave of Jewish immigration was Sephardic (those coming from Portugal or Spain). The second wave was Ashkanazic (those coming from German and Austrian lands). Beginning in the 18th century it did not subside till the latter part of the 19th. Its members scattered South, East and West. With the growth of America these communities grew steadily in numbers in economic and intellectual importance and in civic value. The Jewish population in the United States estimated by Mordecai Noah in 1818, but 3,000, by 1848) ?> had increased to more than 50,000; and nearly a quarter of a million thirty years later.

Literature.

Soon American Jewry began its contribution to literature.

Penina Moise, born in Charleston, S. C, in 1797, early showed a poetic gift. Like the novelist, Grace Aguilar, of England, her contemporary, she was a great sufferer; like her, too, a woman of unfaltering religious faith. Though Miss Moise lost her sight and fortune, she never lost her sense of humor and her cheer. She contributed many poems to the Jewish hymnal.

She was but a humble advance herald of her more gifted sister, Emma Lazarus. The genius of the latter developed at an early age; she received her first inspiration in the Civil War. The choice of her themes showed her a woman of wide culture; many were selected from the classics. Her translation of the poems of Heinrich Heine won her further renown.

But just as the Damascus slander stirred the Jewishness of Cremieux, hitherto aloof from the Synagogue, so the persecution of the Jews in Russia forty years later, stirred into life the Jewish soul of Emma Lazarus. She lent her gifted pen to the cause not only in verse but also in prose. The ideals of the Jew that had so far not touched her, from now on found in her a passionate advocate. She further enriched Jewish literature by translating, — from the original, but mainly from the German, — poems of Ibn Gabirol and Jehuda Halevy.

Her sonnet, "The Colossus" is inscribed on the portals of the Statue of Liberty standing in New York Harbor. Unfortunately, she died in her prime, but not before attaining literary eminence as Jewess and as American.

Poets of lesser magnitude have followed as well as essayists, journalists and novelists.

Jewish literature was further fostered by the Jewish Publication Society of America, founded thirty-three years ago in Philadelphia and flourishing still. It has issued 115 volumes including history, biography, essays, fiction and year books. Its most important production was Graetz' "History of the Jews" in five volumes, and a revised translation of the Bible. One of its founders and the chairman of its publication committee is Judge Mayer Sulzberger of Philadelphia. It was fortunate in having as its Secretary for many years, Miss Henrietta Szold, one of the most cultured Jewesses in America. A Jewish Publication Society was called into being in the early part of the 19th century and flourished for a few years.

The most notable Jewish work produced in America was the "Jewish Encyclopedia" in twelve volumes, planned by Dr. Isidore Singer, with Gentiles as well as Jews serving on its editorial board.

We may mention here the organization of the American Jewish Historical Society whose researches have adde valuable data to the records of Jewish life on the Western continent.

American Jews, like those of Europe, have also made contributions to arts and sciences. They have attained eminence in music, as composers, musicians, concert leaders and promoters of opera. In the drama, as stage managers, theatre builders and actors. They have contributed their share in astronomy and in medical discovery. They have rendered service in the fields of economics and sociology.

Following Gentile precedent, there have been established in America Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Associations. These have offered cultural and social opportunities to young people in the cities. The Jewish Chatauqua movement, established by Dr. Henry Berkowitz, was instituted to further Jewish education through correspondence, public assemblies and through publications.

Philanthropy

The American Jewish community was soon large and influential enough for its voice to be heard in behalf of its oppressed co-religionists throughout the world. These appeals have not been without influence on presidents, cabinets, congresses and foreign diplomats. American Jews demonstrated benevolent activity in seeking to obtain the Jewish right of residence, in the '60's, in Switzerland and in the provinces of Turkey, and labored for passport rights in Russia and raised their protest against Russian barbarity, Roumanian expulsion and Moroccan persecution, and stretched helping hands across the seas to suffering Israel.

With the steady increase in numbers, relief of the poor is undertaken by large Jewish communities of America on a colossal scale. Nearly all the large cities have federated their charities to systematize their work and increase their resources. The last quarter of a century has been marked by the establishment of orphan asylums, hospitals, and sisterhoods; homes for the aged, for infants, for delinquents and immigrants; also by organizing agricultural colonies, farm schools and technical schools; likewise schools of philanthropy, for philanthropy has become a profession. The Settlement has become an important institution in American cities. Established in humbler localities settlements exercise a benevolent influence on the neighborhood and have been instrumental in introducing many social reforms.

In this connection we may mention the institution of Benevolent Orders, i.e., mutual benefit societies, somewhat on the Masonic pattern. Although instituted primarily for the benefit of their members, contributing dues to the sick and legacies to the family at death, the aim of aiding suffering Israel at home and abroad has been brought steadily to the fore by these orders. This is particularly true of the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith (Sons of the Covenant), founded in 1843. It has lodges all over the country and a number abroad, and a membership of about 40,000. A number of benevolent orders of less prominence have later come into existence, such as the Free Sons of Israel, and Independent Order of B'rith Abraham, the latter having a larger membership.

The third great influx of Jews to America was mostly Russian. It began with the expulsion of Jews from Russian villages in 1882. As the German wave had largely exceeded in numbers the Portuguese, so the Russian now exceeded the German.

The preponderating influence long continued in German hands, for many of the Russian immigrants were poor and needed setting on their feet in various respects, and their advent was followed by the establishment of new charitable and philanthropic societies and the enlarging of those already existing. But immigrants and their offspring are fast acquiring both means and prestige.

Still the complexity of the Jewish problem with growing numbers, made it necessary to call into being a new organization known as the American Jewish Committee. Just as in Europe, France had produced the Alliance Israelite Universelle, England the Anglo-Jewish Association, and Germany, the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden, to safeguard Jewish interests in all lands, so this important organization is lending its valuable cooperation to look after the welfare of suffering Jews throughout the world and to plead for its right before the great Powers. Its President today is the communal leader, Louis Marshall.

Jacob H. Schiff was the most eminent philanthropist of American Jewry. He was head of a great banking house, and like the Rothschilds, influenced international movements. A man of profound judgment, his word on public questions was ever listened to with eagerness by distinguished men of affairs. A patron of learning, his benefactions have enriched many universities, particularly Harvard, Columbia and Barnard College.

But that which won for him the deepest veneration of the Jewish community has been his untiring service for the welfare of his co-religionists. He was the leader of American Israel for forty years in every philanthropic enterprise. The problem of persecutions abroad, of immigration to America, of charity federation, of the incurably sick, of the ignorant and the unfortunate, received a large portion of his time and thought as well as gifts from his munificence.

A staunch Jew, he did much for religious education. The presentation of the building for the Jewish Theological Seminary of Xew York gave new importance to that institution. At the same time, he contributed much to endow the Hebrew Union College for the training of rabbis of the Reform School. This brings us to the most vital field of Jewish concern.

Religion.

We have seen that as soon as Israel settled in the New World, they established sanctuaries. They realized that "not on bread alone doth man live." In the midst of material success there was ever the idealizing touch. In the early years of the 19th century. Isaac Leeser was the first to introduce the custom of weekly sermons in the pulpit each Sabbath and was one of the first to issue a Jewish weekly paper, the Occident. His most important service was a translation of the Bible into English. He also translated the Sephardic liturgy and issued some text books. This industrious worker also laid the foundation of an orphanage and of a Jewish College.

Gradually there came from growing Israel, pamphlets, Jewish weeklies, volumes of sermons and catechisms, religious school manuals and new rituals in German and in English.

But it was not till later on in the 19th century that American Jewry felt the need of linking up its scattered communities. To Isaac M. Wise is due the credit of organizing in 1875 the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. This was composed of all the synagogues of the liberal wing. It meets bi-ennially in one of the large cities of the country. One of its offshoots is the Synagogue and School Extension. It publishes school literature and establishes religious schools as well as extension services in outlying places and in large cities. He also founded in connection with the Union, the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati for the training of Reform ministers. Up to this time most of the rabbis had hailed from foreign lands, and the majority preached in German. Here then was the beginning of an American Jewish ministry. American Israel is further indebted to the untiring energy of Isaac M. Wise for originating the Central Conference of American Rabbis. This important organization took the place of those rabbinic Conferences to which reference has already been made. They discuss at their annual conventions the religious problems that come before American Jewry and through it the effort is made to bring uniformity in Jewish ritual and practice. With this further end in view, it has issued a Union Prayer Book, a Union Hymnal, and a Union Hagada, also a Minister's Hand-book. It publishes an annual report of its proceedings.

The Orthodox Jews, who form the large majority, have followed the precedent of the Reform, in forming organizations on similar lines. Hence, the Union of American Orthodox Congregations, as well as the United Synagogue of America.

The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, established in 1885 in New York, trains rabbis for Orthodox and Conservative pulpits. It won special distinction when Solomon Schechter, reader in rabbinics at Cambridge, was chosen as its head. This remarkable man, in addition to his profound scholarship was gifted with a brilliant literary style. This made his "Studies in Judaism" and his "Aspects of Jewish Theology" very readable, for their diction as well as for their erudition. His best contribution to Jewish literature was his discovery in the Geniza at Cairo of fragments of the Hebrew text of Ecclesiasticus.

To complete this record, mention should be made of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary for the orthodox and a proposed Jewish Institute of Religion for the Reform; both in New York City.

The attempt to introduce a chief rabbi in the United States has not been successful, not harmonizing with the freedom and democracy of the American spirit.

Jewish Education.

Before the institution of the public school, or while it was still in its infancy, American Jews maintained parochial schools where both religious and secular instruction was imparted. Later, religion was taught in Sabbath Schools attached to the Synagogues.

Rebecca Gratz of Philadelphia, the Rebecca of Scott's "Ivanhoe," established the first Jewish Sabbath School in Philadelphia in 1835. Later Hebrew and the Bible were imparted in the Cheder (room) to the children of immigrant families. This mode of instruction imported from Eastern Europe was of doubtful value, either religious or educational. Far better were the Talmud Torah Schools (Study of the Law) which we find established in all cities where large numbers of the Orthodox Jews are found. But the Bureau of Education organized in recent years (New York) has greatly improved their curriculum and their methods of instruction. Distinction should be made between the religious school of the Reform congregations, meeting on Sundays, and that of the Conservative that meets two or three times each week as well; the additional time being spent in the study of Hebrew. Quite a revival has taken place in recent years in the cultivation of Hebrew, imparting it as a modern tongue and encouraging its use as a spoken language.

Women's Organizations.

The Council of Jewish Women was organized in Chicago in 1893 at the time of the World's Fair. Its motto, "Faith and Philanthropy" explains its dual function. It has branches all over the Union as well as junior auxiliaries. Its chief concern is the Jewish girl, particularly the newly arrived immigrant. The sick, the blind, the delinquent, also come under its care. It likewise conducts Bible classes, and mission schools. It is in touch with Women's movements throughout the land.

The Federation of Temple Sisterhoods is the women's adjunct of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, though of but recent origin. It is a union of the Ladies' Auxiliary Societies connected with most congregations. Its concern is with the Temple itself, fostering attendance at divine worship, providing a social factor to its members, and stimulating religiousness in the home. The Women's League of the United Synagogue of America serves a similar function for Conservative Judaism. Jewish women in America are taking a steadily increasing part in the conduct of communal affairs. They serve as trustees of congregations and are on the boards of philanthropic institutions.

Eminent Men.

Many prominent Jews have contributed important service to their co-religionists. Some have been called to posts of honor and responsibility. Among these we may specify the following: The many sided scholar Michael Heilprin was a confidant of Louis Kossuth while in Hungary and an anti-slavery champion in America as well as an untiring worker for Russian refugees. He believed that the Jewish masses would find their salvation in agriculture. His son Angelo Heilprin became famous as a naturalist.

Benjamin F. Peixotto was appointed by President Grant as Consul General to Roumania. He used his efforts to ameliorate the condition of the Jews there. His untiring zeal brought the wrongs of Israel to a focus and resulted in special protection being promised the Roumanian Jews at the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.

Oscar S. Straus was appointed Minister to Turkey and later Ambassador to the same country. He was the first Jew called to the Cabinet. The Portfolio given him by President Roosevelt was Commerce and Labor. He also served on the Hague Tribunal. His works, "Origin of the Republican Form of Government in the United States," "Roger Williams," and "Religious Liberty in the U.S." show the influence of Jewish teaching on America's struggle for independence.

It has come to be almost a precedent to appoint a Jew as Ambassador to Turkey, so in addition to Oscar Straus, this post has been filled by Solomon Hirsch, Henry Morgenthau, and Abram I. Elkus. In 1921, President Harding appointed Albert D. Lasker, Chairman of the Shipping Board, and in 1922, Rabbi Joseph S. Kornfeld, Minister to Persia, and Simon Brentano, Minister to Hungary. Six Jews have served in the United States Senate, — Judah P. Benjamin, David Levy Yulee, Benjamin F. Jonas, Simon Guggenheim, Joseph Simon, and Isidor Raynor. At different times twenty-nine Jews have been members of Congress and many will be found in both houses of State Legislatures. A number of Jews have been raised to the Bench; one, Louis D. Brandeis, is now serving on the United States Supreme Court. Our co-religionists, Simon Bamberger, was chosen Governor of the State of Utah, and Morris Alexander, of Idaho. When Washington was a territory, Edward S. Salomon, a Brigadier General of the Civil War, was appointed its governor.

During the World War, President Wilson summoned distinguished Jews to his Council.

Finally we might add the name of Samuel Gompers, who has been repeatedly chosen the head of the American Federation of Labor.

From these instances it is seen that in the United States faith is no ban to public office. The temptation of the weak in some continental lands to abandon their creed to obtain political or professional preferment does not exist here — at least in the same degree. Notwithstanding, we cannot blind our eyes to the fact that many, for all sorts of reasons, have drifted from the Synagogue to which reference has already been made. Living no longer aloof in Ghettos, either by compulsion or choice, Jews are thrown in ever closer association with their Gentile neighbors. Intermarriage is alarmingly on the increase. Some have affiliated with the Christian Science Church seeking it first as a fancied remedy for bodily illness and remaining in it because it appears to make some mystical appeal to their emotions. Others again (and many of these will be found among the manual working class) join radical groups and deliberately reject the established religions altogether. Between these on the one hand and the strictly observant on the other will be found many who are held to Judaism by a slender tie.

In a survey of this situation it should be realized that it is harder for a Jew to live a Jewish life in an environment foreign to his faith, than for the Gentile majority to conform to their respective Christian denominations, since American custom is naturally adjusted to the social and economic needs of the overwhelming majority; hence, the selection of Sunday as the weekly day of rest.

Average man moves on the line of least resistance. The Jew to live as a Jew, must flow against the tide. The difficulty of his status as man and Jew has been complicated, further, by general hostility, partly due to his persistent distinctiveness and his refusal to lose his individuality among the peoples about him. For emancipation, while it brought Jew and Gentile closer together, the contact also brought with it certain social repulsions, product of old prejudice and new rivalry, that it will require the discipline of broadening culture to dispel. Meanwhile, this ill will has finally focussed into an anti-Jewish movement that we will now consider.

Anti-Semitism.

In its attitude of hostility, Roumania had taken her cue not so much from Russia as from Germany. For, although by 1870, Germany had theoretically wiped out all restrictive legislation against Jews, laws had changed faster than feeling. In 1878 there arose a movement styled anti-Semitism, very similar in its venom to the Teutomania that followed Napoleon's fall. This treatment subtly implied that the Jew belonged to a foreign alien group. The mediaeval "hep, hep" had been raised against the Jew's religion; Teutomania was a crusade against him as a nationality; anti-Semitism discriminated against his race. Sceptical Germany shifted the grounds of complaint from Christian against Jew to Aryan against Semite.

Anti-Semitism included in its program the re-endorsement of many old charges and slanders against the Jews and while at first but an attitude of ill will, it grew into a distinct political party.

Bismarck had made use of the "Liberals" to obtain a united Germany. That attained, he threw them over for the Conservatives. By utilizing the anti-Semitic wave, he was able to discredit the Liberals, since Jews largely belonged to that party and its leader, Eduard Lasker, was a Jew. Feeling and ill-feeling ran high, at times reaching the stage of anti-Jewish riots and boycotts. The anti-Semites persisted in seeking through legislation to drive Jews from public posts and to prevent their immigration. They were base enough to revive the Blood Accusation, though clever enough to know it a slander. The movement spread to Hungary and Austria. Later it reached France and found expression there in anti-Jewish books and journals.

The persecution of Alfred Dreyfus falsely charged with treason, had a strong anti-Semitic foundation. His solitary confinement in a cage on Devil's Island, Guiana, from 1895-1899 stirred the whole civilized world. Our co-religionist Joseph H. Reinach, editor, scientist, author and statesman was the first and most insistent advocate of his innocence. Other eminent defenders were the novelist Emile Zola and Colonel Picquart. Largely through their efforts, Dreyfus was not only pardoned, but vindicated and restored to all his military honors.

In dissecting anti-Semitism, we usually find a mixture of three elements, reactionary monorchism as against democratic liberalism of the Jew: clericalism, as against rationalism, likewise advocated by the Jew; thirdly, militarism, as against Jewish peace ideals.

Many of the anti-Semitic charges are childish and must tax the credulity even of the most prejudiced. At times they depict the Jews in conspiracy against the human race. Yet the influence of anti-Semitism on the Jews has been in some respects salutary. It has roused the lethargic and indifferent and deepened the feeling of mutual responsibility.

Slander against the Jews reached its climax in the Twentieth Century in the deliberate fabrication of a story that the Jews had ever been and were still, in a conspiracy to overthrow Christendom; that they have been the secret cause of all revolutions and were planning through a mysterious organization known as the "Elders of Zion" to dominate the world. To substantiate this wicked charge these enemies of Israel forged a document which they called the "proceedings" of this Jewish body and then claimed that they had accidentally discovered it. This abortive calumny was first launched in Russia and used to divert the discontent of the masses from the autocratic government, to the Jew, — the perpetual scapegoat of the world's woes. Its publication led to many Jewish pogroms in Russia. This literary forgery was then translated and carried to Germany. It was then turned into English; but as it contained many attacks against Britain, these were carefully removed. In this form it was circulated in England and America under the title "The World's Unrest." A Jewish scholar, Lucien Wolf, exposed the entire fabrication and "The Times," the leading English journal, finally repudiated the charge. But still, periodicals are issued in many lands containing excerpts from this wicked and false charge, with the sole object of bringing discredit on the Jew and fomenting ill-will against him.

This situation has brought despair to some, but is a stimulus to others. This logically brings us to the consideration of a movement that has received the name of Zionism.

Zionism.

A recrudescence of prejudice and persecution at the close of the 19th century finding expression in antiSemitism, anti-alien legislation, pogroms and expulsions, has shifted Jewish population from eastern Europe to more western centers. But at the same time throwing the Jew back upon himself, it has deepened the Jewish consciousness and sense of responsibility.

On some it has had the further effect of reawakening a Jewish national sentiment and strengthening Jewish racial individuality. This state of mind has crystallized under the name of Zionism. This was at first a movement launched by Theodor Herzl, an Austrian litterateur, to establish a Jewish State in Israel's old home, Zion, by the friendly aid of the Great Powers. These ideas were embodied in a book entitled "Juden-Staat" issued in 1896, proposing that Palestine, or at least that part of it once known as Judea, should become a legally assured home, as a haven for the oppressed in despotic lands. But furthermore, the expectation was voiced that it might become the voluntary home of many Jews dissatisfied with their status in liberal lands, and who felt an awakening of a national sense of Jews, stimulated by the revival of national feeling for independence by many subject races in recent years in different parts of the world.

But long before the days of Theodor Herzl the desire for a Jewish State in Palestine found many exponents early in the 19th century even among the Gentiles, as a romantic idea, from Hollingsworth and Laurence Oliphant to George Eliot and Hall Caine. Among the Jews — these that fostered those aims called themselves Chovevi-Zion (Lovers of Zion) the chief of these being Moses Hess.

This movement might be called the advance herald fostering the national idea and promoting Jewish colonization, in the Holy Land. This was further encouraged by the historian Graetz and by the poet Emma Lazarus. Quite a literature grew around it. The actual founding of Colonization Societies as the next step in the movement, took practical effect as early as 1874.

It is important to distinguish between Israel's restoration to the Holy Land through the providence of God,—under the leadership of a Messiah King of the House of David, — a doctrine of Orthodox Judaism, and the Zionist project, which is a political and secular undertaking entirely distinct from the traditional beliefs of the Synagogue. Indeed, it was opposed by some Orthodox Jews (such as the Chief Rabbi Herman Adler and Lucien Wolf of England), who believed in the restoration only in a divine and miraculous way. At the same time, Zionism has been supported by some Reform Jews who had given up the Orthodox doctrine of a belief in a personal Messiah. Furthermore the movement is espoused by many who do not believe in Jewish nationalism, yet sympathetically and appreciatively encourage the development of the movement as a wondrous experiment in national revival.

But, on the whole, the movement at first met with intense opposition. For the most part from liberal Jews such as Claude Montefiore of England, scholar and philanthropist, and Dr. Kaufman Kohler, here, President of the Hebrew Union College.

So the line of cleavage is not only between Orthodox and Reform, but for the moment more intensely perhaps between Nationalists and anti-Nationalists. The latter, who are non-Zionists, accept only the nationalism of their respective fatherlands and claim to be Jews by religion. They recognize vividly the sentimental tie uniting them with their co-religionists, intensified by historic background and fifteen centuries of persecution. They differentiate between a Jewish race which they question, and the perpetuation of a Jewish type created through centures of segregation.

But the movement has rapidly grown in the teeth of much antagonism and has gradually won the adherence of many who at first opposed it. It is remarkable the enthusiasm it has awakened among its increasing votaries and the appeal it has made to many skeptics who had fallen out of touch with the Synagogue. Among these we may specially mention one of its leaders, Max Nordau, the litterateur.

To those unimpressed by its national aspect it makes appeal as a cultural movement. For it has revived Hebrew as a spoken tongue and has cultivated a knowledge of Jewish history and literature through its publication of books and pamphlets. Its further encouragement of Jewish art and folk customs has tended to strengthen Jewish individuality and has given new confidence to some of our brethren frankly to assert their Jewish affiliation, where before the tendency had been rather to keep it shrinkingly in the background.

The first Zionist Congress was called in 1897 in Basle. Such congresses met annually in some European city and the attendance grew successively larger. The movement has branches all over the world and vast sums have been raised for Palestinian restoration. It is divided into separate groups according to different interpretations of its purpose. On the extreme right there are the Mizrachi (Oriental), those who make the acceptance of Orthodox Judaism a sine-qua non of their adherence, on the extreme left the Poele Zion (Zionist workers), made up of radicals in the labor group, who would entirely dissever religion from Zionism. But while there are some Zionists then who do not observe Judaism, concerned with the people and not with the faith, — on the whole, it must be said that the tendency of the movement has been to bring many to the Synagogue and estrange none from it. Whatever our views, we cannot but be impressed by the idealism of those who for the love of the land of their fathers, are ready to settle in a country not rich in resources, at best, and wasted by centuries of Turkish neglect, when on the ground of mere material interest the United States, South America or the English Colonies are more alluring and offer fuller opportunity for worldly success.

The rapid march of events in the world at large has given a new aspect to the Zionist situation. This will be considered in the next, the closing chapters.


NOTES AND REFERENCES:


Emma Lazarus:—Her Jewish poems have been separately issued by the "American Hebrew," in a volume called "Songs of a Semite." She translated some poems of Heine, one of which is quoted in this volume.

The following verses not only illustrate the genius of our poet, but also show what has been done for the Russian emigrant in America.

"Since that day till now our life is one unbroken paradise We live a true brotherly life. Every evening after supper we take a seat under the mighty oak and sing our songs." Extract from a letter of a Russian refugee in Texas.

The hounded stag that has escaped the pack,

And pants at ease within a thick-leaved dell;

The unimprisoned bird that finds the track

Through sun-bathed space, to where his fellows dwell;

The martyr, granted respite from the rack,

The death-doomed victim, pardoned from his cell. —

Such only know the joy these exiles gain, —

Life's sharpest rapture is surcease from pain.


Strange faces theirs, where through the Orient sun

Gleams from the eyes and glows athwart the skin.

Grave lines of studious thought and purpose run

From curl-crowned forehead to dark-bearded chin.

And over all the seal is stamped thereon

Of anguish branded by a world of sin,

In fire and blood through ages on their name,

Their seal of glory and the Gentile's shame.


Freedom to love the law that Moses brought,

To sing the songs of David, and to think

The thoughts Gabirol to Spinoza taught,

Freedom to dig the common earth, to drink

The universal air — for this they sought

Refuge o'er wave and continent, to link

Egypt with Texas in their mystic chain,

And truth's perpetual lamp forbid to wane.


Hark! through the quiet evening air, their song

Floats forth with wild, sweet rhythm and glad refrain.

They sing the conquest of the spirit strong,

The soul that wrests the victory from pain;

The noble joys of manhood that belong

To comrades and to brothers. In their strain

Rustle of palms and Eastern streams one hears,

And the broad prairie melts in mist of tears.

Baron de Hirsch:—The story of American Jewish philanthropy would not be complete without a record of the benefactions of Baron de Hirsch (born in Munich, 1831, died in Hungary, 1896), one of the greatest financiers of Europe. In 1873 he gave to the Alliance Israelite Universelle one million francs for the establishment of Jewish schools in the Orient for general education, and a yet larger amount for trade schools and for Alliance work generally. Russia having refused his offer of a large grant to aid its Jewish subjects within the land itself, he decided to help them by emigration from it. He therefore established under English laws, the Jewish Colonization Association, placing £2,000,000 at its disposal. At his death he left it $45,000,000. After sending his agents all over the world, he chose Argentina as the most suitable land for agricultural colonies for emigrant Russian Jews. Largely because of these colonies there are 75,000 Jews in Argentina to-day.

To aid emigrants in the United States, he established in New York the Baron de Hirsch Fund with a capital of $2,500,000. Its benefits include aid in furthering transportation within America; education in the language of the country; the establishment of trade schools, and the institution of an agricultural colony in Woodbine, N. J. This developed into a Jewish town. This fund also assists the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, which . enables some Jews to buy farms and others to settle in less crowded parts of the country.

In 1891 he established under the Austrian government an organization which he subsidized with twelve million francs for the improvement of the condition of the Jews of Galicia by the establishment of elementary, handicraft, agricultural, professional, commercial and technical schools; also for needed support both of pupils and teachers.

His varied benefactions far exceed $100,000,000.

His wife, Baroness Clara de Hirsch, not only followed but also inspired many of his benefactions. At his death she augmented with her own fortune most of his philanthropic foundations. Her gifts were as widely international. In New York she established a Home for Working Girls. She gave and willed to benevolent causes $25,000,000.

(See Jews in Many Lands, Elkan Adler. J.P.S.A. "A Visit to Moiseville.")

Adolph Sutro, b. 1830, gave his immense estate for a park to the city of 'San Francisco, of which he was mayor.

Jews in Agriculture:—What Baron de Hirsch was to the Argentina Colony, Baron Edmund de Rothschild was in a smaller measure to the Palestinian Colonies. The Jewish Colonization Association aided both. Other agricultural colonies have been established in South Dakota, Louisiana, Oregon, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, aided by different Jewish Agricultural Societies. In this connection there has also been established by Dr. Joseph Krauskopf, the National Farm School at Doylestown, Pa. There also exists Jewish Farmers' Asociations.

A monthly, "The Jewish Farmer", in Yiddish and English, on the lines of advanced agricultural publications is published in New York.

(See Jews in Argentina, Article "Jews in Latin America" Amer. Jewish Year Book, 5678, p. 44.)

Zionism:—See volumes on this subject by Prof. Richard Gottheil and Horace Kallen.

Territorialism:—As a mere refuge for oppressed Jews in a legally assured home, Argentina, East Africa and Mesopotamia have been severally considered. With such hope in view Israel Zangwill has fathered a movement that he calls Territorialism — that is, any territory granting to the Jews political autonomy.

Penina Moise: American Jewish Year Book, 5666.

Solomon Schechter: American Jewish Year Book, 5677.

Jewish Americanization Agencies — Charles S. Bernheimer, Am. J. Year Book, vol. 23.

America and the Jew:—When Russian consuls refused to vise the passports of American Jews who wished to visit Russia, the United States Government abrogated its treaty with Russia, which had continued in force since 1832. For it was regarded as an infringement of their rights, not as Jews, but as Americans. (American Jewish Year Book, Vols. 5670, 5672.) The United States, at a much earlier day, had intervened to obtain better treatment for the Jews of Morocco. Her pleas on behalf of Jews in Switzerland and in Roumania, have already been mentioned.

Themes for Discussion:— (a) Contrast bigotry against the Jews in the Middle Ages with Anti-Semitism of modern times. (b) Show how American democracy has influenced the Synagogue.