Hopes on the New Year as We Turn to Traditional
Adherence to Faith . . . Drawing Strength for the
Zionist Idea Out of the Lessons of an Earlier Era
Historic Experience in Jewry's Major Libertarian Aspiration
For the sake of historical accuracy, human experience must be applied to the currencies in life.
A new movement on the American Jewish scene—the American Zionist Federation—could be ignored
or too-easily waved away had it not been for the lessons of the past and the malevolence of the present.
Since the emergence of Israel as the reborn Jewish state, there has been an organized campaign of
extreme vileness seeking to denigrate the Zionist idea and to label it viciously as an aggressive force.
History will deal properly with this attempt to introduce hatred where there should be appreciation of
and admiration for one of the greatest libertarian ideas of our time.
Equally puzzling at times is the attitude of Jews who may be misled by the hatred of antagonists
to Jewry and to Israel and who fail to recognize the validity of a great idea into which there continue
to merge world Jewry's major forces.
This is where a significant historic Jewish experience beckons revival for a recognition of the mag-
nitude of the obligations that devolve upon all Jews—as much today as in the years that preceded Is-
Turning back the pages of time to April 1929. we are reintroduced to one of the great figures of
our time who, having been the leader of ranks that were known both as anti- and non-Zionists, began to
pronounce faith in the movement for Jewish national rebirth. Louis Marshall was the giant in American
Jewry. He was the president of the American Jewish Committee. He was a guiding light in the ranks
of American Jewry greatest philanthropic effort—the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. .9e
was considered an opponent of the political Zionist idea for Jewish national
redemption. But in April 1929, at a dinner in his honor at the Brooklyn
Jewish Center, given by the United Palestine Appeal, he appeared in his true
form, a Jew steeped in love for the past and its aspiration and the hope for
redemption in our own time, when he told the vast gathering: "The failure of
Palestine will be a lasting disgrace upon our people."
Re meant the Palestine of his day which became the Israel of our day,
and what he declared in that brief statement was predicated upon this declara-
tion of his:
"I am a non-Zionist, but have always bad a love for the Holy Land.
I have always felt attracted by the land from which came from the Bible,
and where our prophets lived, where were made the greatest contributions
of the civilization of the world.
"For a long time I looked upon the Zionist ideal as a dream. Some
ideas connected with the Zionist movement I could not accept. One thing
I and every Jew owes is a sense of duty and obligation to help build Palestine for those Jews who
wids to live there, to make of it a center, the home of our culture, and a place of refuge for our
brothers and sisters living in lands of oppression and persecution."
It was a very few years after he had uttered these words and expressed the sentiment in the last
quoted sentence that the reality of inhuman treatment of Jews became all-too-apparent to the entire
world, and 7innism became the great motivating force for Jewish redemption. One wonders whether
Louis Marshall would have become- a Zionist and a Shekel-payer. But at that time he, like most Jews, ex-
pressed doubt about the realization of the Zionist dream.He said in that speech in Brooklyn in 1929:
"Zionists are not asked to abate their principles. You or I will never live to see the Jews a ma-
jority in Palestine, but we can live to see the day when there will be a body of Jews we can be proud
of, who know bow to cultivate their land and establish their industries. Let the world know that Zionists
and non-Monists are united in the only thing worth while. Trust in God."
This was an introduction to the formation of the Jewish Agency for Palestine which was formed by
Louis Marshall and Dr. Chaim Weizmann in Zurich, Switzerland, in August of that year (1929). Mr.
Marshall died in Zurich during those proceedings.
History finds reality in the utterances of Louis Marshall in the year of the founding of the Jewish
What Louis Marshall said then provides a guiding principle for all Jews who are united in support
of the Zionist idea, whether they are affiliated Zionists or not, although it can well be believed that Mar-
shall in the era of Israel's reality also would have become an affiliated Zionist. He said in that historic
speech anticipating the founding of the Jewish Agency:
"We must work together. Don't expect a miracle from the mere fact that we are united. Don't
imagine your work is over. It means hard work for all: co-operation by all. It means a larger consti-
tuency and larger funds. We must be one and inseparable, and with that progress we can accomplish a
miracle. When 4,000,000 Jews in the United States (remember: it was in 1929!) unite in the great
movement, added to the Jews of other countries, all seeking the same end, we shall have an army which
will be invincible. We have gone thus far; we must go further. We cannot admit the bankruptcy of the
Jewish people. The failure of Palestine will be a lasting disgrace upon our people . . ."
Thus, the non-Zionist Louis Marshall framed reasoning in support of Zionism stronger than any
Zionist could do even in those days of Israel's reality.
History has its way of emphasizing such realities: the Louis Marshall saga proves it.
There is a splendid anecdote about Louis Marshall which describes his brilliance and which needs
retelling at this time.
He was one of the leading if not the leading constitutional lawyer- of his time. He appeared before
the Court of Appeals in Albany, N.Y., as a young lawyer, and soon achieved national reputation as a prac-
ticing lawyer in Syracuse. N.Y. (before going to New York City).
Short in stature, diffident, unassuming, giving little attention to his attire, as those of us who knew
him could testify, wearing hats that seemed oversized, with wide brims, in baggy trousers, his townsmen
also said that like his fellow citizens he wore leather boots into which he often crammed his trousers.
Just before he was to appear in an important case at the high court in Albany, as a very young
lawyer, he found himself with a number of guests who were seated at a table in the hotel room drinking
wine. The big lawyers from New York saw in him a farmer to have some fun with and they called out
to him: "Come in, stranger, and join us."
Marshall sat down with them and then one chap said: "Haow's crops daown your way?" The young
Jewish lawyer sensed at once that there was a desire to poke fun at him and he played the game: "Fair
to middlin'," he replied.
Thereupon another piped up with the question:
"An' haow's the caows?" Women giggled, the men were smug, but Marshall replied: "They're
There were other questions, Marshall was given a glass of wine and was asked to make a toast.
"Don't mind if I do," he said, and the man who before very long was to gain a world reputation as an
orator, in repartee, as a great lawyer, rose and said:
"Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you health, happiness and more wisdom as your years advance.
bearing ever in mind that outward appearances may he deceiving. You took me for a boob because of
my clothes: for the same reason I took you to be ladies and gentlemen. We were both mistaken."
The shock that came to the gathering of lawyers can be imagined. But it was not as great as when
they suddenly faced the man who was to beat them at their legal game in the courtroom the next morning.
(Copyright MO, JTA, Inc.)
Orchestra Hall: The Page in Local History
Razing of Orchestra Hall, which is to be replaced by a cafeteria,
arouses protests. There are historically-minded people who recall the
many important cultural events that took -place there, and they'd like
to preserve the structure. It's an unrealistic complaint because neigh-
borhoods and semi-public buildings often must go in the process of
changing times. But it won't be easy to forget the Orchestra Hall
in which so many great performances, such a variety of function.:
had taken place.
In Orchestra Hall, the eminent Osslp Gabrilowitsch (son-in-law of
Mark Twain) conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
When the 12th Street area ceased being a Jewish quarter and the
old People's Theater was shut down, the Yiddish Theater performances
were presented in Orchestra Hall.
It was an important cultural center, and it is certain soon to be
but a memory of the past.
2—Frilly, October 2, 1970
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Some Day . . . Men of Good Will in All Countries
Will Find a Way of Living Together Peacefully
Of course, there are good , qualities and evil ones in man, and
there are the good intentions and the bad in nations. Why brand all
men and all nations as evil, as seeking conflict, as tolerating wars?
Eli Hefetz of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, relates an
experience that is worth studying and taking into account before
judging -people. On his way from the United States, returning to Israel,
he missed his plane in a European capital and at the airport the
tourist information bureau booked a room for him at a hotel. Next
to him was a couple, similarly stranded, and they also were assigned
a room in the same hotel. Prof. Hefetz discovered that they were
Professor G. of Cairo University and his wife. The clerk suggested
they take a taxi together, which they did—the Weizmann Institute
professor and the Cairo professor, a man of 45, immaculately dressed,
and his wife, about 35, dressed in the height of European fashion.
They introduced themselves, and the Israeli told the Egyptians that
he was returning from the U.S. after a two-year stay there. From
this point on, Dr. Hefetz relates the balance of the story as follows:
At first they seemed somewhat taken aback, but the professor
came round quickly. smiled, and said: "Well, it's time there was
peace between us." This time it was I who was taken aback by the
opening remark. I had met scores of people from Arab states and
had never heard such opening remarks from any of them. The
professor continued: "Intelligent people must come to an arrange:
ment by peaceful means. War brings no one any good." I said I
fully agreed with him, and that the two parties must meet in order
to come to an arrangement. Our taxi drew up, and we took our
, The professor continued: "Look at the French and the Germans.
They had fought one another for scores of years and now they are
living in peace. One day we ten may live in peace, and all this
hatred will be forgotten. We are even cousins by race."
I asked how many people thought likewise, and he replied: "All
Intelligent people, people who think. Look here," he said, "we don't
recognize the state of Israel, but that's sheer folly en our part. After
all, the state of Israel is not on the moon; it's in the. Middle East.
It has power, citizens, allies. I don't profess any love for it, mind
you, but it exists, and I can't help accepting its existence."
I replied that we had always been anxious to sit down for talks.
He shook his head in assent and continued: "The economic situation
in Egypt is very serious. The war has impoverished us. I am a
professor at the university, but In order to be able to take a modest
trip to Europe, I had to stint myself for years. We spend such a lot
on the war effort."
POWERS TO BLAME
His wife who was sitting between us kept silent. She apparently
was not pleased with the way in which her husband was talking.
I said that If the heads of state in Egypt bad thought as be did
there would long since have been understanding between us. "The
military powers are to blame for everything," be replied. He didn't
explain himself because at that moment our taxi drew up at the
hotel. We came up to the reception desk together: an Egyptian and
an Israeli engaged in friendly conversation, and submitting pass-
ports of two enemy countries to the surprised clerk. When we re-
ceived the keys to our rooms, I said to the couple: "Our chat has
given me a let of encouragement. May I ask you to be my guests
for dinner?" The professor accepted my invitation gladly, But when
I suggested that we meet in the lounge In half-an-hour's time, he
said that they felt very tired, but that they would be glad to meet
me later in the evening. I suggested that they knock at my door when
they were ready. We parted as friends in the hope that we might
be able to continue our interesting talk. Even the woman who looked
so perplexed while we were talking smiled to me.
In my room I turned our conversation over in my . mind. The
opinion I beard is surely not expressed publicly in Egypt, I thought.
The professor, I felt, was sincere and frank; somehow be gave me
the impression of having relieved himself of something that had
weighed heavily on his heart; that he was dissatisfied with the
.policy of his government. The very fact that an Egyptian professor
who had not been out of Egypt for years thought in such terms
showed that there were breaches in the Arab wall of hatred.
But Dr. Hefetz was destined for disappointment. The knock on his
door never came. He concluded his narrative of his experience as
I waited until 9 o'clock and then went out to dine alone, leaving
the two Arabs in their room, frightened perhaps, but certainly hungry.
Early the following morning, before leaving the hotel to eaten
my plane for Led, I left this note to my new friend: "My dear
friend, Salam (in Arabic). Our talk last night had caused me great
excitement, because I had begun to believe in the existence of some
common language between us. It's precisely on account of that that
you caused me such deep sorrow in not accepting my Invitation.
It's diCi"uit to shake eff the impression that your reaction is similar
to the attitude of the Arabs during the last two decades. Don't take
this is a personal slur, since I fully appreciate your difficult situa-
tion. When peace comes, do come to my house for a cup of coffee
and a friendly chat—Eli Hefetz, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot."
What, indeed, causes the failure to get people together? What keeps
them apart? Why couldn't three intelligent people meet for dinner
and continue their conversation amicably?
It is fear! If not for fear, even the handful of rulers over the Arab
natio"s surely would have met with Israelis to make peace.
How can we end fears? That's mankind's most serious problem
and Israel's most distressing confrontation with reality.
A New Year Emerges Out of Tension and Strife
As time progresses, the tensions are growing, strife is increasing, life becomes less
valuable, brother fights brother, and Genocide is a common term.
Yet the prayers about to be chanted in synagogues throughout the world, the hopes
to be expressed, will not be chants of despair but expressions of hope.
When people hold fast to liberty, they also retain hope. Israel is a typical example:
It is populated primarily with survivors from Nazism, and they and their kinsmen say there
won't be another Auschwitz or Dachau or Bergen- Belsen for them. Therefore they have hope
and cherish it.
We live in a tragic age, but we can make it less despairing if we refuse to abandon
This is the spirit with which we turn to the synagogues to usher' in a New Year.-
This is the spirit with which we say to all: May the Ndw. Agf:sillpitigyitCYAlf J:t1p§k-
lugs as an end to the curses of the past!: