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November 15, 1974 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-11-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

S

were occasions when he spoke twice or three times at
By PHILIP SLOMOVITZ
dinners in Brooklyn, in Brownsville and nearby sections.
(Copyright, 1974, JTA)
The human response was wholesome, even if the money
Chaim Weizmann was the roving pleader of justice
raised was in driblets.
for his people. He is hailed as the scientist, Zionist leader
It was always the same: grapefruit, chicken, and
and Israel's first president. He is not to be forgotten as
strudel for dessert. They were the years when people sat
the shaliakh(emissary) for the oppressed and disinherited
down immediately to dinner: no cocktails and receptions
homeless to the emancipated and affluent.
to introduce the dinners.
It is as such that he moved from city to city, from
No wonder that Weizmann on one occasion should
hamlet to hamlet throughout the world, with special tasks-
have
said to a group that included this reporter (as editor
in the United' states where he needed financial assistance
at the time of the now defunct Palestine Pictorial, a United
for the Zionist libertarianism as
Palestine Appeal publication) : "Grapefruit rinnt mir shein
well as the encouragement of the
fun
die eiveren." ("Grapefruit already flows out of my
entire – people and government of
ears.")
And he seldom ate. It was the struggle of the
the United States.
pleader rather than the famished gourmet.
His American role may be sec-
In his early years, receptions for the master pleader
ond only to his relationships with
were by the largest masses. When he came to Detroit in
Arthur James Balfour and the Brit-
1922—to give one example—there was a welcoming group,
ish Cabinet in 1917. Thereafter he
of thousands which jammed the Michigan Central Railroad
was the roving propagandist and
Station. There was need for police to lead him through the
fund-raiser.
enthusiastic welcomers.
This reporter first met him in
Then came the community reception. Jewish-owned
Cleveland at the convention of the
stores were closed for the day; schools recessed and a
Zionist Organization of America at
parade was arranged down Woodward Avenue. The late
NI/ hich the Weizmann split with Su-
Captain Haeman Weiss, who chaired the reception com-
preme Court Justice Louis D.
mittee of which this reporter was secretary, led the
Brandeis and the Brandeisists took place. It was Weiz-
parade riding on a white horse. Hebrew school children
mann's first victory in the ranks of the Jewish masses of
carried an immense Zionist flag into which the thousands
this country. The wisdom of the split may still be debated,
who lined the street of the march threw coins and small
but Weizmann emerged as the unchallenged leader in
bills. There wasn't much money, but there was great
world Jewry.
enthusiasm.
He traveled back and forth from Palestine, England
Always, it was Weizmann with a remarkable sense
and France, to the United States and Canada. He pleaded
of humor. On one Detroit visit, this reporter, believing
for funds to sustain the impoverished Zionist movement.
that the story he was relating to the eminent guest might
He earned glory but the income was pitiful, yet he never
be new, undertook to narrate it. In the middle, he was
stopped pleading, and was often frustrated but never
stopped by Weizmann with a question: "You're a Litvak,
disillusioned. He had many lessons from predecessors,
aren't you?" To the "Yes" renly he added, "Then . we
from Theodor Herzl, David Wolfsohn, Otto Warburg and
understand each other.' It was his way of saying, "It's an
their associates as Zionist leaders who struggled to main-
old story, I've heard it before, and I can tell it as well
tain a great movement.
as you can."
Intermittently, this reporter met him in many areas,
Only on rare occasions did he show either displeasure
on many occasions. A notable one was the Keren Hayesod
or disillusionment, as when he'd get lots of advice on
national conference in Boston in 1926. Weizmann was
how to build the Jewish state. "I can't build the Jewish
given an entire day.- He–spoke for three hours at the
homeland in Palestine with eitzes (advice)."
_morning session; there was time out for lunch; the dele-
The last time this reporter heard Weizmann was on
gates returned to hear him for more than two additional - Nov. 2, 1949, at the dedication of one of the major science
hours at the afternoon session. He was not a spellbinder
buildings at the Weizmann'institute in Rehovot. Nearly
but his deeprooted devotions made him the dedicated
blind, he read slowly, in low voice, from a _manuscript
leader to listen tc.
typed in letters perhaps a half-inch deep. His voice had
He spoke to- select audiences in English, and loved
been affected for many years by a fish bone that lodged
to utilize his Yiddish wit and humor in his addresses to
in his throat. ,
the masses. He became the "darling of the populace—of'
Even under handicaps he was the great pleader—and
amha, the People Israel.
he was the darling of American Jewry. In the mold of this
In order to best describe his missions, it is necessary
country's Jewish community the Weizmann saga recorded
– for this reporter to recall the many meetings Weizmann
a marvelous chapter, biographically for him, historically
addressed in the New York area in the late 1920s. There
for Israel and the Jewish people.

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A Detroit aspect of the Weizmann role in stimulating
Zionist devotions was when he came here at the invitation
of a committee headed by Nate S. Shapero to mobilize
support for the burgeoning Weizmann Institute of Science. --
As will be noted in the reproduced memorandum that was
presented to Dr. Weizmann at that meeting held in what
was then the Book Cadillac Hotel, in January, 1940, some
of Detroit's most prominent citizens were Shapero's asso-
ciates in that project. Dr. Vera Weizmann accompanied
her husband on that visit to Detroit.





MI ifIOS WELCOMES

ATMSTR R S

CHURN TOUR

56--Friday, Nov. 15, 1974

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Some of the groups who have traveled to Israel within the last month via El Al Airlines
are shown above, from left, East Minister Church tour from Grand Rapids, the United Jewish
Appeal and Grace Bible Church. At left are: Adat Shalom Synagogue group and Elkin Tours.
According to Ben Hershkovitz, El Al district manager, the airline is making it possible
for thousands of people to economically visit Israel. He said no airline offers its passengers as
large a selection of low-cost group departures year-round, on non-stop 747 jumbo jets.
Hershkovitz said El Al is making a special effort this year to encourage Israeli tourism.
He said that group rates are especially economical now in the face of soaring inflation, and
that hundreds of passengers, both Christians and Jews, have taken advantage of El Al's upgraded
service in recent months.
For further information about travel to Israel, Hershkovitz urges that persons contact their
travel agent or El Al's Southfield office, 557-5737.

4

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