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April 06, 1979 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-04-06

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

Friday, April 6 1979 31

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Fond Remembrances of Einstein on His Centennial

By DAVID SCHWARTZ
(Copyright 1979, JTA, Inc.)

;-;

The world is marking the
100th birthday of albert
Einstein. I remember Eins-
tein's first public appear-
ance in America. It was at a
meeting under the auspices
of the Zionist Organization
of America. It took place at
Carnegie Hall. On the plat-
form sat Einstein sur-
rounded by a group of
American Jewish leaders.
The chairman, beginning
the meeting, discussed the
general Jewish situation
and then spoke of the honor
of having in their presence
one of the world's admit-
tedly great men.
At this reference to Eins-
tein, there was a wide
applause in which not only
the audience joined but all
those on the platform — in-
cluding Einstein who vigor-
ously clapped his hands.
Those sitting beside Eins-
tein nudged him smilingly
pointing out that the
speaker was referring to
him. Then a broad grin sur-
faced over Einstein's face.
English was a strange lan-
guage to him and he had
applauded simply because
the others were applauding.
He had no idea what had
been said.
One man who enjoyed
especially good relations
with Einstein was Morris
Margulies, then secre-
tary of the ZOA. On one of
Einstein's first days in
America, Margulies had
visited him and found
him a little sullen. Eins-
tein missed his music,
especially his piano. If he
could only have a piano.
Margulies saw to it_ at
once that bis hotel quar-
ters was provided with a
piano.
A short time afterward,
Margulies went to see him
again to ask him to make an
appearance at a Zionist
meeting. Einstein tried to
excuse himself. He had al-
ready spoken enough, he
thought. Mrs. Einstein in-
tervened. "But Albert," she
said, "Mr. Margulies is the
man who got you your
piano."
"Oh really," said Eins-

tein. He hadn't realized it.
Of course, he said, he would
be glad to comply with Mar-
gulies' request. After that,
anyone who had a favor to
ask of Einstein just had to
see Margulies.
David Ben-Gurion had
been in America and
gone to see Einstein to try
to persuade him to be-
come the George Wash-
ington of Israel — be the
first president. He felt
that this would give great
prestige to the new state.
Einstein had not ap-
proved of the idea from
the beginning, but he
agreed to consider it, but
finally turned it down.
He wouldn't be PreSident

of Israel but was ready to do
the most menial work for it.
One time when a leader of
the United Palestine Ap-
peal was quoted as saying
that the response of'the pub-
lic seemed to be diminish-
ing, Einstein wrote a letter
saying this was the reverse
in his own house-to-house
canvas in Princeton for
funds for Israel.
The most acclaimed man
of the world in his day, he
seemed to have no sense at
all of any personal -impor-
tance. When he first came to
the Institute for Advanced
Studies in Princeton, he was
asked what he expected in
the way of remuneration._
He suggested that possibly

his salary should be $3,000
a year. When he saw the
look of astonishment on the
faces of those around him,
he thought maybe he had
asked too much and im-
mediately suggested a
lower sum. Of course, his
salary was set at a consider-
ably higher level.
He was not consciously
humble. He was ready at all
times to speak out against
the most established
authorities on what he
thought was right — he
even had a kind of contempt
for authorities, But this was
not tied to any exaggerated
feeling of self-importance.
When someone said
that it was strange he

didn't have any note
book to jot down ideas
which might occur to
him, Einstein replied that
he didn't have so many
new ideas. If he had a
new idea, he said, he re-
membered it.
He advanced truth above
that of any man of his day,
yet this man had to flee his
country.

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