Monday, November 30, 2009


Top Ten Gifts Your Wife Does Not Want For Chanukah
10. A car wash kit
9. A table saw
8. Two all-day passes to Circuit City's Home Theatre Installation
7. A case of oil
6. Five-year subscription to Sports Illustrated
5. Custom engraved bowling ball
4. New outboard motor for fishing boat
3. Rambo Trilogy on DVD
2. New satellite dish with sports package
1. Three-year membership to Weight-Watchers Clinic

Top Ten Gifts Your Husband Does Not Want For Chanukah
10. Anne of Avonlea/Anne of Green Gables Collectors Edition with 74
minutes of extra footage
9. Any knick-knack
8. Tickets to the ballet
7. Another new tie
6. A Bath and Body Works Soap Basket
5. New teddy bear pajamas
4. Vacuum cleaner
3. A weekend seminar on "Getting in Touch With Your Feelings"
2. Pair of fuzzy bunny slippers
1. A nose and ear hair trimmer (OK, well maybe.)
-- Author Unknown

Friday, November 27, 2009

Be Thankful For your Jews

Back in 1492, Queen Isabella of Spain convinced herself that the Apocalypse was at hand, in advance of which the mass conversion of the Jews was required. Hoping they would stay, she gave Spain's Jews six months to either convert or leave. Although many chose to convert, a large number left; the majority of those expelled settled in Turkey, to the great benefit of the Ottoman Empire and to the detriment of Spain.

During the next few decades the Jews helped Beyezid II (the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512) to consolidate his power.

[The Sultan] expressed his astonishment at the stupidity of the Spaniards in expelling their greatest scholars and most skilled artisans, thus impoverishing their kingdoms while enriching his. The expulsion of the Jews from Iberia was indeed a windfall for the Ottoman Empire. The Sephardim who specialized in munitions founded factories on the Bosporus that produced the sophisticated artillery which enabled the Ottomans to expand their empire.

Nicolas de Nicolay, who accompanied the French ambassador to Turkey in 1551, was astounded at the abysmal Spanish stupidity: "The excellent workers in crafts and manufacturers among the newly arrived Spanish and Portuguese refugees... to the great detriment and damage of Christianity, have conveyed to the Turks many inventions, arts and machines of war, namely, how to produce artillery, guns, gunpowder, cannon balls and other weapons."

It should be noted that Beyezid II so desired the skills of the Jews that he threatened with death all those who treated the Jews harshly or refused them admission into the empire [Wiki].

After Israel became a state, the Arabs expelled almost all of their Jews. The result: Israel is the most technologically advanced market economy in the entire Middle East and, as in the case of the Manhattan Project and the Ottoman Empire, Jews again excelled in advanced military weaponry. The U.S., Russia and Israel, supply about half of the world's arms exports [StrategyPage].

Indeed, Israel Creates more in One Month than Islam in a Century [Planck's Constant].

After 1948, with more than 700,000 Jews expelled from their countries, the economies of Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria suffered immensely. One result of all these Jews coming to Israel: her GDP per person ($28,000+) is higher than that of her four Arab neighbors COMBINED.

So this Thanksgiving I wish to give a message to all those countries that have Jews: be thankful for those you still have.

The Mighty Atom - Strongman

Strongman who became known as The World's Biggest Little Man
Born: 1893 - Suvalk, Poland
Died: October 8, 1977 - Brooklyn, New York

Joseph Greenstein, a.k.a. The Mighty Atom was born a sickly child in a small village in Poland. More than once during his childhood doctors were certain he would not survive, but he managed to make it through.

When he was a young teenager, he was caught sneaking under a tent into the circus and severely beaten by an angry stagehand. He was rescued from the beating by a circus strongman named Champion Volanko who decided to put the boy under his wing and trained him on strengthening his body and mind.

Greenstein traveled with Volanko and the Issakov Brothers' Circus for the next 18 months. After leaving the circus, a changed man, both physically and mentally, he moved back home, married, and began wrestling under the name "Kid Greenstein."

Soon after he immigrated to America with his family, settling in Galveston, Texas where he worked in oil fields. In 1914, a man who was obsessed with Greenstein's wife, shot him right between the eyes, and as the story goes, the bullet merely flattened on his forehead.

As a result of this near death experience, Greenstein became determined to hone both his mind and body and began developing many unusual feats of strength. Soon, the 5'5, 145 lb Greenstein was traveling the country as a strongman under the pseudonym of The Mighty Atom.

Some of his feats of strength included:

* Pulling a 32 ton truck with his hair.
* Holding back an airplane with his hair.
* Lying on a bed of nails supporting a 14 person band on his chest.
* Breaking up to three chains by expanding his chest.
* Removing a car tire from its rim, bending steel bars, spikes and horse shoes, all with his bare hands.
* Driving spikes into wood planks with his palm.

The Mighty Atom became a huge sensation on the vaudeville circuit traveling throughout the United States and Europe. He was considered to be one of the most remarkable strongmen of the 20th Century--A modern day Sampson. His most famous exploit took place on September 29th, 1928 at the Buffalo Airport, when in front of a large crowd of witnesses, he held his ground with his hair tied to an airplane accelerating at 60mph.

One of the Mighty Atom's deeply held beliefs was essentially that "if you think you can do something, you can do something, just by conquering your own mind." Through a combination of Asian concentration methods and Jewish mystical writings, he taught himself how to unlearn the mechanism that forces us to stop doing things when we think we have reached our physical limits. He was a vegetarian, although at the time such a diet was almost unheard of.

Throughout his life, Greenstein actively supported Jewish causes and helped sell World War I and II war bonds. During World War II, The Mighty Atom gave jujitsu and judo demonstrations to help recruit men into the New York Police Department, which was running low on recruits.

He continued to perform his strongman act until he was 83 years old, when he gave his last performance at Madison Square Garden on May 11, 1977. A biography of him was written by Ed Speilman called The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein: The Mighty Atom, World's Strongest Man."

He died in Brooklyn, at the age of 84.

Interesting Facts

* The Mighty Atom was featured several times in "Ripley's Believe it or Not."
* The 1976 Guinness Book of World Records cites him as having "the world's strongest bite."
* He traveled in an old Model A truck full of citations from civic leaders and press clippings.
* He was honored by NYC Mayor LaGuardia for his contributions on behalf of the NYPD.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuvia Bielski - Partisan Leader

Born: May 8, 1906, Stankiewicze, Belarus
Died: December 6, 1986, New York, NY

Tuvia Bielski Polish Army
Tuvia Bielski Polish Army Uniform

Tuvia Bielski was born in 1906 in Stankiewicze, Belarus, an area which had alternately been a part of Poland, Russia and Lithuania. He was one of 12 other siblings. He was drafted into the Polish Army in 1927, where he eventually became a corporal in the 30th Infantry Battalion. He fought in Warsaw and also became an accomplished trainer.

After he left the army he married two times, and when World War II broke out he was called up by the army to fight the invading Nazis. Owing to so much chaos the units disbanded and Bielski fled back to Stankiewicze, which the Nazis now occupied. Eventually, his parents, two brothers and other members of his family were murdered by the Nazis. Determined to fight back, he, along with brothers Asael and Zus, went to the Nalibok�w forest to fight Nazis as partisans.

Soon Bielski and his band had waged many successful attacks against the Nazis and their collaborators. He also rescued many Jews from ghettos. They soon joined with other partisan groups in their operations disabling German infrastructure and killing German soldiers and collaborators.

Tuvia Bielski saw his principal mission as saving the lives of his fellow Jews. The Bielskis encouraged Jews in nearby Lida, Nowogrodek, Minsk, Iwie, Mir, Baranowicze, and other ghettos to escape and join them in the forest. Bielski frequently sent guides into the ghettos to escort people to the forest. In late 1942, a special mission saved over a hundred Jews from the Iwie ghetto just as the Germans planned to liquidate it. Bielski scouts constantly searched the roads for Jewish escapees in need of protection.

Bielski's band built a functioning village in the forest. His workshops employed up to 200 people including cobblers, tailors, carpenters, leather workers, and blacksmiths. "In addition, the group established a mill, a bakery, and a laundry. The leadership managed a primitive infirmary, a school for the children, a synagogue, and even a courthouse/jail. Work groups supplied the camp with food and cleared the land where possible for the cultivation of wheat and barley."

Because they were hunted by SS and police officials numbering up to 20,000, they were constantly on the move. In 1944, Bielski married his wife Lilka in the forest, to whom he remained married for the rest of their lives. In July of 1944, Bielski, along with 1200 others, was rescued by the Red Army.

After the war, he immigrated to Israel, where he volunteered for service in the War of Independence in 1948. In 1955 he came to America to receive medical treatment for health problems and ended up settling in Brooklyn, NY, where he ran a small trucking firm with his brother Zus.

Interesting Facts

* Re-buried in Jerusalem one year after his death, where he was given an Israeli military honor guard.
* The 2008 movie Defiance told the story of the Bielski partisans. Tuvia was played by actor Daniel Craig.


A film by Ariel Zylbersztejn.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The 2009 stamps of Israel

The Lower East Side: Then & Now More or LES.

By Max Gross

When the movie Defiance came out in 2008, the New York screening was studded with celebrities. Heidi Klum came to the afterparty. As did Liev Schreiber and Martha Stewart. Richard Johnson of the New York Post's Page Six could be seen with pen in hand, hoping to catch a few pearls of gossip.

The party took place at Shang, a spanking new Asian restaurant in a boutique hotel called Thompson LES. LES, of course, stands for Lower East Side. Thompson LES sits on Orchard Street, in the heart of the historic neighborhood where Jewish pushcart operators once elbowed each other for space on the sidewalk. It seemed a fitting place for a splashy premiere of a movie about Jews. No other neighborhood in New York melds old world Jewry with the hip and the trendy.

There is still a mikvah on the Lower East Side and numerous landmarked synagogues. Jews in search of a cultural fix might stop by Yonah Schimmel's for a knish, or Katz's Deli for a pastrami sandwich. Or, to literally experience something schmaltzy, one can go to Sammy's Roumanian, where each table comes equipped with a syrup jar filled with yellow rendered chicken fat which is applied liberally to any order of chopped liver.

But with the commercial nostalgia, there is also still a real Orthodox Jewish presence. Along East Broadway, there are synagogues and yeshivas that advertise themselves solely in Hebrew. Orthodox housewives in wigs can be seen ambling in pairs along Grand Street. There are still kosher butchers and bakers, and luncheonettes with names like "Zafis." The Orthodox ebbed (starting in the 1930s) but in the last decade or so, the numbers have swelled again.

The Lower East Side wasn't always Jewish. According to Kenneth Jackson's Encyclopedia of New York City, the first tenement appeared in 1833 and was inhabited mostly by Irish families. And since then Germans, Italians, Poles, and Chinese drifted in and out of its borders. But after the massive influx of Jewish immigration starting in the late 19th century, the Lower East Side became synonymous with the place where Jews got their start in the New World.
The Jews Arrive

Congregation Anshi Chesed was founded on Norfolk Street in 1849. When the Bialystoker Synagogue was founded on Hester Street in 1865, the neighborhood's Jewish population was still somewhat modest. But by the time one of the grandest of the area synagogues--the Eldridge Street Synagogue--was founded in 1887, Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe was in full force (mostly due to the uptick in anti-Semitic violence in Russia).

In The World of Our Fathers, Irving Howe explains that with Jewish immigration, the Lower East Side quickly became the most crowded neighborhood in New York City. Shortly after the turn of the century the density was greater than the worst sections of Bombay.

And with the overcrowding came the ugly side effects. "The crush and stench [of Orchard Street] were enough to suffocate one," wrote Howe, "dirty children playing in the street, and perspiring Jews were pushing carts and uttering wild shrieks... dark tenements, filthy sidewalks; saloons on nearly every corner; sinister red lights in the vestibules of many small frame houses."

The overcrowding reached its peak in 1906 when 153,748 Jews arrived in America from Eastern Europe. After World War II, Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side were replaced by blacks and Puerto Ricans and, in the 1960s, by Dominicans and Chinese. Junkies and squatters always had a place, as did students and artists attracted to low rents.
The Hipsters Arrive

"Immigrants might not want to live there [the Lower East Side]," wrote Joseph Berger in his 2007 book about New York, The World in a City, "but [now] Generations X, Y, Z of young people raised on grunge, slacking and postmodern irony have found this neighborhood to their liking."

The Bowery--the road that runs from the East Village into the Lower East Side--has long been known as New York's skid row. In the mid-19th century the Bowery was the home of rival gangs and hoodlums, as well as flophouses and brothels which lasted to the end of the 20th century. Bob Dylan mentioned the Bowery slums in "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" on his album Bringing it All Back Home. And any rock connoisseur knows the name of the late, lamented rock club CBGB's, which opened on Bowery in 1973, and featured seminal bands such as Blondie, The Ramones, and Talking Heads on its stage.

By the late 1990s, however, the once-seedy area was teeming with upscale bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Restaurateurs like Keith McNally and Wylie Dufresne opened up Schiller's Liquor Bar and wd-50, respectively. (At wd-50 the tasting menu plus wine pairing runs $215 per person.) And as for clubs and bars, the long list includes rock venues like Mercury Lounge; dance spots like The Delancey, mixology joints like White Star, and gritty hipster watering holes like Welcome to the Johnsons.

And real estate boomed. Local landlords found that coldwater railroad flats could rent "for $2,000 a month that not too long before had been renting for less than $300," writes Berger. "So valuable was an empty flat that landlords were paying long-settled families $50,000 to leave."

But among the more interesting things that happened during the Lower East Side's reemergence was a strange hipster/Jewish crossover.

Ratner's, the famous dairy restaurant where Al Jolson and Fanny Brice once munched on eggs and lox, closed in 2004 and reopened as Lansky Lounge (named after the Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky), a modern speakeasy. Mo Pitkins House of Satisfaction billed itself as a Jewish-Latino club/restaurant/bar, and in addition to mixing up Manischevetinis (Manischewitz + martini), they served their treif appetizers on seder plates.

Both Mo Pitkins and Lansky Lounge since closed, but other venues have been going strong.
An old tenement on Orchard Street was turned into a luxury hotel a few years ago called the Blue Moon. Rooms--ranging from $250 a night up to $675--are named after Molly Picon, Mickey Katz, and other iconic Jews of yesteryear.

Of course Jewishness wasn't the only thing on developers' minds. One of the most carefully restored and cared for is the old Forward building on East Broadway--the home of the old socialist Yiddish newspaper, with busts of Engels and Marx carved into the stone. After turning into a Chinese church in the 1970s, in 2006 the building was sold and turned into luxury condos.

No, the Lower East Side is not the same as it was--but Marx, Engels and other busts of Jewish history have a comfortable perch overlooking East Broadway.

The Yiddish Dictionary of Fools

by Marnie Winston-Macauley

Legend has it that Eskimos (Inuit) have hundreds of words to describe snow. We Jews have hundreds of words for,"pains in the neck."

Among the many majesties of Yiddish, is its magical ability to turn words into an emotional thesaurus. Both the "good" and the "bad" alike are not merely "said." No. They're felt - in all their subtle nuance and multiple meanings. This is never more true then when we're talking about a "fool" or a "nudnek," a "shliemel," or a "schnook." Face it. We Jews don't bear fools lightly. Who had time?

So is it surprising that we have more words in Yiddish for fools than there are Golden Arches? These words are so delicious, many have become part of American jargon. Do you have the story about these words, and what they truly mean? In case you don't, as a public service, we from Jewlarious are proud to present the first ....

Yiddish- Yinglish Dictionary of Fools


An ox, with no class. He'll move your house on his back - without asking.

Chaim Yankel:

A mister nobody. His favorite color is beige.


A shrew. If her pastrami's fatty, she'll make a federal case.


A pig: He'll take home the cheap wine he brought you for Passover.


She one not only forgot her address, she's in the wrong city.


He's got a head like a rock.

Gantseh Makher:

He made a few bucks selling whoopie cushions, so suddenly he's Trump. Synonym: K'nocker


Unscrupulous, a thief. His partner's sent out an APB.

Grubber yung:

Crude. A big mouth who has dirt (from grabbing) under his fingernails.


Clumsy. She falls over her own sneakers- fastened with Velco.


A whiner. The food's salty, the place is chilly, eating out -who needs it?


A dreamer - who never wakes up. He could paint a masterpiece, if only he had an easel - and knew how.


A loony. Whether he thinks his underwear is after him or barrels over Niagra Falls, he's one letter short of an M&M.

Moishe Kapoyr:

Today he'd be called "oppositional." The family votes to hold the reunion in Vegas. He votes for Vilna.


He left his law practice to become a clown.


A doormat. When he's robbed, he apologizes for being short on cash.


A hapless unfortunate. He gets stepped on by accident a lot.


A hanger-on. She shleps the 200 pound camping gear for the group.


A persistent bore. She doesn't stop with the talking, the asking, the annoying till you want to staple his lips together.


A pesty badgerer. She tells you twelve times to check the locks. Unlike the nudnik, it could be an occasional occurrence.


A self-involved blowhard. If his last name is Moses, he thinks the Bible gave him a mention.


Unpopular outcast. Think David Duke at a Hadassah meeting.


A revolting, corrupt person. For him, there would be a very short funeral.


A drunk. She has a little chaser with her Cheerios.


A pathetic, clumsy loser. He drives over - through your living room.


An unlucky loser. He's the one the shlemiel was visiting.


Unkempt, saggy. She shleps, stooped, with her hair in strings.


And idiotic doofus. Short of a "meshuganah," he's sure he'll make a killing with his musical toilet seat ... and acts like a makher about it.


Nincompoop. A fraternal twin to a shlemiel, he's thinner and weaker.


A likeable patsy. You could sell him a time-share in Area 51, and he'll pay top dollar - for vacationing on an historical site.


A beggar. He's forever borrowing, taking advantage. Bad for a potluck party.


A lazy braggart. Not only does he blow his own horn, he doesn't own one.


A loud-mouthed, boorish female. In Loehmann's dressing room she'll yell "It would fit if you lost a few pounds!"


Socially inept. He takes you to a restaurant with a clown face and spends the evening discussing his train collection.


Lazy slob. He shows up with schmutz on his untucked shirt. To Archie Bunker, "meathead" looked like a zshlub when he met him - although he'd never say it.

Chanukah Time-Improv Anywhere

Nefesh B'Nefesh brought over 150 participants together on Ben Yehuda Street for the first ever Jerusalem flash mob in honor of Hanukkah.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Samuel Clemens "Concerning the Jews"

Concerning The Jews
Mark Twain

Some months ago I published a magazine article ^*
descriptive of a remarkable scene in the Imperial Parliament in
Vienna. Since then I have received from Jews in America several
letters of inquiry. They were difficult letters to answer, for
they were not very definite. But at last I have received a
definite one. It is from a lawyer, and he really asks the
questions which the other writers probably believed they were
asking. By help of this text I will do the best I can to
publicly answer this correspondent, and also the others - at the
same time apologizing for having failed to reply privately. The
lawyer's letter reads as follows:

[Footnote *: See Harper's Magazine for March, 1898.]

"I have read 'Stirring Times in Austria.' One point in
particular is of vital import to not a few thousand people,
including myself, being a point about which I have often wanted
to address a question to some disinterested person. The show of
military force in the Austrian Parliament, which precipitated
the riots, was not introduced by any Jew. No Jew was a member
of that body. No Jewish question was involved in the Ausgleich
or in the language proposition. No Jew was insulting anybody.
In short, no Jew was doing any mischief toward anybody
whatsoever. In fact, the Jews were the only ones of the
nineteen different races in Austria which did not have a party -
they are absolutely non-participants. Yet in your article you
say that in the rioting which followed, all classes of people
were unanimous only on one thing, viz., in being against the
Jews. Now will you kindly tell me why, in your judgment, the
Jews have thus ever been, and are even now, in these days of
supposed intelligence, the butt of baseless, vicious
animosities? I dare say that for centuries there has been no
more quiet, undisturbing, and well-behaving citizen, as a class,
than that same Jew. It seems to me that ignorance and
fanaticism cannot alone account for these horrible and unjust

"Tell me, therefore, from your vantage-point of cold view,
what in your mind is the cause. Can American Jews do anything
to correct it either in America or abroad? Will it ever come to
an end? Will a Jew be permitted to live honestly, decently, and
peaceably like the rest of mankind? What has become of the
Golden Rule?"

I will begin by saying that if I thought myself prejudiced
against the Jew, I should hold it fairest to leave this subject
to a person not crippled in that way. But I think I have no
such prejudice. A few years ago a Jew observed to me that there
was no uncourteous reference to his people in my books, and
asked how it happened. It happened because the disposition was
lacking. I am quite sure that (bar one) I have no race
prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices nor caste
prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand
any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human
being - that is enough for me; he can't be any worse. I have no
special regard for Satan; but I can at least claim that I have
no prejudice against him. It may even be that I lean a little
his way, on account of his not having a fair show. All
religions issue bibles against him, and say the most injurious
things about him, but we never hear his side. We have none but
the evidence for the prosecution, and yet we have rendered the
verdict. To my mind, this is irregular. It is un-English; it
is un-American; it is French. Without this precedent Dreyfus
could not have been condemned. Of course Satan has some kind of
a case, it goes without saying. It may be a poor one, but that
is nothing; that can be said about any of us. As soon as I can
get at the facts I will undertake his rehabilitation myself, if
I can find an unpolitic publisher. It is a thing which we ought
to be willing to do for any one who is under a cloud. We may
not pay him reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can
at least respect his talents. A person who has for untold
centuries maintained the imposing position of spiritual head of
four-fifths of the human race, and political head of the whole
of it, must be granted the possession of executive abilities of
the loftiest order. In his large presence the other popes and
politicians shrink to midges for the microscope. I would like to
see him. I would rather see him and shake him by the tail than
any other member of the European Concert. In the present paper
I shall allow myself to use the word Jew as if it stood for both
religion and race. It is handy; and, besides, that is what the
term means to the general world.

In the above letter one notes these points:

1. The Jew is a well-behaved citizen.

2. Can ignorance and fanaticism alone account for his
unjust treatment?

3. Can Jews do anything to improve the situation?

4. The Jews have no party; they are non-participants.

5. Will the persecution ever come to an end?

6. What has become of the Golden Rule?

Point No. 1.

We must grant proposition No. 1 for several sufficient
reasons. The Jew is not a disturber of the peace of any
country. Even his enemies will concede that. He is not a
loafer, he is not a sot, he is not noisy, he is not a brawler
nor a rioter, he is not quarrelsome. In the statistics of crime
his presence is conspicuously rare - in all countries. With
murder and other crimes of violence he has but little to do: he
is a stranger to the hangman. In the police court's daily long
roll of "assaults" and "drunk and disorderlies" his name seldom
appears. That the Jewish home is a home in the truest sense is
a fact which no one will dispute. The family is knitted
together by the strongest affections; its members show each
other every due respect; and reverence for the elders is an
inviolate law of the house. The Jew is not a burden on the
charities of the state nor of the city; these could cease from
their functions without affecting him. When he is well enough,
he works; when he is incapacitated, his own people take care of
him. And not in a poor and stingy way, but with a fine and
large benevolence. His race is entitled to be called the most
benevolent of all the races of men. A Jewish beggar is not
impossible, perhaps; such a thing may exist, but there are few
men that can say they have seen that spectacle. The Jew has been
staged in many uncomplimentary forms, but, so far as I know, no
dramatist has done him the injustice to stage him as a beggar.
Whenever a Jew has real need to beg, his people save him from
the necessity of doing it. The charitable institutions of the
Jews are supported by Jewish money, and amply. The Jews make no
noise about it; it is done quietly; they do not nag and pester
and harass us for contributions; they give us peace, and set us
an example - an example which we have not found ourselves able
to follow; for by nature we are not free givers, and have to be
patiently and persistently hunted down in the interest of the

These facts are all on the credit side of the proposition
that the Jew is a good and orderly citizen. Summed up, they
certify that he is quiet, peaceable, industrious, unaddicted to
high crimes and brutal dispositions; that his family life is
commendable; that he is not a burden upon public charities; that
he is not a beggar; that in benevolence he is above the reach of
competition. These are the very quint-essentials of good
citizenship. If you can add that he is as honest as the average
of his neighbors - But I think that question is affirmatively
answered by the fact that he is a successful business man. The
basis of successful business is honesty; a business cannot
thrive where the parties to it cannot trust each other. In the
matter of numbers of the Jew counts for little in the
overwhelming population of New York; but that his honesty counts
for much is guaranteed by the fact that the immense wholesale
business houses of Broadway, from the Battery to Union Square,
is substantially in his hands.

I suppose that the most picturesque example in history of a
trader's trust in his fellow-trader was one where it was not
Christian trusting Christian, but Christian trusting Jew. That
Hessian Duke who used to sell his subjects to George III. to
fight George Washington with got rich at it; and by-and-by, when
the wars engendered by the French Revolution made his throne too
warm for him, he was obliged to fly the country. He was in a
hurry, and had to leave his earnings behind - $9,000,000. He
had to risk the money with some one without security. He did
not select a Christian, but a Jew - a Jew of only modest means,
but of high character; a character so high that it left him
lonesome - Rothschild of Frankfort. Thirty years later, when
Europe had become quiet and safe again, the Duke came back from
overseas, and the Jew returned the loan, with interest added. ^*

[Footnote *: Here is another piece of picturesque history; and
it reminds us that shabbiness and dishonesty are not the
monopoly of any race or creed, but are merely human:

"Congress has passed a bill to pay $379.56 to Moses
Pendergrass, of Libertyville, Missouri. The story of the reason
of this liberality is pathetically interesting, and shows the
sort of pickle that an honest man may get into who undertakes to
do an honest job of work for Uncle Sam. In 1886 Moses
Pendergrass put in a bid for the contract to carry the mail on
the route from Knob Lick to Libertyville and Coffman, thirty
miles a day, from July 1, 1887, for one year. He got the
postmaster at Knob Lick to write the letter for him, and while
Moses intended that his bid should be $400, his scribe
carelessly made it $4. Moses got the contract, and did not find
out about the mistake until the end of the first quarter, when
he got his first pay. When he found at what rate he was working
he was sorely cast down, and opened communication with the
Post-Office Department. The department informed him that he
must either carry out his contract or throw it up, and that if
he threw it up his bondsmen would have to pay the government
$1459.85 damages. So Moses carried out his contract, walked
thirty miles every week-day for a year, and carried the mail,
and received for his labor $4 - or, to be accurate, $6.84; for,
the route being extended after his bid was accepted, the pay was
proportionately increased. Now, after ten years, a bill was
finally passed to pay to Moses the difference between what he
earned in that unlucky year and what he received."

The Sun, which tells the above story, says that bills were
introduced in three or four Congresses for Moses' relief, and
that committees repeatedly investigated his claim.

It took six Congresses, containing in their persons the
compressed virtues of 70,000,000 of people, and cautiously and
carefully giving expression to those virtues in the fear of God
and the next election, eleven years to find out some way to
cheat a fellow-Christian out of about $13 on his honestly
executed contract, and out of nearly $300 due him on its
enlarged terms. And they succeeded. During the same time they
paid out $1,000,000,000 in pensions - a third of it unearned and
undeserved. This indicates a splendid all-around competency in
theft, for it starts with farthings, and works its industries
all the way up to ship-loads. It may be possible that the Jews
can beat this, but the man that bets on it is taking chances.]

The Jew has his other side. He has some discreditable
ways, though he has not a monopoly of them, because he cannot
get entirely rid of vexatious Christian competition. We have
seen that he seldom transgresses the laws against crimes of
violence. Indeed, his dealings with courts are almost
restricted to matters connected with commerce. He has a
reputation for various small forms of cheating, and for
practising oppressive usury, and for burning himself out to get
the insurance, and for arranging cunning contracts which leave
him an exit but lock the other man in, and for smart evasions
which find him safe and comfortable just within the strict
letter of the law, when court and jury know very well that he
has violated the spirit of it. He is a frequent and faithful and
capable officer in the civil service, but he is charged with an
unpatriotic disinclination to stand by the flag as a soldier -
like the Christian Quaker.

Now if you offset these discreditable features by the
creditable ones summarized in a preceding paragraph beginning
with the words, "These facts are all on the credit side," and
strike a balance, what must the verdict be? This, I think: that,
the merits and demerits being fairly weighed and measured on
both sides, the Christian can claim no superiority over the Jew
in the matter of good citizenship.

Yet in all countries, from the dawn of history, the Jew has
been persistently and implacably hated, and with frequency

Point No. 2.

"Can fanaticism alone account for this?"

Years ago I used to think that it was responsible for
nearly all of it, but latterly I have come to think that this
was an error. Indeed, it is now my conviction that it is
responsible for hardly any of it.

In this connection I call to mind Genesis, chapter xlvii.

We have all thoughtfully - or unthoughtfully - read the
pathetic story of the years of plenty and the years of famine in
Egypt, and how Joseph, with that opportunity, made a corner in
broken hearts, and the crusts of the poor, and human liberty - a
corner whereby he took a nation's money all away, to the last
penny; took a nation's livestock all away, to the last hoof;
took a nation's land away, to the last acre; then took the
nation itself, buying it for bread, man by man, woman by woman,
child by child, till all were slaves; a corner which took
everything, left nothing; a corner so stupendous that, by
comparison with it, the most gigantic corners in subsequent
history are but baby things, for it dealt in hundreds of
millions of bushels, and its profits were reckonable by hundreds
of millions of dollars, and it was a disaster so crushing that
its effects have not wholly disappeared from Egypt to-day, more
than three thousand years after the event.

Is it presumable that the eye of Egypt was upon Joseph the
foreign Jew all this time? I think it likely. Was it
friendly? We must doubt it. Was Joseph establishing a
character for his race which would survive long in Egypt? and
in time would his name come to be familiarly used to express
that character - like Shylock's? It is hardly to be doubted.
Let us remember that this was centuries before the crucifixion.

I wish to come down eighteen hundred years later and refer
to a remark made by one of the Latin historians. I read it in a
translation many years ago, and it comes back to me now with
force. It was alluding to a time when people were still living
who could have seen the Savior in the flesh. Christianity was so
new that the people of Rome had hardly heard of it, and had but
confused notions of what it was. The substance of the remark
was this: Some Christians were persecuted in Rome through error,
they being "mistaken for Jews."

The meaning seems plain. These pagans had nothing against
Christians, but they were quite ready to persecute Jews. For
some reason or other they hated a Jew before they even knew what
a Christian was. May I not assume, then, that the persecution
of Jews is a thing which antedates Christianity and was not born
of Christianity? I think so. What was the origin of the

When I was a boy, in the back settlements of the
Mississippi Valley, where a gracious and beautiful Sunday-school
simplicity and unpracticality prevailed, the "Yankee" (citizen
of the New England States) was hated with a splendid energy.
But religion had nothing to do with it. In a trade, the Yankee
was held to be about five times the match of the Westerner. His
shrewdness, his insight, his judgment, his knowledge, his
enterprise, and his formidable cleverness in applying these
forces were frankly confessed, and most competently cursed.

In the cotton States, after the war, the simple and
ignorant negroes made the crops for the white planter on
shares. The Jew came down in force, set up shop on the
plantation, supplied all the negro's wants on credit, and at the
end of the season was proprietor of the negro's share of the
present crop and of part of his share of the next one. Before
long, the whites detested the Jew, and it is doubtful if the
negro loved him.

The Jew is being legislated out of Russia. The reason is
not concealed. The movement was instituted because the Christian
peasant and villager stood no chance against his commercial
abilities. He was always ready to lend money on a crop, and
sell vodka and other necessaries of life on credit while the
crop was growing. When settlement day came he owned the crop;
and next year or year after he owned the farm, like Joseph.

In the dull and ignorant England of John's time everybody
got into debt to the Jew. He gathered all lucrative enterprises
into his hands; he was the king of commerce; he was ready to be
helpful in all profitable ways; he even financed crusades for
the rescue of the Sepulchre. To wipe out his account with the
nation and restore business to its natural and incompetent
channels he had to be banished the realm.

For the like reasons Spain had to banish him four hundred
years ago, and Austria about a couple of centuries later.

In all the ages Christian Europe has been obliged to
curtail his activities. If he entered upon a mechanical trade,
the Christian had to retire from it. If he set up as a doctor,
he was the best one, and he took the business. If he exploited
agriculture, the other farmers had to get at something else.
Since there was no way to successfully compete with him in any
vocation, the law had to step in and save the Christian from the
poor-house. Trade after trade was taken away from the Jew by
statute till practically none was left. He was forbidden to
engage in agriculture; he was forbidden to practise law; he was
forbidden to practise medicine, except among Jews; he was
forbidden the handicrafts. Even the seats of learning and the
schools of science had to be closed against this tremendous
antagonist. Still, almost bereft of employments, he found ways
to make money, even ways to get rich. Also ways to invest his
takings well, for usury was not denied him. In the hard
conditions suggested, the Jew without brains could not survive,
and the Jew with brains had to keep them in good training and
well sharpened up, or starve. Ages of restriction to the one
tool which the law was not able to take from him - his brain -
have made that tool singularly competent; ages of compulsory
disuse of his hands have atrophied them, and he never uses them
now. This history has a very, very commercial look, a most
sordid and practical commercial look, the business aspect of a
Chinese cheap-labor crusade. Religious prejudices may account
for one part of it, but not for the other nine.

Protestants have persecuted Catholics, but they did not
take their livelihoods away from them. The Catholics have
persecuted the Protestants with bloody and awful bitterness, but
they never closed agriculture and the handicrafts against them.
Why was that? That has the candid look of genuine religious
persecution, not a trade-union boycott in a religious disguise.

The Jews are harried and obstructed in Austria and Germany,
and lately in France; but England and America give them an open
field and yet survive. Scotland offers them an unembarrassed
field too, but there are not many takers. There are a few Jews
in Glasgow, and one in Aberdeen; but that is because they can't
earn enough to get away. The Scotch pay themselves that
compliment, but it is authentic.

I feel convinced that the Crucifixion has not much to do
with the world's attitude towards the Jew; that the reasons for
it are older than that event, as suggested by Egypt's experience
and by Rome's regret for having persecuted an unknown quantity
called a Christian, under the mistaken impression that she was
merely persecuting a Jew. Merely a Jew - a skinned eel who was
used to it, presumably. I am persuaded that in Russia, Austria,
and Germany nine-tenths of the hostility to the Jew comes from
the average Christian's inability to compete successfully with
the average Jew in business - in either straight business or the
questionable sort.

In Berlin, a few years ago, I read a speech which frankly
urged the expulsion of the Jews from Germany; and the agitator's
reason was as frank as his proposition. It was this: that
eighty-five per cent. of the successful lawyers of Berlin were
Jews, and that about the same percentage of the great and
lucrative businesses of all sorts in Germany were in the hands
of the Jewish race! Isn't it an amazing confession? It was but
another way of saying that in a population of 48,000,000, of
whom only 500,000 were registered as Jews, eight-five per cent.
of the brains and honesty of the whole was lodged in the Jews.
I must insist upon the honesty - it is an essential of
successful business, taken by and large. Of course it does not
rule out rascals entirely, even among Christians, but it is a
good working rule, nevertheless. The speaker's figures may have
been inexact, but the motive of persecution stands out as clear
as day.

The man claimed that in Berlin the banks, the newspapers,
the theatres, the great mercantile, shipping, mining, and
manufacturing interests, the big army and city contracts, the
tramways, and pretty much all other properties of high value,
and also the small businesses, were in the hands of the Jews. He
said the Jew was pushing the Christian to the wall all along the
line; that it was all a Christian could do to scrape together a
living; and that the Jew must be banished, and soon - there was
no other way of saving the Christian. Here in Vienna, last
autumn, an agitator said that all these disastrous details were
true of Austria-Hungary also; and in fierce language he demanded
the expulsion of the Jews. When politicians come out without a
blush and read the baby act in this frank way, unrebuked, it is
a very good indication that they have a market back of them, and
know where to fish for votes.

You note the crucial point of the mentioned agitation; the
argument is that the Christian cannot compete with the Jew, and
that hence his very bread is in peril. To human beings this is
a much more hate-inspiring thing than is any detail connected
with religion. With most people, of a necessity, bread and meat
take first rank, religion second. I am convinced that the
persecution of the Jew is not due in any large degree to
religious prejudice.

No, the Jew is a money-getter; and in getting his money he
is a very serious obstruction to less capable neighbors who are
on the same quest. I think that that is the trouble. In
estimating worldly values the Jew is not shallow, but deep.
With precocious wisdom he found out in the morning of time that
some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power,
some worship God, and that over these ideals they dispute and
cannot unite - but that they all worship money; so he made it
the end and aim of his life to get it. He was at it in Egypt
thirty-six centuries ago; he was at it in Rome when that
Christian got persecuted by mistake for him; he has been at it
ever since. The cost to him has been heavy; his success has
made the whole human race his enemy - but it has paid, for it
has brought him envy, and that is the only thing which men will
sell both soul and body to get. He long ago observed that a
millionaire commands respect, a two-millionaire homage, a
multi-millionaire the deepest deeps of adoration. We all know
that feeling; we have seen it express itself. We have noticed
that when the average man mentions the name of a
multi-millionaire he does it with that mixture in his voice of
awe and reverence and lust which burns in a Frenchman's eye when
it falls on another man's centime.

Point No. 4.

"The Jews have no party; they are non-participants."

Perhaps you have let the secret out and given yourself
away. It seems hardly a credit to the race that it is able to
say that; or to you, sir, that you can say it without remorse;
more than you should offer it as a plea against maltreatment,
injustice, and oppression. Who gives the Jew the right, who
gives any race the right, to sit still, in a free country, and
let somebody else look after its safety? The oppressed Jew was
entitled to all pity in the former times under brutal
autocracies, for he was weak and friendless, and had no way to
help his case. But he has ways now, and he has had them for a
century, but I do not see that he has tried to make serious use
of them. When the Revolution set him free in France it was an
act of grace - the grace of other people; he does not appear in
it as a helper. I do not know that he helped when England set
him free. Among the Twelve Sane Men of France who have stepped
forward with great Zola at their head to fight (and win, I hope
and believe ^*) the battle for the most infamously misused Jew
of modern times, do you find a great or rich or illustrious Jew
helping? In the United States he was created free in the
beginning - he did not need to help, of course. In Austria and
Germany and France he has a vote, but of what considerable use
is it to him? He doesn't seem to know how to apply it to the
best effect. With all his splendid capacities and all his fat
wealth he is to-day not politically important in any country.
In America, as early as 1854, the ignorant Irish hod-carrier,
who had a spirit of his own and a way of exposing it to the
weather, made it apparent to all that he must be politically
reckoned with; yet fifteen years before that we hardly knew what
an Irishman looked like. As an intelligent force and
numerically, he has always been away down, but he has governed
the country just the same. It was because he was organized. It
made his vote valuable - in fact, essential.

[Footnote *: The article was written in the summer of 1898. - Ed.]

You will say the Jew is everywhere numerically feeble.
That is nothing to the point - with the Irishman's history for
an object-lesson. But I am coming to your numerical feebleness
presently. In all parliamentary countries you could no doubt
elect Jews to the legislatures - and even one member in such a
body is sometimes a force which counts. How deeply have you
concerned yourselves about this in Austria, France, and
Germany? Or even in America, for that matter? You remark that
the Jews were not to blame for the riots in this Reichsrath
here, and you add with satisfaction that there wasn't one in
that body. That is not strictly correct; if it were, would it
not be in order for you to explain it and apologize for it, not
try to make a merit of it? But I think that the Jew was by no
means in as large force there as he ought to have been, with his
chances. Austria opens the suffrage to him on fairly liberal
terms, and it must surely be his own fault that he is so much in
the background politically.

As to your numerical weakness. I mentioned some figures
awhile ago - 500,000 - as the Jewish population of Germany. I
will add some more - 6,000,000 in Russia, 5,000,000 in Austria,
250,000 in the United States. I take them from memory; I read
them in the Cyclopaedia Britannica ten or twelve years ago.
Still, I am entirely sure of them. If those statistics are
correct, my argument is not as strong as it ought to be as
concerns America, but it still has strength. It is plenty
strong enough as concerns Austria, for ten years ago 5,000,000
was nine per cent. of the empire's population. The Irish would
govern the Kingdom of Heaven if they had a strength there like

I have some suspicions; I got them at second-hand, but they
have remained with me these ten or twelve years. When I read in
the C. B. that the Jewish population of the United States was
250,000, I wrote the editor, and explained to him that I was
personally acquainted with more Jews than that in my country,
and that his figures were without a doubt a misprint for
25,000,000. I also added that I was personally acquainted with
that many there; but that was only to raise his confidence in
me, for it was not true. His answer miscarried, and I never got
it; but I went around talking about the matter, and people told
me they had reason to suspect that for business reasons many
Jews whose dealings were mainly with the Christians did not
report themselves as Jews in the census. It looked plausible;
it looks plausible yet. Look at the city of New York; and look
at Boston, and Philadelphia, and New Orleans, and Chicago, and
Cincinnati, and San Francisco - how your race swarms in those
places! - and everywhere else in America, down to the least
little village. Read the signs on the marts of commerce and on
the shops; Goldstein (gold stone), Edelstein (precious stone),
Blumenthal (flower-vale), Rosenthal (rose-vale), Veilchenduft
(violet odor), Singvogel (song-bird), Rosenzweig (rose branch),
and all the amazing list of beautiful and enviable names which
Prussia and Austria glorified you with so long ago. It is
another instance of Europe's coarse and cruel persecution of
your race; not that it was coarse and cruel to outfit it with
pretty and poetical names like those, but that it was coarse and
cruel to make it pay for them or else take such hideous and
often indecent names that to-day their owners never use them;
or, if they do, only on official papers. And it was the many,
not the few, who got the odious names, they being too poor to
bribe the officials to grant them better ones.

Now why was the race renamed? I have been told that in
Prussia it was given to using fictitious names, and often
changing them, so as to beat the tax-gatherer, escape military
service, and so on; and that finally the idea was hit upon of
furnishing all the inmates of a house with one and the same
surname, and then holding the house responsible right along for
those inmates, and accountable for any disappearances that might
occur; it made the Jews keep track of each other, for
self-interest's sake, and saved the government the trouble. ^*

[Footnote *: In Austria the renaming was merely done because the
Jews in some newly acquired regions had no surnames, but were
mostly named Abraham and Moses, and therefore the tax-gatherer
could not tell t'other from which, and was likely to lose his
reason over the matter. The renaming was put into the hands of
the War Department, and a charming mess the graceless young
lieutenants made of it. To them a Jew was of no sort of
consequence, and they labelled the race in a way to make the
angels weep. As an example, take these two: Abraham Bellyache
and Schmul Godbedamned. - Culled from "Namens Studien," by Karl
Emil Franzos.]

If that explanation of how the Jews of Prussia came to be
renamed is correct, if it is true that they fictitiously
registered themselves to gain certain advantages, it may
possibly be true that in America they refrain from registering
themselves as Jews to fend off the damaging prejudices of the
Christian customer. I have no way of knowing whether this
notion is well founded or not. There may be other and better
ways of explaining why only that poor little 250,000 of our Jews
got into the Cyclopaedia. I may, of course, be mistaken, but I
am strongly of the opinion that we have an immense Jewish
population in America.

Point No. 3.

"Can Jews do anything to improve the situation?"

I think so. If I may make a suggestion without seeming to
be trying to teach my grandmother how to suck eggs, I will offer
it. In our days we have learned the value of combination. We
apply it everywhere - in railway systems, in trusts, in trade
unions, in Salvation Armies, in minor politics, in major
politics, in European Concerts. Whatever our strength may be,
big or little, we organize it. We have found out that that is
the only way to get the most out of it that is in it. We know
the weakness of individual sticks, and the strength of the
concentrated fagot. Suppose you try a scheme like this, for
instance. In England and America put every Jew on the
census-book as a Jew (in case you have not been doing that).
Get up volunteer regiments composed of Jews solely, and, when
the drum beats, fall in and go to the front, so as to remove the
reproach that you have few Massenas among you, and that you feed
on a country but don't like to fight for it. Next, in politics,
organize you strength, band together, and deliver the casting
vote where you can, and, where you can't, compel as good terms
as possible. You huddle to yourselves already in all countries,
but you huddle to no sufficient purpose, politically speaking.
You do not seem to be organized, except for your charities.
There you are omnipotent; there you compel your due of
recognition - you do not have to beg for it. It shows what you
can do when you band together for a definite purpose.

And then from America and England you can encourage your
race in Austria, France, and Germany, and materially help it.
It was a pathetic tale that was told by a poor Jew in Galicia a
fortnight ago during the riots, after he had been raided by the
Christian peasantry and despoiled of everything he had. He said
his vote was of no value to him, and he wished he could be
excused from casting it, for, indeed, casting it was a sure
damage to him, since no matter which party he voted for, the
other party would come straight and take its revenge out of
him. Nine per cent. of the population of the empire, these
Jews, and apparently they cannot put a plank into any
candidate's platform! If you will send our Irish lads over here
I think they will organize your race and change the aspect of
the Reichsrath.

You seem to think that the Jews take no hand in politics
here, that they are "absolutely non-participants." I am assured
by men competent to speak that this is a very large error, that
the Jews are exceedingly active in politics all over the empire,
but that they scatter their work and their votes among the
numerous parties, and thus lose the advantages to be had by
concentration. I think that in America they scatter too, but you
know more about that than I do.

Speaking of concentration, Dr. Herzl has a clear insight
into the value of that. Have you heard of his plan? He wishes
to gather the Jews of the world together in Palestine, with a
government of their own - under the suzerainty of the Sultan, I
suppose. At the Convention of Berne, last year, there were
delegates from everywhere, and the proposal was received with
decided favor. I am not the Sultan, and I am not objecting; but
if that concentration of the cunningest brains in the world were
going to be made in a free country (bar Scotland), I think it
would be politic to stop it. It will not be well to let the
race find out its strength. If the horses knew theirs, we
should not ride any more.

Point No. 5.

"Will the persecution of the Jews ever come to an end?"

On the score of religion, I think it has already come to an
end. On the score of race prejudice and trade, I have the idea
that it will continue. That is, here and there in spots about
the world, where a barbarous ignorance and a sort of mere animal
civilization prevail; but I do not think that elsewhere the Jew
need now stand in any fear of being robbed and raided. Among the
high civilizations he seems to be very comfortably situated
indeed, and to have more than his proportionate share of the
prosperities going. It has that look in Vienna. I suppose the
race prejudice cannot be removed; but he can stand that; it is
no particular matter. By his make and ways he is substantially
a foreigner wherever he may be, and even the angels dislike a
foreigner. I am using this word foreigner in the German sense -
stranger. Nearly all of us have an antipathy to a stranger, even
of our own nationality. We pile gripsacks in a vacant seat to
keep him from getting it; and a dog goes further, and does as a
savage would - challenges him on the spot. The German
dictionary seems to make no distinction between a stranger and a
foreigner; in its view a stranger is a foreigner - a sound
position, I think. You will always be by ways and habits and
predilections substantially strangers - foreigners - wherever
you are, and that will probably keep the race prejudice against
you alive.

But you were the favorites of Heaven originally, and your
manifold and unfair prosperities convince me that you have
crowded back into that snug place again. Here is an incident
that is significant. Last week in Vienna a hailstorm struck the
prodigious Central Cemetery and made wasteful destruction
there. In the Christian part of it, according to the official
figures, 621 window-panes were broken; more than 900
singing-birds were killed; five great trees and many small ones
were torn to shreds and the shreds scattered far and wide by the
wind; the ornamental plants and other decorations of the graves
were ruined, and more than a hundred tomb-lanterns shattered;
and it took the cemetery's whole force of 300 laborers more than
three days to clear away the storm's wreckage. In the report
occurs this remark - and in its italics you can hear it grit its
Christian teeth ". . . lediglich die israelitische Abtheilung
des Friedhofes vom Hagelwetter ganzlich verschont worden war."
Not a hailstone hit the Jewish reservation! Such nepotism makes
me tired.

Point No. 6.

"What has become of the Golden Rule?"

It exists, it continues to sparkle, and is well taken care
of. It is Exhibit A in the Church's assets, and we pull it out
every Sunday and give it an airing. But you are not permitted
to try to smuggle it into this discussion, where it is
irrelevant and would not feel at home. It is strictly religious
furniture, like an acolyte, or a contribution-plate, or any of
those things. It has never been intruded into business; and
Jewish persecution is not a religious passion, it is a business

To conclude. - If the statistics are right, the Jews
constitute but one per cent. of the human race. It suggests a
nebulous dim puff of star-dust lost in the blaze of the Milky
Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is
heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the
planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is
extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world's list of great names in
literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse
learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his
numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in this world, in all
the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He
could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian,
the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with
sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away;
the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and
they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch
high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight
now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and
is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no
infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his
energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All
things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he
remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

The Jew As Soldier

When I published the above article in Harper's Monthly, I
was ignorant - like the rest of the Christian world - of the
fact that the Jew had a record as a soldier. I have since seen
the official statistics, and I find that he furnished soldiers
and high officers to the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the
Mexican War. In the Civil War he was represented in the armies
and navies of both the North and the South by 10 per cent. of
his numerical strength - the same percentage that was furnished
by the Christian populations of the two sections. This large
fact means more than it seems to mean; for it means that the
Jew's patriotism was not merely level with the Christian's, but
overpassed it. When the Christian volunteer arrived in camp he
got a welcome and applause, but as a rule the Jew got a snub.
His company was not desired, and he was made to feel it. That
he nevertheless conquered his wounded pride and sacrificed both
that and his blood for his flag raises the average and quality
of his patriotism above the Christian's. His record for
capacity, for fidelity, and for gallant soldiership in the field
is as good as any one's. This is true of the Jewish private
soldiers and the Jewish generals alike. Major-General O. O.
Howard speaks of one of his Jewish staff-officers as being "of
the bravest and best"; of another - killed at Chancellorsville -
as being "a true friend and a brave officer"; he highly praises
two of his Jewish brigadier-generals; finally, he uses these
strong words: "Intrinsically there are no more patriotic men to
be found in the country than those who claim to be of Hebrew
descent, and who served with me in parallel commands or more
directly under my instructions."

Fourteen Jewish Confederate and Union families contributed,
between them, fifty-one soldiers to the war. Among these, a
father and three sons; and another, a father and four sons.

In the above article I was not able to endorse the common
reproach that the Jew is willing to feed upon a country but not
to fight for it, because I did not know whether it was true or
false. I supposed it to be true, but it is not allowable to
endorse wandering maxims upon supposition - except when one is
trying to make out a case. That slur upon the Jew cannot hold
up its head in presence of the figures of the War Department.
It has done its work, and done it long and faithfully, and with
high approval: it ought to be pensioned off now, and retired
from active service.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How Jews Saved the World from Tyranny

The two great truths of World War Two:

1. More than any other person, Hitler was most instrumental in the formation of the State of Israel.

2. If it were not for Jews, Hitler would have conquered the entire world.

The Holocaust

Shipments of Jews to the camps had priority on the German railways, and continued even in the face of the increasingly dire military situation after the Battle of Stalingrad at the end of 1942 and the escalating Allied air attacks on German industry and transport. Army leaders and economic managers complained at this diversion of resources and at the killing of irreplaceable skilled Jewish workers. By 1944, moreover, it was evident to most Germans not blinded by Nazi fanaticism that Germany was losing the war. Many senior officials began to fear the retribution that might await Germany and them personally for the crimes being committed in their name. But the power of Himmler and the SS within the German Reich was too great to resist, and Himmler could always evoke Hitler's authority for his demands. Few people realized that for Hitler and Himmler killing the Jews was more important than winning the war.

Here are the two poignant lines:
1 Shipments of Jews to the camps had priority on the German railways
2 killing the Jews was more important than winning the war

German planes could not attack our bombers for lack of petrol because truckloads of poison supplies for the camps were more important. German tanks ran of of gas on the battlefields because trains were too busy bringing Jews to slaughter instead of transporting fuel and food and clothing to German troops.

It took almost three years for America to muster the strength to invade Germany. Had Hitler not paid attention to a single Jew he would have won control over the entirety of Europe and Britain by December 1943. Certainly if he had not chased the Jews out of Germany in the early 1930s there would not have been a Manhattan project which was run almost entirely with European Jews. Very few people are aware that Nuclear fission was discovered in Germany in 1938-1939. If Hitler had not been busy spending billions on Jews, his scientists could have spent more time on an atomic bomb.

The US might not have surrendered after the first bomb dropped on Baltimore, but certainly would have capitulated by the time Philadelphia turned into rubble.

For the second part of my argument, that Hitler was most instrumental in the formation of the State of Israel, consider this: The Jews had been trying for 2000 years to get their homeland back. Because of WWII, tens of thousands of Jewish soldiers who fought in that war, arrived in Israel, trained for fighting, and bringing with them munitions and weapons to force the removal of Imperial Britain. Because of Hitler's attempted solution of the Jewish question, the future Israel obtained hundreds of thousands of refugees and future citizens. Because of Hitler's atrocities, the world was shamed into allowing a Jewish State to come into existence. Without the training they received fighting in WWII, Jews would not have had the wherewithal to defend themselves against the array of forces of the Arab nations shortly after declaring independence in 1948. Hitler made it possible for trained Jewish soldiers armed from the war to be in Israel at the right time. No single person could have forced the hand of history as Hitler did.
Despite the prevailing anti-British feeling among the Jewish population in Palestine during World War II, many men such as Yisraeli joined the British Army. But when Yisraeli and some of his comrades finished fighting the Nazis, they began fighting the British restrictions on aliyah. They took part in one of the least-known and yet most daring chapters in pre-state history. They were "doubles" -- brigade members who gave their identities to young DPs (displaced persons).

"Not only did the Palestinian Jews prove to the world that Jewish boys could fight, but we also had a tremendous psychological effect on the Jewish refugees we met in Europe, those who somehow survived the concentration camps, and those who had been in hiding," says Avraham Tor, a Jerusalem attorney and one of the organizers of the doubles.

"These remnants of Jewish communities we encountered, broken physically and emotionally, saw us as messiahs as we herded a group of Nazi captives or simply carried our weapons. Our uniforms with the Magen David insignia became something of a beacon."

Monday, November 16, 2009

ICE returns 16th century Hebrew Bible looted by Nazis

A 16th century two-volume Bomberg/Pratensis Rabbinic Bible is back in the hands of its rightful owners 71 years after it was stolen by the Nazis. Today, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York returned the Bible to Vienna’s Jewish community, known as Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (IKG). This repatriation marks the third time this year that ICE and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have repatriated artwork or property stolen during the Holocaust.

During the annexation of Austria in 1938, Nazi soldiers confiscated the rare Bible from the IKG library. On Nov. 9, 1938, known to history as “Kristallnacht,” or “Crystal Night,” the Gestapo seized and sealed the IKG library. Custody of the IKG library was transferred to the “Reichssicherheitshauptamt” (RSHA) in Berlin between 1939 and 1941. When Berlin was evacuated in 1943, main sections of the IKG library were transferred to other Nazi-occupied territories in Lower Silesia, a province of Poland, and North Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic.

The Rabbinic Bible, published between 1516 and1517, is a manuscript that includes an Aramaic summary and a series of commentaries by key medieval rabbinic figures including 11th century French scholar Rashi, late 12th/early 13th century Provencal scholar David Kimche, 13th century Spanish scholar Nachmanides and 14th century French scholar Gersonides.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Theodore Bikel' Hannukah

Jewish boxer takes title

A Jewish boxer who is studying to become a rabbi captured the world super welterweight championship boxing title.

Yuri Foreman of Brooklyn defeated by judge's decision sitting champion Daniel Santos of Puerto Rico in Las Vegas Saturday night to win the World Boxing Associations 154-pound championship.

With his victory, Foreman, 29, became the first Israeli fighter to win a world boxing championship.

The fighter spent the 25 hours before the matchup observing the Sabbath in his hotel room. Israeli politicians and diplomats traveled from Israel to see the fight, according to the New York Times.

Foreman was born in the city of Gomel in present-day Belarus, then part of the Soviet Union, and moved to Israel at 9. Foreman relocated to Brooklyn in 2001 to pursue his boxing career.

How Einstein Divided America's Jews

In 1921, Albert Einstein’s first trip to America triggered the kind of mass hysteria that would greet the Beatles four decades later. But as newly published documents show, it also tore a sharp rift between European Zionists and some of their fellow Jews across the Atlantic, men like Louis D. Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, who felt that the best way for Jews to get ahead was to assimilate, not agitate for a Jewish homeland.

by Walter Isaacson
How Einstein Divided America's Jews

Albert Einstein’s first tour of America was an extravaganza unique in the history of science, and indeed would have been remarkable for any realm: a grand two-month processional in the spring of 1921 that evoked the sort of mass frenzy and press adulation that would thrill a touring rock star. Einstein had recently burst into global stardom when observations performed during a total eclipse dramatically confirmed his theory of relativity by showing that the sun’s gravitational field bent a light beam to the degree that he had predicted. The New York Times trumpeted that triumph with a multideck headline:

Lights All Askew in the Heavens / Men of Science More or Less Agog Over Results of Eclipse Observations / EINSTEIN THEORY TRIUMPHS / Stars Not Where They Seemed or Were Calculated to Be, but Nobody Need Worry

So when he arrived in New York in April, he was greeted by adoring throngs as the world’s first scientific celebrity, one who also happened to be a gentle icon of humanist values and a living patron saint for Jews.

Newly published papers from that year, however, show a less joyful aspect to Einstein’s famous visit. He found himself caught in a battle between ardent European Zionists led by Chaim Weizmann, who was with Einstein on the trip, and the more polished and cautious potentates of American Jewry, including Louis D. Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, and the denizens of established Wall Street banking firms. Among other things, the disputes about Zionism apparently caused Einstein not to be invited to lecture at Harvard and prompted many prominent Manhattan Jews to decline an invitation from him to discuss his pet project, the establishment of a university in Jerusalem.

The full extent of this controversy, which has been only touched upon in previous books (including a biography I wrote in 2007), is revealed in a volume of Einstein’s correspondence and papers for 1921 that was recently published by the Princeton University Press. None of the letters is newly discovered (all are available in public archives), but most have not been published before. The 600-page volume, the 12th compiled so far by the editors of the Einstein Papers Project, pulls all of the letters and related documents together in a way that allows us now to see, even more clearly than Einstein did at the time, the political and emotional struggle he stumbled into.

Einstein was raised in a secular German Jewish household, and (except for a brief fling with religious fervor as a child) he disdained religious faith and rituals. He did, however, proudly consider himself Jewish by heritage, and he felt a strong kinship with what he called his fellow tribesmen or clansmen. His outlook in 1921 can be seen in the brusque answer he sent early that year to the rabbis of Berlin, who had urged him to become a dues-paying member of the Jewish religious community there. “In your letter,” he responded, “I notice that the word Jew is ambiguous in that it refers (1) to nationality and origin, (2) to the faith. I am a Jew in the first sense, not in the second.”

German anti-Semitism was then on the rise. Many German Jews did everything they could, including converting to Christianity, in order to assimilate, and they urged Einstein to do the same. But Einstein took the opposite approach. He began to identify even more strongly with his Jewish heritage, and he embraced the Zionist goal of promoting a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

He had been recruited by the pioneering Zionist leader Kurt Blumenfeld, who paid a call on Einstein in Berlin in early 1919. “With extreme naïveté he asked questions,” Blumenfeld recalled. Among Einstein’s queries: With their intellectual gifts, why should Jews create a homeland that was primarily agricultural? Why did it have to be its own nation-state? Wasn’t nationalism the problem rather than the solution? Eventually, Einstein came around. “I am, as a human being, an opponent of nationalism,” he told Blumenfeld. “But as a Jew, I am from today a supporter of the Zionist effort.” He also became, more specifically, an advocate for the creation of a Jewish university in Jerusalem, which became Hebrew University.

Einstein had initially thought that his first visit to the United States, which he jokingly called “Dollaria,” might be a way to make some money in a stable currency. He and his first wife had gone through a bitter divorce, and they were still fighting over finances. Hamburg banker Max Warburg and his New York–based brother Paul tried to help Einstein line up lucrative lectures. They asked both Princeton and the University of Wisconsin for a fee of $15,000. In February of 1921, Max Warburg informed him, “The amount you wish is not possible.” Einstein was not terribly upset. “They found my demands too high,” he told his friend and fellow physicist Paul Ehrenfest. “I am glad not to have to go there; it really isn’t a pretty way to make money.” Instead, he made other plans: he would go to Brussels to present a paper at the Solvay Conference, the preeminent European gathering of physicists.

It was then that Blumenfeld came by Einstein’s apartment again, this time with an invitation—or perhaps an instruction—in the form of a telegram from the president of the World Zionist Organization, Chaim Weizmann. A brilliant biochemist who had emigrated from Russia to England, Weizmann asked Einstein to accompany him on a trip to America to raise funds to help settle Palestine and, in particular, create Hebrew University in Jerusalem. When Blumenfeld read the telegram to him, Einstein balked. He was not an orator, he said, and the idea of using his celebrity to draw crowds to the cause was “an unworthy one.” Blumenfeld did not argue. Instead, he simply read Weizmann’s telegram aloud again. “He is the president of our organization,” Blumenfeld said, “and if you take your conversion to Zionism seriously, then I have the right to ask you, in Dr. Weizmann’s name, to go with him to the United States.”

“What you say is right and convincing,” Einstein replied, to the “boundless astonishment” of Blumenfeld. “I realize that I myself am now part of the situation and that I must accept the invitation.” Weizmann was thrilled and somewhat surprised. “I wholeheartedly appreciate your readiness at such a decisive hour for the Jewish people,” he later cabled Einstein from London.

Einstein’s decision reflected a major transformation in his life. Until the completion of his general theory of relativity, he had dedicated himself almost totally to science. But the anti-Semitism that was oozing up around him in Berlin led him to reassert his identity as a Jew and to feel more committed to defending the culture and community of his people. “I am not keen on going to America, but am just doing it on behalf of the Zionists,” he wrote to his French publisher. “I must serve as famed bigwig and decoy-bird … I am doing whatever I can for my tribal brethren, who are being treated so vilely everywhere.”

And so Einstein and his new wife, Elsa, set sail in late March 1921 for their first visit to America. On the way over, Einstein tried to explain relativity to Weizmann. Asked upon their arrival whether he understood the theory, Weizmann gave a puckish reply: “Einstein explained his theory to me every day, and by the time we arrived I was fully convinced that he really understands it.”

When the ship pulled up to the Battery in Lower Manhattan on the afternoon of April 2, Einstein was standing on the deck, wearing a black felt hat that concealed some but not all of his now-graying profusion of uncombed hair. One hand held a shiny briar pipe; the other clutched a worn violin case. “He looked like an artist,” The New York Times reported. “But underneath his shaggy locks was a scientific mind whose deductions have staggered the ablest intellects of Europe.”

Thousands of spectators, along with the fife-and-drum corps of the Jewish Legion, were waiting in Battery Park when the mayor and other dignitaries brought Einstein ashore on a police tugboat. The crowd, waving blue-and-white flags, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and then the Zionist anthem, “Hatikvah.” The Einsteins and the Weizmanns intended to head directly for the Hotel Commodore, in Midtown. Instead, their motorcade wound through the Jewish neighborhoods of the Lower East Side late into the evening. “Every car had its horn, and every horn was put in action,” Weizmann recalled. “We reached the Commodore at about 11:30, tired, hungry, thirsty, and completely dazed.”

One group was missing at most of the subsequent welcoming ceremonies and celebrations: the leaders of the Zionist Organization of America. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, who was its honorary president, did not even send pro forma official greetings or congratulations. Brandeis had traveled with Weizmann to Palestine in 1919, and the following year had gone to London to be with him at a Zionist convention. But shortly afterward they began to feud. Their fight partly stemmed from a few differences over policy; Brandeis wanted the Zionist organizations to focus on sending money to Jewish settlers in Palestine and not on agitating politically. It was also partly an old-fashioned power struggle; Brandeis wanted to install efficient managers and take power from Weizmann and his more ardent eastern European followers. But above all, it was a clash of personalities. Weizmann was born in Russia, emigrated to England, and shared Einstein’s disdain for Jews who tried too hard to assimilate. Brandeis was born in Louisville, Kentucky, graduated from Harvard Law School, prospered as a prominent Boston lawyer, and was appointed by President Wilson to be the first Jewish justice on the Supreme Court. His crowd tended to look down on unrefined and unassimilated Jews from Russia and eastern Europe. In a letter to his brother in 1921, Brandeis revealed the cultural and personal underpinnings of his rift with Weizmann:

The Zionist [clash] was inevitable. It was one resulting from differences in standards. The Easterners—like many Russian Jews in this country—don’t know what honesty is & we simply won’t entrust our money to them. Weizmann does know what honesty is—but weakly yields to his numerous Russian associates. Hence the split.

Brandeis was initially happy that Einstein was coming to America, even though he was accompanying Weizmann. “The Great Einstein is coming to America soon with Dr. Weizmann, our Zionist Chief,” he wrote to his mother-in-law.

Palestine may need something more than a new conception of the Universe or of several additional dimensions; but it is well to remind the Gentile world, when the wave of anti-Semitism is rising, that in the world of thought the conspicuous contributions are being made by Jews.

But two of Brandeis’s closest associates expressed misgivings. His protégé Felix Frankfurter, then a professor at Harvard Law School, and Judge Julian Mack, the person Brandeis had tapped to be president of the Zionist Organization of America, argued that it would be better if Einstein’s visit were cast primarily as a trip to lecture on physics, rather than one to raise money for Palestine.

Frankfurter and Mack sent Weizmann telegrams urging him to make sure that Einstein scheduled some physics lectures during his trip. But they quickly changed their minds when they were informed that Einstein had tried to extract large fees from various universities for such lectures, even though he was speaking about Zionism for free. That was even worse. So they sent another telegram, this one warning of the danger that Einstein would be seen as trying to “commercialize” his science. Such crassness would hurt his image and that of Jews, Frankfurter and Mack feared. Some of the physics lectures should be done for free. As Mack cabled to Weizmann: “Einstein situation extremely difficult expedient you explain us fully his exact negotiations … also awaiting you promised cable whether he accept your suggestioncouple university lectures free.” In one telegram, they went so far as to urge that Einstein’s trip be canceled. Another telegram made clear that there would be no lecture at the university where Frankfurter was an influential professor. “Harvard absolutely declines Einstein,” the telegram read. It did add that he would be welcome to come for an informal visit without a lecture or a lecture fee. When Einstein found out about the telegrams, he was furious. Mack defended himself and Frankfurter—and by extension Brandeis—in a letter to Einstein insisting that their only motive was “to protect you against unjust attacks and to protect the organization against the result of such unjust attacks.”

Brandeis and his cohorts at the Zionist Organization of America made matters worse, during Einstein’s visit, when they reacted to a deadly clash between Arab and Jewish rioters in Jaffa by reinforcing their desire that adequate “safeguards” be in place before money was raised for Hebrew University. Einstein confided that this attitude made him suspect that the Brandeis crowd was “committing sabotage” of his mission. When Brandeis’s friend and supporter Rabbi Judah Magnes proposed hosting a gathering in Manhattan for intellectuals to talk about the university, Einstein replied that he would come only if Magnes made the event a fund-raiser. “I did not have in mind a fund-raising meeting,” Magnes replied in a cold and curt letter. “Under the circumstances, it is probably better to forego the meeting.”

The resistance to Einstein’s mission came not only from the Brandeis camp of cautious and restrained American Zionists, but also from successful New York Reform Jews of German heritage, many of whom were opposed to Zionism. When Einstein invited 50 or so of New York’s most prominent Jews to a private meeting in his hotel, many of them declined. Paul Warburg, who had served as his agent soliciting lecture fees, wrote:

My presence would be of no use; on the contrary, I fear that, if at all, its effect would be rather to cool things down. As I already told you on another occasion, I personally have the greatest doubts relating to the Zionist plans and anticipate their consequences with genuine consternation.

Other rejections came from Arthur Hays Sulzberger of The New York Times; the politically connected financier Bernard Baruch; the lawyer Irving Lehman; the first Jewish Cabinet secretary, Oscar Straus; the philanthropist Daniel Guggenheim; and the former Congressman Jefferson Levy.

On the other hand, Einstein and Weizmann were wildly embraced by less assimilated and more enthusiastic Jews, the ones who tended to live in Brooklyn or on the Lower East Side rather than on Park Avenue. More than 20,000 showed up at one event, causing “a near riot,” The Times reported, when they “stormed the police lines.” After three weeks of lectures and receptions in New York, Einstein paid a visit to Washington. For reasons fathomable only to those who live in that city, the Senate decided to debate the theory of relativity. On the House side of the Capitol, Representative J. J. Kindred of New York proposed placing an explanation of Einstein’s theories in the Congressional Record. David Walsh of Massachusetts rose to object. Did Kindred understand the theory? “I have been earnestly busy with this theory for three weeks,” Kindred replied, “and am beginning to see some light.” But what relevance, he was asked, did it have to the business of Congress? “It may bear upon the legislation of the future as to general relations with the cosmos.”

Such discourse made it inevitable that when Einstein went with a group to the White House, President Warren G. Harding would be faced with the question of whether he understood relativity. As the group posed for the cameras, he smiled and confessed that he did not. The Washington Post carried a cartoon showing him puzzling over a paper titled “Theory of Relativity” while Einstein puzzled over one on the “Theory of Normalcy,” which was the name Harding had given to his governing philosophy. The New York Times ran a front-page headline: “Einstein Idea Puzzles Harding, He Admits.”

During the Washington visit, the noted journalist and power broker Walter Lippmann tried to set up a peace meeting between Weizmann and Brandeis. Negotiations between the camps of the two Zionist leaders broke down over a variety of issues, and the summit never occurred. Einstein, however, was happy to pay a call on Brandeis, even though Weizmann urged him not to. They hit it off well. Einstein told the friend who arranged the visit that he came away with an “utterly different” opinion of Brandeis than the one pushed on him by Weizmann. Brandeis was also pleased. “Prof. & Mrs. Einstein are simple lovely folk,” he wrote his wife the next day. “It proved impossible to avoid some discussion of the ‘break,’ though they are not in [it]. They specialize on the University.” The one day of personal harmony, however, ended up doing nothing to heal the rift between the Weizmann-Einstein camp and the Brandeis-Frankfurter one, which continued to worsen during the visit.

Einstein subsequently went to Princeton, where he delivered a weeklong series of scientific lectures and received an honorary degree “for voyaging through strange seas of thought.” He did not get the $15,000 fee he had originally requested, but he did receive a more modest one, plus a deal that Princeton would publish his lectures as a book and give him a 15 percent royalty. Einstein’s lectures were very technical. They included more than 125 complex equations that he scribbled on the blackboard while speaking in German. As one student admitted to a reporter, “I sat in the balcony, but he talked right over my head anyway.”

Einstein seemed to like Princeton. “Young and fresh,” he called it. “A pipe as yet unsmoked.” From a man who was invariably fondling new briar pipes, this was a compliment. It would not be a surprise, a dozen years hence, that he would decide to move there permanently.

Harvard, where Einstein went next, did not endear itself quite as well. Einstein graciously took a tour of the campus, dropping in on labs and commenting on students’ work, even though he had been explicitly not invited to give a formal lecture there. For the rest of his U.S. trip, he and Frankfurter engaged in an exchange of letters in which the Harvard professor tried to deflect the blame for the snub. People have “accused me of having wanted to prevent your appearance at Harvard,” Frankfurter wrote in a short note. “The accusation is absolutely untrue.” Einstein, however, knew of the telegrams that Frankfurter and Mack had sent objecting to Einstein’s request for lecture fees. “It now does seem plausible to me that you acted the way you did with honest, good intentions,” Einstein replied, not quite accepting Frankfurter’s denial. He added a humorous jab at Jews such as Frankfurter who were eager to avoid ruffling the refined sensibilities of non-Jews. “It would not even have been serious if all universities had withheld invitations,” he wrote, “although I certainly know that it is a Jewish weakness always anxiously to want to keep the Gentiles [Gojims] in a good mood.”

One of the final stops on the grand Einstein-Weizmann tour was Cleveland, where several thousands thronged the train depot to meet the visiting delegation. The parade included 200 honking and flag-draped cars. Einstein and Weizmann rode in an open car, preceded by a National Guard marching band and a cadre of Jewish war veterans in uniform. Admirers along the way grabbed onto Einstein’s car and jumped on the running board, while police tried to pull them away.

The Zionist Organization of America was about to meet in Cleveland for its annual convention, and the “downtown” Jews loyal to Weizmann were preparing for a showdown with the “uptown” Jews loyal to Brandeis. The convention turned out to be raucous indeed, with bitter speeches that included denunciations of the Brandeis camp for, among other sins, not showing enthusiasm for Einstein’s trip. Weizmann’s supporters, fortified by his presence, were able to block a vote of confidence endorsing the leadership of Brandeis and his point man, Julian Mack. Mack immediately resigned as president, Brandeis resigned as honorary president, and others in the Brandeis camp—including Felix Frankfurter and Stephen S. Wise—resigned from the executive committee. The deep rift in American Zionism would persist, and would undermine the movement, for almost a decade.

Einstein was not at the convention. He had already boarded a ship back to Europe, feeling somewhat baffled and amused by what he had seen in America. “It is more easily aroused to enthusiasm than other countries I have unsettled with my presence,” he wrote to his best friend, Michele Besso.

I had to let myself be shown around like a prize ox … It’s a miracle that I endured it. But now it’s finished and what remains is the fine feeling of having done something truly good and of having worked for the Jewish cause despite all the protests by Jews and non-Jews—most of our fellow tribesmen are smarter than they are courageous.

The opposition he encountered served only to deepen his support for the Zionist cause. “Zionism really offers a new Jewish ideal that can give the Jewish people joy in its own existence again,” he wrote Paul Ehrenfest right after the trip. In this regard, he was part of a trend that was reshaping Jewish identity, by choice and by imposition, in Europe. “Until a generation ago, Jews in Germany did not consider themselves as members of the Jewish people,” he told a reporter on the day he was leaving America. “They merely considered themselves as members of a religious community.” But anti-Semitism changed that, and there was a silver lining to that cloud, he declared. “The undignified mania of trying to adapt and conform and assimilate, which happens among many of my social standing, has always been very repulsive to me.”

The fund-raising part of Einstein’s tour was only a modest success. Even though poorer Jews and recent immigrants had poured out to see him and donated with enthusiasm, few of the eminent and old-line Jews with great personal fortunes became part of the frenzy. Only $750,000 was collected for Hebrew University, far less than the $4 million that Einstein and Weizmann had hoped for. But that was a good enough start. “The university seems to be financially secured,” Einstein wrote Ehrenfest.

Four years later, the university did indeed open, on top of Mount Scopus, overlooking Jerusalem. In an ironic twist, some of the New York financiers who initially spurned Einstein ended up supporting it, and they insisted on installing as chancellor Rabbi Judah Magnes, the person who had clashed with Einstein in 1921 and canceled a reception when Einstein insisted on turning it into a fund-raiser. Einstein was so upset by the appointment of Magnes that he resigned from the board in protest. Nevertheless, he would eventually leave his papers and much of his estate to the university.

There was one other ironic footnote. In 1946, after he had emigrated to America, Einstein again became associated with fund-raising for a Jewish university. The organization was initially called the Albert Einstein Foundation for Higher Learning, and it acquired the campus of a dying university near Boston. But once again, Einstein clashed with some of the donors and their choices for administrators. When they asked whether they could name the university after him, Einstein refused. So the founders decided instead to honor their second choice, who had died five years earlier. They named the new university Brandeis.