THE MENORAH JOURNAL
VOLUME I NO. 1
Greetings: From Dr. CYRUS ADLER, LOUIS D. BRANDEIS, Professor RICHARD GOTTHEIL, Dr. JOSEPH JACOBS, Dr. KAUFMAN KOHLER, Justice IRVING LEHMAN, Judge JULIAN W. MACK, Dr. J. L. MAGNES, Dr. MARTIN A. MEYER, Dr. DAVID PHILIPSON, Dr. SOLOMON SCHECHTER, JACOB H. SCHIFF, and Dr. STEPHEN S. WISE
A Call to the Educated Jew LOUIS D. BRANDEIS
Menorah: A Poem WILLIAM ELLERY LEONARD
The Jews in the War JOSEPH JACOBS
Jewish Students in European Universities HARRY WOLFSON
The Twilight of Hebraic Culture MAX L. MARGOLIS
Days of Disillusionment SAMUEL STRAUSS
Three University Addresses—President ARTHUR T. HADLEY of Yale University, Chancellor ELMER E. BROWN of New York University, President CHARLES W. DABNEY of the University of Cincinnati
The Menorah Movement HENRY HURWITZ
From College and University: Reports from Menorah Societies
PUBLISHED BY THE INTERCOLLEGIATE MENORAH ASSOCIATION 600 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK -:- -:- -:- 25 CTS. A COPY
INTERCOLLEGIATE MENORAH ASSOCIATION
For the Study and Advancement of Jewish Culture and Ideals
Chancellor HENRY HURWITZ 600 Madison Avenue, New York
President I. LEO SHARFMAN University of Michigan First Vice-President
MOSES BARRON University of Minnesota
Second Vice-President LEON J. ROSENTHAL Cornell University
Secretary ISADOR BECKER University of Michigan
Treasurer J. K. MILLER Penn State College
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL
Composed of Representatives, one each, from every constituent Menorah Society (The Representatives for 1915 will be announced in the next issue of The Menorah Journal)
There are Menorah Societies now at the following Colleges and Universities:
Boston University Brown University Clark University College of City of New York Columbia University Cornell University Harvard University Hunter College Johns Hopkins University New York University Ohio State University Penn State College Radcliffe College Rutgers College Tufts College University of California University of Chicago University of Cincinnati University of Colorado University of Denver University of Illinois University of Maine University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Missouri University of North Carolina University of Omaha University of Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh University of Texas University of Washington University of Wisconsin Valparaiso University Western Reserve University Yale University
Office of the Intercollegiate Menorah Association 600 Madison Avenue, New York
THE MENORAH JOURNAL
VOLUME I JANUARY, 1915 NUMBER 1
An Editorial Statement
THE MENORAH JOURNAL, in its efforts to carry forward the aims and aspirations of the Menorah movement, will necessarily be far more than merely an "official organ" for the Menorah Societies. That function, indeed, becomes increasingly important as the Menorah Societies multiply in number and influence throughout the country. In this special appeal to Menorah members, however, the Journal will be more than a news medium; it will supply important material for study and discussion, and stimulate thinking and active effort in behalf of Menorah ideals. And inasmuch as the furtherance of Menorah ideals means the advancement of American Jewry and the spread of Hebraic culture, the Journal should appeal to every one in America who sympathises with these purposes. The Journal will be conducted with this general appeal always in mind—with the desire, indeed, to make it a model publication dealing with Jewish life and thought. To publish a periodical that shall measure up to this high standard, with its accompanying influence and power, is one of the aspirations of the Menorah movement; and the Menorah auspices and conditions are so peculiarly favorable to the achievement of this ambition as to lend every encouragement to the effort that will be put forth to make the Journal a genuinely significant publication for the whole of American Jewry.
For conceived as it is and nurtured as it must continue to be in the spirit that gave birth to the Menorah idea, the Menorah Journal is under compulsion to be absolutely non-partisan, an expression of all that is best in Judaism and not merely of some particular sect or school or locality or group of special interests; fearless in telling the truth; promoting constructive thought rather than aimless controversy; animated with the vitality and enthusiasm of youth; harking back to the past that we may deal more wisely with the present and the future; recording and appreciating Jewish achievement, not to brag, but to bestir ourselves to emulation and to deepen the consciousness of noblesse oblige; striving always to be sane and level-headed; offering no opinions of its own, but providing an orderly platform for the discussion of mooted questions that really matter; dedicated first and foremost to the fostering of the Jewish "humanities" and the furthering of their influence as a spur to human service.
It will undoubtedly prove necessary on more than one occasion in the future to emphasize again the fact that the Journal is an unqualifiedly non-partisan forum for the discussion of Jewish problems; and that accordingly neither the Menorah Journal nor the Menorah Societies are to be regarded as standing sponsor for the views expressed in these columns by contributors. Nor will the Journal have any editorials expressing the views of its editors or of the Menorah organization,—particularly since the Menorah organization takes no official stand on mooted subjects. The editorial policy will be one of fairness in giving equal hospitality to opposing views; and space will gladly be given to reasonable letters or articles that take exception to statements or opinions published in these pages.
The Journal is singularly fortunate in having enlisted the co-operation of the distinguished leaders of Jewish life and thought who comprise its Board of Consulting Editors. The assurances already in hand of important articles to come from our Consulting Editors and from other notable men and women, both Jewish and non-Jewish, lend strength to the editorial confidence that succeeding issues will more and more repay the public interest. As an incidental but none the less vital aim, the Journal hopes to be instrumental in encouraging our young men and women, particularly in the Menorah membership, to devote themselves to Jewish subjects as worthy of their best literary effort,—with publication in the Menorah Journal as a prize to be eagerly sought for. The Menorah hopes through the incentive of the Journal to develop a "new school" of writers on Jewish topics that shall be distinguished by the thoroughness and clarity of the university-trained mind and inspired by the youthful, searching, unfearing spirit of the Menorah movement.
With these aims and these aspirations, the Menorah Journal bids for the favor of the public. Scholarly when scholarship will be in order, but always endeavoring to be timely, vivacious, readable; keen in the pursuit of truth wherever its source and whatever the consequences; a Jewish forum open to all sides; devoted first and last to bringing out the values of Jewish culture and ideals, of Hebraism and of Judaism, and striving for their advancement—the Menorah Journal hopes not merely to entertain, but to enlighten, in a time when knowledge, thought, and vision are more than ever imperative in Jewish life.
From Dr. Cyrus Adler
President of the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, Philadelphia
I AM very glad to be able through this first number of your Journal to send a word of greeting to the Menorah men throughout the United States. An Association which has as its object the promotion in American colleges and universities of the study of Jewish history, culture and problems, and the advancement of Jewish ideals, cannot but fail to command my personal and official interest and support.
The Jewish people have a long and honorable record of literary activity. Our Holy Scriptures, our Rabbinical Literature, our contributions to philosophy, to ethics, to law, our poetry, sacred and secular, our share in the world's history, all become part of the program which you have laid out for yourselves as a means of cultivation. In their due proportion they should (although they do not) form a part of the outfit of every educated man. That they should be especially cultivated by Jewish young people is self-evident, and, for several thousand years, they have been.
You Menorah men have taken the modern form of association for the purpose of carrying on these studies, of cherishing your Jewish ideals along with your general culture or with your chosen profession, and it was high time that you should do so. You already count thousands of young people, and as time goes on you will gradually increase in number. From among your group will come the future leaders of the Jewish people in America, and your main body will form our intellectual backbone. It is my hope and belief that your movement will gradually tend toward the maintenance and promotion of Judaism in this land.
We are now a population of nearly three million souls. That such a vast body should be lost to Judaism or should maintain a Judaism ignorant of its language, its literature or its traditions, is almost unthinkable. Conditions abroad may shift the center of gravity of Judaism and of Jewish learning to the American continent. Your movement is one which will aid in training the group that may be expected to measure up to our new responsibilities.
It has been a source of great personal pleasure to me to meet with your Association in your annual convention and to have the privilege of coming in personal contact with some of your Societies,—at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Boston Universities. I hope to have the pleasure of meeting more of you and to derive more of the stimulus which your enthusiasm gives me in my work. Speaking not only in my own name but in behalf of my colleagues on the Board of Governors and the Faculty of The Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, I wish your Association and your Journal success in all of your endeavors.
From Louis D. Brandeis
Chairman of the Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs
THE formation at Harvard University on October 25, 1906, of the first Menorah Society is a landmark in the Jewish Renaissance. That Renaissance, in which the Society is certain to be a significant factor, is of no less importance to America than to its Jews.
America offers to man his greatest opportunity—liberty amidst peace and large natural resources. But the noble purpose to which America is dedicated cannot be attained unless this high opportunity is fully utilized; and to this end each of the many peoples which she has welcomed to her hospitable shores must contribute the best of which it is capable. To America the contribution of the Jews can be peculiarly large. America's fundamental law seeks to make real the brotherhood of man. That brotherhood became the Jews' fundamental law more than twenty-five hundred years ago. America's twentieth century demand is for social justice. That has been the Jews' striving ages-long. Their religion and their afflictions have prepared them for effective democracy. Persecution made the Jews' law of brotherhood self-enforcing. It taught them the seriousness of life; it broadened their sympathies; it deepened the passion for righteousness; it trained them in patient endurance, in persistence, in self-control, and in self-sacrifice. Furthermore, the widespread study of Jewish law developed the intellect, and made them less subject to preconceptions and more open to reason.
America requires in her sons and daughters these qualities and attainments, which are our natural heritage. Patriotism to America, as well as loyalty to our past, imposes upon us the obligation of claiming this heritage of the Jewish spirit and of carrying forward noble ideals and traditions through lives and deeds worthy of our ancestors. To this end each new generation should be trained in the knowledge and appreciation of their own great past; and the opportunity should be afforded for the further development of Jewish character and culture.
The Menorah Societies and their Journal deserve most generous support in their efforts to perform this noble task.
From Dr. Richard Gottheil
Professor of Rabbinical Literature and the Semitic Languages, Columbia University
I HAVE been asked to say a word of greeting to the readers of the Menorah Journal. I do so with pleasure; indeed with much satisfaction. The Menorah students at our colleges and universities will now be bound together by a new bond, one that will give them a more unified direction and converge their efforts toward the goal which the Menorah has set for itself.
I should like to think that it is not entirely fortuitous that this added impulse is given to our work just at this time. We all feel that the present is a moment when the very foundations of our ethical life—both as individuals and as groups—have received a rude shock. At such a time—more than ever—we need to understand and to bear in mind the great teachings which Jewish sages have given to the world, as their and our contribution to the moral foundations of society. Such teachings were, in most cases, not decked out in the tawdry trappings of a recondite and far-fetched philosophy, nor garnished with the decorations of superlogical terminology, nor even put forth with lusty rhetoric. They were simple and to the point, because they were founded upon deep religious convictions.
One of these teachings occurs to me as I write these lines: "The moral condition of the world depends upon three things—truth, justice and peace." Have we outgrown such teaching? Have the astounding advances made during the last one hundred years in the science of physical living brought us any nearer to the true inwardness of moral living than the ethical principles put forth by these early teachers? As our hearts are rent by the sufferings of those who are caught in the meshes of the terrible war now raging, and as our intellects are befogged by the various excuses advanced in justification of carnage and wholesale destruction, do not the simple words of the old Hebrew sage appear to us as a beacon-light in the surrounding darkness? "Truth, Justice, Peace!"
Many similar lessons are awaiting those who will show some little willingness to learn and to know. They are a part of the patrimony that is ours, and which for the most part we refuse to claim. A voice is crying to us out of our own midst. We do not hear; for our ears are sealed as with wax. The Menorah Societies, which now are to be found in most of our institutions of higher learning, have set themselves the task of bringing our Jewish students to a consciousness of their own past, to a knowledge of their history as members of a great historic people, and to a just appreciation of the teachings of their religion. It is only the knowledge of what we have tried to be that will make us realize fully what we are and will enable us to see what our future may be. The Menorah Journal is intended to bring this knowledge to our young men, to harden their Jewish resolve and to point the way along which lies the consummation of our Jewish hopes. It sends its greeting to every Jewish student, whether or not he be a member of a Menorah Society. We of an older generation look to our university and college men as the Jewish leaders of the future. Let them gather around the Menorah Journal in order to make it a true expression of Jewish ideals, a powerful incentive to join the ranks of those who are active in our cause. The word of the Prophet comes to me again: "Be ye strong, therefore, and let not your hands be weak; for your work shall be rewarded."
From Joseph Jacobs
Editor of The American Hebrew, New York
I GREET the appearance of the official organ of the Menorah Societies something in the spirit of Ibsen's Master-Builder, who hears the coming generation knocking at the door. I have long been of the opinion that the future of American Israel lies with the academic Jews of the American universities. The organ that represents them should be, from this point of view, the voice of Israel's future in America. If you can live up to that ideal, you have indeed a great future before you.
From Dr. Kaufman Kohler
President of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati
AS you wander through the ruins of the Forum Romanum and are within sight of the Via Appia at the other end, your attention is riveted by an exquisite white marble arch wonderfully preserved. It is the Arch of Titus erected in memory of Rome's triumph over Judaea Capta. As you look closer at the trophies chiseled on this famous monument, you find there standing out most conspicuously the seven-armed candlestick carried by the Jewish captives, the Menorah, regarded, no doubt, by the proud victor as the most characteristic feature of the destroyed Jewish temple. Yet how strange! It seems to be almost a foreboding of the future dominion of the vanquished over the vanquisher. Israel's state, with its temple, Israel's nationality was trampled under foot by the Roman legions—Israel's religion remained unconquered, the light of its truth remained undimmed; nay, it grew brighter and stronger until the world was filled with its splendor. Little did the Emperor Vespasian dream, when he granted Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai, the Jewish maker of learning, the privilege of building a schoolhouse at Jamnia as a substitute for the hall of the judiciary in the temple at Jerusalem, that this sanctuary of the Jewish law and what it represents would by far eclipse all the power and greatness of the Roman civilization. Yet this was symbolized by the Menorah. Whether originally intended or not, it was the emblem of Israel's mission of light. It indicated the task of the Jew, when scattered over the wide globe, to be a light to the nations, the religious luminary to the world. And if we be permitted to give a special meaning to the seven arms of light of the Golden Candlestick, we might find therein a suggestion of the lights of truth, justice and purity, or holiness, on the one side, and the lights of law, literature, and art, or wisdom, on the other, while the light in the center stands for religion, from which all the other lights emanated and for which the Jew throughout the centuries lived, suffered, and died, to preserve intact as mankind's highest treasure to the very end of history.
These ideas I would offer as greeting to the editors and readers of the Menorah Journal. The name "Menorah" was aptly chosen by the founders of the pioneer Menorah Society with a view to the two-fold task of the light-bearer, to enlighten a surrounding world, and to foster self-respect in the hearts of the Jewish students by spreading the light of Jewish knowledge among them. Now, if I understand correctly the purpose of starting a Journal as the organ of the Intercollegiate Menorah Association, it is to give to these endeavors a more permanent and classical literary form, and thus successfully defend the cause of Judaism. Wishing this enterprise all success and Godspeed, I venture to express the hope that true to its name Menorah, the Journal will become a real banner-bearer of light not only dispelling clouds of doubt and of prejudice within and outside of our camp, but also aiming to spread the truth of Judaism in all its spiritual force and grandeur. Not nationalism, which in these days of a cruel world-war with its barbarism puts our much-vaunted modern civilization to everlasting shame and which has split the Jewish people also into warring camps, but Judaism as a religion, which notwithstanding the differences of its various wings as to form is in its essentials and fundamentals one, should be the watchword, for it is the light of the Torah that is both law and learning, religion and culture, which is to unify and consolidate all the forces of American Israel.
From Irving Lehman
Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York
I CONGRATULATE the members of the Intercollegiate Menorah Association upon the fact that in their Journal they are obtaining a new instrument to carry forward their work of bringing to the Jewish youth knowledge of the old ideals and lessons of the Jewish past. During these dreadful days, the Jewish students of almost every country except America have been called from study, and preparation for a life of usefulness, into pitiless war and useless destruction. The oppressed in Russia, the student in Germany, and the free Englishman, all have answered the call to arms of the country in which they live, and each is fighting, firm in the belief that he is defending his Fatherland against foreign aggression. The loyalty shown by our brethren even in those countries where their treatment might well have furnished at least an explanation for disloyalty, is a new demonstration of the ancient spirit of devotion to their ideals which, I believe, has always been the true spirit of the Jews. But the ideal of national physical strength is not the ideal which we Jews had when we were a nation and which we must strive to make the ideal of the modern nations in which we live. Dark though these present days are, yet humanity must progress into the light of a permanent peace, and though the Jews are doing their full share of the fighting in this war brought on by their rulers, we must do more than our share in bringing to its fruition the ancient prophecy: "For the law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge many people and rebuke strong nations, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
The voice of this Journal may be only a weak, small voice, but if that voice speaks in the spirit of the prophet and brings home to us the worth of the prophetic ideals, it may well prove an important factor in enabling Israel to fulfill its mission as a messenger of peace to all the nations.
From Julian W. Mack
Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals
MY hopes are high that the Menorah Journal may prove a valuable means not only of linking together the Menorah Societies of the country but also of bringing to the individual members a clearer conception of the culture, ideals and traditions of the Jews, thereby increasing their interest in all things Jewish.
This would inevitably tend to strengthen the religious faith of the Jewish members and to awaken in all of the members a keener and a more intelligent appreciation of the contribution which Jews and Judaism have made to human progress.
From Dr. J. L. Magnes
Chairman of Executive Committee, Jewish Community (Kehillah) of New York
I SEND hearty greetings to the members of the Intercollegiate Menorah Association upon the publication of the Journal. If the Journal can be put upon a sound business basis assuring its permanence, its publication will mark an important event in the development of Judaism in America. What we need above all things is sound thinking on Jewish affairs. I have no doubt that proper action will result from sound thinking. The Menorah Journal ought to become the medium for publishing the best thought modern Jewry is capable of. The present catastrophe overwhelming Europe has conferred upon the Jews in America the leadership of Jewry. We can assume this historic obligation only if our theories be clear cut and well thought out.
From Dr. Martin A. Meyer
Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco
IT is a pleasure to know that a journal is being launched in America for the benefit of thinking Jews, which will stand between the technical journal of the "Quarterly" type and outside of the purlieus of our numerous "Weekly" gossip sheets.
Jewish journalism in America has done little, if anything, to justify the numerous calls which it makes upon the people for support. On the other hand, there is sad need for a journal representative of our best thought, which will be readable and which will represent rather than misrepresent us.
The field of Jewish culture and ideals surely has not been exhausted by our European brethren. No matter what they may have contributed to the exploitation of this field there surely remains ample ground for the American Jew to express himself in the light of the old standards of Jewish conduct and belief.
It goes without saying that your Journal will make its primary appeal to the college man and woman. If successful, it will have saved for Jewry its most valuable elements and enable us to build in the future on a better and broader basis than the purely financial and commercial leadership of the past.
From the far West we join hands with you in the far East and unite in fervent hopes that the new Menorah Journal may grow from strength to strength.
From Dr. David Philipson
Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati
SOME seventy years ago the celebrated Jewish scholar, Abraham Geiger, charged the Jewish intelligenzia of his day with indifference towards Judaism and Jewish interests. This accusation of Geiger's has since been repeated frequently. But a rift is appearing in the cloud. To-day as never before our intelligenzia as defined by university training and education is identifying itself more and more with Jewish life and aspiration in our country. And I feel that due credit should be given the Menorah movement in our colleges for this change of attitude of Jewish students and professors. This movement, still young, has accomplished much in bringing together the young men and women who form our intellectual elite into associations for the study of Jewish history and the consideration of Jewish problems. It has awakened an interest in Jewish matters in many who have been lukewarm and indifferent. It has brought as lecturers to our colleges Jewish men of light and leading from many communities, who have voiced their messages and given food for thought to the future leaders now sitting on university benches.
The call of the ages sounds to the intellectual nobility of our day and generation. Learning has been extolled among Jews from earliest times, and the wise man has been the accredited leader, so that it was declared that "the wise man is greater than the prophet." I would have the learned classes come again into their own. I would have our university men in coming years the staunchest Jews in the community through their intelligent interest in everything that makes for its highest welfare.
To achieve this is the task of our university men. The possibility of this achievement I see in such significant signs as the Menorah movement, the institution of student congregations, and the launching of this magazine by the Intercollegiate Menorah Association. What has been called the "Jewish consciousness," a term which has done yeoman's service during the past decade, is being aroused through these agencies to an even greater degree. This aroused Jewish feeling will, I am sure, be translated into active service more and more as the years pass and the present generation of college men carve out their careers in our communities throughout the country. This is the great Jewish opportunity of the present generation; in this will they reverse, such is my hope and my belief, that condition and that attitude of the Jewish intelligenzia in the past (and still largely in the present) which evoked the statement of Abraham Geiger. May this new undertaking prosper so that the young generation whom this magazine represents may be helped toward a realization of its ideals, and become an inspiration to all Jewry throughout the length and breadth of the land.
From Dr. Solomon Schechter
President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America
I WISH to send my hearty congratulations to the Intercollegiate Menorah Association upon their undertaking the publication of the Menorah Journal, which I have no doubt will prove greatly helpful in promoting the knowledge of Judaism among the Jewish college youth. In a liberal country like ours, with the eagerness of our people for acquiring knowledge, there never was a lack of Jews in our Colleges and Universities. But what the Menorah Association will accomplish with the aid of the Journal is, I hope, to have Judaism also represented in our seats of learning.
From Jacob H. Schiff
IT is with much satisfaction that I learn of the launching of the Menorah Journal, to provide an opportunity for a more general spread of the high ideals of the Menorah Societies among our college youth. When I received some time ago a copy of the publication entitled "The Menorah Movement," I noted with particular pleasure the progress the Menorah Societies had already made. After an attentive perusal of the contents of this publication, I felt as if a copy ought to be placed in the hands of every Jewish college and university student, and I myself distributed a number of copies for propaganda purposes. The Menorah Societies are to be congratulated upon their new venture in issuing the Journal, upon which I wish them every success. It is to be hoped that the Menorah Journal will help the Jewish student to understand what Judaism means and what as Jews we should strive for to become useful and worthy citizens of this country. We shall have to face increasing problems because of the deplorable war in Europe, which so tragically affects our co-religionists there, and it will require much devotion and understanding on our part to properly deal with the conditions which will necessarily arise. The Menorah Journal should freely discuss these conditions, so as to inspire its readers with the desire to aid and the courage needed in the situation which is facing us. Thus, by "spreading light," the Journal can greatly assist the Menorah movement, and render efficient service in and outside of the university. Let me wish Godspeed to your new publication and its managers.
From Dr. Stephen S. Wise
Rabbi of the Free Synagogue, New York
I REJOICE to learn of the establishment of an organ by the Menorah Association. The Menorah Journal will, I take it, serve the threefold purpose of keeping the various groups of the Menorah throughout the universities of the land in constant touch with one another, of interpreting the ideals of the Menorah to widening circles of the Jewish youth, and of confirming anew, from time to time, the loyalty of the Menorah men to the Menorah ideal.
A truly great Jew said about fifteen years ago that a high self-reverence had transformed arme Judenjungen into stolze junge Juden. I believe that the Menorah movement in this land is in part the cause and in other part the token of a transformation among young American Jews to-day parallel to that cited by Theodor Herzl. It marks a sea-change from the self pitying Jewish youth, immeasurably "sorry for himself" because of his exclusion from certain dominantly unfraternal groups, to the Jewish youth self-regarding, in the highest sense of the term, self-knowing, self-revering. That the self-respecting young Jew command the respect of the world without is of minor importance by the side of the outstanding fact that he has ceased to measure himself by the values which he imagined the unfriendly elements of the world without had set upon him.
The Menorah movement is welcome as a proof of a new order in the life of the young college Jew. He has come to see at last that it is comic, in large part, to be shut out from the Greek letter fraternities of the Hellenes and the Barbarians, but that it is tragic, in large part, to shut himself out from the life of his own people. For it is from his own people that he must draw his vision and spiritual sustenance if he is to live a life of self-mastery rather than the life of a contemptible parasite rooted nowhere and chameleonizing everywhere. Time was when their fellow-Jews half excused the college men, who drifted away from the life of Israel, as if the burden of the Jewish bond were too much for the untried and unrobust shoulders of our Jewish college men, as if their intellectual and moral squeamishness led to inevitable revolt against association with their much-despised and wholly misunderstood Jewish fellows. Now we see, and our younger brothers of the Menorah fellowship have caught the vision, that no Jew can be truly cultured who Jewishly uproots himself, that the man who rejects the birthright of inheritance of the traditions of the earliest and virilest of the cultured peoples of earth is impoverishing his very being. The Jew who is a "little Jew" is less of a man.
The Menorah lights the path for the fellowship of young Israel, finely self-reverencing. Long be that rekindled light undimmed!
A Call to the Educated Jew
BY LOUIS D. BRANDEIS
WHILE I was in Cleveland a few weeks ago, a young man who has won distinction on the bench told me this incident from his early life. He was born in a little village of Western Russia where the opportunities for schooling were meagre. When he was thirteen his parents sent him to the nearest city in search of an education. There—in Bialystok—were good secondary schools and good high schools; but the Russian law, which limits the percentage of Jewish pupils in any school, barred his admission. The boy's parents lacked the means to pay for private tuition. He had neither relative nor friend in the city. But soon three men were found who volunteered to give him instruction. None of them was a teacher by profession. One was a newspaper man; another was a chemist; the third, I believe, was a tradesman; all were educated men. And throughout five long years these three men took from their leisure the time necessary to give a stranger an education.
The three men of Bialystok realized that education was not a thing of one's own to do with as one pleases—not a personal privilege to be merely enjoyed by the possessor—but a precious treasure transmitted upon a sacred trust to be held, used and enjoyed, and if possible strengthened—then passed on to others upon the same trust. Yet the treasure which these three men held and the boy received in trust was much more than an education. It included that combination of qualities which enabled and impelled these three men to give and the boy to seek and to acquire an education. These qualities embrace: first, intellectual capacity; second, an appreciation of the value of education; third, indomitable will; fourth, capacity for hard work. It was these qualities which enabled the lad not only to acquire but to so utilize an education that, coming to America, ignorant of our language and of our institutions, he attained in comparatively few years the important office he has so honorably filled.
Now whence comes this combination of qualities of mind, body and character? These are qualities with which every one is familiar, singly and in combination; which you find in friends and relatives, and which others doubtless discover in you. They are qualities possessed by most Jews who have attained distinction or other success; and in combination they may properly be called Jewish qualities. For they have not come to us by accident; they were developed by three thousand years of civilization, and nearly two thousand years of persecution; developed through our religion and spiritual life; through our traditions; and through the social and political conditions under which our ancestors lived. They are, in short, the product of Jewish life.
The Fruit of Three Thousand Years of Civilization
OUR intellectual capacity was developed by the almost continuous training of the mind throughout twenty-five centuries. The Torah led the "People of the Book" to intellectual pursuits at times when most of the Aryan peoples were illiterate. And religion imposed the use of the mind upon the Jews, indirectly as well as directly, and demanded of the Jew not merely the love, but the understanding of God. This necessarily involved a study of the Laws. And the conditions under which the Jews were compelled to live during the last two thousand years also promoted study in a people among whom there was already considerable intellectual attainment. Throughout the centuries of persecution practically the only life open to the Jew which could give satisfaction was the intellectual and spiritual life. Other fields of activity and of distinction which divert men from intellectual pursuits were closed to the Jews. Thus they were protected by their privations from the temptations of material things and worldly ambitions. Driven by circumstances to intellectual pursuits, their mental capacity gradually developed. And as men delight in that which they do well, there was an ever widening appreciation of things intellectual.
Is not the Jews' indomitable will—the power which enables them to resist temptation and, fully utilizing their mental capacity, to overcome obstacles—is not that quality also the result of the conditions under which they lived so long? To live a Jew during the centuries of persecution was to lead a constant struggle for existence. That struggle was so severe that only the fittest could survive. Survival was not possible except where there was strong will—a will both to live and to live a Jew. The weaker ones passed either out of Judaism or out of existence.
And finally, the Jewish capacity for hard work is also the product of Jewish life—a life characterized by temperate, moral living continued throughout the ages, and protected by those marvellous sanitary regulations which were enforced through the religious sanctions. Remember, too, that amidst the hardship to which our ancestors were exposed it was only those with endurance who survived.
So let us not imagine that what we call our achievements are wholly or even largely our own. The phrase "self-made man" is most misleading. We have power to mar; but we alone cannot make. The relatively large success achieved by Jews wherever the door of opportunity is opened to them is due, in the main, to this product of Jewish life—to this treasure which we have acquired by inheritance—and which we are in duty bound to transmit unimpaired, if not augmented, to coming generations.
But our inheritance comprises far more than this combination of qualities making for effectiveness. These are but means by which man may earn a living or achieve other success. Our Jewish trust comprises also that which makes the living worthy and success of value. It brings us that body of moral and intellectual perceptions, the point of view and the ideals, which are expressed in the term Jewish spirit; and therein lies our richest inheritance.
The Kinship of Jewish and American Ideals
IS it not a striking fact that a people coming from Russia, the most autocratic of countries, to America, the most democratic of countries, comes here, not as to a strange land, but as to a home? The ability of the Russian Jew to adjust himself to America's essentially democratic conditions is not to be explained by Jewish adaptability. The explanation lies mainly in the fact that the twentieth century ideals of America have been the ideals of the Jew for more than twenty centuries. We have inherited these ideals of democracy and of social justice as we have the qualities of mind, body and character to which I referred. We have inherited also that fundamental longing for truth on which all science—and so largely the civilization of the twentieth century—rests; although the servility incident to persistent oppression has in some countries obscured its manifestation.
Among the Jews democracy was not an ideal merely. It was a practice—a practice made possible by the existence among them of certain conditions essential to successful democracy, namely:
First: An all-pervading sense of the duty in the citizen. Democratic ideals cannot be attained through emphasis merely upon the rights of man. Even a recognition that every right has a correlative duty will not meet the needs of democracy. Duty must be accepted as the dominant conception in life. Such were the conditions in the early days of the colonies and states of New England, when American democracy reached there its fullest expression; for the Puritans were trained in implicit obedience to stern duty by constant study of the Prophets.
Second: Relatively high intellectual attainments. Democratic ideals cannot be attained by the mentally undeveloped. In a government where everyone is part sovereign, everyone should be competent, if not to govern, at least to understand the problems of government; and to this end education is an essential. The early New Englanders appreciated fully that education is an essential of potential equality. The founding of their common school system was coincident with the founding of the colonies; and even the establishment of institutions for higher education did not lag far behind. Harvard College was founded but six years after the first settlement of Boston.
Third: Submission to leadership as distinguished from authority. Democratic ideals can be attained only where those who govern exercise their power not by alleged divine right or inheritance, but by force of character and intelligence. Such a condition implies the attainment by citizens generally of relatively high moral and intellectual standards; and such a condition actually existed among the Jews. These men who were habitually denied rights, and whose province it has been for centuries "to suffer and to think," learned not only to sympathize with their fellows (which is the essence of democracy and social justice), but also to accept voluntarily the leadership of those highly endowed morally and intellectually.
Fourth: A developed community sense. The sense of duty to which I have referred was particularly effective in promoting democratic ideals among the Jews, because of their deep-seated community feeling. To describe the Jew as an individualist is to state a most misleading half-truth. He has to a rare degree merged his individuality and his interests in the community of which he forms a part. This is evidenced among other things by his attitude toward immortality. Nearly every other people has reconciled this world of suffering with the idea of a beneficent providence by conceiving of immortality for the individual. The individual sufferer bore present ills by regarding this world as merely the preparation for another, in which those living righteously here would find individual reward hereafter. Of all the nations, Israel "takes precedence in suffering"; but, despite our national tragedy, the doctrine of individual immortality found relatively slight lodgment among us. As Ahad Ha-'Am so beautifully said: "Judaism did not turn heavenward and create in Heaven an eternal habitation of souls. It found 'eternal life' on earth, by strengthening the social feeling in the individual; by making him regard himself not as an isolated being with an existence bounded by birth and death, but as part of a larger whole, as a limb of the social body. This conception shifts the center of gravity not from the flesh to the spirit, but from the individual to the community; and concurrently with this shifting, the problem of life becomes a problem not of individual, but of social life. I live for the sake of the perpetuation and happiness of the community of which I am a member; I die to make room for new individuals, who will mould the community afresh and not allow it to stagnate and remain forever in one position. When the individual thus values the community as his own life, and strives after its happiness as though it were his individual well-being, he finds satisfaction, and no longer feels so keenly the bitterness of his individual existence, because he sees the end for which he lives and suffers." Is not that the very essence of the truly triumphant twentieth-century democracy?
The Two-fold Command of Noblesse Oblige
SUCH is our inheritance; such the estate which we hold in trust. And what are the terms of that trust; what the obligations imposed? The short answer is noblesse oblige; and its command is two-fold. It imposes duties upon us in respect to our own conduct as individuals; it imposes no less important duties upon us as part of the Jewish community or race. Self-respect demands that each of us lead individually a life worthy of our great inheritance and of the glorious traditions of the race. But this is demanded also by respect for the rights of others. The Jews have not only been ever known as a "peculiar people"; they were and remain a distinctive and minority people. Now it is one of the necessary incidents of a distinctive and minority people that the act of any one is in some degree attributed to the whole group. A single though inconspicuous instance of dishonorable conduct on the part of a Jew in any trade or profession has far-reaching evil effects extending to the many innocent members of the race. Large as this country is, no Jew can behave badly without injuring each of us in the end. Thus the Rosenthal and the white-slave traffic cases, though local to New York, did incalculable harm to the standing of the Jews throughout the country. The prejudice created may be most unjust, but we may not disregard the fact that such is the result. Since the act of each becomes thus the concern of all, we are perforce our brothers' keepers. Each, as co-trustee for all, must exact even from the lowliest the avoidance of things dishonorable; and we may properly brand the guilty as traitor to the race.
But from the educated Jew far more should be exacted. In view of our inheritance and our present opportunities, self-respect demands that we live not only honorably but worthily; and worthily implies nobly. The educated descendants of a people which in its infancy cast aside the Golden Calf and put its faith in the invisible God cannot worthily in its maturity worship worldly distinction and things material. "Two men he honors and no third," says Carlyle—"the toil-worn craftsman who conquers the earth and him who is seen toiling for the spiritually indispensable."
And yet, though the Jew make his individual life the loftiest, that alone will not fulfill the obligations of his trust. We are bound not only to use worthily our great inheritance, but to preserve and, if possible, augment it; and then transmit it to coming generations. The fruit of three thousand years of civilization and a hundred generations of suffering may not be sacrificed by us. It will be sacrificed if dissipated. Assimilation is national suicide. And assimilation can be prevented only by preserving national characteristics and life as other peoples, large and small, are preserving and developing their national life. Shall we with our inheritance do less than the Irish, the Servians, or the Bulgars? And must we not, like them, have a land where the Jewish life may be naturally led, the Jewish language spoken, and the Jewish spirit prevail? Surely we must, and that land is our fathers' land: it is Palestine.
A Land Where the Jewish Spirit May Prevail
THE undying longing for Zion is a fact of deepest significance—a manifestation in the struggle for existence. Zionism is, of course, not a movement to remove all the Jews of the world compulsorily to Palestine. In the first place, there are in the world about 14,000,000 Jews, and Palestine would not accommodate more than one-fifth of that number. In the second place, this is not a movement to compel anyone to go to Palestine. It is essentially a movement to give to the Jew more, not less, freedom—a movement to enable the Jews to exercise the same right now exercised by practically every other people in the world—to live at their option either in the land of their fathers or in some other country; a right which members of small nations as well as of large—which Irish, Greek, Bulgarian, Servian or Belgian, as well as German or English—may now exercise.
Furthermore, Zionism is not a movement to wrest from the Turk the sovereignty of Palestine. Zionism seeks merely to establish in Palestine for such Jews as choose to go and remain there, and for their descendants, a legally secured home, where they may live together and lead a Jewish life; where they may expect ultimately to constitute a majority of the population, and may look forward to what we should call home rule.
The establishment of the legally secured Jewish home is no longer a dream. For more than a generation brave pioneers have been building the foundations of our new old home. It remains for us to build the superstructure. The Ghetto walls are now falling, Jewish life cannot be preserved and developed, assimilation cannot be averted, unless there be reestablished in the fatherland a center from which the Jewish spirit may radiate and give to the Jews scattered throughout the world that inspiration which springs from the memories of a great past and the hope of a great future. To accomplish this it is not necessary that the Jewish population of Palestine be large as compared with the whole number of Jews in the world. Throughout centuries when the Jewish influence was great, and it was working out its own, and in large part the world's, destiny during the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman Empires, only a relatively small part of the Jews lived in Palestine; and only a small part of the Jews returned from Babylon when the Temple was rebuilt.
The glorious past can really live only if it becomes the mirror of a glorious future; and to this end the Jewish home in Palestine is essential. We Jews of prosperous America above all need its inspiration. And the Menorah men should be its builders.
THERE are two things necessary in the Jewish life of this country. The one is an heroic attempt to organize the Jews of the country for Jewish things. That can be done, I believe, primarily through the organization of self-conscious Jewish communities throughout the country. The other thing necessary is, that we have vigorous Jewish thinking. We need a theory, a substantial theory, for our Jewish life, just as much as we need Jewish organization. We need to have our college men think their problems through without fear, courageously, by whatever name their theories may be known, be these theories called Zionism or anti-Zionism, Reform Judaism or Orthodox Judaism. We need some vigorous Jewish thinking.—From a Menorah Address by Dr. J. L. Magnes.
By WILLIAM ELLERY LEONARD
WE'VE read in legends of the books of old How deft Bezalel, wisest in his trade, At the command of veiled Moses made The seven-branched candlestick of beaten gold— The base, the shaft, the cups, the knops, the flowers, Like almond blossoms—and the lamps were seven.
We know at least that on the templed rock Of Zion hill, with earth's revolving hours Under the changing centuries of heaven, It stood upon the solemn altar block, By every Gentile who had heard abhorred— The holy light of Israel of the Lord; Until that Titus and the legions came And battered the walls with catapult and fire, And bore the priests and candlestick away, And, as memorial of fulfilled desire, Bade carve upon the arch that bears his name The stone procession ye may see today Beyond the Forum on the Sacred Way, Lifting the golden candlestick of fame.
The city fell, the temple was a heap; And little children, who had else grown strong And in their manhood venged the Roman wrong, Strewed step and chamber, in eternal sleep. But the great vision of the sevenfold flames Outlasted the cups wherein at first it sprung. The Greeks might teach the arts, the Romans law; The heathen hordes might shout for bread and games; Still Israel, exalted in the realms of awe, Guarded the Light in many an alien air, Along the borders of the midland sea In hostile cities, spending praise and prayer And pondering on the larger things to be— Down through the ages when the Cross uprose Among the northern Gentiles to oppose: Then huddled in the ghettos, barred at night, In lands of unknown trees and fiercer snows, They watched forevermore the Light, the Light.
The main seas opened to the west. The Nations Covered new continents with generations That had their work to do, their thought to say; And Israel's hosts from bloody towns afar In the dominions of the ermined Czar, Seared with the iron, scarred with many a stroke, Crowded the hollow ships but yesterday And came to us who are tomorrow's folk. And the pure Light, however some might doubt Who mocked their dirt and rags, had not gone out.
The holy Light of Israel hath unfurled Its tongues of mystic flame around the world. Empires and Kings and Parliaments have passed; Rivers and mountain chains from age to age Become new boundaries for man's politics. The navies run new ensigns up the mast, The temples try new creeds, new equipage; The schools new sciences beyond the six. And through the lands where many a song hath rung The people speak no more their fathers' tongue. Yet in the shifting energies of man The Light of Israel remains her Light. And gathered to a splendid caravan From the four corners of the day and night, The chosen people—so the prophets hold— Shall yet return unto the homes of old Under the hills of Judah. Be it so. Only the stars and moon and sun can show A permanence of light to hers akin.
What is that Light? Who is there that shall tell The purport of the tribe of Israel?— In the wild welter of races on that earth Which spins in space where thousand other spin— The casual offspring of the Cosmic Mirth Perhaps—what is there any man can win, Or any nation? Ultimates aside, Men have their aims, and Israel her pride. She stands among the rest, austere, aloof, Still the peculiar people, armed in proof Of Selfhood, whilst the others merge or die. She stands among the rest and answers: "I, Above ye all, must ever gauge success By ideal types, and know the more and less Of things as being in the end defined, For this our human life by righteousness. And if I base this in Eternal Mind— Our fathers' God in victory or distress— I cannot argue for my hardihood, Save that the thought is in my flesh and blood, And made me what I was in olden time, And keeps me what I am today in every clime."
The Jews in the War
BY JOSEPH JACOBS
IT is of course difficult to conjecture what will be the ultimate effect of such a world-cataclysm as the present European war on the fate of the Jews of the world. The chief center of interest naturally lies in the eastern field of the war which happens to rage within the confines of Old Poland. This kingdom, founded by the Jagellons, brought together Roman Catholic Poland and Greek Catholic Lithuania and could not, therefore, apply in full rigor the mediaeval principle that only those could belong to the State who belonged to the State Church. Hence a certain amount of toleration of religious differences, which led to Poland forming the chief asylum of the Jews evicted from Western Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As a consequence here lies the most crowded seat of Jewish population in the world. From it comes the vast majority of the third of a million Jews in the prime of life who are fighting for their native countries and often against their fellow-Jews. Probably three hundred thousand Jewish soldiers are under arms in this district. Besides the inevitable loss by death of many of these and the distress caused by the removal of so many others for an indefinite period from breadwinning for their families, there must be ineffable woe caused by the fact that this district is the scene of strenuous conflicts, which lead to the wholesale destruction of the Jewish homes in a literal sense. When one reflects that one out of every six of the inhabitants of Russian, Prussian, and Austrian Poland is a Jew, the extent of the misery thus caused may be imagined. One meets friends whose birth-place changes nationality from week to week, according as the different armies take possession. The Jewish inhabitants of Suwalki, for example, must be doubtful whether they are Germans or Russians, according as Uhlan or Cossack holds control of their city. But whichever wins, for the time being, the non-combatants suffer by the demolition of their houses, the requisition of their property, and above all by the dislocation of their trade. The mass of misery caused by the present war in this way to the Jews of Russian, Prussian, and Austrian Poland is incalculable.
Nor is this direct loss and misery compensated for by any hope of improved conditions after the war is concluded. One may dismiss at once the rumor that the Czar has promised his Jewish soldiers any alleviation of their lot, on account of their loyalty and bravery. Such rumors are always spread about when the Russian autocracy needs Jewish blood or money. Besides, we all know the value of the plighted word of the crowned head of the Russian Church; the emasculation of the Duma is sufficient evidence of this. And even if the Czar carries out his promise of giving autonomy to Poland, including any sections of Prussian and Austrian territory which he may acquire by the present war, the Jewish lot will not be ameliorated in the slightest. For, unfortunately, Poles have of recent years turned round on their Jewish fellow sufferers from Russian tyranny somewhat on the principle of the boy at school who "passes on" the blow which he has received from a bigger boy to one smaller yet.
The Probable Strengthening of Anti-Semitic Influences
BUT the chief evil which will result from the present war, whatever its outcome, will be the increased influence of just those circles from whom the anti-Semitic movement has emanated throughout Europe for the past forty years. It is, in my opinion, absurd to think that militarism will be killed or even scotched by the present war; militarism cannot cast out militarism. Even if Germany is defeated, it is impossible to imagine that she will rest content with her defeat, and practically the only change in the situation will be that "La Revanche" will be translated into "Die Rache"; and in Russia, the defeat of Germany will simply increase the prestige and influence of the grand-ducal circles from which the persecution of the Jews has mainly emanated.
In the contrary case, if Germany gets the upper hand, the influence of the Junkers in Germany, with their anti-Semitic tendencies, would be raised to intolerable limits, while the Reaction in Russia, even if it loses prestige, will yet be granted more power in order to carry out the projected revenge.
Diminished Chances of Emigration
ANOTHER unfortunate result for Jews from the present war will be the decreased stream of emigration from Russia and Galicia to this country, so that the escape from the House of Bondage would be still more limited. Many will be so impoverished by the war that they will not be able to afford the minimum sum needed for migration. Death on the battle-field or in the military hospitals will remove many energetic young fellows who would otherwise have come to this country and afterwards have brought their relatives with them. Conditions here too, in the immediate future, are likely to be less attractive for the immigrant from the economic point of view owing to the dislocation of trade caused by the current conflict.
Altogether, as will have been seen from the above enumeration, I am strongly of opinion that the Jews will suffer even more than most peoples concerned in the present war. They have nothing to gain by it; they are sure to lose by it.
SURELY a law, the essence of which is mercy and justice to one's fellow men, is not a narrow rule of life, to be discarded by us today on any plea that we have outgrown it; surely a history of thousands of years' devotion to spiritual ideals is not a history to be forgotten. America is a land of divers races and divers religions. Each race and each religion owes to it the duty of bringing to its service all its strength; it derives no added strength from a race which has forgotten the lessons it has learnt in the past, a race which deliberately discards the spiritual strength which it has obtained by devotion to its ideals.—From a Menorah Address by Justice Irving Lehman.
Jewish Students in European Universities
BY HARRY WOLFSON
[Illustration: HARRY WOLFSON (Harvard A. B. and A. M. 1912), a member of the Harvard Menorah Society since 1908, was the Hebrew poet at the annual Harvard Menorah dinners for four years, and won the Harvard Menorah prize in 1911 for an essay on "Maimonides and Halevi: A Study in Typical Jewish Attitudes Toward Greek Philosophy in the Middle Ages." On graduating from Harvard he received honors in Semitics and Philosophy, and was appointed to a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship. As Sheldon Fellow he spent two years abroad, studying in the University of Berlin and doing research work in the libraries of Munich, Paris, the Vatican, Parma, the British Museum, Oxford and Cambridge. The present article is based upon the impressions he gathered during this period. He is now pursuing graduate studies in Semitics and Philosophy at Harvard.]
THE Jewish student is no longer a deracine. Deeply rooted to the soil of Jewish reality, he is like the best of the academic youth of other nations responsive to the needs of his own people. If in spots he is still groping in the dark, he is no longer a lone, stray wanderer, but is seeking his way out to light in the company of kindred souls. A comprehensive and exhaustive study of native Jewish student bodies in countries like England, Germany, Austria, France and Italy, as well as of the Russian Jewish student colonies strewn all over Western Europe, would bring out, in the most striking manner, contrasting tendencies in modern Jewry. But that is far from the direct purpose of this brief paper. As a student and traveler in various European countries during the years 1912-1914 I had the opportunity of observing Jewish student life and Jewish conditions in general abroad, and it is merely a few random impressions of certain aspects of these European conditions that I have here gathered together for the readers of the Menorah Journal.
JUDAISM in England, though of recent origin, is completely domesticated. The Jewish gentleman is becoming as standardized as the type of English gentleman. But more insular than the island itself, Anglo-Jewry, as a whole, prefers to remain within its natural boundaries, and is disinclined to become the bearer of the white Jew's burden. Two of her great Jews, indeed, had embarked upon a scheme of Jewish empire building. The attempts of both of them, however, ended in a fizzle, for one was an unimaginative philanthropic squire, and the other is an interpreter of the dreamers, himself too wide-awake to become a master of dreams.
Yet within its own narrow limits, Anglo-Jewry is active enough to keep in perfect condition. Over-exertion, however, is avoided. Cricket Judaism is played according to the rules of the game, and the players are quite comfortable in their flannels. The established synagogue of Mulberry Street is as staid and sober as the Church of England, the liberalism preached in Berkeley Street as gentle and unscandalizing as the nonconformity of the City Temple, and the orthodoxy of the United Synagogue as innocuously papish as the last phases of the Oxford movement.
In England it is quite fashionable to admit Judaism into the parlor. Parlor Judaism, to be sure, is not more vital a force nor more creative than kitchen Judaism, but it seems to be more vital than the Judaism restricted to the Temple. At least it is voluntary and personal, and, what is more important, it is engaging. So engrossed in the subject of his discussion was once my host at tea, that while administering the sugar he asked me quite absent-mindedly: "Would you have one or two lumps in your Judaism?" "Thank you, none at all," was my reply. "But I am wont to take my Judaism somewhat stronger, if you please."
Jewish Student Groups at Oxford and Cambridge
AS compared with ourselves, English Jews have a long tradition behind them, in which they glory. That tradition does not at present seem to stand any imminent danger of being interrupted. The younger generation follow in the footprints of the older. Nowhere is there so narrow a rift between Jewish fathers and sons as in England. Hence you do not find there any prominent organization of the young. Last winter an anonymous appeal for the organization of the Jewish students in England ran for several weeks in the Jewish Chronicle, but it seems to have resulted in nothing.
Independent local organizations of Jewish students, however, are to be found in almost every university in England. In Oxford and Cambridge they are organized in congregations, having Synagogues of their own, in which the students assemble for prayer on every Friday night and Saturday morning. In Cambridge they hold two services, an orthodox and a liberal, both well attended. In Oxford they have recently published a special prayer book of their own, suitable for the needs of all kinds of students, it being a medley of orthodoxy and liberalism, which if rather indiscriminate in its theology is, on the whole, made up with good common sense. English liberal Judaism, it should be observed, is markedly different from its corresponding cults in Germany and in the United States. In Germany, reformed Judaism has its nascence in free thought, and it aims to appeal to the intellectual. With us liberalism is stimulated by our pragmatic evaluation of religion, and is held out as a bait to the indifferent. In England it arises from the growing admiration on the part of a certain class of Jews for what they consider the inwardness and the superior morality of Christianity, and is concocted as a cure to those who are so affected. As a result, English liberal Judaism is more truly religious than the German, and more sincerely pious than the American. In a sermon delivered before the Oxford congregation, a young layman of the Liberal Synagogue of London apostrophized liberal Judaism as the safeguard of the modern Jews from the attractiveness of the superior teachings of Christ.
Social Service Work of Jewish Students
ENGLAND is the classic home of old-fashioned begging and of old-fashioned giving. You are stopped for a penny everywhere and by everybody, from the tramp who asks you to buy him a cup of tea, to the hospital which solicits a contribution to its maintenance "for one second." Pavement artists abound in Paris as much as in London, but in Paris it is a Bohemian-looking denizen of the "Quartier" posing as a pinched genius forced to sell his crayon masterpieces for a couple of sous, whereas in London it is always a crippled ex-soldier trying to arouse your pity in chalked words for a "poor man's talent." But England is also the classic home of modern social service of every description. The Salvation Army had its origin in London, where also Toynbee Hall, the first University settlement of its kind, came into existence. Likewise among the Jews, there are, on the one hand, the firmly established old-fashioned charitable institutions to help the "alien" brethren of the East End, and on the other hand, there are also the equally well organized boys' clubs for the "uplifting" of the "alien" little brethren of the same East End.
The Jewish University men in England take an active interest in both these branches of philanthropy. It was a fortunate coincidence that when I came to Oxford the Jewish students there had among them a social worker of the latter type, who had come to make arrangements for the reception of a squad of Whitechapel boys who were under his tutelage. When I afterwards went to Cambridge I found there a delegate of some charitable board of the London Jewish community, seeking to enlist the aid of the Jewish students in his work.
What the Bulletin Boards Told at Berlin
AT the University of Berlin I did not have to go far to find traces of the presence of Jewish students. With their far-famed efficiency the Germans have contrived to turn the large university hall into a medium of information more adequate than our University Bulletins and Registers combined. The bulletin boards covering every vacant spot on the walls told me the story of all the phases of Jewish activities in the University, professional, social, vocational and, if you please, also gastronomical, more fully than the frescoed walls of Dido's temple told their story to pious AEneas. In the announcement of courses by the various faculties, well-known Jewish names stand out quite prominently,—none of them above the rank of Honorar-Professor, to be sure, but in popularity and achievement they are among the foremost. Among the long rows of the variegated Wappen of the Korporationen, the Borussias, Teutonias and Germanias, there hang the insignia of the Jewish students' societies, the yellow and white of the Sprevia and the black and gold of the Hasmonea, both announcing the dates of their Kneipe held in their respective places in the students' quarters around Linienstrasse and Charlottenburg. In another nook of the hall, from the midst of a jumble of little slips of paper enumerating in minute detail in microscopic German script what dishes are offered at the paltry sum of so many pfennig in the various "Privat-Mittagtische" and "buergerliche-Kueche" there looms up unblushingly, proud in the clearness of its square characters, the Hebrew word [Hebrew: kosher] over the notice of a Lebanon restaurant run by a Palestinian Jew. Still further on the wall, students of unmistakably Jewish names offer instruction in almost all the languages spoken, while a German young lady wants to exchange lessons in Russian with an orthodox Christian and one who hails from the mendacious little country, cautiously states, as an inducement to a prospective pupil in the Roumanian tongue, that the would-be instructor is a true Roumanian. Here you have a picture of Jewish life in the Berlin University, in its outer paraphernalia, in its cosmopolitan character, in its relation to the rest of the student body, in its freedom and restriction, as portrayed in the unjaundiced tales of bulletin boards.
The Opposing Views of Student Societies at Berlin
OF the two Jewish organizations mentioned above, the Hasmonea is a branch of the inter-varsity K. Z. V. (Kartell Zionistischer Verbindungen), whereas the Sprevia belongs to the K.-C. (Kartell-Convent der Tendenzverbindungen deutscher Studenten juedischen Glaubens). The former, as the name implies, is Zionistic; the latter is opposed to Zionism. Their relation to each other, however, is not like that between the Menorah and the Zionist societies in American colleges. The Hasmonea and the Sprevia are mutually exclusive, rather than complementary to each other. The German Jewish student does not come to the university with a mind open and free as to Judaism. He comes there with definite views on the subject which have already been crystallized under the influence of early training. Judaism, of whatever shade it may happen to be, is more potent a factor in the domestic life of German Jews and in the bringing up of the young than it is with us here. Jewish boys there evince a keener interest in Judaism than do Jewish boys in America. Their intelligent understanding of Judaism is therefore not necessarily preceded by a period of indifference and lack of knowledge. It steadily grows and develops with them from their early youth. And so by the time they enter the university, at an age somewhat older than that of our average freshman, their Jewish consciousness is mature and fixed. They are able to judge whether they can work for or against Zionism, for to them Zionism is the only vital question in present-day Judaism, a question which they are willing to face squarely and once for all determine their position towards it; and it is on this question of Zionism and the future destiny of the Jews as a nation that the two leading student organizations radically differ.
There is another quite as notable distinction between our Menorah and the Jewish students' organizations in Germany. With us the Menorah is primarily an undergraduate society. When graduate Menorah Societies arise, they may be confederated with the undergraduate organization, but they will of course retain their separate character. In Germany this distinction between undergraduate and graduate does not exist. Matriculation in the University, not the taking of a degree in it, introduces one into the society of the educated with its appellative "intellectual" corresponding to our "high-brow" rather than to our "college grad." Joining the membership of a student organization marks the entrance into that large class of "intellectuals." And once you join such an organization you are a member ever after. In Germany, in fact, nobody graduates from a university in the same sense that we do. There the taking of a degree is merely an episode. If you take it, you will thenceforth be addressed as "Herr Doktor"; if you do not take it, you will keep on printing on your visiting card "Kandidat Philosophie" all the rest of your lifetime, and be addressed by the uninitiate as "Herr Doktor" just the same. Thus the achievements generally ascribed to Jewish students' organizations in Germany are in reality the collective work of all the Jewish men of academic training, and not necessarily of students actually engaged in university studies. Read over the names of contributors to publications issued by what are known as "student organizations," and you will notice how loosely that term is used.
Intellectual Problems of the German Jewish Youth
THE Jewish university men in Germany, whom we commonly call Jewish students, take more interest in Jewish life than do our university men in this country. This is chiefly due to the peculiar position of the modern Jews in Germany. German Jewry, by the total disappearance of its laboring class during recent times, has ceased to be a people by itself and has become a part of the middle class of the general German population. Among the native Jews of Germany, if Berlin is to be taken as a typical example of Jewish communities in large cities, there is no organic social body, complete in itself, consisting of various classes, following all imaginable trades, ranging from the chimney-sweep and the cobbler to the merchant prince. Such communities, forming organic wholes in themselves, you may find in Russia, Galicia, Roumania, and in the newer Jewish settlements of England and America. You do not find them in Germany. Higher up in the social scale, Jews are represented everywhere, but lower down you cannot find any native Jew below a shop clerk or master tailor. Being thus interspersed among the middle class of the general population, that part of the population which more than any other sends its children to universities, the number of academically trained men engaged in liberal professions among the German Jews is exceedingly large. These professional Jews encounter greater difficulties in their careers than those engaged in commerce. While the latter are given free range for the development of the native Jewish talents, the former find their road toward recognition blockaded. Consequently they are hurled back upon their Judaism, and their energies not finding vent elsewhere turn into Jewish channels.
The activities of Jewish university men in Germany are chiefly literary and intellectual, for the problem with which they are faced is quite different from that of ours. With us the problem of Americanism and Judaism is in its ultimate analysis the possible conflict between two sets of social duties, in themselves not necessarily contradictory, which can be easily reconciled by a working program adjusting the practical demands of both without curtailing the scope and efficiency of either. For Americanism in the abstract has no existence. The American mind is as yet unknown in its essence; it is only manifest by its functions, of which Jewish activities may form a complementary part. In Germany it is quite different. If Germanism stand for Aryanism and Occidentalism, Judaism must inevitably stand for Semitism and Orientalism,—and can the twain ever meet? That the Jew manifests in his works and actions good practical patriotism does not radically solve the problem; that the Jews are capable of being good patriots is no longer questioned, but can they be genuine ones? Will not the Jews always remain the carriers of an alien culture, unabsorbable and unassimilable, despite their conversion and intermarriage? It is this problem that confronts the Jewish intellectuals in Germany, in the over-hanging shadow of which the "Sorrows of the Jewish Werther" was written, and the martyrdom of Otto Weininger, self-inflicted, was made possible. Hence the great introspective literary activity of the German Jewish youth.
There is, on the one hand, the great, ever-increasing inrush of the Jews into the inmost sanctum of German cultural life, where their Germanic protestations are more vociferous than those of the native Teuton,—and they sometimes have, too, as must be admitted, a false ring. Ludwig Fulda openly proclaims that as to his relation with Judaism there is none: Goethe is his Moses and the German war of liberation is his Exodus; and Jewish "Gymnasium" seniors inundate the columns of the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums with introspective analyses of their Teutonic souls. On the other hand, there are those who, while quite as good Germans as the others, so far as practical patriotism is concerned, do not renounce the intellectual and spiritual heritage which is their own. Their self-imposed task is therefore the cultivation, enrichment, and modernization of Jewish thought and tradition. Hence the great output of highly meritorious literary works on purely Jewish subjects which, if not as scholarly as those of the German Jewish scientists of the past generation, are far more stimulating and of greater educational value.
(To be concluded)
IT may interest you to know that in this country, during the early years of our leading universities, Hebrew not only formed, a subject of instruction, but also appeared upon the Commencement programs. Upon such grandiloquent occasions you will find that side by side with a poem in Greek there figured a speech in Hebrew. What the Hebrew was like that was poured out there I have difficulty in imagining. But that the instruction was of much use to the student, I have grave reasons to doubt. Will you allow me to read to you a note written in regard to that famous professor of Hebrew at Yale towards the end of the eighteenth century—Ezra Stiles. Stiles was a very learned Christian Hebraist. One of his pupils wrote about him: "For Hebrew he possessed a high veneration. He said one of the Psalms he tried to teach us would be the first we should hear sung in Heaven, and that he should be ashamed that any one of his pupils should be entirely ignorant of that holy language."—From a Menorah Address by Professor Richard Gottheil.
The Twilight of Hebraic Culture
The Transition from Hebraism to Judaism
BY MAX L. MARGOLIS
SO long as Jewish psalms are sung in the cathedrals of Christendom and Jewish visions are rehearsed by Christian catechumens, the Synagogue will continue to hold in veneration the chest where reposes its chiefest glory. Surely a book which thrills the religious emotions of civilized mankind cannot but be an object of pride to the people that produced it. Stupendous as the literary output of the Jewish people has been in post-biblical times, the Scriptures stand on a footing of their own. Throughout the era of the dispersion they have held their unique position and have exercised a most potent influence on the Jewish soul. And the modern man taught by Lowth and Herder, and the modern Jew under the spell of Mendelssohn and the Haskalah, have their minds open to the aesthetic side of the "Bible as literature."
To the Jew, however, the Scriptures are possessed of an interest beyond the religious and literary. They are the record of his achievements in the past when his foot rested firm and steady on native soil, of a long history full of vicissitudes from the time when the invaders battled against the kings of Canaan to the days when the last visionary steeled the nation's endurance in its struggle with the heathen. They are the charter of Jewish nobility, linking those of the present to the wanderer from Ur of the Chaldees.
As a finished product the Hebrew Scriptures came after the period of national independence. When canon-making was in its last stage, Jerusalem was a heap of ruins. The canon was the supreme effort of Judaea—throttled by the legions of Rome—withdrawing to its inner defences. The sword was sheathed and deliverance was looked for from the clouds. The Scriptures were to teach the Jew conduct and prayer, and the chidings of the prophets were listened to in a penitential mood, but also joyfully because of the consolations to which they led. The canon-makers had an eye to the steadying of a vanquished people against the enemy without and the foe within. For there arose teachers who proclaimed that the mission of the Jew was fulfilled: free from the fetters of a narrow nationalism, of a religion bound up with the soil, he was now ready to merge his individuality with the large world when once it accepted that measure of his teaching suited to a wider humanity. The temple that was made with hands was destroyed, and another made without hands was building where men might worship in spirit and truth. The dream was fascinating, the danger of absorption was acute, because it was dressed up with the trappings of an ideal to which many believed the Scriptures themselves pointed.
There was a much larger range of writings in Palestine and a still larger in Egypt. The list included historical works carrying on the story of the people's fortunes beyond Alexander the Great; novelistic tales like that of the heroic Judith luring the enemy of her people to destruction, or that exquisite tale of Jewish family life as exemplified by the pious Israelite captive Tobit; books like the wise sayings of Jesus, son of Sirach, the Wisdom of Solomon, or the Psalms of Solomon, all modelled after patterns in the canon; midrashic expositions of the law, like the Little Genesis; apocalyptic visions going by the name of Enoch and the Twelve Patriarchs and Moses and Isaiah and Esdras, whose prototype may be sought in the canonical Daniel. Over and above the three parts which the Synagogue accepted there were a fourth and fifth; but by an act of exclusion the canon was concentrated upon the three and the others were cast overboard. The canon was the creation of the Pharisaic doctors, who drew a line at a point of their own choosing, and decreed that writings "from that time onward" did not defile the hands.
The Making of the Canon by the Pharisees
THE Pharisee held the ground when the nation had politically abdicated. The war with Rome had been brought on by the intransigent hotspurs of Galilee and the commune of Jerusalem. John, son of Zakkai, parleyed with the enemy that Jamnia with its House of Study might go unscathed. There the process began which culminated in the gigantic storehouse of legal lore which was to dominate Jewish life and Jewish literature for centuries, commentary being piled upon commentary and code upon code. For in the sum total of Scriptures the Torah was admittedly to be the chief corner-stone, albeit prophecy and wisdom had not lost their appeal; and in moments of relaxation or when addressing their congregations worn out with the strife of the present, the scholars of the wise brought out of the ancient stock many a legend and quaint saying and even apocalyptic vision, transporting the mourners for Zion into the ecstasies of the future redemption. While official Judaism was committed to the dialectics of the Halakah, in the unofficial Haggadah mysticism exercised a potent influence by underground channels, as it were, issuing in later days in Kabbalah and offsetting the rational philosophies borrowed from Hellas. For the time being, however, the dominant note was legistic, Pharisean.
The Pharisees had been lifted by the national catastrophe into the leading position. They had previously been a party among many parties, and their Judaism one of the many varieties. The Sadducees, their chief opponents, had a literature of their own: the day upon which their "Book of Decrees" was consigned to destruction was made a legal holiday upon which fasting was prohibited. But even writings which were lightly touched by the Sadduccee spirit were frowned upon: the Siracide was barely tolerated on the outside because he made light of individual immortality, and believed in the eternity of Israel and the Zadokite priesthood. The Pharisees had been on the opposition during the latter period of the Maccabeans: so with partisan ruthlessness they excluded from the canon the writings commemorative of the valorous deeds of those priest-warriors who freed the people from foreign overlordship and restored the Davidic boundaries of the realm. Because the apocalyptic visions inclined to teachings not acceptable to the dominant opinion, they were declared not only heterodox, heretical, but worthy of destruction. Had the stricter view prevailed, the sceptical Preacher—now, to quote Renan, lost in the canon like a volume of Voltaire among the folios of a theological library—would have shared the fate of Sirach and Wisdom and the other writings which Egypt cherished after Palestine had discarded them. And there were mutterings heard even against the Song, that beautiful remnant of the Anacreontic muse of Judaea. It was then that Akiba stepped into the breach and by bold allegory saved that precious piece of what may be called the secular literature of the ancient Hebrews.
The process concluded by the Pharisees had begun long before. The Pharisee consummated what the scribe before him had commenced, and the scribe in turn had carried to fruition the work inaugurated by the prophet. Just as the Pharisee decreed what limits were to be imposed upon the third part of the Scriptures, the scribe in his day gave sanction to the second, and at a still earlier period the prophet to the wide range of literature current in his days. Sobered by national disaster, the scribe addressed himself to the task of safeguarding the remnant of Judaea in the land of the fathers. There were schisms in the ranks, and all kinds of heresies, chief among which stood the Samaritan. The nation's history was recast in a spirit showing how through the entire past faithful adherence to Mosaism brought in its wake national stability, and conversely a swaying from legitimacy and law was responsible for disaster. With the Torah as a guide, prophecy was forced into the channels of orthodoxy. Heterodox prophets, the "false prophets," were consigned to oblivion. Their opponents alone were given a hearing. Secular history there was to be none; there was room only for the sacred. We may take it for granted that the "prophets of Baal," as their adversaries triumphantly nicknamed them, had their disciples who collected their writings and recorded the deeds of their spirit. But they were one and all suppressed. The political achievements of mighty dynasts had been recorded by annalists; the pious narrators in the so-called historical books of the canon brush them aside, gloss over them with a scant hint or reference; what is of absorbing interest to them is the activity of an Elijah or an Elisha, or the particular pattern of the altar in the Jerusalem sanctuary. In their iconoclastic warfare upon the abomination of Samaria, the prophets gave a partisanly distorted view of conditions in the North which for a long time had been the scene of Hebrew tradition and Hebrew life.
The Death-blow to the Old Hebraic Culture
WHAT these upheavals meant in the history of Hebrew literature and culture can only approximately be gauged. One thing is certain: they all and one dealt the death-blow to the old Hebraic culture. When the excavator sinks his spade beneath the ground of a sleepy Palestinian village, he lays bare to view from under the overlaid strata, Roman and Greek and Jewish and Israelitish, the Canaanite foundation with its mighty walls and marvellous tunnels, its stelae and statuettes, its entombed infants sacrificed to the abominable Moloch. Similarly if we dig below the surface of the Scriptures, we uncover glimpses of the civilization of the Amorite strong and mighty, which generations of prophets and lawmakers succeeded in destroying root and branch. On the ruins of the Canaanite-Amorite culture rose in the latter days Judaism triumphant; the struggle—prolonged and of varying success—marked the ascendancy of the Hebraic culture which was a midway station between the indigenous Canaanite civilization on the one hand and that mighty spiritual leaven, Mosaism in its beginnings and Judaism in its consummation, on the other. The Hebraic culture was a compromise. It began by absorbing the native civilization. The danger of succumbing to it was there, but it was averted by those whom their adversaries called the disturbers of Israel. And even to the last, when the sway of Judaism was undisputed, the Hebraic culture could not be severed from the soil in which it was rooted. It was part of a world-culture just as it contributed itself thereto.
Whether living in amity or in warfare, nations influence each other to a marked degree. They exchange the products of their soils and their industry—they also give and take spiritual possessions. Culture is a compound product. The factors that are contributory to its make-up are the soil and the racial endowment recoiling against the domination from without which, though not wholly overcome, is resisted with might and main. Cultures are national amidst an international culture. They express themselves in a variety of ways, chiefly in language and literature. For while blood is thicker than water, the pen is mightier than the sword. Out of a mass of myth and legend and worldly wisdom the Hebrews constructed, in accordance with their own bent of mind, their cosmogonies and ballads and collections of proverbs. At every shrine the priests narrated to the throngs of worshippers the marvelous stories of local or national interest.
The Difference Between Hebraic Culture and Judaism
THE chief feature of the Hebraic culture was that it was joyous. The somber seriousness of latter-day Judaism had not yet penetrated it. Israel rejoiced like the nations. The young men and maidens danced and wooed in the precincts of the sanctuaries which dotted the country from Dan to Beersheba. The festivals were seasons of joy, the festivals of the harvest and of the vintage. The prophets called them carousals and dubbed the gentlemen of Samaria drunkards. Probably there were excesses. But life was enjoyed so long as the heavens withdrew not the moisture which the husbandman was in need of. The wars which the Kings waged were the wars of the Lord, and the exploits of the warriors were rehearsed throughout the land—they were spoken of as the Lord's righteous acts. National victories strengthened the national consciousness. Taunt songs were scattered on broadsides. The enemy was lampooned. At the height of national prosperity, when Israel dwelt in safety in a land of corn and wine moistened with the dew of the heavens, the pride of the nation expressed itself in the paean, "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, a people victorious through the Lord, the shield of thy help, and that is the Sword of thy excellency!" Excellency then meant national independence and welfare. It was the period of the Omrides whose exploits are merely hinted at in our sources, whose sway marked the nascent struggle between Hebraism and Judaism. For the time being, Hebraic culture was on the ascendant, successor to the indigenous Canaanite civilization which it had absorbed, remodelled, developed.
The chief difference between the Hebraic culture and Judaism which supplanted it consists in the fact that, whereas the latter was bookish, transforming its votaries into the "people of the book," the former was the sum total of all that goes to make up the concern of a nation living upon its own soil. Bookishness, literature, has a place in the affairs of a nation, but it contributes only a side in its manifold activities. The spoken word precedes the written. The writer has an eye to aftertimes. He lives in the future. The speaking voice addresses itself to the present and its varied needs. Saints are canonized after death. The act of canonization means the verdict of the survivors who from a distance are able to gauge the merits of past deeds. When a literature is pronounced canonical or classical, it is no more. In its dying moments it is reduced to rule, and its range becomes norm. But normalization is an act of choosing, of accepting and excising. A living literature is far from being normalized. Much that is written serves a temporary purpose, but is none the less effective while it has vogue. However, it is only a part of the national activities, mirroring them and commenting upon them. So is religion another part of the national life. Government policy and legal procedure and the arts and the crafts occupy a nation's living interests. The Hebraic culture meant all that. It is now a thing of the distant past. It speaks to us from beneath the Hebrew Scriptures by which it is overlaid, themselves the remnant of what in times gone by stirred the nation's spirit. A revival of that culture may come, but when it comes it will be tempered by Judaism. And the Hebrew Scriptures which constitute the bridge between them both will act as the peacemaker.