His impressions of Palestine and a special message regarding it to American Jewry were brought back by Rabbi Samuel Schulman, well known New York rabbi and avowed non-Zionist, who returned yesterday on the Olympic from a trip to Palestine and London, where he attended the Liberal Jews.
While reaffirming his position as an opponent of Jewish nationalism and Zionism, Rabbi Schulman stated that it had been spiritually enriched by his ? to Palestine and has found that has a special spiritual appeal to a Jews. His conviction is that, re-endless of their particular attitude toward nationalism, all Jews should aid be development of Palestine.
On the subject of the Liberal Conference in London, Dr. Schulman asserted that, contrary to the impression ? by newspaper reports, the conference did not alter the attitude of Liberal Judaism on the question of Zionism, but that its action on the revolution introduced by Dr. Wise was decided defeat for those who sought secure a reversal of the position of the Reform movement on this question.
‘I am happy to be home again,” Rabbi Schulman told a representative of the “Jewish Daily Bulletin” who interviewed him. “This is not merely a expression of sentiment. I am happy that I am united with my family that I will resume my work. What I mean when I say I rejoice is ? I am glad that I have returned a America. After having travelled ? six months, crossing borders, observing the racial prejudices which ? to be insurmountable, I rejoice is being an American for I believe that America is not only a great experiment in democracy, but it is above ? experiment in creating a spiritual upon of which men and women, irrespective of the blood in their viens, on be members.
URGES EVERY JEW TO VISIT PALESTINE
“I can say without hesitation,” Dr. Schulman continued, “that every Jew, ? his means permit him to, should take at least one visit to Palestine. There is something about Palestine ? inspires the Jewish soul which comes from the contemplation of the ? soil on which the old prophets ? and worked. Palestine impressed me with an overwhelming power. I am nerver forget the half hour spent it the Wailing Wall. I did not go there on the so-called ‘show days,’ Friday evening and Saturday morning. My first visit was on a Wednesday morning, when I was alone with the ? and the depths of my Jewish and were stirred as I looked upon the Wall as the symbol of Israel’s been heart and of his unique tragedy. By the way. the Wall is the only ? sacred spot in Palestine. About almost every other spot there is disputed amongst the archaeologists.
“From the oldest Jewish spot in Palestine, I went to the newest. I saw the magnificent site for the University. I will never forget the glorious view which spread before me as I stood on the summit of Mount Scopus and looked across the Jordan.
ENTHUSED BY HEBREW UNIVERSITY
“The Hebrew University will symbolize the mind of the Jew as the Wall symbolizes his distracted heart. Everywhere I went I felt the Jewish past calling to me. Every spot is saturated with Jewish history.
“I have always been a strong opponent of Jewish nationalism and I am more so now than ever. I do believe, however, that Palestine has a distinct spiritual value for every Jew, just as much as the Holy Places appeal to a Christian.
“My new formula,” Dr. Schulman explained, “is this: God is more than Israel. This means that Israel can never be a nation like others. Israel is more than Palestine. This means that the destiny of Israel is to work all over the world and Palestine is too small for it. Palestine is more than Zionism. A Jew can love Palestine without being a Zionist and it is his duty to help Jews who must go or want to go to Palestine because of present conditions. I believe, however, that Palestine must be envisaged by the Jew as part of the larger Jewish world problem.
“While in Tel Aviv I had a half hour talk with Achad Ha’am. I jokingly told Achad Ha’am in the course of our conversation. ‘There is so much talk about the assimilation of the Jew. I have seen as much assimilation in Palestine as anywhere else. Furthermore, thus far there is nothing of a distinctive Jewish character in Palestine that is new. Everything is still importation, including yourself and Bialik.’ In fact, I regard the ideas of nationalism and Communism as importations into Palestine from the western world.
ON RELIGION IN PALESTINE
“Religious conditions in Palestine at present are not the best, but I believe that eventually religion will become the dominant note of Jewish life in Palestine. It is difficult to say just what form that religion will take, but no doubt it will be modern, not necessarily Reform in the sense as it exists among the Western Jews. The conditions in Palestine are different and no doubt religion will assume a different form than in America and Europe.”
When asked about the movement in America to build a modern synagogue in Jerusalem, Rabbi Schulman declared his approval of the idea. “I think,” he stated, “that this is a very necessary movement. Palestine Jews need synagogues and centers. In fact, some of the young men I met there expressed the desire for a Reform movement in Palestine. Orthodoxy cannot satisfy the needs of the new generation in Palestine any more than it can in any other country.
“I want to take this opportunity to emphasize the tremendous impression made on me by the successful work of the Hadassah in Palestine, the phases of which I observed and studied.
WANTS NEW NON-ZIONIST ORGANIZATION
“The best thing that could happen to Palestine would be for the Zionist Organization to cease to exist. By that I mean that an entirely new organization should be created whish should be free from nationalistic tendencies, but which, in a businesalike way, should help the development of Palestine for those who go there. In such an organization all Jews could participate in mutual cooperation for the interests of Palestine. If that cannot be accomplished, the next best thing would be the extension of the Jewish Agency to include the non-Zionist, but the non-Zionists in that Jewish Agency would have to be taken seriously.
“I pray to God that I will be able to go back there again. I hope to go there again and breathe the air of the land. Palestine is a health resort. I never in my life enjoyed a trip as much as I did my visit to Palestine.
“Spiritually speaking. I would not give three stones of Jerusalem for the whole of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is an example of the splendid material progress made in Palestine. Before I went to Palestine I called Tel Aviv a glorified Far Rockaway. Now I must correct myself and call it a transfigured Arverne.
PALESTINE’S MESSAGE TO ALL JEWS
“Palestine has a spiritual message for the Modern, Liberal and Reform Jew as well as for any other Jew.
Concerning the recent Liberal Conference in London, Dr. Schulman said:
“In July I took part in the International Conference of Liberal Jews in London. At the conference there were present representatives from Germany. England, the host, our own country, and written communications from France. This was a remarkable event. It was the first time in the history of Western Jewry that Liberal Jews from all countries gathered to deliberate on the problem of Reform Judaism as a force in Israel. At this conference it was my privilege to deliver an address on ‘The Synagogue in Modern Life.’ It was my impression that the majority of the conference sympathized with the ideas expressed and these ideas could have been expressed in a sense by an Orthodox Rabbi.
“What was significant,” he continued, “was that the attempt made by a well known rabbi of New York to introduce the subject of Zionism was overwhelmingly crushed. The conference made it distinctly and unequivocally understood that it was dealing with Judaism primarily and predominantly from the point of view of religion and that the subject of Zionism had no place on its program.
“My impression was that the reason the attempt to inject Zionism was crushed by a parliamentary ruling was that as a matter of fact the majority of the delegates of the conference are as opposed to Jewish nationalism today as they ever were.”