Tribute on behalf of American Jewry to the memory of Israel Zangwill was paid at a memorial meeting held Sunday night in Carnegie Hall under the auspices of a committee representative of all classes and groups in the American Jewish community.
Nathan Straus, Louis Marshall, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Rabbi Israel H. Levinthal and Prof. Robert Morss Lovett eulogized the late writer. Sol. M. Stroock presided.
Mr. Marshall in his address gave an eloquent appreciation of the life, literary career and leadership of Zangwill in Jewry. Dr. Wise in his address dwelt particularly upon the role of Israel Zangwill in the Zionist movement. Professor Lovett gave an appreciation of Israel Zangwill as a man of English letters, declaring that Zangwill’s works have the distinction of being based on the elements of pity, cleverness and vision. Zangwill started his literary career at a period in English literature when cleverness was the dominant note. His first novel, Premier and the Painter, possesses, in the judgment of critics, enough wit for three novels, but Zangwill, like Dickens, under the influence of his early life of hardship and conditions of persecution, was motivated by a great compassion for suffering humanity and was not content merely with cleverness.
Nathan Straus made a plea for unity in American Jewry.
“And now the spirit and memory of our great beloved friend and champion has brought us together here—Zionists and non-Zionists, the American Jewish Committee, and other representative organizations,” he said, “to pay our tribute to his genius and to his work, to discuss Zangwill and his ideals and the problems for which he fought and laid down his life. Let us honor his memory by emulating his life of unselfish service and devotion to his people and to humanity at large.”
Dr. Wise moved the audience when he repeated the phrase he coined at Zangwill’s cremation services in substitution for “from dust to dust,” “From flame thou comest and unto flame thou returnest.”
Mr. Stroock read a letter from Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University, who after regretting his inability to attend the meeting, wrote of Zangwill: “He has passed from the earth all too soon, for the personality which spoke by his voice and through his pen was almost unique in its many sided power and distinction. He represented the very flower of his race, steeped as that race has been for forty centuries in traditions of beauty and excellence in literature and spiritual insight. Whatever subject his pen touched it adorned. His thought was always shot through with deep and fine feeling. He lived a life of three dimensions, of which the length was tragically short.”
Mme. Bertha Kalish read from Zangwill’s works and Mme. Sara Sokolsky-Freid played several memorial pieces on the organ. The meeting was arranged by a committee of which Mr. Straus was the chairman and of which the vice-chairmen were Daniel Guggenheim, Judge Otto A. Rosalsky, Cyrus A. Sulsberger, Rabbi Wise, Mr. Marshall and Mr. Stroock.