Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.--Editor.]

A retraction of its charges against Julius Rosenwald, in connection with his failure to visit Palestine when he was in Egypt during his foreign trip in the early part of 1926, has been made by the Jerusalem “Doar Hayom.”

This paper, which severely criticized Mr. Rosenwald at the time the incident happened, published, in its Aug. 11 issue, a letter from David Yellin, head of the Hebrew Teachers College in Jerusalem and president of the Jewish National Council of Palestine, in which he refutes the assertions in the “Doar Hayom,” to the effect that Mr. Rosenwald refused to visit Palestine because he desired to evade payment of $25,000 which he was said to have promised toward a Beth Haam (Peoople’s Club) in Jerusalem. Mr. Yellin’s letter was written on June 5, from Mr. Rosenwald’s country home “Tel Aviv,” at Ravinia, near Chicago, where Mr. Yellin was a guest of the philanthropist.

Enumerating various evidences of Mr. Rosenwald’s interest in Palestine, Mr. Yellin writes:

“Perhaps you know that as soon as I heard of his (Rosenwald’s) being in Egypt I wrote urging him to come here and see with his own eyes. I received a very courteous letter, replying to every other point touched upon in my letter. But on this point he was silent.

“I was very much surprised and could not refrain from interrogating his wife, who informed me that the state of his health had compelled him to spend part of the winter in Egypt: he was very keen to come to Palestine, but had to abandon the intention at the strict order of his doctor, who feared the effect of the excitement and exertion attending the visit. He did not care, however, to write about his health, and so he passed over the whole matter in silence.

“It was very tactless to explain his refusal to come to Palestine in such cutting and ironic terms, i.e., that he was perhaps afraid to be asked for the $25,000 which he once promised towards the building of the Beth Haam. Can anybody seriously think that such a sum is of any importance to him?”

Mr. Yellin then quotes Mr. Rosenwald on the subject of the $25,000 which it was claimed he promised for the Beth Haam.

“‘I have not the slightest recollection of any definite promise. When I make a promise,. I immediately make a note of it, and my word is sacred to me, Mr. Rosenwald said. ‘The best proof of no definite promise having been given is the fact that not a single reminder has reached me, nor has anybody approached me in the matter all the time. But as you say that you heard a rumor of some promise having been given, I rather imagine that certain conditions were attached thereto, and those conditions not having been fulfilled, the matter was allowed to drop’.”

The conditions referred to were that the Choveve Zion of Odessa contribute a sum equal to Mr. Rosenwald’s. The Choveve Zion, however, never fulfilled the conditions as the organization ceased to exist long ago.

ABOLISHING HELPLESSNESS

The work of the Ort which seeks to rehabilitate the economic life of the Jews in Eastern Europe by training artisans and turning the Jewish masses to productive, self-sustaining labor generally, is discussed editorially under the above caption by the “Jewish Tribune” of Oct. 29, on the occasion of the American Ort’s recent conference held in New York.

Making reference to the activities of the United Jewish Campaign, the “Tribune” proceeds:

“Relief, much relief will be afforded by the wise expenditure of these funds but help of a steady and more permanent nature will be required for a generation at least to enable the Jews of Eastern Europe to adapt themselves to new conditions of life. To extend such help is the object or Ort, an international organization which, since 1888, has been at work trying to encourage Jews to leave the overcrowded field of commerce, and enter the more soul-satisfying fields of industry and agriculture.

“The achievements of the Ort, as reported at the national conference of the American Ort last Sunday, give ground for the hope that this organization is pursuing a line of endeavor which will, in a comparatively short time, cure the diseases in the Jewish body-economic caused by the long years of stagnation within the Russian Pale of Settlement. Little by little, but steadily and unceasingly, Jews in Eastern Europe are becoming handicraftsmen, skilled mechanics, and trained farmers knowing the use and virtue of modern tools and machinery. Through this salutary effort, the Ort, sometimes as agent of the Joint Distribution Committee, but more often independently, is laying the foundation of a more wholesome economic life for Jews in Poland, Lithlania, Russia, and Roumania.”

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