Zionists Chart Future Work at Chicago Convention
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Zionists Chart Future Work at Chicago Convention

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Statements by leaders of American Zionism on the convention and its accomplishments will be found on Page 11 of this issue.

This was Jewish week in Chicago and Chicago week in Jewish life. Jewish Day at the Century of Progress, climaxed by the unprecedented and most impressive gathering of 125,000 in Soldiers Field on Monday evening to witness the pageant “The Romance of a People,” set the tone for the entire week and it was in this atmosphere that the thirty-sixth convention of the Zionist Organization of America took place.

Not that the largest number of delegates and guests to attend a Zionist convention in recent years was unaware of the seriousness of the situation abroad which overshadowed their deliberations and the importance of their adoption of a course of action to deal with this situation. But nevertheless the vacation spirit was supreme.


From the world Zionist viewpoint, perhaps the most significant development at the convention was {SPAN}##e{/SPAN} response to the movement to {SPAN}#ine{/SPAN} up the American delegation to {SPAN}#he{/SPAN} World Zionist Congress in {SPAN}#upport{/SPAN} of Dr. Chaim Weizmann. {SPAN}###s{/SPAN} response took the shape of a {SPAN}#solution{/SPAN} calling on all Zionist {SPAN}#arties{/SPAN} and factions to unite under coalition leadership and urging {SPAN}#e{/SPAN} World Congress to call on Dr. Weizmann to occupy “his place in such leadership.” It was also manifested in a resolution adopted in a stormy session holding the American delegation bound to support Dr. Weizmann at the Congress. While illustrative of the personal sentiment of the delegates present, the resolution will have little practical effect since it cannot apply to half of the delegates, who are to be named by Hadassah, and, in any event, it cannot bind the delegates, except morally, in view of the Congress regulations against instructions to delegates.

Dr. Weizmann visited the convention on three occasions and although he received a magnificent personal tribute it is doubtful whether his visits were instrumental in obtaining additional support for the movement to restore him to the presidency of the world organization. The opposition to him, con#dering all factors, made a strong ##owing.


The agreement whereby Hadassah won the right to name half the delegates to the world congress was ratified by the convention without any show of opposition except that put up by ardent Weizmann supporters who hoped to have an entire delegation supporting him. But at no time was there any doubt that the Zionist organization could do anything else despite some resentment felt, but accede to the demands of Hadassah that its membership and contributions to the upbuilding of Palestine be given a measure of recognition.

Adoption of the resolution of the committee on organization terminating the present agreement with the Hadassah and the Order Sons of Zion under which their relations with the Zionist Organization of America were regulated was a step by which the organization acted to clarify an anomalous position and #o check the growing domination by the Hadassah as a result of its increasing membership and participation in Zionist affairs.

The German situation was recognized by a resolution deploring Nazi persecution of the Jews and by the decision to raise eight million dollars in the next four years as part of the five million pound drive headed by Dr. Weizmann to settle 250,000 German Jews in Palestine.

A step which may be of great significance to the future of Zionism in this country was taken when the question of activity among Jewish young men and women was taken up by the convention and the Masada Youth Zionist Organization, newly formed by a union of the Masada, Youth Zionist Organization of America and the Senior Young Judaea, was given recognition by the Z.O.A. as an affiliated body.

Membership in the Zionist organization has persistently failed to increase although the German situation has aroused Zionist aspirations in the breasts of many thousands of American Jews. Few new faces are to be seen at Zionist assemblies and few new leaders are arising to carry on the work. If Zionist work among Jewish youth is to be carried on sincerely, along the lines proposed by the Commission on Youth and Education headed by Israel Chipkin, this situation may be radically changed in the next few years.

To do this, the convention adopted the suggestion of the organization committee providing for youth participation in the districts and voted a conditional grant for Zionist educational work.

On the whole, the convention pursued the tenor of its even ways Bitter fights there were, and in profusion, especially on the last day of the convention, but none of these were on great questions of policy. And again, a score of outstanding Zionists who might be expected to raise such questions were noticeably absent from Chicago.

Among the interesting side-lights of the convention was the election of Captain Abraham Tulin to the administrative committee of the organization. Captain Tulin’s name omitted from the list by the committee on nominations, was proposed to the convention by Rabbi Victor Epstein of Scranton, Pa. After a protracted and at times acrimonious debate, the delegates by a round majority, overrode the nominations committee and elected Captain Tulin.

As to Jewish Day, which attracted the Zionist convention to Chicago and then set the tone for it. Jewish Day, in its manifestation of tremendous communal action and interest, was one of the most impressive demonstrations the Jews in this country have ever given. One hundred and twenty-five thousand men, women and children, all but an infinitesimal minority, Jews, crowded into the reaches of Soldiers Field, forming a spectacle all their own, impressive to an extent no pageant director could hope to achieve. The great audience at “The Romance of a People” stole the show.

Whatever, the opinion of the merits of the production that these people saw Monday night and many thousands more saw Wednesday evening when the performance was repeated, there can be no question of the success of the efforts which infused that audience with a spirit of communal undertaking.

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