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Abba Hillel Silver an Eloquent Intellect, a Force in U.S. Jewry

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Clear in thinking, eloquent in speech, lucid and vigorous in writing, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, whose weekly column begins today in the Jewish Daily Bulletin, has a definite message for American Jewry.

Silver graces both tables—secular and Jewish—with comfort and with dignity. This place of distinction finds his adequately equipped. Reared in an Orthodox Jewish home, he was fortunate in that this home was of a type that impregnated him with the beauty and the strength inherent in traditional Jewish life; also with the importance of Jewish learning. This impressed him indelibly and has stood him in good stead ever since. As he grew older and childhood gave way to youth and manhood, leading him somewhat afield from the path of his parents, he still had as his inseparable baggage an unquenchable love for and a sense of sincere devotion to the lasting forces of Jewish life—Jewish learning, the Hebrew language and the land of his father’s prayer book. His higher studies served only to intensify his zeal even as they broadened the intellectual foundation upon which his personality was built.

Early in his career he felt that indefinable something which large audiences invariably give to gifted speakers. This he liked, was fascinated by it, sought it in his school life, in his club life; and as he encountered it, found it more and more to his liking and to the liking of those before whom he appeared. Even before he left New York City for Cinicinnati as a mere lad, he had already acquired full command of oral expression and was in demand as a public speaker. Today his bearing as a tribune is comparable with the very best in American public life; quite comparable with the best almost anywhere. Free of arrogance, his eloquence is emotionally resonant and intellectually penetrating. In argument he is persuasive, not flippant. He does not take his audience for granted. This gives to his utterances the friendliness of understanding, the strength of conviction, a finer feeling of communion between him and those he is addressing. To this may be ascribed the respect with which he is regarded in the conflicting camps in the American House of Israel.

His writings bear the same characteristics. So does his public activity. In foreign relief, in the affairs of Palestine upbuilding, in the furtherance of social justice in his own city and throughout the country, he is a pillar of strength and a source of encouragement; in a word, a constructive force in the American community.

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