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The Human Touch

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TEH Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of New York has doen many strange things on behalf of Jews here and abroad. It has met many incoming passenger steamers and given as friendly care to incoming immigrants as its resources allowed. It has housed and fed them and found many employment. All of those bare, though eloquent, statistics you will find in the string of annual reports which it has issued during its long career. But the other day its office here was met by a poser, or a facer, as it might be termed. A visiter, appealing fo help, requested that a cow, for which he was prefectly willing to pay, should be sent to his brother in Poland, who apparently was in need of a cow. the cow is certainly a serviceable animal, and even the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, sometimes known by the abreviation of HIAS, was nt prepared ot deny extent of its usefulness, but teh difficulties involved in buying a cow in teh United States, puttin git on shipboard, getting it off on teh otehr end, and moving it from the port of debarkation by railroad and ox-cart, or truck, or similar mode of conveyance, to Brother’s farm-this responsibility made even the hardy HIAS oofficial blanch. “Send your brother the money and let him buy the cow in Pland.” No, that would not do at all as a solution. It wasn’t that the person had any ob#ections to Polish cows, or that he had any strong feellings in favor of cows which might be purchased in America; it wasn’t enen that he had had any good american cow in mind; any good American cow that that HIAS official could purchase with the money which he would be happy ot leave with aforesaid official would serve the purposes of his brother in Poland. The difficulties were explained, but the man who wished to buy a cow and have it shipped to Poland also had and explanation, and curiously, it was a valid one. Every time hesent his brother the money with which to by a cow, the money was spent, if not squandered, on other things. Four times he had sent his brother the money with which to buy yet. Instead of four cows-there was nothing. Patting teh loyal brother’s hand sympathetically, if alos figuratively, the HIAS official romised him that if he paid in cash for the cow the HIAS representative at the other end would attend to the urchasing details and he could be certain that the next sum for a cow would go into a cow, and into nothing else. Ineidentally it would be interesting to know what are the transportation charges for a live cow, from the North River docks to, say, Danzig, with charges for fodder, transportation and etceterast itemized.

I am a city filler, but I have enough imagination ot see how much trouble a cow can be on the high seas. Still, it was a pity the cow wasn’t bought here and transported to Poland because, there are cattle boats and when writers, artilsts get opportunities to cross the ocean without paying fare. All they do is take care of the animals. You’d be suprised how many now famous artists and novelists, not to mention a lot of ordinary ambitious young people first got their glimpse of Europe by working their way across on a cattle boat. I think that Sinclair Lewis made his first trip abroad on a cattle boat. Now, of course, he can go in suites. George Overbury “PoP” Hart, lately deceased, one of the greatest artists America ever produced, made at least one boat. In all probability Hemingway make his first trans-Atlantic passage in a casttle boat. After all isn’t he one of the greatest living connoisseures of the bull fight? so yousee that every action per formed, or every action refrained from, has all kinds consequences. Think of all the geniuses prevented from obtaining their first glimpse of Europe by the failue to purchase cows for Poland in the United States!

And while you think of it, I’ll tell you another story, one which I trust you haven’t heard before. A man called at the Zionist Organization offices here to see about getting into Palestine under the labor classification. The person in charge evinced about as much interest as the situation warranted. After making several formal inquiries, the kind made in such circumstances, he asked: “And what can you do, what is your trade?” He replied, brigntly: “I am a chicken-plucker”. But he was told “The demand for chicken pluckers is not very great in Palestine just now. Isn’t there naything else you can do?” “Yes, indeed, I can also pluck geese.” I do not believe the applicant got into Palestine under the labor classicication.


The Smithsonian Institution will announce tomorrow that, accoding to a book published in Strassburg in 1534, but which has only now come to light, Christopher Columbus was described as a “brave, big man with a long, red freckles faced.” The book, “The Nw World,” is one of the first printed accounts of the first printed accounts of the discovery of America and of the discoverer. We do not know how much more personal description is contained inthe book uncovered in its collection by the Smithsonian, but on the basis of that description alone, it seems to me that a little doubt may be cast on the legend of Columbus being a Jew.

Long red freckled faces don’t run Spanish or Italian Jews, or even non-Jews for that matter, except perhaps among the Lombards, of Northern Italy. If Comlumbus’s face was red and freckled, probably his hair was an auburn tint, and accoding to Jewish Itierature red-headed Jews were to be found only on the other side the mythical rive Sambatyan, placed somewhere in the Near East. Perhaps the only possible reconciliation of the legend that columbus was a Jew, by race as well as inner faith, and they new description may be made on teh basis that Columbus was only half a Jew, but that the parent whose facial characteristics he seems to have inherited was a Lombard. He might even have been a full Jew with his red reckled face, because there are freckle-faced re-heads among Jews, too. The evidence in either case is just slim enough to alow free play for the speculative intelligence. It continues to be possible to play the game: “Was Columbus a Jew?”

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