For the first time in its history, American Jewry, reform and orthodox, Zionist and non-Zionist, carried into effect the sacred pact of the Jewish Agency signed at Zurich by joining forces to launch the $6,000,000 national campaign for East-European relief and reconstruction and for the Jewish Homeland in Palestine, at the Allied Jewish Campaign conference held here Saturday and Sunday, which was attended by over 700 men and women from every section of the United States, who represented a veritable cross-section of American Jewish life.
The benign face of the late Louis Marshall, looking down on the large gathering from a huge likeness of him, seemed to imbue the delegates with a new spirit of understanding and high hope, as both non-Zionists and Zionists pledged their mutual aid and defined the purposes of the campaign. As leaders of a united American Jewry, Felix M. Warburg, Dr. Cyrus Adler, Louis Lipsky, Lee K. Frankel, Judge Horace Stern, Morris Rothenberg, James N. Rosenberg, Judge William Lewis, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, James Marshall, Mrs. Robert Szold, David Bressler, Lieut.-Governor Herbert Lehman, Paul Baerwald and others, pleaded for the concerted action of the Jews of America for the sake of the destitute millions of their brethren in Eastern Europe and for the upbuilding of Palestine as the Jewish National Home.
President Hoover, who had originally intended to be present at the conference and greet the delegates in person sent a message expressing his inability to attend because of mourning for William Howard Taft and Justice Sanford, and said “that the work which you have done, apart from its evident humanitarian aspects, is a large contribution to the cause of good-will between peoples. History will properly appraise your efforts for posterity, the commendation of your consciences for today.”
The President’s message reached the conference early Sunday afternoon shortly after the delegates had been roused to a high pitch of enthusiasm by the statement of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland that “we are undefeated. We carry on. This allied effort of American Israel will again become a glorious indication of Jewish pride and solidarity and a shining testimonial to the invincible, to the unquenchable spirit of Israel.” Rabbi Silver brought tears to many eyes as he graphically sketched the plight of the Jews of Eastern Europe, especially of Russia, declaring “Stalin and the Yevsektzia have not written the last chapter in Russian-Jewish history.”
RESOLUTION APPROVES CAMPAIGN
Reports of the Conference committee on resolutions and campaign quotas followed the addresses. The resolution, in part, which was adopted after it had been presented by Dr. Frankel, chairman of the resolutions committee, reads:
“This conference confirms and approves the organization of the Allied Jewish Campaign for the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Palestine and authorizes and requests the Allied Jewish Campaign to raise the sum of $6,000,000 in the present year, to be divided between the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Palestine in the proportion agreed upon between these two organizations. This conference, called for the purpose of symbolizing in concrete form the determination of American Jewry to work in harmony and brotherhood for the two great causes of the allied Jewish campaign, calls upon all the Jews of America who have wrought so mightily in the past for the relief and rehabilitation of our brethren in Eastern Europe and for the upbuilding of Palestine to join their forces under its banner and to strive for its success with all their hearts and with all their might.”
David A. Brown received an ovation when he rose to present a report of the Quota Committee which will meet in New York March 16th to determine state quotas for the $6,000,000 drive to be directed by Felix M. Warburg, Nathan Straus, and Lieutenant-Governor Herbert H. Lehman as honorary chairmen, Paul Baerwald, David M. Bressler, Morris Rothenberg, and Judge William M. Lewis as co-chairmen and James Marshall as treasurer.
CHEERS GREET WARBURG
Cheers greeted the advent on the platform of Felix M. Warburg, who declared that over $30,000,000 had been given by the Jews of America since 1914 for the relief of the war and pogrom-destitauted Jews of Europe. “Europe is still in a state of turmoil, readjustment and reconstruction,” he said, “and we feel that we must once more call together the band of faithful, unselfish, devoted men and women who have labored together and worked with us in our prior efforts and who have given us our mandate to proceed with this work.” Referring to Palestine, Mr. Warburg said: “If at the same time you desire to bring substantial aid to the work that must proceed in Palestine for the upbringing of the holy land the amount that will have to be expended will have to be larger substantially than that which had been independently raised by the Joint Distribution Committee itself for the work in Europe.”
Closing his address with a tribute to the memory of Louis Marshall, Mr. Warburg said: “In the words of that great leader and associate whose absence we mourn but whose spirit hovers over this gathering, we intend, and we must, with your sanction continue this work. Nobody should have the hardiness to suggest for a moment that it should cease or be suspended. We must go on, or we must in the light of the past and in the light of the future, be regarded as recreant to a sacred trust.”
Lieutenant-Governor Herbert H. Lehman received an ovation when he said, “It is because I love as you do the free institutions of this country that my admiration for and my desire to cooperate in Palestine is so great.”
LIPSKY REPLEDGES ZIONISTS’ COOPERATION
Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist organization repledged the complete cooperation of the Zionist Organization with the Allied Jewish Campaign. He said: “There was a time when among many Zionists there prevailed an idea that Diaspora and Zion represented two rival objectives. Diaspora was regarded as something which Jewish life was called upon to throw off and disregard. Many felt that only to disparagement and negation of Diasposa could a powerful movement for the redemption of Zion be created. Gradually, however, owing to historic forces within Jewish life the pressure of extraordinary and continuing Jewish need, the recognition of the interrelationship of all Jewish problems, a way has been found for reconciliation and mutual understanding.
“What is being built in Palestine is distinguished from what is being done in the Diaspora in that an organized attempt is being made to create an environment which is to be the free expression of liberated Jewish life. What is achieved in Palestine will bring stimulus and invigoration to Jewish life everywhere. The covenant of cooperation may be taken as the precursor of cooperative action in all fields of Jewish activity that are related to the larger interests of our people. It means ultimately the united front down the line of all authentic Jewish interests.”
DR. FRANKEL OPTIMISTIC OF SUCCESS
Dr. Lee K. Frankel expressed entire optimism in the success of the campaign, pointing out that the Jews of the United States had spent $30,000,000 in the past three years for the construction of new temples and synagogues.
A plea for Jewish unity marked the opening address by Judge William M. Lewis who presided over Saturday night’s session. He declared: “This conference is the embodiment of a hope, a vision, and a dream, cherished by many of us that the day will come when Israel shall stand united to do the great work before it. I view this conference as the first concrete manifestation of that day. I rejoice in the thought that we are able to banish the differences and present a united front for the greater good of our people abroad as well as at home.”
After summarizing the construction work of the Joint Distribution Committee prior to this year. James N. Rosenberg traced in some detail the work of the Russian colonization and concluded his address with a plea for Palestine, “that country in which lies so much of the spiritual hope of Jews.” He also proposed that the day of the conference, March 8th, be hereafter known as “Marshall Day.”
CHEER MESSAGE FROM STRAUS
The conference greeted with cheers a message from Nathan Straus who declared: “Thank God that at last American Jewry is united in the great humanitarian cause of our people. The need for help was never greater, or more urgent abroad and there is no longer any valid excuse whatever for any Jew, Zionist or non-Zionist, orthodox, conservative or reformed, to stand aside without contributing each according to his means.”
A message from Albert Einstein was enthusiastically received, while a telegram from Dr. Chaim Weizmann recalled the memory of Marshall and declared that the loss of Marshall “demands in each of us a still more determined resolution to carry to the fullest fruition that task which was the crown of his life’s work.”
His message declared: “For the program of the Joint Distribution Committee in bringing aid to our brethren throughout Eastern Europe, I bespeak the earnest support and whole-hearted cooperation of all the Jews of America, and it is with the fullest confidence that we appeal to them in this historic hour to make yet more vigorous and determined efforts in the cause of Palestine.”
The fact that the Jews of America have given such vast sums for relief covering enormous areas in all parts of the world, stands as an extraordinary testimonial to the Jewish spirit of fraternity and the Jewish conception of duty, one to another, declared Judge Horace Stern, in opening Sunday morning’s session. He paid a moving tribute to the memory of Louis Marshall.
Dr. Leon Bramson, international chairman of the Ort said: “In the name of the central board of Ort and its 83 affiliated societies, I have the honor of greeting this national conference. As a European delegate, I see in the conference a symbol of the strict cooperation that should exist between those great American organizations for foreign relief, the Joint Distribution Committee and the European bodies that are devoting themselves to the reconstruction work among our distressed brethren in Eastern Europe.”
Describing the plight of the Jews in Poland and Russia, Dr. Bramson declared: “It is with appreciation and satisfaction that I acknowledge here the fact that the Joint Distribution Committee has an old tradition of leaving the details of the constructive relief work to the particular organization and does not interfere with the inside work of these organizations.”
Other speakers at the afternoon session were Judge Harry Fisher of Chicago and Nathan B. Perlman.
David M. Bressler, one of the cochairmen of the campaign, declared in opening the Sunday afternoon session that a new page in American Jewish history had begun with the launching of the campaign, “which represents in concrete form so far as American Israel is concerned, the unity of Israel without surrender by anyone of a point of view, touching Jewish causes which one holds of sincere conviction.”
The following are specially prepared summaries with quotations from the most important parts of all of the principal speeches of the conference.
JUDGE LEWIS SURE JEWS WILL COOPERATE
In his address at the opening session of the conference Judge William M. Lewis expressed confidence in American Jewry’s willingness to cooperate in the campaign of the Allied Jewish Campaign. “What we have done in this direction in the past,” he stated, “is perhaps the best index of what we shall do when the call is again issued.”
Speaking of the campaign’s plans for the rebuilding of Palestine, Judge Lewis told of his visit to Palestine and called that land, “as far as the Jews are concerned, the silver lining behind the European cloud. The work we are doing there,” he stated, “is fundamental; it is rich in spirit and shall redound to the everlasting glory of Israel.
“This conference,” continued the speaker, “is the concrete result of a series of negotiations. It is the embodiment of a hope, a vision, a dream, cherished by many of us, that the day will come when Israel shall stand united to do the great work before it. I view this conference as the first concrete manifestation of that day. I am pleased to see before me men and women of various shades of Jewish thought and opinion. I rejoice in the thought that we were able to banish the differences and present a united front for the greater good of our people abroad as well as at home.
Judge Lewis paid tribute to the late Louis Marshall whom he called the “pilot of our ship through its stormiest course.” He said, “The spirit which animated Marshall and the courage and conviction which are guiding Felix Warburg are a challenge to all of us to follow and carry on.
“A sacred and a noble cause brings us together this evening. Fully cognizant of the responsibilities which the hour has placed upon us, we are hopeful that it shall be given us to just as fully measure up to them,” concluded Judge Lewis. few people in this world who can feel causes at all. That is to say, great, impersonal, unselfish causes. Most people lead lives of casual contacts and personal interests. Their horizons are bounded by the individual people whom they meet and by the incidents that happen in their own limited experiences. It is only the few who penetrate beyond their immediate physical environments and who interest themselves in movements for the realization of ideals or at least of improvements in the social, economic, political, educational or spiritual welfare of people whom they do not know in person. It is these few who embrace causes, and when they not only embrace but lead them, they become the important personages of their day and generation. They are the men who see visions and dream dreams. Marshall was such a man. He was essentially a man of causes, a man who devoted practically all his life to causes.”
Marshall, according to Judge Stern, devoted himself to the cause of Jewry, of humanitarianism, of justice, of peace and of unity in Israel. As to Marshall’s efforts on behalf of the latter cause, Judge Stern said:
“He believed that a divided Israel could not effectively be a messenger of peace or a champion of human brotherhood. He did not seek a uniformity of opinion, but he did insist that there could be a unity of action in the practical world of affairs. There was nothing of bitterness in his outlook upon the opinions and beliefs of others; he was tolerant of their faith and he would have them be tolerant of his own. He worked alike with orthodox and reform, with non-Zionists and with Zionists, because he saw in all of them people of his own flesh and blood, heirs of the same traditions and sharers of a common destiny. People everywhere were aroused by him, had confidence in him, followed him, loved him, because through a half-century of public activities they found him to be a man who practiced what he preached, himself giving time when he asked others to extend theirs, and effort when he urged others to give effort, and money when he asked others to contribute funds, and of all of these liberally and without sparing himself; always honest and unafraid, simple, direct and forceful, free from intrigue and casuistry, unselfish to the core, a constructive statesman of broad vision, who was not cynical, nor suspicious nor jealous, but confiding and generous of nature and noble, whose life was so pure and spotless that it made an open book which even children might read and understand. This was Louis Marshall, and a race that produces such a man need have no fear that it is decadent or lacking in vitality or in promise.”
regardless of our varying attitudes toward Palestine, I feel sure that every one of us is here as conscious Jews, realizing our responsibility toward our less fortunate brethren in Europe and Palestine.”
Only, continued Mrs. Szold, by preserving the unity of Jewry, by encouraging Jewish life, the life which is “now finding its best fulfillment in Palestine, can we Jews of today make a real contribution to the civilization of the future.”
By fostering the Jewish culture, spirit and life which come nearest to finding fulfillment in Palestine, stated Mrs. Szold, Jews could do their share in transmitting to posterity the values which the ancestors of Jewry have bequeathed. “In Palestine,” asserted the president of the Women’s Zionist Organization, “despite the recent disturbances, the Jew is not subjected to the persecutions that he is elsewhere. There he is upstanding, there he comes into his own.
“With the energy, the ability and the devotion of women unlimited,” Mrs. Szold said, “with that behind us, with our real sympathy for European Jewry, with the ideal of the Jewish National Home before us, there is nothing that can deter us from complete and final success.”
MR. MARSHALL DESCRIBES VISIT TO PALESTINE
James Marshall, the next speaker, described his visit to Palestine and the impression made on him when he first saw Chalutzim in their colonies in the Valley of the Emek. He told of his visit to Tel Aviv and of the spiritual fervor which permeates the town.
“The people in Palestine,” said Mr. Marshall, “have a purpose. They have a pride and strength in their purpose. They have an indomitable will to conquer malarial swamps, stony fields, to repair old terraces and to tend patiently fruit trees until they bear. This spirit will, I believe, revivify the Jewish life all over the world.”
Speaking of Arab propaganda Mr. Marshall asserted that the way to answer it was by giving funds continually to build Palestine. He then spoke of his visit to Russia and Poland last Summer. He described his visit to Warsaw and his horror at the Jewish sufferings there. “The Jews suffer more than anyone else,” he asserted, “perhaps because of the animosity of the Polish people and the antagonism of the government. But basically it is an industrial problem more than anything else.
“The only bright spot was the work of the Joint Distribution Committee. The loan kassas which gave aid in the form of small loans to traders and workers. They did more than this, they stimulated those people to help themselves and man after man whom we met there acknowledged this great work of the J.D.C. in helping them to organize themselves.”
In Russia, Mr. Marshall stated, the actual economic condition of the Jews was worse than in Poland, but the outlook is brighter because the government is not anti-Semitic and does all it can to prevent anti-Semitism.
In helping the Jewish people of Russia and Poland to learn trades and helping them to help themselves, the Agro-Joint, Mr. Marshall said, was accomplishing a tremendous task. “I hope,” he said, “that the time will come when our aid can be dispensed with; when we can leave it all to the self help of the people, but the time is not yet there. Eastern Jewry still needs us to help them help themselves.”
J.D.C. DOES NOT DICTATE TO EUROPEAN LEADERS, SAYS ROSENBERG
Answering critics of the colonization project, James N. Rosenberg, the next speaker, stated that the J.D.C. had always consulted the leaders of European Jewry before making plans, and that in the disbursements of funds no attempt is made to dictate the outlets for the money.
In Russia, Mr. Rosenberg stated, while the government is doing all it can to combat anti-Semitism, on the other hand it is a communist country and the economic scheme leaves no place for the trader. He spoke of the class, “lischentze” (outcasts) to which most of the Jews belong and stated that their position is critical. The great work of the J.D.C. is to lift Jews out of this class, he said.
“We must make this campaign the most successful,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “Let us remember this is a day where in the capital of this country for the first time the Jews of America got together in a common cause for all the Jews overseas, and we have no competing campaign.
“Unity has not been achieved as a spontaneous flower that blossoms in a moment. It has been achieved because a great many men and women, each with their own thoughts and ideals, each with their own particular favorite causes have been willing to yield to meet the other point of view, to recognize that toleration and tolerance must animate every group of men and women who want by mutual concession to reach a common good and a common goal,” he stated. was regarded as something which Jewish life was called upon to throw off and disregard. Many felt that only through disparagement and negation of Diaspora could a powerful movement for the redemption of Zion be created. Gradually, however, owing to historic forces within Jewish life, the pressure of extraordinary and continuing Jewish need, the recognition of the interrelationship of all Jewish problems, a way has been found for reconciliation and mutual understanding.”
The Zionist movement, said Mr. Lipsky, aims not only to redeem Palestine for the Jews, but also to strengthen Jewish life wherever possible. He stated further that the rebuilding of Palestine cannot be achieved upon the ruins of Jewish life in the Diaspora, that “every bit of possible opportunity for the development of Jewish resistance must be salvaged,” and that there is no conflict of interests between Jewish life in the Diaspora and the Palestine Homeland. The extension of intelligently organized aid to the Jews of Eastern Europe is one of the obligations of Jewish brotherhood, said Mr. Lipsky.
“What is being built in Palestine is distinguished from what is being done in the Diaspora, in that an organized attempt is being made to create an environment which is to be the free expression of liberated Jewish life,” said Mr. Lipsky. “We are entering into Palestine not as a matter of privilege, but as a matter of international right. In Palestine, all that we do presupposes sanction of the Jewish position, which cannot be imperilled or withdrawn without the moral collapse of the authorities responsible for this sanction. Due to this recognition of right, due to the immemorial aspiration of the Jewish people to establish their own life in the land of their forefathers, the environment of Jewish life in Palestine is, to a very large extent, the creation of the Jewish people themselves. There, the exercise of self-government is creating new fields in which Jewish law and tradition are once again to serve direct national purposes. The recovery of a consciousness of this land is re-making Jewish character. Palestine thus becomes the frontier of Jewish hope, the success or the failure of which is an index of the strength of the Jewish desire to persist and perpetuate the ideals and the civilization they represent. A legally protected Jewish territory is being created in which all sacrificial elements of Jewish life desirous of racial freedom, to whom such freedom is denied elsewhere, wishing to identify themselves with a nobler destiny for the Jewish people, may find ultimate safety and protection and opportunity for development.”
Mr. Lipsky then pointed out that the Keren Hayesod budget of the Jewish Agency, which covers the constructive work in Palestine, is included in the Allied Jewish Campaign. After mentioning the creation of the Jewish Agency in Zurich last August, Mr. Lipsky said:
“Entering wholeheartedly into this partnership of Jewish service, having evinced a genuine desire to see all Israel united in sacrifice for Jewish causes, we Zionists look forward to the growth of mutual understanding and unprejudiced appreciation with regard to the objectives that are included within the Allied Jewish Campaign. Let not negatives divide us. The affirmatives of common interests should constitute the program of this united effort. Here today we join hands to begin the practice of cooperation, and in the development of that practice we have no doubt that all fundamental differences will ultimately be dissolved in lasting service to the Jewish cause.” of common interest, to relieve Jewish distress wherever found and to build a brighter future for the Jewish people in the Jewish Homeland.”
Answering the accusation that Zionists have been indifferent to the economic plight of their brethren in Eastern Europe because of their exclusive absorption in the Palestinian work, Rabbi Silver said that “anyone who has been in contact with the campaigns of recent years and with the work, knows full well that these charges are utterly groundless.”
BRESSLER SEES NEW PAGE IN AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY
A new page in American Jewish history has been begun with the launching of the Allied Jewish Campaign at this conference, was the opening statement of the address by David M. Bressler of New York, one of the chairmen of the campaign, who presided over the afternoon session.
“It represents, in concrete form, so far as American Israel is concerned, the unity of Israel, without surrender by anyone of a point of view, touching Jewish causes, which holds one of sincere conviction,” said Mr. Bressler. “Nor is anyone required, in this effort, to accept a point of view contrary to his own outlook on Jewish life. There is a determination on the part of American Jewry that formulas and dogmas must no longer divide them in the face of the cry for help that comes from overseas. I am confident that the spirit of cooperation already developed will be intensified as this campaign progresses, that men who worked apart in the past will discover that the differences which separated them were wholly artificial. I believe that one of the finest by-products of this campaign will be a determination that never again will they permit the old schisms and ideologies to restrain them from united effort for the Jewish good.”
Mentioning a trip which he took through Eastern Europe last summer with Joseph Hyman, honorary secretary of this campaign, Mr. Bressler said:
“If you had seen what I saw, what we saw, I almost believe, friends, that this conference would not have been necessary. I believe that each and every one of you would have gone back to your homes fully imbued with what you had seen, the misery prevailing in every section among our people everywhere, and determined to bring the truth home to your own home folks. No conference, no campaign, but just an open-hearted response to the cry of your people wherever they are Europe, Russia, Palestine.” ing language again and has knitted together into one community the Jews who came to Palestine from the various countries of the world. These schools, with the Hebrew University at its head, on Mt. Scopus, are looked forward to as a new fountain of Hebraic culture and Jewish civilization. The world has looked on with wonder as a hundred thousand new Jewish settlers entered Palestine during a short space of time and set themselves the task of laying the foundations of the Homeland with fervor, with unmatched courage, with industry and devotion. Besides the crumbling ruins of the ancient cities made uninhabitable by centuries of neglect, there have arisen modern cities and villages with comfortable homes and gardens, with schools, hospitals and numerous other necessary public institutions bearing the impress of modern civilization. In the place where malaria-breeding swamps and marshes and stretches of stony wilderness lay, there sprang up bright agricultural settlements with neatly cultivated fields and fragrant orchards. The waters of the Jordan are being harnessed to turn the wheels of industry. The land that lay in agelong slumber suddenly began to hum with activity.”
The Arab outbreaks of last August were not expected by the Jews, who “did not believe that they would be set upon by those to whom they brought gifts and blessings,” said Mr. Rothenberg. “They came with the word ‘Peace’ on their lips; they engaged in fruitful labor; they brought health and healing into the land; they cured the Arab children of blinding eye diseases; Jewish doctors delivered Arab wives of their children in Hadassah hospitals. The Jewish pioneers brought light into corners where medieval darkness reigned. They did not expect it to happen. But having come, those events will not deter them from going on with the task to which they have dedicated their lives. Their trials in Palestine and in other lands, in which they carry a heavy burden, is all the more reason why we must come to their aid. They are willing to place their lives upon the altar of Jewish regeneration. We are but asked to give of our surplus money. Who is there that will place and obstacle in the way of those pioneers?”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.