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Rothenberg Pays Tribute

July 8, 1934
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Two outstanding Zionist leaders, resting here after the thirty-seventh annual convention of the Zionist Organization, yesterday paid tribute to the memory of Chaim Nachman Bialik.

Morris Rothenberg, president of the Zionist Organization of America, declared that “it is a day of mourning for all Israel. The Jewish national poet laureate, the foremost figure of the Hebrew renaissance, has passed away.

“The Zionist movement drew from the depths of Bialik’s great mind and spirit and from his literary works as from an inexhaustible fountain the inspiration for the tasks of the Jewish national revival.

“I call upon Zionists throughout America to pay tribute to the memory of one of Israel’s immortal sons, who has enriched its literature and its national culture beyond all measure of words to express. “


Berl Locker, Laborite member of the World Zionist Executive, who came here from London for the convention, said that “this is the greatest loss Jewry has suffered, Bialik was not only the greatest living Hebrew poet, but certainly one of the few greatest minds in Jewry.

“In him was concerted everything Jewry has created since its beginnings. He knew the whole Jewish knowledge. Beginning from the Bible and the Talmud, there was not a line in Hebrew that he did not have in his head. At the same time he created not only in his writings but in his speeches a perpetual stream of wisdom. Whenever I spoke with him I was always unhappy that there was not someone there to take down his sayings in writing.

“He was the conscience of the Jewish people. In these days of inner conflict in Zionism he was one of the very few whose words. I hoped would be heard by all. He was popular in the best sense of the word. He mixed with people. There was no one to whom he would not give of his greatest treasures. Nobody could think that Bialik would die so early; he was really young in body and spirit. There is no exaggeration when we say that his untimely death brings a heavy mourning for the people.


“The sudden death of Chaim Nachman Bialik, our national Hebrew poet, is an irreparable loss, not only to the world of Hebrew letters to which his life was dedicated and in which his genius reached unparalleled heights. He was also a militant champion of the Jewish national renaissance of which he prophesied and to which he has contributed so much by his writings as well as by his deeds,” declared Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Jewish National Fund and rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshrun in a statement made yesterday on the occasion of the death of the famous Hebrew poet in Vienna.

More particularly, continued Dr. Goldstein will Bialik’s passing away cause the deepest mourning and regrets, among the wide masses for the sacred soil of the Holy Land.

Dr. Goldstein compared Bialik with Yehuda Halevi and Ibn Gabriol of the Golden epoch in Jewish literary history. Bialik, he stated, was more than a poet who lived in the realm of beauty and in the higher regions of his creative art. He was the expression of the pain and the grief as well as of the hope and aspirations of a sorely tried Jewish generation.

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