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Herzl Hailed As Trueprophet by Steinberg

July 4, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A tribute to the memory of Dr. Theodor Herzl, father of modern Zionism, was delivered at the afternoon session of the Zionist convention here by Rabbi Milton Steinberg of the Park Avenue Synagogue.

"The leadership of Theodor Herzl is one instance of true prophetic guidance," he declared, "for the greatness of the prophet lies not in his personality but in the timeless and eternally true concept which he develops. The true leader of man is one who fulfills three qualifications:

"He must in the first place recognize a basic human need, a problem, or an impasse in human relations. He must then present an ideal solution for the problem which he has recognized and must, last of all, indicate instruments by which this solution can be affected.


"In all three senses Theodor Herzl was a prophetic leader of the Jewish peoples. He sensed in the first place that the Jewish people in the Western world was fated to a permanent maladjustment, the emancipation from Ghetto conditions which began in the French Revolution would never run a complete course and the Jew would never be fully recognized by Western society.

"He recognized that assimilation was no escape and that if, for no other reason, the Jews of the Western world would be compelled to remain Jews because of the pressure of the non-Jewish world. Having diagnosed the problem of the Jew in the modern world, he then proceeded to a solution. He indicated that the Jew would attain normality only if he possessed a homeland of his own. He built the instruments by which this project was to be attained.


"Theodor Herzl died thirty years ago today. In the course of the last three decades his idea has been fully vindicated. The status of the Jew in the Western world is less secure than it has been at any time during the past century. There is no haven either for the individual Jew or for the Jewish group in assimilation and Palestine stands today as the sole refuge of the persecuted. Jews of the world and as the sole Jewish community which is engaged actively in a renaissance of Jewish culture.

"Not least of the great merits fo Theodor Herzl was the fact that once he had arrived at his diagnosis and prognosis of the Jewish scene he refused to recognize any impossibility in the way of its attainment.


"He has been vindicated by history. Every impossibility which confronted Zionism in Herzl’s day has been either completely or partially overcome and those difficulties which face us are by no means insuperable.

"The Jewish world must recognize that Zionism is not a mere nationalist caprice. It is the logical inevitability of Jewish life today.

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