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Lauds Dr. Wise As First Citizen of New York

July 23, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

“Rabbi Wise is the first citizen of New York,” declared Rev. John Haynes Holmes in his sermon before the Community Church yesterday at Town Hall.

In his address, which was the third in a special series entitled “Contemporary Religious Portraits,” Rev. Holmes eulogized Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of the Free Synagogue as “the living conscience of this metropolis.”

“No civic leader can be matched with him for sheer eloquence, personal power, moral passion and idealistic influences among the common people,” Rev. Holmes said. “Through all these years good men have turned to him for encouragement and counsel and evil men have turned from him in fear and hate.


“Rabbi Wise is first of all a Jew. His devotion to his people is a thing of ineffable beauty. Here he is as tender as he is strong, as pitiful as he is passionate. At one and the same time he is Rachel weeping for her children, Jeremiah lamenting over Jerusalem, and Judas Maccabaeus battling for Israel’s freedom.

“Rabbi Wise has done many things for the Jews in his sixty years. He has served the cause of Zionism as no man has served it since the days of Herzl. But the climax as well as the supreme sorrow of his life came with the advent of Hitler in Germany and the persecution of the Jews in that unhappy land. In an instant,, crushed with pity but ablaze with wrath, Rabbi Wise sprang to the leadership of world Israel against the Nazi leader.


“It would seem as though all his life had been a preparation for this terrific moment. I see Rabbi Wise marching down Broadway at the head of the famous Parade of Protest, showered upon by the tears and prayers of New York Jewry. I hear him pouring out his thundering eloquence at the first great Madison Square Garden meeting against Hitler. Here is the greatest Jew of the day—the true leader of world Israel.”

Rev. Holmes praised Rabbi Wise for setting an example to other clergymen as a religious teacher. “In Rabbi Wise,” he declared, “the prophets live again.”


Israel Maltin, head of the accounting department of the Zionist Organization of America, will be tendered a dinner at Meyerson’s Restaurant, 107 East Burnside avenue, Bronx, tomorrow night.

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