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Rabbi Newman, Speaking at Z.o.a.’s Memorial Exercises for Palestine Martyrs, Sees New Dawn Rising Fo

August 29, 1930
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

At the first religious service ever sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America, in commemoration of the first anniversary of the death of 134 Jews who were killed in the Palestine riots last August, Rabbi Louis I. Newman, in his first sermon at the Rodeph Sholom Temple, last night, declared that “a new dawn is rising in Zionism”, and characterized the report of the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations on Palestine as a sign that Zionism has “recovered the understanding and favorable opinion of the world without”.

The exercises at the Rodeph Sholom, which marked the first large public gathering at the new temple which recently elected Rabbi Newman of San Francisco to its pulpit, were part of a nation-wide series of similar memorial meetings in tribute to the Palestine Jewish martyrs. Mr. Jacob De Haas, Chairman for Organization of the Zionist Organization of America, who presided at the exercises, pointed out:

“This is, as far as I am aware, the first occasion on which the Zionist Organization of America has sponsored a purely religious service. I trust we may regard it as significant of the new approach between the various elements of Jewry that we have been permitted for this purpose to meet in this new beautiful temple.”


Saying that now that the League of Nations has spoken its mind, it is for England to “speak with similar confidence in the Zionist ideal”, Rabbi Newman declared that “Britain has everything to gain and nothing to lose from a recognition that the mistakes of the past must be rectified, and an affirmative program of statesmanlike counsel and aid must be pursued”.

The memorial exercises last night marked Rabbi Newman’s entry into the New York rabbinate, to which he has come after a distinguished career in California. He is one of the eighteen composing the Administration of the Zionist Organization of America.

During the course of his memorial address, Rabbi Newman said:

“A new dawn is rising in Zionism. Coincident with the anniversary of the riots the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations has issued its judgment as to the causes and responsibility for the bloodshed in Palestine. One year of agony, despair and uncertainity has passed; now at last the Zionist movement has regained its power within, and has recovered the understanding and favorable opinion of the world without. It is wrong to make overconfidence or unrealistic optimism the mood of the hour, but it may be safely affirmed that Zionism is once more on th road to success from which it has been diverted in the past few years by a number of factors culminating in the Arab assaults of 1929.


“With the blood of Zion’s martyrs whom we now commemorate, let Britain and Israel seal anew the compact of friendship and co-operation on behalf of the building of the Jewish homeland. We appeal to the British people to re-affirm with clarity and vigor its ardent Zionist sentiment of a decade ago. Now that the Mandates Commission has spoken, let England speak with similar confidence in the Zionist ideal. Britain has everything to gain and nothing to lose from recognition of the fact that the mistakes of the past must be rectified, and an affirmative program of statesmanlike counsel and aid must be pursued.

“Britain’s prestige will be enormously heightened and history will be further indebted to her, if she bend every effort to the achievement of the Zionist objective. The Mandate over Palestine stands in a unique category; it is of interest, not to Britain or Jewry alone, but to all the nations.

“If England seems to be indignant at the criticisms of the Mandates Commission, let it be remembered that the Commission looks forward, not backward. It aims to repair the harm done to Palestine by the endeavor to pass over lightly the chief responsibility for the outbreaks. Now that the opinion of the world is set right, let England set its own policy in the right direction. England offers to look favorably upon any constructive recommendations the League Commission can offer. We have faith in England’s sincerity and are certain that her leaders will confer with Jewish leaders and with all others concerned with Zion’s future, so that the work set in motion so zealously a decade ago may be impaired no further. A policy by Britain ensuring political stability will open the doors to the investment of capital from which all classes of the Palestine population will increasingly prosper”.


In the course of his brief remarks, Mr. De Haas said:

“At Masada in the year 72, a thousand lives willingly closed so that a nation might be reborn. In Palestine, in that same small land which is the web and woof of all our dreams, just one year ago one hundred and thirty-four Jews gave their lives so that this same nation might continue to live. Time knows no similar story. By their blood are we sanctified. By their faith are we enriched. By their hopes are we strengthened.

“The challenge of old Masada was answered in Safed and Hebron, after the lapse of eighteen centuries. Humbly we trust, loyally we pledge ourselves ever to meet the challenge so that our people may continue, so the end we seek may be achieved”.

In addition to the reading of the list of 125 Palestine martyrs, the names of the eight American students who had been killed during the Arab attack on the Yeshiva at Hebron were also memorialized. These included: William Berman, Philadelphia; Aaron David Epstein, Chicago; Harry Fromen, New York; Wolf Greenberg, New York: Benjamin Horwitz, Brooklyn; Hyman Krasner, Chicago; David Sheinberg, Memphis; and Jacob Wexler, Chicago.

The memorial prayers for the dead, which included a sixteenth century version of the martyrs’ prayer, “Olenu Leshabeach”, were recited by Cantor Nathan G. Meltzoff.

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