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News Brief

December 30, 1926
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Russian Jews have a historic right on which to base their land settling activity in the Crimea. This was the opinion expressed by Dr. Simon Dubnow, well known Russian Jewish historian, in an interview with the representative of the “Menorah.”

If the question of Jewish right to colonize Crimea is raised it must be remembered that the Jews have a right to claim to be autochthons of all the northern coast of the Black Sea. As early as the ancient Bosphorean empire, before the Christian era, colonies of Hellenized Jews have flourished on the Black Sea coast. Inscriptions which have been found there dating back to the first cenutry prove the existence of organized Jewish communities in this region. These Hellenized Jews were followed by the Byzantine Jews in the fifth century of the Christian era. The Khazar empire, the leading classes of which adopted Judaism, existed between the eighth and eleventh centuries. Then, settlements of Jews and Karaites existed in this region between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries. Finally, the Jewish colonies have existed there since the nineteenth century. The historic rights of the Jews to colonize Crimea and the entire Black Sea coast from Odessa to the Caucasus cannot be doubted and it is certainly desirable in a region where for two thousand years our ancestors have, under the Greeks and the Scythians, engaged in agriculture, that the Jews should again cultivate the land. However, the modern Scythians are more dangerous than the ancient-“Time# Danaos et dona ferentes” (I fear the Danaos even if they bring me gifts) he declared.


Impetus to the movement to widen the sphere of friends and supporters of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem will result from a dinner given Tuesday night in honor of Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the American Advisory Committee and member of the governing board of the Hebrew University, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization.

Judge Julian W. Mack presided over the banquet which was attended by about 100 prominent American Jews.

Mr. Warburg, Dr. Weizmann, Dr. Cyrus Adler and Dr. Nathan Ratnoff, president of the American Jewish Physicians Committee, spoke of the various phases of the work of the Hebrew University.

In introducing Mr. Warburg, Judge Mack declared: “Mr. Warburg is not only contributing generously to every Jewish cause, but is also giving of himself, of his time, his energy and his personality without stint to every meritorious Jewish effort.”

Mr. Warburg, in his address, described some of his impressions of his visit to Palestine preceding his decision to establish the $500,000 endowment fund for the Institute of Jewish Studies of the University. Contrary to expectations of hearing requests for aid for this or that purpose, the first Palestinian Jew whom Mr. Warburg met, presented him with oranges, nuts and fruits, declaring: “You Americans have done so much for Palestine, I want to be the first to give you a present in Palestine.”

Mr. Warburg then described his attitude toward the Hebrew University in the following words:

“As for the Jewish place in Palestine if you have any family pride you feel that the Jews are entirely too much out of sight. You see buildings-prominent buildings of several denominations-American, French and German, and there is not a single building of any taste or size that has anything to do with the Jews of the world. Thanks to the munificence of Mrs. Sol Rosenbloom and what her husband left for the purpose we hope to erect something we may be proud of.

“The University will strive to secure men who will be respected and loved not only by the Jews, but by scientists and others all over the world. We hope, and I know that Dr. Magnes feels deeply about this, that where the cradle of the different religions has been, there may be a common meeting ground for all beliefs. If the people who study Christianity in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem, and the people who really know their religion on the Jewish side come together, they will understand each other much better than the people who live in Oshkosh here and who receive a training in the Jewish or Christian Seminary.

“Dr. Adler has been my guide and mentor on the Jewish Theological Seminary and we know what the career of the young ministers of the Jewish faith has been. They come from humble homes, and in order to secure their education, must struggle to support themselves while they are studying. They have no opportunity to be inspired by the beautiful things in life. Their work is hard; their life is hard, and by the time they reach their fourth year, before they graduate, positions are offered to them. So what has been their background? The surroundings of poverty through childhood; then the seminary; then their jobs-and they are to inspire the Jewish congregations. What a difference it would make if they could spend a half a year or year in Palestine. They could come back to their pulpits to inspire the people in an entirely different way. That is what interests us-to give them a feeling for beauty, their history and family pride.

“I hope this same idea will express itself in other fields. If some Jewish family has a son who is studying medicine, I hope that that family may wish to assist the Medical Department. Prof-Einstein feels that even his abstract science will do better in Palestine than elsewhere. Let us hope so. Palestine needs the University, but we, here, and the educational institutions right here need it just as much as Palestine does. When I go there now, I am looking forward to bringing to those at the University, the greetings of this very charming gathering, and I hope to encourage them with the word that the circle of people interested in the work is growing.

“You, Dr. Weizmann, you are a wonderful man. You have the patience of an angel and the wisdom of a sage. It is a privilege to be with you and to be greeted with you at the same table.”

Dr. Weizmann, who was received with an ovation when he rose to speak, declared:

“Before I speak about the University I want to take this opportunity of expressing thanks to Mr. Warburg. And I think I speak not only for myself, but for a vast number of those with whom I cooperate. With his great charm and extraordinary generosity, he has been good enough to help, advise and guide in a very difficult task at a very difficult time. I do it in his presence and I do not exaggerate when say that conversations with him have been the chief cause of a certain measure of the success with which I have met.

“I am confident that the presence of Mr. Warburg in Palestine will contribute further toward cementing different groups, and his attitude should not be shaken by any accidents or incidents which are likely to arise in our Jewish life. It is a privilege to work with him and I hope that he will continue.

“There is another distinguished gentleman to whom I would like to say only a word, Judge Lehman. His judicial temperament and able judgment have helped to guide the negotiations which I think are soon bound to have results. I thank him, not only on my behalf, but on behalf of all those who have consecrated themselves to Zionism.

“You will, I am afraid, Mr. Warburg, find that Palestine is temporarily undergoing a strain, but you are a man who will understand what it has to go through. You will see the good and you will see the bad, and that is all we want you to do. I am sure it will encourage you and encourage us to further our efforts.

“The University is supplying the scientific instruction which is required in the opening up of a new country, and is also filling the need of those intellectual masses which, fortunately, exist in such vast numbers among the Jews. I do not know the exact figure now but in 1914 there must have been in the Western European Universities something like 7,000 to 8.000 Eastern ### seeking education because they could not find it in their own countries. Possibly the number has increased now. There is a country opened up recently for students, that is Italy, which has about 1,500 East and South European students.

“I subscribe to everything that Dr. Adler has said about the Institute of Jewish Studies. The two great schools which will arise-the School of Jewish Studies and Oriental Studies and Archaeology will be important not only for Palestine, but for Jewry at large. These two schools will play an extraordinarily important part as the meeting ground for Jews and other oriental races.”

Palestine and the Jews need the Hebrew University, Dr. Cyrus Adler declared in his address. The Hebrew University will be of great advantage in the development of the country. Universities are not centers of academic study without relation to life. We here in America, have found out rather late the great usefulness of universities in the practical needs of the country. The influence of the university will be felt in the various fields of development in Palestine. It will also offer much better facilities for Oriental studies. There, Palestine, geology, geography and topography can be studied, not merely from books.

The Hebrew University fills the need of the thousands of Jewish students who, deprived, through the numerus clausus in Hungary and Roumania, of opportunities of study, will be able to go to Jerusalem.

It may also be a source of inspiration for the students of our seminaries, if they will be enabled to spend part of their time in study at the Hebrew University, Dr. Adler stated.

Dr. Ratnoff cited American universities whose medical schools depend for much of their prestige on the hospitals with which they are associated. He said a good hospital was needed in Palestine, to aid the medical school and because proper care of the people demanded one. Dr. Ratnoff said, “I am happy to see Mr. Warburg, the Chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, and Dr. Weizmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization, at the same table. I see this as a significant indication of the unity of Israel for which we all hope in the interest of the rebuilding of Palestine.” Dr. Ratnoff expressed the hope that Dr. Weizmann who succeeded to win over all the nations of the world to the idea of Zionism may at last win over the Jewish people.

The university seeks $1,000,000 and has already obtained $300,000, Dr. Ratnoff reported. In addition, memberships provide $20,000 annually and two fellowships of $500 and $1,000 have been contributed. Ten acres have been acquired for the medical school and hospital on Mount Scopus. The university will be open to all persons without distinction of race, creed or sex.

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