The American Delegate(s)* at the First Zionist Congress Part 3

Posted on September 11th, 2017 by

Written by Avi Y. Decter. Originally published in Generations 2007-2008: Maryland and Israel

Part III: A National Assembly

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Some of the participants in the World Zionist Congress, Basel, 1897. Theodor Herzl is in the center. Courtesy of Herbert Levy, L2008. 135.1

Some of the participants in the World Zionist Congress, Basel, 1897. Theodor Herzl is in the center. Courtesy of Herbert Levy, L2008. 135.1

One of the key tasks of the organizers was to establish the Congress as an effective organization. Herzl himself, in his opening address to the Congress, declared that “Through this Congress, we are creating an agency for the Jewish people.”[1] Rosa Sonneschein reports that Herzl characterized the Congress as a “Jewish organ, which heretofore it did not have, but which it needs for its existence.”[2]

Only a few days before the first Zionist Congress convened Herzl wrote that “I stand in command of striplings, beggars, and sensation-mongers…Nevertheless, even this army would do the job if a success were in sight. Then it would quickly become a first-rate body of regular troops.”[3] Gathering a group of self-selected individuals would not make the Congress an effective body – the Congress needed to assert a claim to representing organizations and communities. This, the distinction between individual attendees and organizational delegates was made clear in the first session of the Congress, when Dr. Karpel Lippe referred in his opening remarks to “This meeting of Jewish associations and of individual Jews.”[4]

Transforming the Zionist Congress into a representative body was a critical, challenging step, and one not easily achieved. Once Herzl determined to organize a world congress and the site was finally chosen, he devoted his immense energies to gathering participants from all corners of the world. Letters of invitation were sent out to Zionist leaders, to Zionist organizations, and to Jewish communities calling for the election of representatives to the Congress.[5]

At the beginning of August, 1897, a Congress office was established in Basel, and a preparatory committee reviewed, approved, and registered the Congress participants.[6] When Herzl arrived in Basel on August 25 he took personal charge of all the details. As one observer noted, “He gave his attention to all the minutiae of the work. He let nothing slip past him. He issued the instructions, and supervised the carrying out of the instructions.”[7]

Looking back on the first Congress, Dr. Herzl wrote that “our movement has entered into the stream of history…If I were to sum up the Congress in a word – which I shall take care not to publish – it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish State…I gradually worked the people up into the atmosphere of a State and made them feel that they were its National Assembly.”[8] Herzl’s comment about “founding the Jewish State” has entered into the lexicon of Zionist ideology, alongside his famous dictum, “If you will it, it is no dream,” which became the slogan of the modern Zionist movement.

Herzl’s comment about creating a “national Assembly” is less well-known, and yet this seemingly more mundane task was every bit as important as providing a vision and a compelling rhetoric. On the third and final day of the Congress, it was “resolved that each local society of Zionists have a right to send on edelegate and one more for each succeeding hundred.”[9]

Afterward, Herzl wrote that “in principle the most important event which perhaps remained quite unnoticed was my introduction of the representative system, that is, of the national assembly.”[10] In this critical effort Rabbi Schaffer, a Baltimore resident, and Adam Rosenberg, a Baltimore native, played important roles. Although their routes to the first Zionist Congress were distinct, and their designation as official “Delegates’ came about in totally different ways, both deserve to be recognized and remembered as the American delegates to the first World Zionist Congress.

Continue to Sidebar I: The Other Americans: Rosa Sonneschein (1847 – 1935)

Notes:

[1] S.U. Nahon, ed., The Jubilee of the First Zionist Congress, 1897 – 1947 (Jerusalem: World Zionist Organization, 1947), 54.

[2] Sonneschein, “The Zionist Congress,” 15.

[3] Marvin Lowenthal, ed., The Diaries of Theodor Herzl (New York: Dial Press, 1956), 220. Alex Bein’s version of this same diary entry is even less flattering: “The fact is that I have only an army of schnorrers. I stand at the head of a mass of youths, beggars, and kacjasses.” Quoted in Theodore Herzl: A Biography (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication society of America, 1962), 227f.

[4] Nahon, Jubilee of the First Zionist Congress, 65.

[5] Bein, Herzl, 224.

[6] Bein, Herzl, 226ff.; Bettina Zeugin, “Three Days in Basel,” in Heiko Haumann, ed., The First Zionist Congress in 1897 – Causes, Significance, Topicality (Basel: Karegen, 1997), 141f.

[7] Quoted in Bein, Herzl, 226.

[8] Lowenthal, The Diaries of Theodor Herzl, 223f

[9] Sonneschein, “The Zionist Congress,” 18.

[10] Nahon, Jubilee, 98.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




In Rehearsal for the Last Act

Posted on September 8th, 2017 by

September 17th at 2:00pm!

September 17th at 2:00pm!

How many of you have had a wedding rehearsal?  One last chance to argue about who comes in from the left and who from the right.  One last opportunity to size up the machutunim.

Well, the big day is approaching for Just Married! The exhibit takes its final vows on September 17th.  But before it goes off to wherever exhibits honeymoon, we have one final performance to share.  I know this not only because it’s on the JMM calendar, but also because I caught a snippet of the rehearsal for Stoop Story on Sunday.  If the bit I saw is indicative of the whole show, I think we have a real treat in store for you.

You won’t want to wait until the last minute to get tickets.  Seating is limited and everyone (including members) will need a ticket.

Hope to see you there.

~Marvin


*ONE WEEK ONLY*

Treasures from the collection!

Treasures from the collection!

A Wonderful Weddings Extra!
September 11 – 17th

For one week only we will have additional wedding dresses and wedding shoes on display in the JMM’s Anne Adalman Goodwin Memorial Library. Already seen Just Married!? We can guarantee you haven’t seen these!


Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact Trillion Attwood at tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org / 443-873-5177 with any questions or for more information.

SEPTEMBER

JMM 1996.80.72

JMM 1996.80.72

A Bald Eagle on the Ketubah:
Jewish Marriage in Nineteenth Century America
Sunday, September 10th at 3:00pm*
Speaker: Laura Shaw Frank, University of Maryland
Reserve Your Tickets!

From its birth in 1776, America has been a nation that embedded political, cultural, and social ideals into its marriage laws and customs. More info.

*please note the later than usual start time for this program

Special lecture at Towson University

Special lecture at Towson University on September 12th

Being Educated in the Third Reich:
The Discovery of Nazi Textbooks
Tuesday, September 12th at 7:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Tamar Ketko
Free – Registration Required

Location: Room 4310, College of Liberal Arts, Towson University
251 University Avenue, Towson, MD   21252

In Germany, following WWII, it was illegal to be in possession of Nazi textbooks. More than 20 years ago, Dr. Ketko discovered stockpikles of Swaztika laden textbooks published between 1933 and 1945. She shares the secret of the success of Nazism based on those books, attempting to understand the sorcerous process that consumed millions of Germans. More info.

We love our volunteers!

We love our volunteers!

Get Discovered at the Jewish Museum of Maryland!
Thursday, September 14th at 12:00pm
Register Here!

Know someone who would be a great JMM volunteer? Please share this event with them!

 

Get ready for wild wedding tales!

Get ready for wild wedding tales!

Stoop Storytelling Series Presents:
Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland – The Live Show!
Sunday, September, 17th at 2pm
Lloyd Street Synagogue
Tickets are $20 for non-members, $15 for members

This show marks the close of the museum’s exhibit Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland with an afternoon of true, personal stories about the wonder and wackiness of weddings, straight from the people who walked the aisle, said “I do” — and survived to tell the tale! More info.

Free Admission!

Free Admission!

Museum Day Live!
Sunday, September 24th, 10am – 5:00pm

Join us for a free day at the Museum!

Special lecture at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Religious School

Special lecture at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Religious School

To Protect and Serve? Dilemmas in Law Enformancement
Tuesday, September 26th at 7:00pm
Speakers: Marcus Appelbaum of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Charles Ramsey, Commissioner (Ret.), Philadelphia Police Department
Free – Registration Required

Location: Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Religious School
7401 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21208

Join us for a discussion with today’s law enforcement leaders to learn how Holocaust history is helping new recruits and veteran officers better understand their own professional and individual responsibilities. More info.

>>View the full JMM calendar of events here.<<


Also of Interest

The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit bnaiisraelcongregation.org.  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit biyabaltimore.org or check out BIYA on Facebook.


Esther’s Place

Honey dishes and more!

Honey dishes and more!

As you prepare for your high holy days, keep Esther’s Place in mind! We have everything you need for your yuntive, from beautiful candle holders to whimsical or elegant honey dishes to fine or funky Kiddush cups. We even have shofarot, for those of you looking to bring in the new year with a blast!


Ongoing at the JMM

Exhibits

Exhibits on display include Just Married! Wedding Stories of Jewish Maryland, Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks

 

Hours and Tour Times

Combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel are offered: Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm.

Click Here for complete hours and tour times


Membership

Make it official! Become a Member of the JMM.
Learn More about membership.
Already ready? Join Here.


Get Involved

The JMM is always looking for volunteers! Click Here to learn more.

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




How Many Degrees of Separation?

Posted on September 7th, 2017 by

A blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

Over the holiday weekend, my husband and I went “Biking Beyond Borders,” meaning we biked outside of the state, north of the Maryland Dixon-Mason Line.  We found ourselves in the southern part of Pennsylvania on what is now the York County Heritage Rail Trail, which connects to a similar hike/bike trail in Northern Maryland down to Baltimore named the Torry C. Brown Rail Trail (also known as the  NCR Trail or the Northern Central Railroad trail).

While on the trail we came across the Howard Tunnel which I learned has been in operation since 1838 and is the second oldest tunnel rail bridge that exists in the United States.

Howard Tunnel

Howard Tunnel

Originally constructed by the York and Maryland Line Rail Road, the Northern Central Railroad was a subsidiary of the B & O Railroad.  It formed a critical link in the north-south line assembled by the Northern Central Railway.  As we kept riding, I was determined to go back and find the degrees of separation between this very cool tunnel and my work at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Have you ever played the game to see how many degrees of separation?

First Degree

One of the founding members of the B & O Railroad was Solomon Etting, an early businessman and civic leader in Baltimore.  He lived in York and Lancaster, Pennsylvania until he moved to Baltimore in 1791. Etting was active in the Jewish communities in York, Lancaster and Baltimore. He trained as a shochet, or kosher butcher, in 1782, possibly the first native-born American to do so.

Solomon Etting

Solomon Etting

In 1801, Solomon and his uncle purchased the “Jew’s Burying Ground,” the cemetery used by Baltimore’s Jewish community.  At the time, there were not any incorporated congregations, so they purchased this land as individuals. The Etting Cemetery is located on North Avenue.

Etting Cemetery

Etting Cemetery

Etting also lobbied extensively to end Maryland’s exclusion of Jews from elected office. He and his father-in-law Bernard Gratz petitioned the Maryland House of Delegates in 1797, asking that Jews “be placed upon the same footing with other good citizens,” but were rebuffed that year. He submitted a similar petition in 1802, and again in 1824, which ultimately led to the final passage of the “Jew Bill” which was passed in 1826.

The Jew Bill, JMM1987.082.001

The Jew Bill, JMM1987.082.001

Second Degree

I searched even more to see what kinds of things were in our collections about trains and the railroad. One of the first things I found was some tickets from the B & O Railroad. This string of tickets from Baltimore & Ohio Railroad printed as a souvenir traces the history of the B&O Railroad from 1830 to 1889. These 13 tickets represent stages in the development of the B&O railroad.

 

B & O Railroad Ticker Souvenirs, JMM1991.147.034

B & O Railroad Ticker Souvenirs, JMM1991.147.034

My favorite object that I found was a wonderful comic book published by Hochschild Kohn called Rails Across America.  As soon as I saw it I wanted to break out my crayons!

Hochschild Kohn Book, JMM 2000.150.001

Hochschild Kohn Book, JMM 2000.150.001

A Winning Game!

The game was fun and as you can see, our little bike ride over the holiday weekend, was really only two degrees of separation from my work at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  Next time, see if you can play the game too!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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