Revolutionizing Experiences: Henrietta Szold’s First Visit to the Holy Land Part 3

Posted on August 21st, 2017 by

Letter by Henrietta Szold. Originally published in Generations 2007-2008: Maryland and Israel

Part III: Epilogue

Miss the beginning? Start here.

Despite Szold’s remark that her trip to Palestine would amount to nothing more than a “stimulating memory without much noticeable result in action,” both she and the letter’s recipient knew that something important had happened to her. Judge Sulzberger, recognizing the letter’s significance, returned it to her for safekeeping. She promptly sent it back to him, with this response, written February 24, 1910 (JMM 1995.206.2).

 

Dear Judge Sulzberger:

You are right, vanity (or self-consciousness) is next door neighbor to my humility. But I assue you, I did not remember how much emotion I put into the letter I wrote to you – I only remembered that it was the first I wrote about the Holy Land and the longest, and I supposed it to be the fullest of these accounts.

Now that I have seen it and some of those I wrote later on to others, I conclude that if it made itself worthy of a better fate than the waste basket, it must have been due somehow or other to the correspondent I was addressing.

Here is some more pride – outspoken pride. I have felt so complimented by your having kept it, that I am returning it to you in spite of your waiving your rights in it. I have made a copy of it, for I may want to use some of its points in a book, which I am inclined to think, will get itself written.

 

Yours very truly,

Henrietta Szold

In 1920 Henrietta Szold returned to Palestine, settling there for the rest of her life. JMM 1992.242.7.43b

In 1920 Henrietta Szold returned to Palestine, settling there for the rest of her life. JMM 1992.242.7.43b

~The End~

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Revolutionizing Experiences: Henrietta Szold’s First Visit to the Holy Land Part 1

Posted on August 14th, 2017 by

Letter by Henrietta Szold. Originally published in Generations 2007-2008: Maryland and Israel

Introduction:

Henrietta Szold (1860 – 1945) has long been celebrated for her role in building a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The founder of Hadassah and the force behind Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, she virtually created the public health system in pre-state Israel and also ran the Youth Aliyah, which safely brought thousands of Jewish youth out of Nazi Germany and into Palestine during the 1930s. Remarkably, all these achievements occurred after Szold turned fifty. Though she had been involved in Zionist circles in her native Baltimore and later New York City, it was not until she traveled to Palestine with her mother in 1909 that she made improving conditions her life’s work.

Henrietta Szold and her mother Sophie, August 1909, visiting friends in England before traveling through Europe to Palestine. JMM 1992.242.7.13

Henrietta Szold and her mother Sophie, August 1909, visiting friends in England before traveling through Europe to Palestine. JMM 1992.242.7.13

Not that Szold was a late bloomer. From 1889, when she became superintendent of the nation’s first immigrant night school in Baltimore, to her many years working as an editor at the Jewish Publication Society of America, she had been an important contributor to American Jewish cultural affairs. But in 1908, when leading Jewish scholar Louis Ginzberg, with whom she had worked closely and fallen in love, rejected her for a younger woman, she suffered an emotional crisis that led her to question her previous twenty years in service to male-run institutions. She needed a new direction, and her trip to Palestine enabled her to find it. She came to see that her longstanding belief in “spiritual Zionism” – the development of Jewish settlement in the Holy Land as a way to bring about spiritual renewal for modern Jewry – could be advanced by encouraging women to engage in practical work to address the dire health conditions she had witnessed during her trip.

This realization did not occur immediately, as demonstrated by the letter printed here, one of the gems of the JMM archives (1995.206.1). Writing to her mentor, Judge Mayer Sulzberger, just after leaving Palestine, she expresses doubts about herself as well as the state of the Zionist movement. But she also vividly describes the transformative effect the visit had on her. Upon her return to America, she embarked on a new path that led to the founding of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, in 1912. Another visit to Palestine in 1920 resulted in her settling there permanently to overs the various projects she had initiated.

Szold did not always agree with the Zionist establishment; in the 1930s and 1940s, for example, she publicly supported a bi-national state. Her strongly independent thought is on display here, in her honest critique of the Zionist project as she saw it “on the ground.” But her belief in the Holy Land as a way to renew the Jewish people shines through as well.

The Letter, page 1

The Letter, page 1

The Letter:

The Mediterranean, between Alexandira and Trieste

November 28, 1909

 

Dear Judge Sulzberger:

My very indefinite dating of this letter indicates only one thing definitely – that my face is at last set westward and homeward. I feel that this is the time when I may venture to give you a little account of my impressions – don’t be alarmed, I shall not subject you to a catalogue of sights and scenes. This is the proper time because I cannot help believing that Italy, even Italy, which is to fill out the rest of my long vacation, must be in the nature of an anti-climax after my Oriental experiences. If I were younger I should call them revolutionizing experiences. At all events, if I had undergone them earlier in life, they might have had a decidedly shaping influence upon my Jewish attitude and work. As it is, they will probably be a very stimulating memory without much noticeable result in action.

It was not due to any conscious arrangement on my part that my trip abroad arranged itself as it did. I spent the first month in Scotland and England, all the time I was there I tingled with the feeling that I was in my intellectual home. My Anglo-Saxon education announced itself at every step. I had no right to feel that blood was thicker than water, to be sure, but I discovered that brain tissue is not a negligible element in appreciating relationships.

From there we went direct to Vienna and Hungary, my mother’s home, from which she had gone away fifty years to a week when we returned. And there I did learn that blood is thicker than water. I found a really huge circle of relatives, ready-made and ready to receive me as though I had had the same intellectual and sentimental antecedents with themselves. It was as rare an experience as cathedrals and picture galleries to me, for we are a very small family in America and I have never known the pleasure of the intimacy that stands between family ties and friendships. And it was curious to observe how America had done little more than modify external characteristics; the family soul had remained unimpinged by time and distance.

But I feel that my real experiences began when I left Buda-Pest and was whirled through Servia [sic], Bulgaria, and Turkey to Constantinople. Again, in the ordering of my Oriental trip, chance was kind to me. I cannot be sufficiently thankful that I had the opportunity of seeing Constantinople, Smyrna, Alexandria, Beirut, and Damascus before I entered the Holy Land proper.

Also, it was lucky for me that I did not, like most tourists, enter by way of Jaffa and Jerusalem. That was intentional maneuvering on my part. I wanted to see the land with my own eyes, or spectacles if you will, not through the spectacles of the warring factions in the two intellectual centres. The other chance gave me a true Oriental setting for the Holy Land, the proper atmosphere. After seeing half a dozen cities and the country districts, even if only from the car window or the carriage seat, I knew enough to distinguish between what is peculiarly Jewish and generally Oriental. It was eminently useful knowledge. I know it to be such when I remember what other six-weeks-tourists of Palestine on their return.

Continue to Part II: Entering the Holy Land[1]

[1] Interested in more Henrietta Szold history? Check out Henrietta Szold’s Baltimore from 1860-1902, an innovative and interactive mobile tour on the early life of Henrietta Szold, developed by the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Download the free izi.travel mobile app and follow the JMM’s audio tour that will lead you through the progression of Henrietta’s early life, which also tells the story of the German-Jewish immigrants to Baltimore and the Russian Jews that followed decades later. Each stop on the tour includes unique, historical images that will transport you back in time to see Baltimore through the eyes of the Szolds.

 

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MS 80 Harry Greenstein Collection

Posted on February 14th, 2013 by

It’s that time again: another JMM finding aid post. Today’s post features the personal papers of Harry Greenstein, a prominent Baltimorean. Read a little about his life and his collection here.

Harry Greenstein and other unidentified men in front of a pyramid while working for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, 1944. 1996.033.008a

Harry Greenstein and other unidentified men in front of a pyramid while working for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, 1944. 1996.033.008a

Harry Greenstein, 1896-1971

Collection, n.d., 1916-1975

MS 80

The Jewish Museum of Maryland

ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Harry Greenstein Collection was donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Mrs. Mary Block in 1971 as accession 1971.20. The collection was processed in July 2001 by Alisa Rose.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures.

Sinai Hospital planning committee of 1955. Robert H. Levy, Abraham Krieger, Ben Katzner, Albert D. Hutzler, H. D. Hutzler, H. D. Schroedel, Hugo Dalsheimer, Joseph Sherbow, Harry Greenstein, Ben Smith, Joseph Meyerhoff, and Harvey H. Weiss. Courtesy of Paul Umansky. 1981.017.001

Sinai Hospital planning committee of 1955. Robert H. Levy, Abraham Krieger, Ben Katzner, Albert D. Hutzler, H. D. Hutzler, H. D. Schroedel, Hugo Dalsheimer, Joseph Sherbow, Harry Greenstein, Ben Smith, Joseph Meyerhoff, and Harvey H. Weiss. Courtesy of Paul Umansky. 1981.017.001

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Harry Greenstein, Executive Director of the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore for 37 years, was born in Baltimore in 1896 to immigrant parents. Although educated as a lawyer, graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1918, Greenstein dedicated his life to social welfare and charity work.? Greenstein first participated in Baltimore Jewish affairs as a member of the American Jewish Relief Committee which assisted European Jewish victims of World War I.? Later Greenstein helped organize the Young Men?s and Young Women?s Hebrew Association, and he served as its president for ten years from 1922 to 1932.

During Greenstein?s 37 year tenure as Executive Director of the Associated from 1928 to 1965, he took several leaves of absence to assist in local and national affairs. During the Depression, he served as Maryland Director of the State Relief Program, administering over $65 million in aid to the poor from 1933 to 1936.? From 1936 to 1941, Greenstein was involved in the Baltimore Council of Social Agencies, an agency he helped found which does research for all social welfare agencies in Baltimore.

Associated Jewish Charities luncheon in honor of executive director Harry Greenstein's retirement, 1965 or 1966. Courtesy of Linda Smeyne. 1989.025.003

Associated Jewish Charities luncheon in honor of executive director Harry Greenstein’s retirement, 1965 or 1966. Courtesy of Linda Smeyne. 1989.025.003

Greenstein?s work extended beyond the state level. In 1939 Greenstein joined other leaders of American Jewry to help organize the National Refugee Service, which later became HIAS, the largest immigration agency in the world.? When the United States entered World War II in 1944, the United States federal government chose Greenstein to draw up evacuation plans for Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington D.C.? From 1943 to 1945, Greenstein was appointed the Director of Welfare for UNRRA, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, for Greece, Yugoslavia, and Albania. In 1949, the Secretary of War appointed Greenstein Advisor on Jewish Affairs in post-war Germany to assist the United States Army in liquidating the Displaced Persons Camps in Germany and Austria and in securing war reparations from Germany for the Israeli government and for the rehabilitation of Jewish life in Europe.

Greenstein was nationally recognized for his humanitarian work. He was often invited to lecture on social service problems throughout the country, and he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal by the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, and the Stephen S. Wise Medallion Award by the American Jewish Congress. In 1950, the University of Maryland awarded Greenstein an honorary degree, a Doctor of Social Science, for his extensive social welfare work.? Harry Greenstein is the subject of two published biographies: Justice?Not Charity by Dr. Louis L. Kaplan, published by Crown Publishers in 1975, and The Papers of Harry Greenstein by Hymen Saye, published by the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland in 1975.

Greenstein died in Baltimore in 1971 at the age of 75, survived by three sisters.

Photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Berney B. Katzenberg with Harry Greenstein in Miami Beach, FL, Feb. 1956. Courtesy of Mrs. Samuel Bloc. 1971.020.258.

Photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Berney B. Katzenberg with Harry Greenstein in Miami Beach, FL, Feb. 1956. Courtesy of Mrs. Samuel Bloc. 1971.020.258.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Harry Greenstein Papers consist of material related to his career as Executive Director of the Associated Jewish Charities and his involvement in several local and national political and social welfare organizations and committees. The collection includes correspondence, diaries, speeches, reports, newspaper articles, phonographs, and photographs. The collection is divided into six series:

Series I. Awards, 1950-1970

Series II. Biographical Information, 1930-1975

Series III. Correspondence, 1935-1971

Series IV. Professional Activities, 1935-1972

Series V. Writings, 1926-1965

Series VI. Photograph and Phonograph Records, 1916-1970. 

For further information on Harry Greenstein, refer to MS 170, Series XI.

Harry Greenstein with Judge Joseph Sherbow at Greenstein?s appointment as Advisor on Jewish Affairs, Feb. 6, 1949. Courtesy of Mrs. Samuel Block. 1971.020.181.3

Harry Greenstein with Judge Joseph Sherbow at Greenstein?s appointment as Advisor on Jewish Affairs, Feb. 6, 1949. Courtesy of Mrs. Samuel Block. 1971.020.181.3

Series I. Awards consists of articles and correspondence about awards and honors Harry Greenstein received in his lifetime. Included in this series are three plaques and a certificate from Keren Kayemeth testifying that a garden of 700 trees was planted in Israel in honor of Harry Greenstein. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series II. Biographical Information consists of a biographical data sheet on Harry Greenstein that outlines his professional activities, newspaper clippings and information about the biographies written about Greenstein, obituaries, as well as his passport and a written copy of a 1963 taped interview with Greenstein about his life. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series III. Correspondence consists of Greenstein?s personal and professional correspondence. Several other series contain correspondence relating specifically to individual topics. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Photograph of Louis Shecter and Harry Greenstein in a drawing of the Eiffel Tower, 1953. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1974.021.002

Photograph of Louis Shecter and Harry Greenstein in a drawing of the Eiffel Tower, 1953. Courtesy of Louis E. Shecter. 1974.021.002

Series IV. Professional Activities consists of reports, articles, and correspondence relating to Greenstein?s many positions including as Advisor on Jewish Affairs, Executive Director of the Associated, and as Director of Welfare for UNRRA. Included in this series is information about the Harry Greenstein Memorial Award established by the Associated posthumously.? See also Series V. Writings for writings related to Greenstein?s professional activities.? Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series V. Writings consists of articles, speeches, and diaries of UNRRA and other trips, written by Harry Greenstein. Included in this series is a card index of all the papers contained in the collection. The origin of the card index is unknown. In addition, see Series IV. Professional Activities folder 44 which contains an article Greenstein wrote for the Maryland State Relief Administration. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series VI. Photographs and Phonograph Records includes portraits of Harry Greenstein and photographs from his trips and from organizations in which he participated, all located in PC 8.? The phonograph records (1971.20.4-.33) include recordings of Associated Jewish Charities meetings and are housed with the phonograph record collection. Included in this series is a scrapbook containing photographs and newspaper clippings.

Lady Bird Johnson, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Harry Greenstein, recipients of the Stephen S. Wise Medallion Award at a Testimonial Dinner of the American Jewish Congress, April 3, 1962. T1989.095.010

Lady Bird Johnson, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Harry Greenstein, recipients of the Stephen S. Wise Medallion Award at a Testimonial Dinner of the American Jewish Congress, April 3, 1962. T1989.095.010

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