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The Southern Israelite. (Augusta, Ga.) 1925-1986, October 25, 1929, Image 8

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Page 8 The Southern Israelite The Lesson Of The Wailing Wall In writing an article upon the act ual state of affairs in Palestine, I can not but feel that my first sentence must be a tribute of respect to the Jewish people. There is not, and never has been in the world a parallel to the history of the Jews. It is in vain that writers such as the late Profes sor Goldwin Smith have essayed to set them on the same level with other races. No other race has maintained during so many centuries its integ rity, and even its insolation, in the face of so many unjust antipathies and persecutions, such social inequal ities and such religious disabilities as the Jews. None has clung with such invincible tenacity to the volume of its own sacred Scriptures. None has cherished so unique and age-long hope as the Messianic faith of Judaism; none has seen its hope attained in so unique a personality, whether he be the promised Messiah or not, as Jesus Christ. I am often tempted to think of the Jews as having been pre served as a separate people, that they may be the abiding witnesses to the substantial verity of the Old Testa ment. For how is it possible to sepa rate the Jews from their history or their literature? What can the most modern of Modernist Biblical critics know about the Old Testament in comparison with the unbroken heredi tary tradition of the Jews them selves? How wonderfully was the lesson of continuity in the annals of Judaism illustrated, when the King’s Proclamation of his newly consti tuted authority over Palestine under the International Mandate was read at Jerusalem! For our Lord’s title upon the Cross has been written in three languages, and the King’s Pro clamation was read in three lan guages; but of the three languages the only one which had survived was the Hebrew. Among the outward man ifestations of Jewish national patri otic sentiment, none has made or can make a deeper impression on the minds of all witnesses than the spec tacle of the Jews in Jerusalem, wail ing on the occasions of their great religious services, and indeed on all Fridays, by the wall which they be lieve to be a relic of their ancient temple. Who that has seen can ever forget how the aged Jews of many nationalities would stand against the weather-beaten wall, gazing at its stone and shedding tears, while they recite such prayers as these— For the palace that lies desolate; For the walls that are overthrown; For our majesty that is departed; We sit in solitude and mourn, or again— We pray thee have mercy on Zion, Gather the children of Jerusalem, Haste, haste, Redeemer of Zion, Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, May the kingdom soon return to Zion! Comfort those who mourn over Jerusalem. There is no Christian who must not feel his heart moved by a well nigh unspeakable compassion at the sight of a mourning so profound, so his torical, so pathetic. It is not necessary to describe the relation of the Jews as a people to their ancient home in Palestine, ever since that home passed under the control of alien peoples from the Roman to the.British. By THE REV. BISHOP J. E. C. WELLDON, D. D. Former (Jiaplain to Queen Victoria; Lecturer at Cambridge Lniver- sity; Head master of Harrow; Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan of India Two events of recent history have profoundly affected the mind and the heart of the Jews. One is the decla ration of the Earl of Balfour, when, as Secretary of State for Foreign Af fairs, he wrote to Lord Rothschild on November 2nd, 1017: “His Ma jesty’s Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this ob ject, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may pre judice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” That declaration is de scribed in a pamphlet entitles Great Britain, Palestine and the Jews; or, Jewry’s Celebration of its National Charter, as “the greatest event in the history of the Jews since their dis- “Israel Of Th persion.” The other event was Lord Allenby’s victorious campaign, ending in the emancipation of Palestine from the Turkish rule, and the mandate transferring the government of Pal estine, by the consent of all the na tions which had won the war of 1914, to Great Britain. In these circumstances there can be no wonder that a state of tension be tween the Arabs and the Jews should exist and increase. The Arabs, as be ing Mohammedans, feel sore at the defeat of the Turks; for, however grave may have been the faults of the Turkish Government, yet at least the Turks were in their social life as in their theological belief not widely alien from the Arabs. They are an noyed, too, at the Jewish invasion, as they conceive it to be, of Palestine; e Cross-Ways” Exrvrpl oj Addrrm hy l>l{. STEPHEN S. WISE Rabbi of the Free Synagogue, President of the Jewish Institute of Religion, before the Free Synagogue at Carnegie H(dl, on the eve of tin* Atonement I fay, Sunday, October 14, 1020. In the centuries of the long journey, Jewish history may be said to be a succession of baitings at the cross- ways. Israel began its history with an emergence from Paganism and Polytheism, and in the time of that first emergence to Monotheism and mono-moralism, it stood alone, accept ing the challenge of its loneliness with zest and high passion. And the second stage of the journ ey resolved itself into a battle or con flict with contending faiths, with com peting civilizations, all of them alien to its own inmost spirit. But in this second stage of its history, through out the centuries of which the tempta tion to self-submergence was strong, Israel no longer stood alone in its spiritual upreaching. Nearly two mil- lenia passed, and, when the day of emancipation came, it found the Jew with head bloody but unbowed, even as his spirit today seems, alas, bowed and bloodless. If the temptation during the cen turies was to assimilate, and to fail to offer a high self-persistence be cause of the parity of other faiths and cultures, today there is another peril, as Israel, perhaps for the last time, stands at the parting of the ways. The forms of faiths are common to all, and nothing but a great devotion to the substance of our people’s faith and idealism can move us now. Today it may be said that the Jew, perhaps only half-consciously, must choose between faith and irreligion, and irreligion for the Jew too often means not only philosophic atheism but substantive cynicism. Israel must choose today, especially what is known as Liberal Judaism, between becoming pulseless sect or living people, be tween lapsing into a feeble memory or rising into a full-orbed life. Whatever some Jews may think about it, there is the temptation among many of us to surrender our faith, to abandon our people, to re nounce our life and its standards. Is rael, instead of rising in this hour to a magnificient renascence, may suf fer itself to be overcome not by a larger faith, but through yielding to the lower temptations of the world. Liberal Judaism must save its discip les from degenerating into the veiled Paganism of an anti-nation list sect arianism. Nor yet must Israel become a secularized people rather than a re ligious brotherhood. It must build its idealism into the integrity of self-rev ering life in the ancient homeland of the Jew and into an equally worthy life throughout the lands of the Dis persion. From all this it is net enough to be saved by the pressure of the world without,—Israel’s must be a free and uncoerced and inmost choice. Elsewise the end of the long journey of the centuries will be spiritual con fusion and moral chaos. If Israel now nobly choose, the journey shall prove to have been the noblest of the world’s pilgrimages! for it is a challenge to the super ority which in their eyes rightly b*. longs to them, as being the nvr numerous element in the population They are therefore in some degr* disappointed, suspicious and ready * take offence. The Jews, on the othe* hand, are elated by the hope that their return to their own country. V much desired and so long postponed is drawing near; they look forward to the day when they shall be recognised to be the foremost power among the inhabitants of Palestine. Their lan guage or their behavior may because of the enthusiasm of Zionism have been at times less considerate than it would have been if they had borr.^ in mind the difficulty which Great Britain or any other Mandator, Power must find in keeping order among conflicting races and religions. It was perhaps a mistake that the Zionists should last August have been permitted for the first time to march in procession to the Wailing Wall The Zionists are reported rightly or wrongly, to have excited some angry feeling at the time of the procession by waving a flag and singing an an them. But whatever may have been the offence of the Jews, it is impossib to demand or excuse the savagery of the attacks which the Mohammedans made upon them, not only in Jerusa lem, but in other parts of Palestine especially at Hebron, where a young student of Wycliffe College, Mr. Best Dst his life. There is some reason to ear that the attacks made upon the ews, as they broke out almost siro* iltaneously in a good many places ad been pre-arranged by the Arabs, 'he lesson of all these events is that he British Government in Palestine oust be upheld by a military fore o strong as to ensure order all over he country, and it must be prepe nd resolved to prohibit, whe.n« imong the Jews or among the Ara -• ,11 such provocative conduct as n,a; lot improbably create a breat. he peace. There will be great if good feeling, tact, discipline an orbearance among the peoples ire living side by side in a ia. ull of historical and religious men^ ies, which excite the deepest trongest feelings in all heart. The Arabs must slowly but sure) earn the principles of civilize _ rhe land cannot remain a deseri - • vas under the Turks; it mus 4l . ^eloped to the full extent o s iral resources. Christians vv ^ vith natural sympathy upon urn of the Jews to ;ee in that return the fU ' fl “ bser „rs. indent prophecy. 13 rhristiati- vhether Christian or n ° n , vill confidently anticipa e lews, and as may be hoped It* ^ >f the Jew's w r ho live m * _jjf v ani •ultivate the land, wil es jdent* itilize its products and. ^ ^ vhose services to th ®. j^tern th*"* ess conspicuous in the living he Western world, will set ixample of good citizens • ^ Dopyright by the Jewis