Henrietta Szold

Letter to Augusta Rosenwald (1915)

However, the paramount consideration is that you are advancing the cause of Palestine.

From my point of view, I need not tell you, that is the cause of the Jew and, most important of all, of Judaism. In many respects the war catastrophe has left me bewildered and uncertain. In one respect I see more clearly than ever - that is, in respect to Zionism, the anomalous situation of the Jew everywhere - the distress, misery and in part degradation (witness Poland!) of seven millions, more than half, of our race; the bravery of the Jews who are serving in all of the armies; the size of the contingent we are contributing to every front - means to me that the Jew and his Judaism must be perpetuated and can be perpetuated only by their repatriation in the land of the fathers.

It is a miracle that, though we Zionists were not hitherto able to bring many to our ways of thinking, nevertheless many in these days of stress think with pity of our little sanctuary. They have come to us and said: "Even if we do not see eye to eye with you, we are going to help you save the sanctuary you have established" Perhaps they feel that it will yield sanctuary, refuge, and protection in the days of readjustments soon to dawn, we hope.

If you succeed, in your appeal to the Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, in conveying to the Jewish women of America the need of such a sanctuary for the Jew, the need of a center from which Jewish culture and inspiration will flow, and if you can persuade them to set aside on day of the year as a Palestine Day, on which thoughts and means are to be consecrated to a great Jewish world-organizing purpose, you will have accomplished a result that will bring immediate blessing to those now in distress and in terror of life, and a blessing for all future times redounding to the benefit not only of those who will make use of their sanctuary rights in Palestine, but also those who like ourselves remaining in a happy, prosperous country, will be free to draw spiritual nourishment from a center dominated wholly by Jewish traditions and the Jewish ideals of universal peace and universal brotherhood.