Rabbi Wise’s Address

Rabbi Wise said, in part:

“The day will never come when I will care less for Zion, when there will be anyone who will strive more for the glorious ideals of Zionism.

“Two great conventions of Jews are being held tonight. In Chicago, there is a conference of charities called together by men who minister to the wants of the poor. They have assembled to see that too much charity is not given to the unworthy. Their purpose is right. But ours is the greater charity. We have assembled not to see that the Jew does not get too much, but that every Jew shall get the right to live.

“There are 6,000,000 living, bleeding, suffering arguments in favor of Zionism. They come not to beg, but ask for that which is higher than all material things. They seek to have satisfied the unquenchable thirst after the ideal. They ask to become once again the messengers of right, justice, and humanity.

“Your Christian friends will honor you if you have enough self-respect to care for your own people. Say that you are not a Jew and you will be hated as a Jew, nevertheless. But say that you are an American Jew, and strive for the best principles of the race, you will be respected and the Zionist name honored.

“Of Israel and Zion one thing is true. They can conquer. God is our leader, and with the General of the heavenly hosts to lead who will say that we go not to victory?

“In the old Greek games, the man who won the race was not he who went fastest, but the one who bore a lighted torch to the end of the course.

“We Zionists have entered a race, the torch of liberty, charity, and justice in our hands.

“The race will be won, not because we are fastest but because that lamp is a light unto the world. It will never be extinguished.

“Come, brothers, the lamp is in your hands, run the race and may God give you the victory forever.”


New York Times
June 11, 1900, p. 7