Vol. 7, 56b. Professor Einstein on the Proposed Hebrew
University of Jerusalem
[before 3 April
1921][1]
The object of my visit to America is to assist the Zionist Organization to secure
the support, both material and moral of American Jewry for the Hebrew University
of
Jerusalem.[2]
The establishment of such a university has been for a long time one of the most
cherished plans of the Zionist Organization. But for the outbreak of the war it
would have materialized in 1914 when a site was actually purchased on Mount Sco-
pus. In 1918 the foundation stone was laid by Dr. Weizmann the president of the
Zionist
Organization.[3]
Since then the university site has been extended and a buil-
ding purchased in which it will be possible for a beginning to be made. There is
also a library of over 30,000 volumes which is rapidly growing. Plans have been
worked out both for the complete university of the future and for a comparatively
modest beginning. The time has now come to insure the immediate realization of
the latter. Such is the importance attached by the Zionist Organization to the spiri-
tual values in the Jewish national home that even at this moment when the organi-
zation is faced with tremendous tasks of immigration and colonization and is
concentrating all efforts upon the Palestine Foundation
Fund[4]
and exception is
made in favor of the university to which a special branch of the Foundation Fund
is devoted and on behalf of which a special effort is being made.
I know of no public event which has given me such delight as the proposal to
establish a Hebrew university in Jerusalem. The traditional respect for knowledge
which we Jews have maintained intact through many centuries of severe hardship
make it particularly painful for us to see so many talented sons of the Jewish people
cut off from higher education and study and knocking in vain at the doors of the
universities of Eastern and Central Europe. Others who have gained access to the
regions of free research only did so by undergoing a painful even dishonoring pro-
cess of assimilation which crippled the free and natural development of the spiritual
character of our people and robbed them again and again of their cultural leaders.
The time has now come when our spiritual life will find a home of its own. Distin-
guished Jewish scholars in all branches of learning are waiting to go to Jerusalem
where they will lay the foundation of a flourishing spiritual life and will promote
the intellectual and economic development of Palestine. Our university of Jerusa-
lem will become the spiritual center not only of Palestine but also of the Jewish
people scattered as it is all over the world.
Previous Page Next Page