Jewish. The Jew of Germany is as much imbued with the
patriotic ideas that have made the German Empire possible as
any subject who yielded his blood to form the cement of the
imperial fabric. And even in Russia, where the Jew has had so
little to kindle his patriotism, so intense is his love for Russia
that he v;eeps at the very thought of being driven from her bor-
ders, even when he is offered an asylum in countries where he
will be subject to no restrictions on account of his race or
The Jew is not only to be regarded as a Jew but as a citizen.
He is not an alien, but a compatriot. He is not a foreigner, but
a native. He is not an enemy, but an ally. He is a part and
parcel of the social organization amidst which he finds himself
and he must be so considered. If he stood apart in all things
from the civilization in which he dwells society might well inquire
into the propriety of suffering him to affect that civilization. But
he is already a part of it. He has helped to build it up, he has
in a large degree shaped its career, he remains to affect its future
course, and when society addresses itself to the consideration of
the Jew, it must regard him as an integral factor of itself, so
interwoven with the general fabric that anything which affects
him must more or less directly affect all.
It is a gross error, and a most unjust one, to consider the Jews
as a separate and distinct people in respect of any matter that is
not distinctly or peculiarly Jewish. In the pursuit of any calling,
trade or profession, pursued along legitimate lines there is no wis-
dom or justice in regarding the Jew in a different light from that
which is shed upon any other member of society. It can be of no
concern to the consumer that the producer, manufacturer, or ven-
dor of an article consumed is a Jew, Mohammedan or Christian,
a Frenchman, German or American. The prime consideration,
if not the only one, is the price of the article as compared with
WHAT SHALL BECOME OF THE JEWS. 97
others of like character and quality. So, too, it can make no dif-
ference in the arts, what is the religion or race of the artist, nor
in the sciences, nor the professions. The music which delights
an audience, is neither better nor worse for having been produced
by musicians not of the same race or religion with the audience.
And if it be contended, as it is in Germany and France, that
the Jews forming a small minority of the national population
pi*acticlly monopolize certain branches of learning and art and
commerce, that fact is rather to be urged in their favor than
against them, unless it can be shown that this monopoly results
from methods peculiar to this people and in themselves illegiti-
mate and hurtful.
In their domestic life the Jews should also be free of officious
intermeddling, unless the character of that domestic life is in-
jurious to the public at large. The same may be said of their
religion and the practice thereof.
In short, the Jew should be treated as any other member of
society, as possessing full liberty to seek happiness along lines
of his own selection without any restrictions, except those that
are imposed for the general welfare of society. This principle
so manifestly correct is undisputed even by those most violent
in their denunciation of the Jews, but they curiously contend
that since the Jews are in a hopeless minority, the welfare of so-
ciety is impaired by the success of the Jews. It is argued that
when they monopolize positions of vantage. in science and art,
in the trades and the market places, they exclude others represent-
ing the great majority from those positions. If this argument
were not persisted in with so much force and received with so
much favor it would scarcely merit attention. A few questions
addressed to those who offer it would certainly confound them
and utterly destroy the effect of the views they advance.
Will it be seriously contended that if the Rothchilds had
never lived, there would have arisen Christian financiers of like
eminence? That but for Moses Mendelsohn and Spinoza, there
would havÂ« been two great Christian luminaries in the philosophic
world to fill the places occupied by them? That if there had
been no Heine, there would have arisen in Germany a poet, who
98 LEO N. LEVI MEMORLA.L VOLUME.
could have blended as he alone has done, the Hebraic and Hel-
lenic spirit? That but for D'Israeli, there would have been an
English statesman not of Jewish blood to create British unity and
symbolize it with an imperial crown? That Montefiore and
Baron de Hirsch have usurped and monopolized the field of phil-
anthropy and that consequently there is no room for good works
on the part of other people ? To such questions but one answer is
offered, to-wit: That Jewish success, which excludes all rivalry
is due to certain methods of the Jews that cannot be practiced
by their competitors. If this be true, it is proper to inquire what
those methods are, and if they are illegitimate, they should be
suppressed. And certainly society, so largely outnumbering the
Jews, can have no difficulty in putting down illegitimate practices
indulged in by a minority to the detriment of society.
If, on the other hand, those methods are found to be legitimate
in themselves and end in such magnificent results, they should be
emulated and followed rather than condemned and suppressed,
otherwise society at large will practice the supreme folly of which
the Greeks were guilty when they ostracized their noblest citizen,
because they were tired of hearing him called just. Civilization
advances upward not only by stepping on its failures, but by cling-
ing to its successes. It advances by pulling itself upwards to-
wards those who are in the front, rather than by dragging the
leaders back to the common herd.
The Jewish Question is not to be solved by tolerance. There
are thousands of well meaning people who take to themselves
great credit for exhibiting a spirit of tolerance towards the
Tolerance presupposes inferiority on the part of those towards
whom it is exhibited and superiority on the part of those ex-
tending it. In religious matters it is manifestly a proper spirit.
For the follower of any particular religion is justified from his
standpoint in believing his own to be better than all others, and
all others inferior to his own. It is absurd, however, to accord
to the Jew superior skill, talent and wisdom in the sciences and
the professions, the arts and in commerce, and then forsooth, out
of a spirit of liberality to tolerate him in these walks of life.
WHAT SHALL BECOME OF THE JEWS. 99
The individual Jew of an inferior mold may be tolerated by
his superiors from a sense of justice or out of consideration for
the people to which he belongs, but the Jews as a class cannot
be tolerated, unless they be regarded as inferior. The charge
of inferiority is nowhere brought against them. Their religion
is denounced, their clannishness condemned, their disposition to
live by their wits rather than by manual labor is decried, but
mentally, physically and morally they are recognized as occupy-
ing as high a plane as those of their competitors in the same
walk of life.
In Russia where the religion is a part of the State, there
is some logical basis for the exhibition of tolerance, but in coun-
tries where church and state are divorced and where the Jew's
right as a citizen is as unquestioned as the right of any other
member of the community, his liberty, his privileges, his stand-
ing in society must depend upon his own merits and not upon
the favor of others.
On the other hand, if the Jews should be justly accorded all
the rights possessed by other citizens, it should be because as
individuals and as a class they are entitled to those rights and
have not forfeited them.
If the Jews with justice cry out against persecution and pre-
judice they must in justice recognize that they must claim no
favors. If as a class they are sordid, mercenary, dishonest,
unclean, parasitical, bigoted and unproductive as charged against
them by their enemies, society has the right to protect itself
against them by such measures, offensive and defensive, as are
best calculated to insure protection.
The evidence in support of all these indictments must be con-
sidered and weighed and a verdict based thereon. It will not do
to invoke any high sounding principles of liberality, tolerance or
equality by way of demurrer to the accusations. Every society
has the right and the duty to protect itself against harm from
without and within, and if one remedy is not effectual to secure
that protection others may and always will be employed by or
against precedent. Civilization is always progressive and invents
new methods when old ones fail.
lOO LEO N. LEVI llEUORLAL VOLUME.
I realize that in America such expressions on my part are apt
to be denounced as inconsistent with the genius of American
government. But I do not dispair of successfully maintaining
the doctrines just announced in the face of any sort of opposition.
It must not be forgotten by Americans who live under a written
constitution, that they stand almost alone among the great peoples
of the earth in their reverence for form in government. Else-
where than in America form and forms in government are of
secondary importance. The objects of government rather than
clearly stated principles are avowedly held in the highest esteem
in trans-Atlantic and especially in autocratically governed coun-
tries. And indeed, however much we honor precedents and bow
down before the Declaration of Independence and the Federal
Constitution, we, too, if we do a little healthy thinking, must
come to see that forms of > government are means to an end and
not in themselves ends. And so this axiom may be relied on as
always true, that when axioms of government clash with its
objects, so much the worse for the axioms. Not only is this true
in matters of government, it is likewise true in social life.
We may repeat as often as we please the general statement
that all men are born free and equal, and that every man has the
right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness and the
worship of God according to the dictates of his own conscience,
yet when we seek to apply these declarations to practical life and
find in any given instance that they enable individuals or classes
to so develop their own careers as to unjustly interfere with the
rights and liberties of others, we usually find grim facts standing
in the way of mere theories.
The principle that each man shall so use that which is his as
not to interfere with the rights of others, whether or not it be
expressed in the law books or sanctioned by the courts, will find
expression, application and execution in the conduct of the public.
The supeme law of all free countries, if not indeed of all coun-
tries, is justice, as understood and interpreted by the people.
This law formulates itself through the legislative branches of
government, but time and again have the people, impatient of
a change in the form of the law reasoned above and against these
WHAT SHALL BECOME OF THE JEWS. lOI
forms in order to accomplish justice for the time being. Much
as we may deplore indignities which are done to the forms of the
law at times, we cannot close our eyes to the fact, that whenever
an emergency sufficiently great arises, the people will disregard
the forms of the law in order to achieve the objects of organized
The Jew scarcely needs to be reminded of this truth, for
throughout his entire history he has rightfully or wrongfully been
subjected to persecutions and indignities that were more fre-
quently in contravention of law than in conformity thereto. He
has never been able to shield himself against oppression and
tyranny by an appeal to the law. He never will. His case must
be broad, based on justice per se and not upon the letter of the
law. He must submit his case to the bar of public opinion, and
it must be tried fairly upon the evidence.
If I have dwelt so long upon this subject, it is because I
recognize that if the Jew has been denied so much that is right-
fully his, he often claims more than his due. One of these claims
most persistently urged, is that there is no Jewish Question; that
the Jew is a citizen like every other citizen and that so long as
he abides by the law and does not subject himself to criminal pros-
ecution or civil action, his doings are beyond legitimate inquiry
by the public at large. This contention on his part would cer-
tainly be well based if he claimed nothing further than the right
to live in peace, but when he demands social recognition the
whole range of his conduct is a legitimate subject of inquiry
against which no technical demurrers can be interposed. When
he is charged with being sordid, mercenary, parasitical, filthy,
clannish and bigoted, he must admit the testimony in support of
the charges and if he cannot refute it, must accept the verdict.
Nor must the Jew be over sensitive about the inquiry. If with
any justice he can point with pride to the history and achieve-
ments of his race, he should be grateful rather than indignant
at being classed as a member of that race.
The inconsistencies and the unwisdom exhibited in the con-
sideration of the Jewish Question are not to be found altogether
on the side of those who are hostile to the Jews. If those who
I02 LEO N. LEVI MEMORIAL VOLUME.
declaim against the Jew select as types the worst representatives
among them, it is too frequently the case that those who declaim
in behalf of the Jews have eyes only for the highest exemplars.
Someone has justly remarked that the truth lies between extremes
and about equi-distant from both.
If the Jews squirm and indignantly protest against Shylock,
Fagin and Svengali, they must be consistent and not claim as
types Scott's Rebecca and Lessing*s Nathan the Wise. The cold
truth lies in this : The Jew has never been and cannot be typified.
Shylock was an individual and was pictured truly as Shakespeare
knew or imagined him. So of Fagin. Dickens was conspicu-
ously strong in pictures from low life, and conspicuously weak
in drawing refined people of the upper crust. On the other hand,
Rebecca was the picture of a singularly sweet Jewess, while
Nathan, the Wise, was a thin disguise for the great Moses Men-
delsohn. No people can be fairly judged by its superlatives.
The Jews are not and never have been as a class on the high plane
of Lessing's hero, or the low plane of Shylock or Svengali. The
same may be said of the Christians, Moslems, Buddhists or any
other people, nation or race. It would be silly to judge all the
Chinese by Confucius, or all the Americans by Benedict Arnold.
A race, a people, or a nation must be judged as a whole, and
who does not know or study them as such is unfit to judge.
When the Jew hater undertakes to judge the Jews by the few
unworthy ones within the range of his acquaintance, he commits
a grievous wrong. When the Jew, on the other hand, claims
for his people that they are truly typified by their best and noblest
exemplars they err on the other side.
The history of a race or people must be studied, their achieve-
ments and their endurance measured, their failures and triumphs
compared, their difficulties estimated and their mission under-
stood. We must look into their art, science and literature, their
religion and ideas of government, their social and domestic life.
In short, we must grasp the genius of the whole by a close insight
into the average or type of the class. Then and not till then
can we fairly judge where the people or race is to be placed, and
how they shall be treated. These will be judgments based on
WHAT SHALL BECOME OF THE JEWS. IO3
facts; not mere outcries of a sentimentalism pitched as the case
may be in a key of love or a key of hate.
The Jews doubtless possess many virtues and many faults and
these virtues and these faults are not peculiar to them, except
so far as they find an emphasis among the Jews. They are a
peculiar people and certain qualities physical, intellectual and
mcwal are emphasized in them to such a degree as to be regarded
as Jewish qualities. The Jews are not slow to claim these qualities
as racial characteristics when the qualities are such as excite
admiration, but they are unduly sensitive to a criticism which
points out any quality attributed to them as Jews and which is
an impairment of their reputation. May not the truth lie in
this suggestion; that the success of the Jew, his sobriety, his
temperance, his energy, his physical and intellectual superiority
are all due to a certain intensity of character inherited and ac-
quired, and that this very intensity operates upon his faults as well
as his virtues and lends to them an emphasis not to be observed
as a rule among other people. I do not wish to be understood
as advancing this as a proposition which commends itself to me
as indisputably sound. It does occur to me, however, that much
might be said in support of it and that in any event the Jew must
patiently recognize that he is constituted like other men, is sub-
ject to the same infirmities, amenable to the same temptations
and liable to be guilty of the same wrongs, and that when he
proceeds in the wrong direction, being more vigorous, more
talented and more intense than other people traveling in the same
direction, he is liable to go further.
And this might well be admitted without any disparagement
to his claim of equality with or superiority to any other people.
After all, the question of greatest interest is, are Jewish
tendencies more generally in the right direction than the wrong
direction, and is the tendency towards good developing and the
tendency towards evil diminishing, or vice versa f This is the
question in which society at large is greatly interested and the
Jews more so. Both must address themselves towards cultivat-
ing the tendency towards good and suppressing the tendency
104 LEO N. LEVI MEMORIAL VOLUME.
towards evil and in this will be involved the same inquiry as
affecting the entire body of society.
I say this because I feel that history, both past and contem-
porary, will demonstrate that while the Jews as a class have often
been superior to their environment, they have never been worse.
Both society in general and the Jews in particular should ascertain
what qualities and practices peculiar to the Jews have advanced
the Jews and made them better, stronger, more talented and more
virtuous than other people. And since like causes beget like
effects, these qualities should be emulated and imitated by all
other members of society and on the other hand whatever is pe-
culiar to the Jew, that impairs his vigor, his talent and his virtue
should be discouraged by society at large and eschewed by the
It is not my purpose here to enter into details as to the virtues
or the faults of the Jews. I am not addressing myself to the
merits of the Jewish Question, but to the standpoint from which
it should be considered. I venture to say, however, that such a
commission as I have already mentioned would point out in the
light of history, that in the march of civilization the Jew has been
a factor for good more than for evil ; that today he is advancing
civilization more than he retards it; that he possesess many vir-
tues which society would do well to emulate ; that there is in his
religion nothing of evil to society and elements of good beyond
the power of estimation ; that in his family life there is exhibited
a purity of sentiment and tenderness of relationship and devotion
to obligation, that is nowhere equalled; that by assiduity, in-
tensity of purpose, persistency, energy and the capacity for taking
pains, he rises to heights that account for his astounding success.
On the other hand they might with justice indicate, that hail-
ing originally from the Orient and having been compelled for
twenty centuries to live in a society of his own, debarred from
mingling upon terms of social equality with the highest mem-
bers of society, he has preserved in his tastes much that is char-
acteristically oriental. That his intercourse with the best elements
of society has not been sufficiently protracted to enable him to
assimilate the refinements of taste and beget a grace which is to be
WHAT SHALL BECOME OF THE JEWS. IO5
found only among those who for generations have occupied the
plane of the highest gentility. That he is self-asserting to a
degree that often makes him obnoxious and that he is very sensi-
tive to criticism. There may be other faults that might be laid
at their doors by impartial students. Whatever they be they
should be received with patience, considered without irritation
and corrected with that resolute spirit and intense purpose which
friend and foe alike attribute to the Jew. When the Jewish
Question shall thus be studied, it will soon be solved. The suc-
cess of the Jew may be emulated and even be envied, but there
will be no effort to pull him down simply because he is a Jew.
Neither will there be any special privileges accorded to him be-
cause he is a Jew ; nor will he be left free of criticism and adverse
judgment because the critic may fear a charge of prejudice. In
all things the Jew will stand as does every other citizen â€” upon
his merits, achieving such success as his merits deserve, suffer-
ing from such failure as his shortcomings bring about. Then
too will it be understood and recognized what is too often now
forgotten, that every man's success in the main must depend upon
In all the affairs of life, apparently within man's control, we
are prone to play at Providence. We love to regulate everything
so as to bring about or maintain an equilibrium as we understand
it. If one is too st-rong we try to weaken him. If another is too
weak we try to strengthen him, always having in view to make
the contest equal. Our continued failures do not deter us from
continuing the effort and perhaps it is best for us that we should
keep on trying. If it does no one else good, it does him good
But in the race of life between peoples, neither individuals
nor governments can make rules or change them. The inexorable
law is fixed by nature under the guidance of nature's God. The
track is broad, the course long and beset with difficulties. The
racers are without handicaps of any kind. The start in the final
race is even; there are no favorites. The contest begins with
the tap of the bell and ends only when the winner comes under
the wire. There is no "weighing in" to test the weights, and
LEO N. LEVI MEMORIAL VOLUME.
the prize goes to the victor without regard to pedigree or age.
Pluck, speed and endurance must win. It may be hard on the
beautiful and well-backed contestants who lag behind, but no
heart-aches of defeat, no humiliation on the part of the loser
should impel us to change the rule of the race. There would be
less elation and less sorrow if the prize were equally divided,
but without such elation and sorrow there would be no great
contestants. It is by victory and defeat, through joy and sorrow,
that we achieve civilization, progress and betterment. The battle
to the strong, the race to the swift seems cruel but it is the law,
which we would not change if we could, for we realize its lofty
quality â€” it is Justice.
The application of this law to the relations between the Jew
and the civilization of which he is a factor is all that he may
ask and less than which cannot with justice be accorded to him.
Let no misguided friend of the Jew ask for sentimental favor be-
cause of the great beacon lights in history upheld by the Jews.
Let no misguided foe of the Jews turn his back upon that history
and subject them to oppression. Let justice be done, equal and
exact justice, in all respects equal and in all respects exact.
THE INTELLECTUAL AND ETHICAL
DEVELOPMENT OF THE
By Leo. N. Levi.
In treating of my subject, it becomes, in a measure, neces-
sary to consider the history of the Jews in America, for that
their history not only states but fully explains their mental and
Leaving out of consideration the few pioneers who came to
the United States in the early days, we may, for the purpose in
hand, say that our children compose the third generation of Israel-
ites in this country.
To the end that the progress achieved may be made clear, I
propose to examine each of the three generations in turn, and