Page 110 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
stocked and agile mind. What time and experience added was
the psychologist’s insight into human nature, including her
own, which would have served her well had she chosen to turn
A Vignet te from Szold’s Diary
The following vignette, lifted verbatim from her diary for the
year 1920, shortly after she arrived in Jerusalem to take charge
of the Hadassah Medical Unit, speaks for itself:
On Friday in the midst of the day’s routine, the clerk an-
nounced the Sheikh of the Mosque of Omar, who refused to
tell his business, and insisted upon seeing me. As he spoke
only Arabic, Mr. G, the cashier, acted as interpreter.
Enter a dignified, spare Arab, with white folds around his
turban. He walked right up to my desk and kissed my
hand, and, through the interpreter, expressed his pleasure
in waiting upon me.
I responded in kind, and then asked what had brought him
to me.
He was the father of five daughters and he and they were
I said that in a few days I would bring him help, my idea
being that I’d find out what was the meaning of “Sheikh
of Omar.”
No, that would not do—he and they were starving now.
Very well, I’d give him something now, and give him more
after a few days.
No, once he asked of me and would take; but never again
would he ask or take. And thereupon he kissed the hem
of my garment.
When he kissed my hand I withdrew it in protest, but when
he stooped, with inimitable dignity, to kiss the hem of
my garment, I at once felt myself an Oriental of the Orient,
and played my part as he played his. Thereupon I asked,
why had he come just to me.
He had heard of me, and he felt I would help him.
Who had told him of me?
Bolt upright as he sat, he seemed to grow taller, and he
threw back his head, and looking upward with his hands
crossed over his girdle he solemnly uttered the one word:
After that I questioned no longer, but silently handed
him a pound. I was sure he’d come again, I was sure he
was a professional, but his consummate simplicity disarmed