Page 113 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 20

Basic HTML Version

onv itz
HERE are today a considerable number of men near or past
eighty years of age who are preem inent in their work:
Stravinsky in music; Picasso in painting; Robert Frost in poetry;
Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell in philosophy; de Gaulle,
Adenauer, and Ben Gurion in politics; M artin Buber in religious
thought. These are a goodly company of superior minds and
spirits, and to this company belongs Horace M. Kallen, who will
become an octogenarian on August 11, 1962.
Unique Position on the Jewish Scene
Since the death of Justice Brandeis more than twenty years
ago, Kallen has occupied a un ique position on the Jewish scene
in the United States. For he is not a professional Jew—not a
rabbi, nor a scholar who has made some pa r t of Jewish study
his specialization, nor one who makes a living from rendering
a service to the Jewish community. All his life he has been a
teacher of philosophy and psychology in American institutions
of higher learning. Nor has his eminence in the Jewish com-
munity come to him as the consequence of high office in some
national Jewish organization: he has no t been president of the
Zionist Organization, or of the American Jewish Committee, or
of any similar organization. Horace Kallen’s greatness has been
achieved only because in all his work as a thinker, teacher,
writer, communal worker, he has been a Jew. He is a Jew with
all his heart, with all his soul, with all his might.
Kallen has often called attention to the fact that, apart from
those who make a living from their work as Jews, American
Jews live a double life—a daytime life and a night life. In the
daytime they are physicians, lawyers, businessmen, teachers, brick-
layers, carpenters—they engage in work in which they do not
distinguish or think of themselves as Jews. At n igh t and on
holidays, when they are not busy earning a living, they are Jews.
They are thus only part-time Jews. T h e American constitutional
separation of church and state is, as it were, manifest in their
daily lives, even as day is separate from night.