Page 71 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 31

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On Maurice Samuel
T h e r e i s a H e b r e w p h r a s e ,
“lo nispad kehalachah,”
which trans-
lated, should be something like “not mourned fittingly.” Sadly
enough, this seems to me to apply to the reaction in our Israeli
Hebrew press to Maurice Samuel’s death. Our reading public,
our younger generation, ought to know that this was not only a
remarkable person, a great writer, but a man full of love for his
people and uniquely loved by them. Whenever we spoke on the
same platform, whenever I watched audiences listening to him,
it was clear to me that he was adored by his public, that in fact
his public realized that its Jewish attitudes and ideas were, to a
large extent, molded by Maurice Samuel.
I would like to see this memorial meeting in the Residence of
the President of Israel as a communal
enabling each one
of us to give expression to the sorrow caused by Maurice Samuel’s
sudden passing. “Sudden”? I am not sure. He had been ill for
some time and many knew of his illness, but he was one of those
who are not crushed by illness. He continued to write almost un-
interruptedly, and new work by him was eagerly awaited. I have
just learned, in fact, that a new book was taking shape during
the illness from which he was never to recover.
I recall that well-known photograph where he leans on a pile
of his own books, some twenty-five of them—many of them very
widely read, most of them on Jewish themes. He had devoted
readers in every English-speaking Jewish community, and the ap-
pearance of a new book of Maurice Samuel’s was often an event
of public importance. He knew a great part of the Diaspora well—
from his childhood in Rumania and Paris, his schooling and
youth in Manchester, his many years in the United States, his
visits to Canada, England and South Africa. Again and again
* Talk by President Zalman Shazar delivered at the
meeting for Maurice Samuel, Residence of the President of Israel, Jeru-
salem, June 5, 1972. English translation from the original Hebrew pre-
pared by the President’s Office.