Page 34 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

Basic HTML Version

24
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
appeared in N ew Y o rk ;
The Original M r . Jacobs,
based on Edward
D rumond ’s
La France Ju ive ,22
and
The American Jew, An Expose o f
His Character 23
T h e latter, “ pro fusely illustrated,” contained pic­
tures caricaturing the Jewish immigrant:
T h e base o f the whole Jewish pyram id is composed o f
pawn-brokers, receivers o f stolen goods, lewd bands . . .
fences . . . old-clothes dealers and pedd lers . . . the time is
r ipe fo r taking a strong stand on this subject, b e fo re the
arrival o f fresh hosts o f the degraded race from Russia.24
T h e majority o f Dr. W ise ’s readers did not want them to come
to these shores either, and once the east European Jews had
arrived, they did not want to be iden tified with them. Dr. Wise,
their rabbi and ed itor, was expressing their own as well as his
sentiments.
Emma Lazarus was perceptive enough to observe that such a
“ two kinds o f Jews” posture played d irectly into the hands o f the
anti-Semite. In her fo rce fu l rep ly to Mme. Ragoz in ’s attack on the
Russian Jew, she not only scornfully rejects the accusation that a
handful o f Jews are “ underm in ing the well-being” o f the largest
empire o f the globe (Russia), but she also warns against the idea
that “ a vast dualism essentially characterizes this extra-ord inary
race.”
Behind this subtle error lurk all the dangers that have
threatened the existence o f the peop le, fo r whatever calum­
nies be refu ted by a Jewish spokesman, the answer is ever
ready. “ These charges do not apply to you, and such as you.
But how can you be sure that such outrages are not comm it­
ted by some barbarous sect o f your tribe?” 25
An d Lazarus does more. She closes her most important a ff irm a ­
tion o f her Jewishness, an article entitled “ T h e Jewish P rob lem ,”
with a statement attributed to “ A young Russian Jew,” fo r , as she
explains,
his
views “ sum up the desires and ambitions o f the
nation.” 26 But despite her warning and her published homage to
22 (Telemachus T . Timayenis)
The O rig ina l M r . Jacobs,
N .Y ., 1888.
23
,
The American Jew,
N .Y . 1888.
24
Ibid.,
p. 216-217.
Emma Lazarus, Russian Christianity
versus
Modern Judaism,”
The Century
Magazine,
vol. X X IV , no. 1, May 1882, p. 48.
26
>“The Jewish Problem,”
The Century Magazine,
vol. X X V , no. 4,
February
1883, p. 611.