Page 131 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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BEN-HORIN / HORACE MEYER KALLEN
125
and the difficult and heroic economy of the orthodox home.
It is upon the foundation and against the background of my
Jewish cultural milieu that my vision of America [and the
world] was grown.17
It is also true that a deathbed reconciliation with his dying
father did “not engage his heart.”18 But a different kind of recon­
ciliation accompanied Horace through a life of enduring contri­
butions to Zionism,19 the struggle with anti-Semitism,20 the revi­
talization of Jewish education.21
In his unjustly forgotten book,
Frontiers of Hope
(1929), Kallen
described the Jewish condition he found in Palestine, Poland, and
Russia. In some passages, he speaks of himself by speaking of
others, and his empathy is unmistakable. He recognized that in
Eastern Europe Jews have rights without power, “the classical
joke of diplomacy.”22 There Jews are an “unterritorial national­
ity,” an alien minority among suspicious neighbors. Anti-Semites,
Christian or classicist or racist, hold them responsible for what­
ever is worthless or evil in civilization. They preach
cherchez leJu if .
“The Jews are described as being in a constant melodrama of
conspiracy against the rest of civilization.” Hence Jews are
haunted by “personal and national insecurity.”23 The Jew suffers
like Job:
He knows that he suffers innocently, without sin, without
17 Ratner’s preface in
Vision and Action,
p. vi.
18 Konvitz,
op. cit.,
p. 57.
19 Sarah Schmidt, “Horace M. Kallen and the ‘Progressive’ Reform of American
Zionism,”
Midstream,
22 (December, 1976), 14-23 and her “Messianic Prag­
matism: The Zionism of Horace M.
KaUen,”Judaism,
25 (Spring 1976), 217-29.
See Kallen’sown
Utopians atBay
(New York, 1958). See also Harry Barnard,
The
Forging ofan AmericanJew: The Life andTimes ofJudgeJulian W. Mack
(New York,
1974),
passim.
20 Kallen, ‘“American Jews, What Now?’”
The Jewish Social Service Quarterly,
32
(Fall, 1955), 12-29.
21 Kallen,
“Of Them Which Say They areJews”
(New York, 1954). On Kallen’s plea
for secular Jewish day schools and colleges see his, “Why Jewish Day Schools?,”
Jewish Spectator,
37 (December 1972), 6 f. See also Louis Kaplan,
Judaism and
Jewish Education in Horace M. Kallen s Philosophy of Cultural Pluralism
(unpubl.
Ph.D. dissertation, Dropsie University, 1971).
22 Kallen,
Frontiers of Hope
(New York, 1929), p. 219.
23
Ibid.,
pp. 446-48.