Page 220 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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actually did not take place until 1930.8 Meanwhile her profes­
sional life began to take a new turn as she became more involved
in Zionist activities. The thirties were the beginning o f a sus­
tained and remarkable public career.
In 1933 Marie Syrkin took the first o f what were to be regular
trips to Palestine. Though her interest in socialist Zionism had
never really flagged, she now was ready to become an active
advocate. By 1933 Hitler was already in power and enacting
stringent anti-Jewish legislation; but few were as yet prepared
to take him seriously. On board ship the passengers would hear
news reports o f the Nazi legislation and actions, but Marie ad­
mits that at that time it “seemed somehow unreal. It was too
preposterous; it would blow over.”9 The Zionist experiment,
however, was cause for euphoria.
Most Jewish intellectuals (and non-intellectuals) o f this period
in America and Europe were not especially attracted to the spar­
tan life in Palestine — nor, indeed, to the Zionist cause in gen­
eral. They kept their emotional distance. Marie, however, re­
turned from her summer visit inspired and ready to work. It
was at this time, moreover, that she met Golda (Myerson) Meir
who had come to America both to seek medical care for her
daughter and to be a
shlihah
(emissary) to the Pioneer Women.
The friendship o f the two women was natural and complemen­
tary, for as much as Marie admired Golda for her rare effective
combination o f activism and idealism, Golda certainly admired
Marie for her combination o f intellect and idealism. Further­
more, they were both unselfconscious feminists o f the same
stripe.
When Marie returned from that first trip to Palestine, one
o f the first moves she made in the direction o f Zionist activism
was to join the staff o f the
Jewish Frontier,
a new labor-Zionist
journal dedicated to bringing the socialist-Zionist message to
the English speaking world. The founders o f the journal were
convinced that an English speaking language publication was
a necessity or they would lose the second generation o f Amer­
ican Jews. Consequently, in 1934 the
Jewish Frontier
was founded
8
. Th e marriage had to be postponed because her divorce was not final until
1930.
9.
The State o f the Jews,
p. 3.
212
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL