Zionism: Israeli Flag

Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

home Web Definitions issues site map history Timeline documents  links photo gallery contact help Zionism

Altneuland MAIN

They stopped to wait for the others. M. Ephraim was coughing out the end of a story. "And today I gave five hundred pounds sterling to a seaside home for neglected London children. A hundred thousand francs today "all told. Not a bad day, hoho!-not a bad day! If I were gone, my nephews would have lost as much at the races. As it is, I have enjoyed my money. And they...my heirs...shall not laugh...hohoho ...I am the one to laugh. ..hohoho! And those London tots will laugh, too, when they get out into the fresh air. ...Poor little things!"

They reached the Temple. The times had fulfilled themselves, and it was rebuilt. Once more it had been erected with great quadrangular blocks of stone hewn from nearby quarries and hardened by the action of the atmosphere. Once more the pillars of bronze stood before the Holy Place of Israel. "The left pillar was called Boaz, but the name of the right was Jachin." In the forecourt was a mighty bronze altar, with an enormous basin called the brazen sea as in the olden days, when Solomon was king in Israel.

Sarah and Miriam went up to the women's gallery. Friedrich sat beside David in the last row downstairs. "When the places were assigned," said David, "I chose the very last row. I wanted nothing else."

The great hall resounded with singing and the playing of lutes. The music recalled to Friedrich far-off things in his own life, and turned his thoughts to other days in Israel. The worshipers were crooning and murmuring the words of the ritual, but Friedrich thought of Heine's "Hebrew Melodies." The Princess Sabbath, she that is called the "serene princess," was at home here. The choristers chanted a hymn that had stirred yearnings for their own land in the hearts of a homeless people for hundreds of years. The words of the noble poet Solomon ha-Levy, "Lecha Dodi, likrath kallah!"... ("Come, Beloved, to meet the bride!") How beautifully Heine had put it:

"'Komm, Geliebter, deiner harret

Schon die Braut, die dir entschleiert

Ihr verschaemtes Angesicht."

Yes, Heine was a true poet, who sensed the romance of the national destiny. He had sung German songs ardently, but the beauty of the Hebrew melodies had not escaped him.

What a degraded era, that was, thought Friedrich, when the Jews had been ashamed of everything Jewish, when they thought they made a better showing when they concealed their Jewishness. Yet in that very concealment they had revealed the temper of the slave, at best, of the liberated slave. They need not have been surprised at the contempt shown them, for they had shown no respect for themselves. They crawled after the others, and were rejected in swift punishment. Curious that they had not drawn the obvious moral! Quite the contrary. Those who succeeded in business or in some other field often openly forsook the faith of their fathers. They were at pains to hide their origin as though it were a taint. Those who forsook Judaism denied their own fathers and mothers in order to be quit of it: they must have thought it something low, reprehensible, evil. To be sure, renegades had not got off scot-free, for they were treated like refugees from plague-stricken countries. After baptism, they were still suspect, and remained, as it were, in quarantine. Marranos, the baptized Jews of medieval Spain had been called. Marranoism, then, was the quarantine for refugee Jews.

And all that time Judaism had sunk lower and lower. It was an "elend" in the full sense of the old German word that had meant "out-land,"-the limbo of the banished. Whoever was "elend" was unfortunate; and whoever was an unfortunate sought for himself a nook in "elend." The Jews had thus fallen always lower, as much by their own fault as by the fault of others. Elend... Golus...Ghetto. Words in different languages for the same thing. Being despised, and finally despising yourself.

And out of those depths they had raised themselves. Jews looked different now simply because they were no longer ashamed of being Jews. It was not only beggars and derelicts and relief applicants who professed Judaism in a suspiciously one-sided solidarity. No! The strong, the free, the successful Jews had returned home, and received more than they gave. Other nations were still grateful to them when they produced some great thing; but the Jewish people asked nothing of its sons except not to be denied. The world is grateful to every great man when he brings it something; only the paternal home thanks the son who brings nothing but himself.

Suddenly, as Friedrich listened to the music and meditated on the thoughts it inspired, the significance of the Temple flashed upon him. In the days of King Soloman, it had been a gorgeous symbol, adorned with gold and precious stones, attesting to the might and the pride of Israel. In the taste of those days, it had been decorated with costly bronze, and paneled with olive, cedar, and cypress,-a joy to the eye of the beholder. Yet, however splendid it might have been, the Jew could not have grieved for it eighteen centuries long. They could not have mourned merely for ruined masonry; that would have been too silly. No, they sighed for an invisible something of which the stones had been a symbol. It had come back to rest in the rebuilt Temple, where stood the home returning sons of Israel who lifted up their souls to the invisible God as their fathers had done upon Mount Moriah.

The words of Solomon glowed with a new vitality:

Altneuland BACK

Altneuland NEXT

Zionism and Israel Information Center Main Page

History of Zionism and the Creation of Israel   

Please link to our Sister Web sites   Zionism and Israel on the Web and The Zionism Pages 

Israel-Palestina - (Dutch) Middle East Conflict, Israel, Palestine,Zionism... Israël-Palestina Informatie -gids Israël, Palestijnen en Midden-Oosten conflict... Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a European perspective - Dutch and English.

Zionism and its Impact

ZioNation - Zionism-Israel Web Log    Zionism & Israel News  Israel: like this, as if History of Zionism Zionism FAQ Zionism Israel Center Maps of Israel Jew  Zionism and its Impact Israel Christian Zionism Site Map