Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
"The Lord hath said that he would dwell in
the thick darkness. I have surely built
Thee a house of habitation,
A place for Thee to dwell in forever."
Jews had prayed in many temples, splendid and simple, in all the languages of the Diaspora. The invisible God, the Omnipresent, must have been equally near to them everywhere. Yet only here was the true Temple. Why?
Because only here had the Jews built up a free commonwealth in which they could strive for the loftiest human aims. They had had their own communities in the Ghettoes, to be sure; but there they lived under oppression. In the Judengasse, they had been without honor and without rights; and when they left it, they ceased to be Jews. Freedom and a sense of solidarity were both needed. Only then could the Jews erect a House to the Almighty God Whom children envision thus and wise men so, but who is everywhere present as the Will-to-Good.
Friedrich watched the dignified, clear-eyed people exchanging Sabbath greetings as they left the great house of worship. He turned to David. "You were right-up there on the Mount of Olives-when you told me the name of this place. It is the Temple indeed!"
The following Sunday general elections were to be held allover the country. That Saturday evening David went up to Haifa in order to take charge at campaign headquarters. The Geyer party was extremely active. Special editions of its papers appeared all day long with confident forecasts of its own success, mingled with vague aspersions against its opponents. One of the yellow sheets made Joe Levy its special target, referring to his all-too unlimited powers over the millions of .the New Society. The writer protested repeatedly that he was not accusing Mr. Levy of anything; his only concern was for the public welfare, the hard-earned pennies of the poor, the security of the beloved commonwealth. The whole article was written in a sweetish vein, piously interlarded with Biblical quotations.
Professor Steineck received this .paper in Kingscourt's presence. He glanced at it and broke into smothered cries of rage. "You carrion...swine...you...you...you Geyer....The scoundrel knows very well that our Joe is integrity itself He knows how Joe sweated to bring the New Society up to its present level. Every child knows it ...the whole world knows. ...And this dog dares to take Joe's name upon his wicked, lying tongue! It's all electioneering. Understand? To influence the people in favor of our opponents. Understand?"
He tore up the paper in a fury, balled the shreds into a lump, and threw it out of the window with an exclamation of disgust.
Kingscourt merely laughed. "Do I understand? Beloved begetter of microbes, I too have lived in the world. I know what low beasts men are. I admit frankly, I have been incredulous about many things in your New Society, despite the evidence of my own eyes. The whole thing was too rose-colored, too Potemkin-like. But now that I see all sorts of rascals in your camp, I begin to believe that the thing is real after all. Now I, old desert-wanderer that I am, must own that it's true."
On the whole, the elections were little discussed in. the Littwak circle, difficult as it was to ignore the current topic, which seeped in through every cranny. David's friends were sorry to see him so deeply involved in political strife, but he would soon have done with it. He declared that, as soon as the voting was over, he would go back to his own affairs. He did want to have a delegate's mandate and to exercise it; but the congress sat only a few weeks in the year.
On election day, in order to keep aloof from the political tumult, Miriam took Friedrich and Professor Steineck to the studio of Isaacs the painter, whose home was in a quiet neighborhood in the eastern section of the New City of Jerusalem. The studio contained many treasures of art, she told Friedrich. And, as he was fond of society, he gave frequent parties at his studio which were famed for their elegance and good taste.
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