Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
"Donnerwetter! I like that man!" roared Kingscourt. "What does he do here?"
"He is general director of the Department of Industry," replied David. "Though there is no position he could not fill in our society. He understands everything that reveals itself to sound observation and an iron will. His mind works like lightning, and he can explain the most complicated matter to you in a moment. And when Joe Levy undertakes a thing, you may take your oath upon it that he will see it through. I thought, gentlemen, that you would be interested in meeting this all-round man. You shall hear him speak after dinner, since I cannot otherwise show him to you except in a photograph."
"Then we shall have to go to the telephone," Suggested Kingscourt.
"No, that will not be necessary," smiled David. "You shall listen to him more comfortably than that. And not only yourselves, but posterity, will listen to this speech of Joe's. It occurred to me that it would be worth while preserving the voice of the man who carried through the new Jewish national project. I therefore asked Levy to tell the story of the colonization on the phonograph. You were familiar with that invention twenty years ago, gentlemen, of course. I have had many duplicates made of the Wax rolls on which Joe spoke, and have presented several hundred to the schools as a Passover gift. But you shall enjoy his premiere tonight."
"Capital!" shouted Kingscourt. "A brilliant idea, most estimable man of the future. All this while I have been asking myself about the transition period. The finished product is before us. But how did it come about? That's the gist of the matter! We ignorant Europeans knew all about railways, harbors, factories, automobiles, telephone, photo- and Lord knows what other graphs before We ever set foot in Palestine. But how did you transplant them all? I had been intending to ask you."
"Now that we have shown you the end, Joe will tell you about the beginning," replied David. "This Seder evening seemed the appropriate time. The old Haggadah, which we read at dinner, has a story about the sages who assembled at Bene Berak on a Seder evening, and discussed the Egyptian exodus the whole night through. We are the successors of Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Joshua, Rabbi Eleazer ben Azariah, Rabbi Akibah and Rabbi Tarphon. And this is our evening of Bene Berak. The old passes over into the new. First we shall finish our Seder after the manner of our forefathers, and then we shall let the new era tell you how it was born. Once more there was an Egypt, and again a happy exodus-under twentieth century conditions, of course, and with modern equipment. It could not have been otherwise. The age of machinery had to come first. The great nations had to grow mature enough for a colonial policy. There had to be great screw steamers, with a speed of 22 knots an hour, to supersede the sailing vessels. In brief, the whole stock-in-trade of the year 1900 was needed. We had to become new men, and yet remain loyal to our ancient race. And we also had to win the active sympathy of the other nations and their rulers. Otherwise, the whole enterprise would have been impossible."
"God has helped us," murmured the elder Littwak, and added a Hebrew phrase under his breath.
The Reverend Mr. Hopkins reminded his colleagues of the Easter riots in the old days, and rejoiced that those old quarrels had been resolved into new harmonies. Now they, though Christians, could participate in a Passover celebration at the home of a Jew, without being offended by other people's beliefs. A new springtide had risen for humanity.
"He has risen indeed!" assented the priest of Sepphoris.
The grace after meals was recited, and the Seder service completed. The company then retired to the drawing room, where the phonograph with Joe's narrative stood ready on a little table. It was the same mechanism Kingscourt was familiar with, but it now had a simple automatic device whereby the rolls glided out smoothly one after the other so that there was no noticeable break in the narrative. If it was desired to repeat something, a slight pressure reversed the roll to the desired point. When they had made themselves comfortable on sofas and easy chairs, David sat down beside the machine, set the horn toward his audience, and announced, "Our friend, Mr. Joseph Levy, has the floor."
The machine rattled for a moment. Then a strong masculine voice spoke up clearly.
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