Bookshelf of old copies of J. Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)
Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and The Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)

Do real Zionists make aliyah? (1987); “Famed Tragedienne” (1927)

Jan. 16, 1987
American Jews ponder: Do real Zionists make aliyah?

“Real Zionists make aliyah.”

It was a challenge that seemed to crop up everywhere at the first Zionist Assembly in Philadelphia last week. It appeared — in capital letters — on shirt pockets and on flyers, and in impromptu caucuses through the Wyndham Plaza Hotel.

But were the 1,500 delegates from around the country ready to put their Zionism on the plane to Israel?

Antique ad for "Peoples' Dairy Co."
From May 26, 1927

At the final plenary session of the American Zionist Federation, the Hamagshimim, a federation of movements promoting Zionist fulfillment, tried to pass a resolution calling for all executive members of the AZF to back up their leadership roles with a personal commitment to aliyah — permanent emigration to Israel.

The resolution never made it to the floor for a vote.

For San Francsico resident and aliyah activist Larry Hall, the death of the resolution came as no surprise.

Measures such as that one, he says, will never make a dent as long as the more mainstream, more powerful Zionist organizations in the United States — such as Hadassah, the Jewish National Fund, and the Zionist Organization of America — feel they can influence Israeli policy without having to pack their bags.

Hall, a 33-year-old San Jose native and freelance writer, is a national member and local representative of Telem, the Movement for Zionist Fulfillment. He was among several Bay Area young men and women who came to Philadelphia last week to speak with one voice: that aliyah must be first on the agenda for those who call themselves Zionists.

Jan. 14, 1927
Preserve Rites and Ceremonials of Jewish Religion, Pleads Mme. Bertha Kalich, World-Famed Actress, Now in S.F.

Noted Tragedienne, in Interview for Emanu-El, Attributes Her Artistry to the Inspiration of Her Faith in Israel

She is acclaimed by critics as the greatest emotional actress of the day…

At 15 she was a prima donna, playing before crowned heads…

In the centers of Old World she heaped triumph upon triumph…

She came to American and the intellectuals flocked to the East Side to see her…

She starred on Broadway in her own theatre and New York went wild…

She toured the county and they said everywhere her mastery of the drama was without equal…

AND WITH IT ALL SHE NEVER HAS PLAYED ON KOL NIDRE NIGHT!

To some that may appear incidental, but the interviewer, seated with Madame Bertha Kalich at the Hotel St. Francis that other day, that in itself reflected the fervent love of Judaism that fills the heart of this greatest of American tragediennes.

For Berth Kalich, now starring in San Francisco at the Curran, is being heralded as the greatest emotional actress of the day. She loves the stage. The drama is life itself to her. But with her love for the footlights there is blended a deep, vibrant, fervent, undying devotion to the faith of her fathers — to Israel. The two go together. And she is a great actress — so she herself says — because in her great love of Judaism she finds inspiration that carries her to the pinnacle of histrionic triumph.

“I am proud of my Jewish heritage,” she said. “I breathe the fire of Judaism. I adore my faith, with its traditions and its glorious past. I live in the love of the Lord, the God of Israel. And I know that it is that love of the Lord that carries me to what successes I have attained on the stage during my long career.”

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is the online editor of J. and "Jew in the Pew" columnist. He can be reached at david@jweekly.com.