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Pilgrimage & Service
JOS. KRIMSKY, M.D.
or THE AMERICAN ZIONIST MEDICAL KNIT IN PALESTINE
It is a glorious day, clear and brilliant. The sea is calm
and blue and the sky is serene and cloudless. I gaze far
away into the distant horizon and hope that my loved ones
are well and secure. Five days ago I bade them farewell and
went among strange people on a journey to far away strange
lands. The first two days on board were not very pleasant
ones for me. It was an acute attack of homesickness com¬
plicated with severe and annoying manifestations of seasick¬
ness. My two room-mates seemed to be equally afflicted and
as the sea was very rough we clung to our bunks and steamer
chairs partaking of very little food and drink. Friday was a
very calm and pleasant day and I began to make a closer ac¬
quaintance of our ship and our shipmates. I am constantly
meeting very interesting people.
We have with us a great many Red Cross physicians and
nurses and many welfare workers.
The majority are going voluntarily to render their service
in the cause of humanity, and this ideal is like an invisible
bond linking us all firmly together. In the face of a common
danger and under the inspiration of a great world-ideal our
petty differences vanish and our little prejudices disappear.
You are doubtless interested to know how I pass the time.
Well, I am going to tell you. The first thing in the morning I
take a sea-water tub bath, shave, get dressed and go down to
breakfast. By the way, I must not forget to tell you that I
sleep in the upper bunk and it is great exercise climbing up
and down, especially when the boat rocks. Everytime I move
or change my position in my bunk my room-mates wake up
and think a submarine is attacking us. I may tell you in con¬
fidence that we are sleeping with most of our clothes on and
our life belts within easy reach.
Well, now let us leave our little stateroom and go down
to breakfast for the bell is ringing. The dining room is a
beautiful spacious salon; the meals are passable and the ser¬
vice excellent. We are five at a table and the one who has
interested me most is a Scotch Minister, who is a Major in
the British Army. He has followed his calling, ministering
to the soldiers at the French front ever since the war began,
four members of his family have been killed in battle. He has
spent six months in the United States on a speaking tour an
now he is returning to resume his duties “over there.. Inci¬
dentally he is going to meet his only son, a boy of nineteen,
who is about to be sent into the front lines.
He is a man of medium height and powerful physique;
a splendid talker, a fascinating reconteur, and an all-around
good fellow. As he sits back in his chair or marches about on
deck with his Scotch Highland cap tilted jauntily on one side
and his good humored bronzed features beaming and smiling,
he is the centre of attraction and the point of greatest interest.
He has travelled a great deal, has inbi'bed a deep fund of in¬
formation and a broad liberal human outlook upon life.
There is not a game or a sport on deck in which Major
M— does not join in heartily. He scarcely conforms to the
conventional type of a model minister. He can play well, talk
well, live well, and if necessary, fight well. His duties have
carried him right into the front line dugouts and trenches and
his wholesome and cheery presence must have infused cour¬
age and hope into the hearts of the men with whom he has
shared suffering and hardship.
After breakfast we go up on deck and walk around or
lounge in the steamer chairs. We all constantly wear our life
belts and look like a crowd of pack peddlars. While parading
around in this fashion, we suddenly hear five shrill whistles
sounded in quick succession. Each of us immediately stations
himself near the lifeboat to which he has been assigned by a
number. This performance is what is called the “lifeboat
drill” and is practiced on us sometimes two and three times
This morning and yesterday evening we attended Sab¬
bath services. The prayers and responses were simple and
brief. There was no pomp or ceremony, but there was a close
communion between the hearts of the little gathering and the
destiny that controls the courses of the stars, the fates of
Nations and the lives of the men and women on board this
ship, carrying us to service on distant battlefields and strange
Even the unorthodox and the infidels amongst us were
touched and inspired as in the days when we heard the heart¬
breaking Kol Nidre with hearts full of faith and trust and de¬
votion. The peace and awe of the Sabbath rested upon us in
the midst of the waters lurking with danger and destruction.
It was an inward peace and quiet that comes to men and
women who have their eyes fixed on a sacred goal, who have
their souls attuned to the harmony of a high ideal.
I have never felt that peace and serenityjn the noise and
confusion and haste and self-seeking of fhe great crowded
At 3 P. M. this morning, while we were all sleeping
soundly in our bunks, we were awakened by shrill blasts
breaking the stillness of the night. We hastily jumped into
whatever clothes we could reach and rushed out on deck. We
found ourselves enveloped in a dense fog, but our good ship
was plowing on its way as if nothing had happened. After a
great deal of hubub and confusion, we learned that nothing
had really happened and that the whistles which had alarmed
us were merely fog signals. I suspect that several adventure¬
some spirits in our midst were keenly disappointed that we
had not bumped a few submarines into eternity, but those of
us with wives and kiddies at home were, I blush to confess,
rather grateful that it was a false alarm and not an actual
We turned in and spent the remaining hours of the night
dreaming of submarines and torpedoes and woke up to a glori¬
ous, smiling, sunshiny morning.
On Tuesday evening my good friend and messmate,
Major M— delivered a talk on the great war and his personal
experiences at the front. It was an inspiring address that
pictured the sufferings and sacrifices of the great struggle
as I have never seen or heard them pictured before. We sat
spellbound for well nigh two hours.
He told of France and Belguim as he had known them
for many years—green, happy, peaceful, prosperous; the thriv¬
ing towns, the fruitful fields and farms; the simple healthy,
honest countryfolk; the cultured, progressive towns-people.
And then he described the desolation that came and settled
on these lands, now great barren, treeless wastes, full of mud
and shell holes and ruins. And he told of the orphans and
widows and the ravaged women and the mutilated and the
crippled. And he told of the hospitals and Red Cross stations
bombarded and destroyed, and the hospital ships torpedoed
and sunk while on their errands of mercy. As he told of all
these horrors the eyes of strong men and women inured to
scenes of suffering, grew moist and dim and the hearts of flesh
became hearts of steel in the unalterable determination to
strain every sinew and spend every drop of blood and every
bit of energy until this monster of inhumanity was driven out
of the world, and peace and security and justice made an eter¬
nal heritage for our children and our children’s children.
It is a clear, bright day, but very windy and the sea is
turbulent. It is a fascinating sight to me— the limitless ex¬
panse of deep blue water tossed hither and thither by stormy
foam-crested waves. I have walked five miles- this morning,
which is forty-five times around the deck. I am constantly
either walking or reading. Occasionally I get into an inter¬
The Major’s Story:
“In a French military hospital not far from the front, lay
a captured German officer on a cot. He had been very
severely injured and now his life was ebbing away. There he
lay, his handsome features haggard and distorted with pain
and his pale, parched lips murmuring "Eliza, Eliza.” They
knew very little about him, except that he was married and in
the town of Holmburg a little home awaited him and an ach¬
ing, loving heart yearned and prayed for him.
"Sister Marie sat by his bedside holding his fevered hand
and trying to alleviate the sufferings of the expiring soldier
And so he died with the beloved name ‘Eliza’ on his lips.
“A few months later the fortunes of war brought the
French Army into the German town of Holmburg and with
the invading troops came Sister Marie. Her first thought was
to visit the home of the dead officer and one morning she was
guided to a quaint little red brick house, surrounded by a gar¬
den of flowers. A charming little woman received her and
Sister Marie sat and held the widow’s hand and told the story
of the dying soldier, who with his last breath called upon
“The wife listened with bowed head and downcast glance
and tears glistening in her blue eyes. Then she said “Madam,
it is very noble of you to bring me this message from my
dying husband, only my name is not ‘Eliza’; my name is
Just now I have had my palm read by one of the ladies
on board. She is a woman of about thirty-five, tall, stately
and charming, though not beautiful according to accepted
standards. Her dark hair is streaked with silver and her face
is marked by deep lines and furrows telling the story of a life
of care and suffering. She is a trained nurse and by the soft
smile on her face and the kind light in her eyes I know that
she will ease the pain and relieve the agony of many a wounded
soldier at the front. She spends much of her time amusing
herself and others in reading palms. Incidentally, she exacts
a contribution for the soldier’s tobacco fund. I was interested
to know how she did it and by what means she arrived at her
conclusions. While reading my palm she also studied my
face intently and I was surprised at her remarks on my char¬
acter, temperament and habits. While not altogether com¬
plimentary, many of her estimates were quite true and so I
forgive her particularly in view of the fact that she made a
very pleasing analysis of my family life. She made no predic¬
tions concerning my future as I warned her I could be very
skeptical. We drifted into a conversation on religion and I
found her intensely spiritual, which, of course, I had expected.
I have written all this about her because she is a type of
a great many men and women, who are going across, not to
slaughter, but to save and to help and to heal without any
thought of glory or fame or remuneration, but impelled and
animated by an idealism and a spiritual exaltation unpar¬
alleled in the history of the world. I believe that when the
war is over and peace is re-established, the self-sacrifice, the
devotion and idealism that is now so quietly and unassum¬
ingly rendering service to a stricken world will leave its eter¬
nal impress on future generations.
It is the dawn of another Sabbath morning. The time •
is 5 A. M., which means that it is about 11 P. M. at home and
my beloved ones have just retired to bed.
I am out on deck watching the brightening sky and the
golden glimmer of the sunlight on the water. It is hard to
imagine that under this calm, gently heaving surface, a deadly
enemy may be lurking, intent on murder and destruction.
We slept through the night completely dressed, even to
our boots and overcoats. Some of us did not venture to re¬
tire at all, but spent the night chatting, reading or engrossed
in various games. We had been warned by the Captain that
we were entering the most dangerous Zone in the world. So
you can picture to yourself with what relief I watched the
glorious sunrise bringing cheer and hope and renewed confid¬
ence. And fancy my delight when on the distant horizon I
began to discern through the morning mist the faint outlines
of the rugged and hilly coast of Scotland.
We are rapidly aproaching England, the first Caravan-
sery on our long and perilous journey.
We are about to depart. We came to London for
a week but remained for a month. Our days and evenings
have been devoted to seeing interesting places and institu-
tions; to being feted, filmed, scanned, stared at and com¬
The Jewish ladies here have organized themselves into
committees and have taken us in charge, piloted us through
most interesting and beautiful parks, monuments and institu¬
tions, invited us to their homes and treated us most royally.
We have shuddered in the little cells of the London
Tower and gazed with awe at the inscriptions and figures chis¬
elled into the stone walls by the prisoners. We admired the
old armor and stepped quickly and gingerly over the spots
where some brave Knight or some fair lady or some innocent
child met death by the sword, the ax or the rope.
We wended our way through Westminster Abbey, over
the hallowed graves of immortal philosopher, preacher, war¬
rior and bard.
In the great and wonderful St. Paul’s Cathedral, we
gasped and held our breath, as we peered aloft into the sub¬
limity of its indescribable and incomparable dome.
The magnificent House of Parliament claimed our inter¬
est and attention for a day under the guidance of the genial
And sweetest of all memories, a trip up the Thames
River, winding tranquilly amidst fields and woods, through
quaint little villages, past gardens radiant with flowers. Oh!
what a tenderness and a yearning possessed my heart as we
glided by the ivy-covered English homes, so peaceful and pic¬
turesque amidst their orchards and gardens. How blest art
thou, O, England, that thy sons and thy ships have kept the
merciless ravages of war away from thy green shores!
I have just returned from a whirlwind tour of Paris.
The French Government has in a magnificently cordial man¬
ner placed at the disposal of our Unit a squad of twelve lim¬
ousines, which have made this day for us a trip through
I have indeed lost my heart to Paris and I can appreciate
the deep and tender love and devotion that all Parisians have
for their wonderful city.
We commenced the day with a pilgrimage to the Roths¬
child Hospital, which is a model of efficiency and equipment.
It is now used exclusively for military purposes.
Then we were whirled through the city, a city of en¬
chanting palaces converted into hospitals, a city overflowing
with the heart blood of the world, fighters from every clime
on their way to the battlefield and with multitudes of the
wounded and mutilated returning therefrom.
I cannot attempt to describe Paris, its temples, its monu¬
ments, its parks and boulevards. I will merely say that he
who has lived and died without ever seeing the Pantheon, the
Trocadero, the Bois de Boulogne, Le Saire Coeur de Mont-
marte and Notre Dame de Paris, has missed a pleasure which
is well nigh divine. It is a sublime symphony of beauty.
City of the world, Au Revoir!
The trip from Paris to Rome lasted thirty-six hours by
rail. We were crowded into small compartments and as there
were no sleeping or dining cars or washing facilities, we
looked more like coal heavers than physicians and nurses
when we reached our destination.
We were indeed a very tired, hungry and sleepy lot as
we wended our way from the railway station to the Grand
Hotel in Rome in the baking hot noon hour. But we were
happy for we had travelled through some of the most famous
beauty spots in the world,—through the Alps, glorious be¬
yond compare, along the shores of Lake Bourget, like a gem
in its Alpine setting; we had stopped at Aix les Bains for an
early and hurried breakfast; Aix les Bains, a name to con¬
jure with among the summer resorts of the world; and then
on again with eyes fixed on the snow-capped mountains, on
the little stone huts and cottages, red tiled roofs and grey
walls, covered with clambering vines; huts and hamlets and
villages, perched on the mountain sides or settled comfortably
in the smiling valleys; on we sped, with eyes riveted on the
orchards and vineyards of Savoy, with gaze lingering fondly
ou the ploughman and his cattle, slowly plodding their way
through the fields.
f At Modane we crossed over the frontier into Italian terri¬
tory. We sped like greased lightning for sixteen minutes
through a tunnel piercing Mount Cenis; through darkness and
smoke and deafening roar into the welcome sunlight and on
again through Italy, whirling by us in an everchanging pano¬
We dined at the station at Turin and hurried away into
the twilight, into a country growing more even and level, with
the mountains receding in the distance and the plains stretch¬
ing out before us. Night came on, starry and luminous. I
stood at the window watching, tirelessly, ceaselessly watching.
Along the shores of the Mediterranean, past Italian gardens
and villas, rich and gorgeous, past huts and hamlets. And
the moon sailed along overhead and its light silvered the
waters, silvered the waves beating against the coast. Again
and again we were swallowed up in the mountain tunnels;
again and again we tried to shut out the dust and smoke and
deafening din, and Oh! what a relief when we issued into the
starry moonlit night. Sleep did not come to me that night.
Every now and then I would wrap myself in my coat and lie
down on the floor among the bundles. But our stops at sta¬
tions were frequent and what with the heat and noise and
crowds and baggage trying to force their way into our over¬
filled car, I was more than delighted when our train pulled
The luxurious Grand Hotel, the cold bath, the change of
clothes, the hearty meal,—it was all like a transformation
wrought by Aladdin’s Lamp.
It is now late in the afternoon and we are soon bidding
farewell to the Eternal City.
I have seen the Vatican and the superlatively grand and
magnificent St. Peters Cathedral. My eyes have seen what
the mind of man can conceive and what the hand of man can
accomplish, and lo, it is beautiful.
We drove out to the Colosseum and the ruins of Rome’s
glory, the temples, baths, triumphal arches and the vast Ro¬
Oh! what the mind of man can conceive, what the hand
of man can achieve, what the heart of man can devise, what
the greed of man can covet, and what the might of man can
destroy! lo, it is unfathomable!
We trod where the ancient Ceasars sat in the pomp and
glory; in the cells where the martyrs prayerfully awaited
their final agony; in the dens where the ravenous beasts
waited, raging and roaring for their prey; in the arena where
the brave slaves from the north and the south and the east and
the west slaughtered each other, while fair patrician dames
looked on and laughingly pointed thumbs down.
During the aftemon we attended special services in our
honor at the famous synagogue, built on the bank of the River
Tiber, in the district formerly occupied as the Ghetto. It is a
splendid work of architecture and considered the most beau¬
tiful synagogue in the world. I was deeply moved by the
impressive ceremony and by the majestic beauty of the temple.
The choir chanted hymns and the rich tones of the organ
echoed and re-echoed the plaintive oriental melodies. My
beloved ones at home, my heart goes back to you longingly
across the seas. Are you safe? Are you well? Are you
happy and smiling or sad and tearful? My soul goes out to
you, O, my living and my dead, to you whom I have left in
our little nest, and to you whom I have laid away under the
grass and the flowers and the starry heavens. My spirit
draws near to you in sacred communion—clasps you and holds
Last night I visited the Colosseum by moonlight. The
gaunt and grim walls, the massive arches, the crumbling and
broken columns and the moon rising slowly over the parapet
even as in the centuries of Rome’s grandeur and glory, shed¬
ding its pale light into the arena where the silence of the tomb
is broken by a sweet, soft feminine voice singing an Italian
aria of love.
Today we drove out to the ruins of the Baths of Cara-
calla, a triumph of Roman genius and architecture, which has
for centuries been the prey of vandal hordes and the pagan
remains of which have been used for the building and adorn¬
ment of some of the finest monuments, churches and cathe¬
drals in the world.
Thence, we visited the Catacombs, the subterranean
burial grounds and chapels of the early Christians, the scene
of heroic self-sacrifice and martyrdom for a faith which was
still essentially Jewish.
I am leading a life very close to nature. Behold me now
in my tent, reclining at ease on my cot as I write these lines.
I am enveloped in a bathrobe—only this and nothing more.
The thermometer outside my tent registers 120° F- and I have
just come in dripping from my third plunge in the bay today.
Around me are rows upon rows of tents forming a vast
military camp situated somewhere in Italy. Camp C—over¬
looks a magnificent sheet of water, stretching inland from the
blue Mediterranean. The place has been a fiery hot, sandy,
silent, barren wilderness, until twelve months ago. It is now
still fiery hot and sandy, but British energy and resourceful¬
ness have converted it into a living, teeming city—a city of
canvas and of long, roomy, airy barracks, mess halls, hospitals
and administrative buildings of limestone walls and red-tiled
roofs. These buildings are encircled by broad verandas, well
shaded and screened. Many tons of equipment and thousands
of officers and troops pass through this tented city while on
their way to and from England, France, Mesopotamia, Pales¬
tine and India. East and west meet here, stack up their arms.
exchange greetings and confidences, rest a few days and de¬
part like ships that pass in the night.
We are three in a tent, not reckoning the swarms of ants
who are very much at home and companionable, nor the tiny
lizards occasionally darting around under the cots. The bugle
put us to bed at ten with “Lights Out” and arouses us at six
in the morning.
A plunge in the bay, followed by a rapid shave and toilet
and we are ready to relish our breakfast of porridge, bread
and margarine, fried egg and tea. After this strenuous task,
we sit and rest and gossip under a shady canvas awning,
stretching from the branches of an old olive tree. All ranks
and all services mingle freely and easily here.
There is no stiffness and no bravado as tales of adventure
and bits of experience from Calcutta, Bagdad, Jerusalem,
Salonika and Soissons are modestly and unassumingly inter¬
One of my tent-mates, a tall, spare wiry and bronzed
Britisher has been for years a mining engineer in Mexico, then
a major in Carranza’s army, lately a captain on the western
front and now on his way with a corps of engineers to Meso¬
And so we sit under the canopy trying to read or doz¬
ing, or listlessly joining in the droning conversation. Ever
and anon our gaze is directed upward by the whirring of the
aeroplanes, high up in the cloudless sky or the hydroplanes
gracefully dipping down towards the surface of the bay. So
the hours drift by with a break in the monotony during the
meagre lunch and dinner, consisting of some sliced 'beef,
mashed potatoes, pudding and coffee.
By this time the shadows have lengthened, a refreshing
breeze is blowing inland and we start out on our promenade
along the shore. The view unfolded before our eyes extends
far across the blue sheet of water for miles over low rolling
brown hills, dotted here and there with clumps of trees and
gray villages along the dusty, chalky white roads.
There are all sorts of craft in the bay, gr-eat ocean liners
with their fantastically camouflaged hulks and funnels, little
motor boats skimming hither and thither and fishermen s sail¬
boats leisurely and gracefully gliding along.
We break away from the shore and cut across the
country, stopping now and then to watch an army of ants on
the march or to attempt the capture of a tantalizing little liz¬
ard sunning himself on a rock. We are almost on top of
him,— we are sure we have him, but he slips out and darts
away like a flash. We ramble along past hedges of prickly
ractus, past olive and almond and fig trees studded on trunk
and branch and twig with tiny but destructive snails in their
wondrously beautiful shells.
We attended Sabbath services in the great assembly tent.
The lady members of our Unit came over from the Sisters’
Camp, where they were quartered and we had a sort of family
reunion. At the conclusion of the prayers and readings we
found that our congregation had been augmented by several
Jewish soldiers as well as by two gentlemen on their way to
England from Palestine. These newcomers had been passing
on the road and were attracted by the familiar Hebrew melo¬
dies strangely issuing from the tent. The travellers from
Palestine were Aaron Aaronson, the noted agricultural ex¬
pert and Major Sir Ormsby-Gore. We were thus afforded an
opportunity to receive much information of interest and im¬
portance, concerning conditions in the Holy Land.
The railroad journey from Alexandria to Cairo was in¬
tensely interesting. We travelled along the banks of the Nile,
through a very fertile country under intensive cultivation.
We see around us vast fields of cotton, sugar cane and maize.
We fly through groves of stately date, palms, olive, fig and
sycamore trees; villages of mud that look like prehistoric cliff
dwellings; irrigation canals and ditches cutting and inter¬
secting the fields everywhere.
Here we see a pair of oxen yoked to a wheel pumping
the water from the canals or wells into the ditches. There
we see a fellow ploughing the field with a camel and crude
wooden plough, such as his fathers used several thousand
years ago. To our western eye, this is all too fascinating for
words. We seem to be leaving our own life behind and
plunging into the past, into the age of Pharoah and Phitah.
We are quartered in a hotel which is Parisian in its ser¬
vice and cuisine and moorish in its Architecture. In my room
I think I am in a European or American hotel and when I
descend into the lounge and recline on one of the divans in
the midst of Oriental beauty and indolence, Moorish columns,
arches and windows, tapestries and carpets and lamps and
delicately carved screens, I feel that I am transported on a
magic carpet into an eastern palace.
In the evening I have dinner in an enchanting garden,
illuminated by dim lanterns, under stately palms, to the accom¬
paniment of a soft, plaintive, seductive, Egyption melody.
During the day I visited the local Israelite Hospital, con¬
sisting of about sixty beds and housed in a very modern struc¬
ture, situated in the most attractive and exclusive part of the
town. This institution is a very recent outgrowth of the new
spirit which is pervading and influencing the Jewsih Com¬
munity here, a spirit which is growing more and more
national and which can be attributed to the influx of Pales¬
tinian elements during the war. There was rather a bitter
antagonism at first on the part of the Sephardic Jews who
are in the large majority, but this opposition is diminishing
and both factions are co-operating more and more in chari¬
table, religious and national work.
I have been spending a few hours driving through the
city. On leaving the hotel, we are beset by a crowd of guides,
dragomen, beggars and hucksters. All are shouting, gesticu¬
lating and are very importunate. They run after us, pulling
our arms, plucking at our clothes and each one says “I am
your man; I will show you everything; you will be satisfied.”
And if you get angry and drive him away with your cane, he
smiles at you and says: “Thank you, captain, my name is
Hassan, I am your man; don’t forget.” We jump into the cab
and drive off and so we get rid of the pest.
Cairo, like all great cities in the Levant, is a conglomera¬
tion of east and west. We see pretentious buildings; brilliant
shops, gay busy streets and avenues and refreshing, cool and
green parks, prosperous, aristocratic gentlemen and beautiful
or beautifully camouflaged women in magnificent equipages
and automobiles. We turn a corner, we cross a street or two
and we are in the midst of ugly, naked, horrible poverty. 'Hie
streets are narrow and indescribably filthy, the overhanging
balconies almost meet and shut out the sunlight; the air is full
of dust, the smell is overpowering and flies are everywhere,
thick on the exposed food, thick on the heaps of rotting refuse,
thick on the faces and very thickly collected around the dis¬
eased eyes of the ragged, almost naked, children.
This is the Levant, a conglomeration of races, nationali¬
ties, customs, costumes, modes of life, forms of religion, forms
of architecture, beauty and grace, ugliness and deformity, cul¬
ture and illiteracy, voluptuous wealth and miserable destitu¬
Early in the morning a little party including myself,
guided by a dragoman, drove out in an automobile to see
something of ancient Egypt. We sped away from the city
with its mingling of fascinating beauty and repulsive ugliness,
along the banks of the Nile over a road lined by stately date
palms and majestic sycamores. We pass veiled women, half
naked, dusky children and white bearded patriarchs in their
flowing robes, afoot and on camels and donkeys. We see
huge buffaloes splashing in the muddy water with naked
children on their backs. We see numerous flocks and herds
of sheep and goats and asses with their shepherds and herds¬
men, just as in the days when the children of Jacob went
down into Egypt from Canaan.
After a drive of several miles we reach the little mud
villages of Bedrechein, situated on the site of ancient Mem¬
phis, the Queen City of Egypt. Swarms of sickly, bleary-
eyed children surround us begging for “backsheesh,” veiled
women creep out of holes in their mud dwellings and eye us
curiously. Our guide brings us some figs and watermelon
on which we regale ourselves. A few ruins, two sphinxes and
the two colossal statues of Rameses II are all that remain of
the grandeur and glory of ancient Memphis.
From here we motor to the border of the Sahara desert
which commences very sharply at the fringes of the wonder¬
fully fertile Nile valley. Here we leave our machine and
mount on little donkeys which are driven and pushed and
pulled and cursed and called all sorts of vile names by Arab
boys. We ascend a plateau in the desert and look down upon
the long narrow green plain with its fields and forests of
palms, and on either side of this verdant strip of land, teem¬
ing with life, rise up the grey-brown dead hills and sand dunes
After jogging along for about a half hour on my donkey,
whose name is Columbus, evidently because he persists in
constantly straying from the beaten path and wandering away
on exploring expeditions, we finally dismount near the Sak-
karah pyramid at the entrance into an underground passage.
Here we descend, accompanied by the inevitable and per¬
sistent guides carrying candles, and we pick our way through
the underground galleries and chambers which were the tombs
of many dynasties and ancient Egyptian Kings. The walls
are covered with hieroglyphics and vivid representations of
the every day life, activities, occupations, customs and cere¬
monies of old Mizraim.
We also visited and explored another underground sys¬
tem of galleries and chambers, hewn out of solid rock used for
the burial of sacred bulls and cats. We see the immense,
massive granite sarcophagi which had contained the
embalmed mummies of the worshipped animals, coming out
of this labyrinth, we pay our backsheesh, remount our don¬
keys and return to the automobile. I was very much inter¬
ested in watching an Arab boy treat a sore on the back of my
Columbus. He spat on it several times, massaged it with
the palm of his hand, spat on it again and then dusted it with
sand. I am told this is a form of surgical treatment quite
popular among the natives.
At the edge of the old desert we entered our machine and
after a drive along a road lined with magnificent sycamore
trees, we arrive at the border of the Libyan desert where on
a plateau stand the famous pyramids of Gizehand, the Sphinx.
We are immediately surrounded by a swarm of guides and
camel drivers. All are pleading, shouting, gesticulating. The
only way to keep them at a respectful distance is by a liberal
administration of the cane. At last, after an endless chatter
in their strange gibberish of Arabic and English, we mount
our camels. Slowly and majestically, with an army of Arabs
at our heels, our little cavalcade ascends the plateau and we
are deposited at the entrance to the great pyramid of Cheops.
This pyramid, as well as the Sphinx, was built about
seven thousand years ago by hundreds of thousands of slaves
working for thirty years.
We climb up some rude stairs, being hauled and pushed
by our obliging guides. We enter the pyramid and climb and
crawl for about two hundred and twenty-five feet up a nar¬
row, low, rock-hewn gallery, faintly illuminated by our little
wax tapers. We are tired and puffing and perspiring when
at last we reach the heart of the pyramid. We find ourselves
in a huge chamber containing the sarcophagus of King
Cheops. Legend has it that the body of Cheops never reached
this resting place, which he had prepared for himself at the
cost of thousands of lives and untold slavery and misery. It
is said that the people rose up in revolt on his death and
buried his body in some obscure and dishonorable grave.
The descent from the king’s chamber was ever more
thrilling and amusing than the ascent. The floor of the gal-
lery or passage is granite worn as smooth as polished marble
in many places. A large part of the descent was accomplished
on our backs.
We visited the Sphinx and I gazed at the serene, impas¬
sive features, a feeling of awe came over me, a feeling of
standing face to face with the riddle of the ages. The creation
of a grand civilization and a people of wonderful genius now
dead and almost forgotten but for a few ruins and hierogly¬
Empires, have risen and fallen, Pharoahs and Caesars have
ruled in splendor and have been vanquished and overthrown;
the children of Israel have toiled as slaves in this land, have
left it as freemen, have created a civilization and culture of
their own in Canaan; have been scattered and dispersed by
the merciless conqueror and now their children are returning
to the old land to revive and restore it. And the Sphinx has
seen all that and will see infinitely more ages after we are
gone and forgotten together with all that seems to us now
so vital, so important, so essential—fame, name, power, for¬
tune. Does it matter?
Tell me, O, Sphinx, what is it that really matters?
We mount our camels and ride away while the west is
tinted golden and orange and purple with the glow of the
setting sun, and the crescent moon floats over King Choep’s
We left Cairo, Egypt, in the early evening of Saturday,
August 17th. We lost sight of the green Nile Delta and
plunged into the hot, blasting, sandy desert. At midnight we
left our train and motored over a bridge across the Suez Canal
into the Sinai Peninsula. Rather a different mode of travel
from that of my forefathers under Moses.
We entrained again and early Sunday morning we
reached Gaza, our first halt in the Holy Land. The country
took on a greener and more hopeful aspect as we travelled
further unto the fruitful maritime plain of Palestine. On our
left stretched the low, undulating sand dunes, and on our
right far across the plain, the rolling pastoral hills of the
Shephelah, and beyond these on the distant horizon, the
mountains of Judaea.
We reached Ludd late in the afternoon and after a two
hours’ sojourn in the blistering heat of this tented and sandy
city, we drove by motor to Jaffa. The white limestone road
leads into the city through fertile fields and beautiful orange
groves interspersed with clumps of olive, date and fig trees, a
most welcome relief after the endless sandy wastes through
which we have passed.
Toward evening we entered Tel Aviv, the renowned Jew¬
ish residential quarter of Jaffa.
I retired for the night and from the window of my large,
comfortable room, I gazed at the handsome, attractive homes
and little gardens of Tel Aviv, bathed in the bright silvery
moonlight. The people strolling in the street are conversing
in a soft, musical language and the children are singing and
playing their games in the same sacred, classic tongue, which
has here become again revived, and living.
I am utterly exhausted and fall into a deep, refreshing
slumber, which ends with the rising sun sending its shafts
through the window into my room.
I have paced Tel Aviv from its boundary at the edge of
the Yemenite settlement to the blue Mediterranean. The
houses are large, spacious, substantial buildings of stone with
red tiled roofs and broad verandas and neat little gardens
surrounding them. There is an air of comfort and care and
affection about the entire colony.
What a contrast between this and the adjoining Yemen¬
ite quarter, where misery stalks about, gaunt and ghastly, and
poverty and disease hold undisputed sway. Perhaps you
would like to visit one of the homes of these brethren of ours.
In one of the crooked, foul smelling alleys, we make our call
and find ourselves in a low-ceilinged room, black with filth
and smoke. Some rags on the floor, two rickety chairs, a
table on which several armies of flies are warring over a few
dry crumbs, a broken bedstead covered with a soiled quilt—
these are the furnishings in this dwelling which is sheltering
a family of six. A little shed in the yard, containing a char¬
coal brazier and a few sticks of wood, does service as a kit¬
chen and completes the picture of this elaborate domicile.
We visit some of the schools and kindergartens in this
and the adjacent Ashkenazi districts. The children are pale,
puny, undeveloped and undernourished. Many of them are
covered with sores and eruptions and the majority of them
are afflicted with Trachoma and various other eye inflamma¬
tions. A great deal is being done to improve conditions,
especially by the teachers and workers in the schools and in¬
stitutions, but the widely prevalent ignorance and negligence
are very serious difficulties and the bitter poverty offers an
almost insurmountable obstacle.
During the evening we were the guests of Dr. and Mrs.
T— in their beautiful home, where we were greeted by the
elite of Tel Aviv. Among those present were many whose
names are household words throughout the world wherever
the development of the new Jewish Palestinian settlement is
followed with keen and sympathetic interest. They all con¬
versed in Hebrew, with the fluency and pliability of a mother
tongue; many were quite at home in English, French and
Russian. But Yiddish was tabooed and spoken only in the
utmost extremity. It seems to be a matter of principle here
and is due to the fear that with the influx of a large Jewish
population, Yiddish, unless checked and discouraged, might
exert an undermining influence on the growing Hebrew lan¬
guage and culture.
The rooms of this model Tel Aviv home are immensely
large, painted white, with square pillars supporting a high
arched ceiling. The floors are of colored tile and the entire
effect is cool, comfortable and refreshing. Casement windows
reaching almost to the ceiling, open out on balconies whence
we gaze with awe and admiration at the star-studded moonlit
sky of Palestine.
Refreshments in the form of cakes, cool drinks and ice
cream are served by dark-skinned, black-eyed Yemenite
maidens. The party breaks up at midnight and I stroll down
toward the edge of the sea where I watch the lapping of the
waves on the silver-white sand and think of all that has trans¬
We are ascending the mountains of Judaea on our way
to Jerusalem. Two locomotives puffing and snorting are pull¬
ing and pushing us up the plateau. Our train is speeding
through narrow gorges cut into the solid rock and winding
like a long thin serpent around the mountains. The verdure
and fertility of the plain has given way to brown, bare, barren
hills with the outcropping limestone rocks looking like dead
and bleached bones. Wherever there is any soil on the hill¬
sides, a little crude cultivation yields a bountiful return. Here
and there a clump of trees or a vineyard stands out like a
green oasis in the stony waste produced by centuries of neg¬
lect and by deforestation. The terraces running up to the very-
tops of the mountains bear testimony to the intensive cultiva¬
tion of the country by our forefathers. Even now as our train
crosses a valley, we catch a glimpse of natives threshing and
winnowing their corn, just as the Canaanites did in the days
of Abraham. The threshing is done by yokes of oxen and
asses being driven around and around on an immense stone
floor covered with corn. The winnowing is accomplished by
the Arab tossing the corn up into the air with a huge pitch-
fork and letting the wind separate the grain from the chaff.
The panorama becomes more grand and picturesque as
we travel along a deep wady between mountains towering on
either side. We catch now and then a glimpse of caves in
the rocks, many of which, no doubt, have sheltered mighty
and renowned men in the history of Israel.
Late in the afternoon we halt at the railroad terminus
just outside of the Holy City. Slowly and wearily I climb the
hot and dusty road up the hill leading to the Jaffa Gate. To
the right of me stretches the Mount of Olives with a little
square stone building at its summit, marking the site of the
future Hebrew University. Before me are the walls and
towers of Jerusalem, overlooking the Valley of Jeoshaphat.
Millions of devout pilgrims have trodden this road and have
gazed with affection, with awe and devotion at this scene. I,
too, have reached the goal of my pilgrimage, but the aim of
my mission is still to be accomplished.
Though we are in Jerusalem but a short time we have al¬
ready gripped hold of the work with zest and zeal. Our nurses
and doctors are becoming frequent and welcome visitors in
the haunts of sickness and suffering. It is a weary, uphill
labor—to help these poor and wretched people who have no
food, no water, no linen, no air, no sunshine. In the street
in front of our hotel and in the hallway, there are always
groups of men and women and boys and girls clamoring for
physicians to be sent to their homes or pleading for employ¬
ment, for any sort of work or occupation. It is a pitiful
thing—this idleness and unemployment here. It is a danger¬
ous thing, full of peril for the moral and physical well being
of the community. It has already borne bitter fruit.
The want and poverty is indescribable and the cost of
food and other necessities of life has multiplied manyfold.
Most of the people live on black bread and tea and some vege¬
tables. Even fruit is very scarce and meat is well nigh unob¬
tainable. In short, if I were to sum up my impression of the
great mass of the population of Jerusalem, it would be in
these words—Poverty, disease, idleness, pauperization.
My friend X—, a prominent physician here, related to me
his experiences during the evacuation of Jerusalem and Judaea
by the Turks. One day he was arrested on the street by a
gendarme, taken to jail and there incarcerated without a word
of explanation. This treatment was similarly meted out to
hundreds of other well known Jewish members of the com¬
munity, particularly those suspected of being affiliated with
Zionist activity. A few days after his arrest he was escorted
out of the town by an armed guard in the midst of a large
band of prisoners who, together with thousands of refugees,
were driven north in the wake of the retreating Turkish Army.
They walked for hours and hours, without food or drink in the
burning sun, frequently being beaten and prodded by their
captors. They finally reached Kephr Saba, a tiny hamlet near
Petach Tikwah, situated just behind the Turkish lines.
Hordes of refugees were concentrated in this village, many of
them in tents and barracks and most of them without any
shelter from the scorching sun and blinding sand of the day
or the clammy chill of the night. Typhus and meningitis
raged and killed off hundreds already debilitated by want and
fatigue. The filth and misery baffled description; vermin
covered everything and everybody; men and women tottered
around like ghastly effigies, and little children succumbed
And while in the grip of all these horrors, they heard
that Jerusalem had been entered by the British troops and
that a Jewish commission was participating in the government
of the Holy City. Many and diabolical were the cruelties and
indignities perpetrated on the unfortunate Jews by the Turks
during the last days of their regime.
One day the Chief of Police took it into his head to arrest
one hundred and twenty young men, sons of the best families
in the city. These wholesale arrests were made at the insti¬
gation of a notorious informer and on a prescription list pre¬
pared by him. The victims were driven out like cattle and
after marching continuously for many hours they were all
packed into a cattle car without a drop of water or a crumb of
food. For two days and nights, they remained in this travelling
dungeon, during which time several of the wretched unfortu¬
nates succumbed, and the living and the dead were mingled
in one horrible, foul smelling heap. Of these hundred and
twenty young men who were thus driven out of Jerusalem
only sixty reached the prison at Damascus. The other sixty
died and were dumped into their graves at various stations on
the way. When Djemal Pascha, the arch tyrant, was told of
the hunger and misery of the people, he remarked: “There is
sufficient bichloride of mercury in the drug shops for all of
At 5 in the afternoon I start on a trip to Jaffa on some
urgent matters connected with the work of our Medical Unit.
As I could not secure an automobile, I was finally obliged to
avail myself of a rickety, dilapidated carriage, pulled by three
jaded horses harnessed abreast. My driver was an old
grizzled patriarch, who swore by his beard and earlocks that
we would reach Jaffa in seven hours. We jogged along over
a rough dusty road, winding around mountains and valleys,
stony and rugged with here and there, patches of cultivation,
agreeable and refreshing to the eye, past Arab mud villages
and ruins. We passed a tower of stones with a roof of
branches and twigs, offering shelter to the watchman in the
We reached the summit of a mountain just as the sun is
sinking behind a range of hills, painting the horizon all the
colors and tints of a crystal gem. The stars appear as the
twilight dies away and the moon silvers the road and the lime¬
stone crags. Another hour of climbing uphill, galloping on
the level stretches, tugging on the reins and pressing hard
on the brakes on the down stretches and finally we pull up at
a little Inn of mud and stone called “Bab-El-Wad.”
We alight in front of this hut, which consists of a large
room for the weary wayfarer and an adjoining shed for camel,
horse and donkey. The Inn is crowded, and as I peer through
the doorway, I see men and women and children, mostly
Arabs and Fellachs, squating on the ground, while a few are
seated around a log table, eating, drinking and chattering.
The host places some chairs for us in front of the hut and
here we partake of a good wholesome supper of black bread,
hard boiled eggs and goat’s cheese, and wash it all down with
copious drafts of tea from a Russian samovar.
Near me on the ground, I observe several bundles of rags
and old clothes. I am very much astounded when I find them
endowed with life and movement and discover that I am in the
midst of a Yemenite family, spending the night under the
shelter of the starry sky while on the way to Jerusalem. They
are pilgrims from the southernmost extremity of Arabia, re¬
turning to the land of their forefathers, from which they de¬
parted before the destruction of the Temple. The father, a
swarthy, black-bearded man, with long earlocks, is strentched
out at full length, fast asleep. The mother, a prematurely aged
and amaciated little woman, is nursing a baby at the breast,
and three other tots in tatters and patches toddle over to us
and eagerly seize the scraps of food held out to them.
As my eyes become accustomed to the darkness, I see a
tall white figure pacing up and down in front of the hut—a
Bedouin Sheikh, a child of the desert, restless and impatient
to be off to his tents beyond the Jordan—a weird, picturesque
figure in his flowing robes and turban. Ever and anon he
goes into the shed and I hear the neighing of a steed and the
soft, caressing tones of the master.
We awaken our driver, who has dozed off, remount our
rickety carriage and proceed on our way. We are rolling
along at quite a lively pace when we are suddenly halted by a
horseman, looming out of the darkness. He scrutinizes us for
a moment, salutes and orders us to keep close to the side of
the road. We have fallen in with an army on the march, an
endless stream of horsemen and footmen, Australians, big,
manly fellows, riding like centaurs in the night, turbaned
Indians, tall, wiry, black-bearded Sikh warriors, riding and
marching over the road and through the land trodden by the
dauntless fighters of David, by the heroic bands of the Macab-
bees, by the legions of Greece and Rome, by the hosts of
Saracens and Crusaders—the followers of the Crescent and
After a long and toilsome, but unforgettable journey, we
drive into Jaffa at 2 in the morning.
I left Jaffa in the afternoon by way of the Narrow Gage
Road and arrived in Ludd just in time to see my train for
Jerusalem pulling away from the station. I was hardly con¬
soled by the stationmaster’s information that the next train
would leave the following morning.
Ludd is a city of tents and barracks, sand flies, mosquitos,
malaria and sand fever. I walked out to the main road
leading from Jaffa, hoping that I might find some means of
conveyance to my destination. As if in answer to my prayer
I spied an automobile, in which sat a distinguished looking
officer. A young aide was giving instructions to some officers
and soldiers grouped about the machine. I approached and
related my tale of woe, whereupon the distinguished gentle¬
man most courteously invited me into the seat beside him.
We drove off rapidly and during the course of a very inter¬
esting and pleasant conversation, I found that my companion
was none other than General R, the famous commander of the
60th Artillery. The general expressed himself quite frankly
about the Jews of the older Palestine settlement, particularly
those in Jerusalem, many of whom subsisted on charity, but he
was very enthusiastic about the newer elements in the
We bade farewell to each other at Ramlah, but not before
he had instructed the chauffeur to drive me to Jerusalem and
take me to my hotel.
Several miles beyond Ramlah we noticed an immense
touring car approaching at full speed. “There comes the
Chief," said my chauffeur, and the next moment I beheld Gen¬
eral Allenby, whose armies had wrested Jerusalem and Judaea
from the accursed Turks. He bowed and smiled as we passed
each other, and that is the history of my first meeting with
Visited the “Wailing Wall,” a ruin which evokes in all
Jewish hearts sorrow for the tragedy of the past and hope and
prayer for the future. Jews in their long shining gabardines
and fur-lined “shtreimlich” are swaying and playing in linger¬
ing tones in theshade of the great hoary stones. One woman
lies prone on the ground weeping and kissing the cold granite.
It is the sort of grief which one sees at the sick bed and at
the coffin. I speak to her and find that her child, her only
little girl, her beloved Shoshannah, is dying. The doctors have
given her up and she has come here to this holy spot that her
prayers may ascend to heaven and perhaps alter the fatal
A few officers approach and gaze cynically at the picture
which has touched my heart and tightened my throat in a
painful grip. I turn and stride hastily away through the nar¬
row street, followed by women and children stretching out
their emaciated, bony hands for "Backsheesh.”
In the evening the members of our Unit attended a ses¬
sion of the Jewish Medical Society of Jerusalem, having a
membership at present of twelve.
Dr. E— of the Z. C. delivered a lecture on the Psycho¬
neuroses of the War. The address was made in a pseudo-
German, as Dr. E— speaks German very poorly, and English
would not have been understood by all.
The interesting feature of the evening was that after two
hours of listening to Dr. E—'s droning voice, we spent an
exciting hour listening to the same address, which had been
rapidly and accurately translated into Hebrew by one of the
Tea biscuits and a friendly conversation, carried on in a
polyglot of Yiddish, Hebrew and English helped to while
away the tedium of this process.
What a Babel of races and sects this poor land is. I
wonder if it can ever become the exclusive home of one people
and one language. Everywhere are spots and places sacred to
various religions and to hearts in every corner of the world.
Here is the Holy Sepulchre, the tomb of the founder of Chris¬
tianity. There is the Mosque of Omar, like the creation of a
fairy’s wand, so delicate and enchanting is its beauty, next to
Mecca, the most sacred spot on earth to the Moslem; built on
the site of our Holy Temple.
There are hundreds of other shrines of lesser, sanctity,
but not one people can say “these are my heritagesfor they
are worshipped by all, and the blood of many races and creeds
has trickled down its mountain sides and mingled with its
Under a British mandate, carried out in conformity with
the spirit of the Balfour declaration, we Jews shall possess all
the opportunities for self government and self expression
through our Hebrew culture; We shall enjoy the privileges
of self government without the burden and peril of being held
responsible by the world for Mohammedan and Christian
shrines and sanctuaries.
However, let us not forget that we now number but 15%
of the total population. We must encourage the immigration
of select and fitting elements of our people. We must create
and foster agricultural and industrial pursuits. We must com¬
bat and destroy the present degradation and pauperization of
the mass of Jews residing in the large cities. The eyes of the
world are focussed on Palestine, and the searchlight of Public
opinion is concentrated on the Jews in Palestine. The bright
side of the new settlement is overshadowed by the physical
and moral rottenness of the old “Hallukahs.”
It devolves upon us, more than ever, to purge Palestine
of the pernicious and degrading "Hallukahto replace it by
industrial and agricultural pursuits, so that the world shall
not point its finger of scorn at us for what we have promised
to do and what we have failed to accomplish.
This afternoon in the Beth Ha-Am, (the house of the people)
I participated in a reception and welcome given to a group of
about three hundred Judaeans who are stationed in a camp
near Jerusalem and who are on furlough to spend the high
holidays in the city. Representation of all classes of Pales¬
tine Jewry were present. Young men with white suits, with
wide shirt collars and flowing ties; looking very Bohemian and
ultra-radical, girls and young women with hair cut short or
pleated in long braids hanging down their backs, all very
highly educated and all talking fluently and rapidly in
Side by side with these are long-bearded Jews, with the
classical orthodox earlocks and streimlich and caftans. The
Hebrew language and the hope in Zion fuses all these diverse
elements into one people.
From the Beth Ha-Am I go off on a visit to the wailing
Wall. You enter the city through the Jaffa Gate. You walk
by way of the Bazaar quarter through narrow filthy quarters,
over slimy pavements, a Gothic arched roof covers the street
and almost completely occludes the sunlight, except for a hole
here and there, through which a few straggling sunbeams
Out of the Bazaars, into the Jew’s street, a few more
windings and turnings, along buildings that seem to be the
ruins of former human habitations, though voices and odors
emanating from holes that do service as doors and windows,
inform you that men and women and children still seek shelter
here, you reach a blind alley. You turn into a passage on the
left and you stand before the temple wall, on the other side of
which is the temple enclosure and the Mosque of Omar.
The narrow passageway alongside the wall is filled with
women and men; the women at one end, wailing and sobbing
over their prayer books, the men at the other end, swaying
to and fro, swaying and reciting.
It is the eve of the Sabbath and the eve of the New Year.
And looking back on the year that is just expiring, a time of
trial and tribulation, of hardship and suffering and pestilence
and bloodshed, and death stalking through the land, taking
his toll of the dearest and the best—a year full of the horrors
of war:—starvation and disease unparalleled in any time or
land, with thousands decimated, driven into exile or forced
into a more hellish slavery—it is no wonder that there is a
wailing and sobbing, that comes of broken hearts and spirits
bowed in despair.
From the Wall, we visited the Chorbah Synagogue; so
called because according to legend, it is built on the chorbah
or ruin of the home of Reb Jahuda, the Prince of the Exile.
It is a beautiful old synagogue with a magnificent Oren-ha-
Kodesh which is a marvel of artistic design and workman¬
ship. The scrolls of the law are wrapped in mantles of velvet,
and silk and fine spun gold, and adorned with massive crowns
ofi ngeniously wrought silver.
We are passing through a violent epidemic of pneumonia,
affecting particularly young children. These tots, debilitated
by malaria and undernourishment fall easy victims to the
added infection, and they die like flies. The prevalence of
malarial fever among the population of Jerusalem is appalling.
It is an extreme rarity to find anyone who has lived here for
any length of time and is free from the disease. Among my
staff of six local Hadassah sisters, everyone is a chronic qui¬
nine eater, and not a week passes but one or another is laid
up with chills and fever. A scientific and painstaking ex¬
amination of school children has elicited the fact that sixty
per cent have large spleens and malarial parasites in the blood.
The next generation is growing up puny, anaemic and sickly.
What future is there for this people and this land ?
Someone has undertaken to show that the decline and fall
of Rome was in great part due to and accelerated by the spread
of malaria, sapping the race of its vitality and stamina. Be
that as it may, the fact remains that a healthy material and
spiritual culture is impossible under conditions and in a land
where so large a percentage of the inhabitants are trachoma¬
tous and malaria.
The climate and soil are excellent in the main and with
proper drainage, sewage disposal, sanitary supervision, in¬
stallation of water systems and hygienic education of the
masses, the country can be made healthful, productive and
The greatest blessing that can be conferred upon this
land, next to making it healthful, is to direct and assist its
people toward useful and productive occupations, to become
self-sustaining, self-suporting and self-respecting.
Where religion is being prostituted for the purpose of
securing alms, social prostitution is an easy and natural con¬
There is a small village in the northern part of Palestine,
whose inhabitants are pure Hebrews, direct descendants of
Jews who have lived in this secluded spot before the fall of
the Temple. They are in a very low and degraded state and
but for a few old scrolls, not a vestige of Hebrew culture is
to be found among them.
A similar pitiable state of affairs exists among the rem¬
nant of the Samaritans and the Sepharidic Jews who have
settled in Palestine about two centuries ago and are on a
spiritual plane, not much higher than the native Arabs.
This is an indication of the blighting and degenerating
influence of disease, poverty and inefficient government. We
must have a just, civilized and autonomous form of govern¬
ment, but we must also have what is equally essential—an
environment made healthful and a land made productive.
This afternoon I climbed to the top of the Russian tower,
situated in the midst of a green and pleasant garden, on the
Mount of Olives. What a wonderful panorama unfolds itself
before me as I stand under the great bronze bell and look out
at Judaea stretched at my feet.
Far below is the valley of Kedron and beyond is Mount
Zion and Mount Moriah with the golden Gate walled up by
the superstitious Mussulman to prevent the entrance of the
Jewish Messiah. The Mosque of Omar and the minarets and
cupolas of Jerusalem look enchantingly beautiful in the glow
of the setting sun.
I turn my eyes further east and behold the deep cleft in
the land and the blue streak which is the Jordan valley and
the Dead Sea. And on the other side, towering into the
heavens, are the grey mountains of Moab.
I stood on Mount Zion and when I looked over what
seemed to be a precipice, I found that I was actually on top
of the city wall overlooking the valley of Kedron. A moun¬
tain of dirt and rubbish sixty feet high had accumulated and
practically buried the inner side of the wall, leaving only the
The view from this point is vast and magnificent; the hills
and valleys lying at our feet like a map in relief.
We clamber down a narrow stony path into the valley of
Kedron. Many patches and terraces have been cleared of
stones and debris and are cultivated for vegetables and garden
products for the Fellahin.
The women do most of the work while the lord and mas¬
ter frequently sits in front of his hut of stone and thatch,
smoking his pipe, or offers his services as guide to the way¬
farer for backsheesh.
Water is brought up from the spring at the bottom of the
valley in earthen jars and big petroleum tin cans carried on
the head by the women and children.
Each little patch of green is carefully watered and pains¬
takingly tended; but the soil is kind and yields a generous
reward for the sweat of the brow. We visit the excavations,
conducted under the patronage of Baron Rothschild. The
work has been discontinued during the war, though a great
deal had already been accomplished.
The foundations of David’s Tower and of the old city
Wall are now to be seen; also stair-case remnants of columns,
ancient cisterns, baths and caves nsed for burial purposes.
Many human skulls and other remains were found in
some of the rocky caverns indicating that a large number of
corpses had been interred together, probably after a battle,
perhaps previous to the fall of the first temple. Clambering
and leaping still further down, over stones and boulders we
reach the bottom of Kedron vale and there in an open cham¬
ber, hewn out of the solid rock, we descended a staircase,
leading into a tunnel in which the spring of Siloam bubbles
Up and flows out every few minutes. During the rainy season
the water rises very high in this rock enclosed chamber which
dates to the time of King Hezekiah. The tunnel in which the
blessed waters of the spring flow, had been built by the king
to conduct the water to his palace garden within the city walls.
In this rocky tunnel there has been found a stone, bearing
an inscription in Hebrew, marking the spot where two gangs
of workmen digging from opposite directions, met and com¬
pleted their task.
Leaving this interesting relic of hoary antiquity, we wan¬
der about among the slabs of rock, marking the thousands of
century old graves on the Mount of Olives, past the tombs of
the Prophet Zechariah and of Absolom, the architecture of
which resembles the Egyptian tinctured with a trace of the
Hellenic. And then we strike the main road enveloped in
clouds of white powdery limestone dust, raised by the heavy
motor army trucks and lorries. Before returning to our quar¬
ters, we tarry on the way to pay our respects to Mary’s tomb.
This is an ancient rock-hewn sepulchre of the type so
common here, over which a church has been erected, evidently
at the time of the crusaders.
You enter through a quaint doorway, protected by im¬
mense iron gates. You descend by a long wide stair-case into
a huge, dim subterranean chamber, roofed with Gothic arches.
Numerous lamps of all metals, shapes and designs are sus¬
pended from the ceiling. These are the gifts of the various
Christian churches and denominations who apportion among
themselves, not infrequently with bitter feuds and quarrels,
the sacred relics and sanctuaries.
A black-bearded, long-haired, dark-robed Armenian monk
presents us each with a lighted wax taper, and escorts us
through the church, showing us the tomb of Joseph the Car¬
penter, and then leading us through a low and narrow aper¬
ture into a cell hewn out of the rock, containing a stone sar¬
cophagus said to be the grave of Mary the mother of Jesus.
By the dim and spluttering light of our candles, we scru¬
tinize some very old and crude paintings of saints and evan¬
gels. And we were particularly interested in some very fine
representations of sacred episodes wrought in pure gold and
We leave a few coins with our profusive and effusive
monk, and emerge into the sunlight from the depths of the
dim and sinister middle ages.
During the evening I received an urgent call to visit one
of my little patients in the Hadassah hospital. It was a moon¬
less night, and on the road I stumbled into many groups of
soldiers and girls from the Meah Shearim quarter. Their ri¬
bald talk and their harsh laughter, in the shadow of sacred
ruins and under the divine starlit Palestinian sky, grated on
my heart and filled me with bitterness and disgust. Further
along down the road, I barely missed colliding with a group
of men with flowing corkscrew earlocks and long black caf¬
tans, walking slowly with their hands behind their backs,
gravely and ponderously discussing some knotty Talmudic
problems, referring to some man gored by some ox, both long
dead and mingled with the dust.
On my return from the sick-bed, I was thrust off the
roadway by a gang of drunken men in soldier’s uniforms,
“We're here today and we’re gone tomorrow,
So let’s have a good time, boys.”
Visited Mount Scopus (Mount of Olives) and the site of
the Hebrew University. During the drive we passed through
camps of British and Indian troops.
Hard by the road there stands a little old stone house
and as we drove by I caught a glimpse of a man with the
familiar long, curly earlocks and fuzzy beard, a talith Kotten
(a fringed garment) covering his chest and a soiled white skull
cap on his head. He was standing in front of the doorway,
arranging some fruit and other wares on a little stand.
Around the corner of the house, under an olive tree, a
with two soldiers.
Quite an interesting picture, that, on the road up
the mountain, with the City of Jerusalem spread out be¬
low us and the hills of Judaea rolling away wild and rugged
to the ravine of the Jordan valley and the towering heights
of Moab beyond. And yet that brief glimpse chilled and
saddened me, for it recalled to my mind disgusting, malodor¬
ous stories that are being retailed about from mouth to mouth
—tales of clandestine wine selling to soldiers in native homes
with girls and little children as pullers-in.
Passed a very restless night—tormented by mosquitos.
These pests make life a burden here. They breed in the cis¬
terns and sewage puddles and infest the land with chills and
One of my pet patients is little Itzchak, five years old
and looks like two. Pale, puny, wizened, emaciated and blind
—that’s Itzchak. Several months ago, when food was even
more scarce than now and pestilence in all shapes and forms
was raging among the wretched inhabitants, little Itzchak,
during an attack of dysentary, acquired also an inflammation
of the eyes. Weakened by starvation and illness, his vitality
could offer no resistance and the infection went through his
eyeballs like wildfire, leaving them shrunken, repulsive and
sightless. I am keeping him in the hospital because his
mother is dead, his father is somewhere within the Turkish
lines and nobody wants the puny, miserable little waif. When¬
ever I approach and speak to him, he invariably stretches out
his bony, withered little arms and whimpers “I want a piece
of bread.” Whether by day or by night, whether before or
after being fed, the pitiful cry, like the meow of a kitten, is
heard from his crib, “I want a piece of bread.” Months of
inhuman hunger and suffering have branded his little soul
with one dominant thought, one passionate desire—bread.
Today another idea has filtered into the dwarfed and stunted
mind. Several convalescent children were playing around his
crib, playing with picture books and blocks, and when I ap¬
proached I heard his thin and feeble cry. “Do you want some
bread, Itzchak?” I asked. “Nein, nein,” came the moaning
reply. “Do you want some cake?” And again "Nein, nein.”
“Well, what do you want, little Itzchak?” And the plaintive,
piping, wailing voice answered “Ich vill meine eigelech.” ("I
want my little eyes”).
A dreadful catastrophe was barely averted today when
the nurse in my clinic rushed up to me and seized the pen
poised in my hand on the verge of writing a prescription for
a patient. Thus, miraculously was I saved from committing
a heinous desecration of the Sabbath, which most assuredly
would have resulted in utter calamity for myself, for my pati¬
ent and for all Israel.
This was the Day of Atonement. Yesterday, Yom Kip-
pur eve, I attended Kol Nidre services at the great Chassidim
Synagogue within the old city. It is a beautiful and imposing
place of worship and the worshippers in Chassidic garb and
stockinged feet, stirred in my soul faint and vague memories
of childhood hours spent in the Chassidic Synagogue in the
little Russian town of my birth. They pray loudly, and they
pray long and intensely, swaying their bodies back and forth
and vibrating with emotion, as they tearfully bring their pleas
before the throne of the Creator,
The hanging lamps and the candles and burning wicks
dipped in oil make the dimness of the place more striking and
the white robed, swaying figures unearthly and uncanny. An
old and grey-bearded Chazan with a pleasant and musical voice
led in the services and six young men, frequently assisted by
the congregation, formed the choir.
I shall never forget this Kol Nidre night in the Holy City.
My heart was deeply touched by the solemnity and sincerity
written on the furrowed and care-lined faces around me.
Trouble and sorrow and want and misery have touched them
all. Fate has not dealt kindly with them nor their fellowmen
wisely or with genuine love and foresight. As my gaze wan¬
dered about the quaint and crude paintings on the wall it
rested on a partition of delicately-carved trellis-work high up
over the entrance, opposite the Oren-ha-Kodesh. The lattice
indicated the women’s gallery where the fair and gentle wor¬
shippers were quite safe and secure from masculine view.
Here they were placed, where there could be no peril of dis¬
tracting and diverting the minds of their lords and masters
from the straight and even tenor of their devotions, yet near
enough for their voices to blend and swell with those below
into a torrent of sound, a mighty chant rose to heaven, to
plead for mercy and forgiveness.
I spent the Day of Atonement visiting the places of wor¬
ship of the various Jewish sects here. My guide and escort
was Dr. F— and wherever we came we were received most
courteously and offered prayerbook and talith, which we ac¬
cepted for a few minutes and so availed ourselves of the oppor¬
tunity to participate in the services of Karaite, Yemenite,
Ashkenasi and Sephardi.
The Karaite Synagogue is a curious underground cham¬
ber reached by a long flight of steep stone stairs. The archi¬
tecture of the walls and ceilings indicates a history extending
back to the Middle Ages. It seems to have been intended
and used as a place of refuge from riot and persecution, as
well as a house of prayer. The floors are covered with beau¬
tiful and artistic oriental rugs and the stone walls are be¬
decked with hangings and tapestries. The reader or Chazan
is kneeling on the ground wrapped in his silken finely em¬
broidered talith and the rest of the congregation, a scant min-
yan are squatted on rugs and small pillows around him. The
women are in an adjoining chamber, out of sight, though not
out of sound.
The Karaites in Jerusalem are becoming fewer and fewer
and now number not more than two hundred souls. They are
drifting away from Judaism, are not on very friendly terms
with their Jewish brethren and seem to offer a favorable and
receptive soil for the work of the missionaries.
The Sepharadic Jews worship in a subterranean group of
cells said to be constructed on the site of the Synagogue of
Rabbi Jochana Ben Zacchia which stood here before the de¬
struction of the Temple. The devotees are sitting and reclin¬
ing on benches ranged around the walls droning out their
prayers in a sing-song monotonous chant. This congregation
has been located here for about three centuries, during which
time they have managed admirably to descend to the level of
Arab ignorance, indolence and indifference. Physically they
are more scrupulous about the cleanliness of their persons and
homes than the Ashkenazians.
We left the inner city and went outside of the wall to
visit a Yemenite Synagogue in the Meah Shearim district.
This consists of a very poor and humble building in a narrow
alley. The stone floor is covered with rugs and straw matting,
upon which the worshippers sit and squat in their stockinged
feet. The dark, finely chiselled faces form an interesting and
memorable picture. Lines of toil and care and illness are
graven deep; trachoma, malaria and tuberculosis are striking
seriously at the life and vitality of these simple, honest and
hard working folk, coming from the extreme south of the
Arabian desert to await the advent of the Messiah in the land
of their Fathers.
Before the war, moonlight excursions to the summit of
the Mount of Olives on foot, on horseback and on donkey
back were the common social diversions. The groups of
people were congenial men and women, youths and maidens
of culture, refinement and idealism. The moonlit night, the
vast starry sky and the picturesque historic land beneath, all
lent itself to song and romance. Now nearly all these folk are
gone. Many of the young men have enlisted. Many have
been conscripted by the Turk. Pestilence, hunger and exile
have carried off the greatest number and those who are left
behind are worn and exhausted, yet full of hope and confidence
that a better and happier time is nigh for the land and the
From the Mount of Olives at the site of the future Hebrew
University and on the spot where the Roman legions were
encamped we look eastward and see a bright long strip lying
between two gigantic walls of mountains. The Jordan River
and the Dead Sea are twenty-five miles distant but we behold
them distinctly and clearly bathed in the silver light. We turn
our gaze westward, and the Eternal Holy City is at our feet,
and sharply against the blue-black, star-studded firmament
stand out the domes of the mosques and the towers and spires
of the churches and convents, white and ghostly and ominous.
In stone and marble, in gold and silver have the creeds of
mankind wrought themselves temples here in the midst of the
most degraded poverty, the most repulsive misery, the darkest
and deepest ignorance and superstition. What temple shall
Israel fashion and erect? The cleaning, fructifying and re¬
storing of the land its fields and groves, its villages, towns
and cities. The healing and enlightening of the people—that
shall be the Temple, Israel shall build for himself here—higher,
vaster, nobler, more enduring than towers and domes, than
spires and minarets.
There are more than three thousand Jewish orphans in
Jerusalem. Many of these waifs have been found wandering
about the streets, half-naked, half-starved and homeless. Vice
and crime were stretching out their gaunt claws to grasp and
pluck them. Illness and deprivation were decimating them.
The question was then asked, what shall we do with these
unfortunates? And the powers in control of the funds decided
to place the great majority of the orphans in private homes,
preferably with relations and kindred. During the last few
days I have availed myself of an opportunity to visit and in¬
vestigate some of these homes. If you take the filthiest and
most impoverished tenement in New York as a standard of
comparison, you will say that the cellars and hovels and dens
wherein these orphans here are housed are the very depths
In my tour, I visited a group of Sephardic houses in the
suburbs, reached after a long walk through devious streets
and open spaces covered with rubbish and garbage. The
hovels are of stone and scraps of tin. We climbed a narrow,
broken staircase and peered into a small, dark room, from
which groans and moans were emerging. The floor was cov¬
ered with rags and bedding, on which was stretched an ema¬
ciated, sunken-eyed man, quaking and shaking in a violent
chill. Sitting beside him, swaying and moaning, is a dis¬
hevelled woman with an infant at her parched and dried-out
breast. The stench is abominable, the flies are intolerable and
the wonder is that these three wretched, sickly human beings
are able to exist at all. We grope our way up another flight
of the rickety staircase and there in a little den, which would
feel flattered to be called a dog kennel, we find an old hag of
a grandmother and two puny orphans, on whose support and
bringing-up, philanthropy is lavishing the munificent sum of
one pound per month.
In a short time the news of our arrival had spread
throughout the quarter and we were soon surrounded by a
swarm of old men, women and children, halt and lame, blind
and feeble, decrepit and half-famished. They begged for
medicine; they begged for bread and they begged for back¬
sheesh, and what little we had with us, we gave them, promis¬
ing to send medicine and food.
After a few tours of this sort, I have come to the convic¬
tion that the only salvation for these many hundreds of little
orphans, who are bound to play a not insignificant role in the
life and destiny of the city, is to remove them from the misery
and degradation of these “homes” and this environment, to
place them in institutions where their moral and physical'
well-being can be carefully fostered and safeguarded. What
a wonderful opportunity offers itself here for some wealthy
We celebrated the first day of Succoth here in Jerusalem
in a Succah created in the courtyard of our home in the Hotel
La France. We sat around a table eating of the fruits and
drinking of the wine of Palestine under a canopy of palm
branches and fig and olive leaves. From this green ceiling
are suspended figs, pomegranates and clusters of grapes and
the walls of our bower are adorned with rugs and pieces of
carpet and needlework, bedecked with ingeniously colored
paper and crude pictures depicting Biblical incidents and
Among the Judaeans serving in the battalion stationed in
Jerusalem there has been discovered a violin virtuoso. This
evening I had the pleasure of hearing him play at a soiree
arranged for him at the home of Mrs. X—. The home is
spacious and comfortable, looking out upon a large open space
dividing it from the imposing group of Russian churches, con¬
vents and hospitals. Some day this vacant, stone covered lot
will be transformed into a little park, a green oasis from the
edge of which one can look out over the valley of Jeoshaphat
and the mountains of Judaea, making a magnificent and un¬
Tht young soldier played divinely, a number of classic
and familiar airs, melodies which transported me far away to
my little home where I have so often enjoyed them in the
midst of my beloved family and my dear friends.
And what made the evening an especially happy and
memorable occasion was the news that the Turk was fleeing
before the victorious Briton—that Nablus and Nazareth had
been captured, that Haifa was closely invested and about to
yield and that nearly all the Jewish colonies were redeemed
from the yoke of Ottoman bondage.
The company present consist of what remains of the Jew¬
ish intelligencia of Jerusalem, a little band of ardent pioneers,
who are planting the seeds of artistic and intellectual growth in
this hungry and denuded land. The gathering is graced by
the presence of the military ruler. Governor Storrs, and a
group of attaches.
Every hour brings more joyful tidings of victories in
Samaria, in Galilee and beyond the Jordan. The British ad¬
vance seems irresistable and the Turk is yielding by the tens
of thousands or flying like chaff before the wind. Our own
beloved Colonies have been redeemed and hundreds of fami¬
lies who have been torn and rent asunder are rejoicing in re¬
union. Hosts of refugees are pouring into Jaffa and Jerusalem
from the evacuated territories. They are received with open
arms and provided with whatever food and shelter can be
obtained. How have they suffered during the last months
when the Turk revealed himself to them in all his repulsive
barbarism! Pestilence, hunger, cruelty and oppression have
been their lot and now, to be free and safe once again! You,
under the security of the American Eagle, just picture to
yourselves what it means.
Jerusalem has closed its schools and shops, has discon¬
tinued all its daily tasks and is out on the streets celebrating.
People embrace each other and with glistening eyes and up¬
lifted hands utter their thanks to the Almighty.
"Haifa is ours, beautiful Haifa! Yes, and Tiberias too,
There is a procession passing with violin and drum and
fife and guitar, a multitude of people—dark and swarthy
Yemenites, Jews from Bokhara, from Persia, from the Cau-
cases, Jews from Poland and Galicia, Chassidim in furred
shtreimlich and long shiny Kaftans, stooping, round-should¬
ered and sallow faced, with long curly earlocks and flowing
tangled beards, venerable Sephardic patriarchs in fezzes and
robes and girdles — a great multi-colored host — men and
women and children, marching and dancing and singing. My
heart is full and my hopes soar high for I see the stirring of
the dead bones.
Here come the Yemenites, dancing and chatting around a
fiddler, grinding out a plaintive Oriental melody. And close
on their heels follow the Sephardi several of them carrying
on their shoulders their white-bearded, saintly looking Chac-
And now behold our Maccabeans on horesback, vigorous,
robust youths and young men with keen look and manly poise,
clothed in blue and white uniforms and proudly waving aloft
the blue and white flag of the old-new Jewish nation.
I am borne along in the throng into the courtyard of the
Governor’s Palace. His Excellency appears on the balcony
and a solemn silence rests over the assembly, as the military
ruler of Jerusalem in a few sentences, spoken in pure Hebrew,
expresses his hope that the goal of our dreams and prayers
shall soon be attained.
Friday, September 27, 1919—Saw raindrops for the first
time since I am in Palestine. It was a brief midday shower
from one solitary milk-white, fleecy cloud in a sunny blue sky,
and the dry parched earth drank up the refreshing moisture,
Gangs of prisoners are being brought into Jerusalem;—
Turks, dispirited, ragged and starved out, and a few tall,
stolid, apparently well-fed Germans, staring back at the popu¬
lace with a haughty and unsubdued mien. There is a shifting
of troops as a result of the tremendous advance. Many Aus¬
tralian regiments have departed and Sikh troops coming
back from the campaign in the north, are overrunning the city.
It is an intensely interesting specatcle to watch these tall,
dark men with their silky black beards and finely cut features
majestically parading about the streets. As a striking con¬
trast we observe a force of Egyptian laborers marching by
singing their weird, monotonous chants. They hurry along
like a herd of cattle, goaded on by shouting overseers, each
one armed with an ugly and formidable cowhide whip, which
he does not hesitate to use very freely and frequently on his
men. As I watched them shuffling by barefooted on the
rough, stony road, carrying their heavy packs, I could fancy
their forefathers dragging the heavy granite blocks over the
roads of ancient Egypt for the building of the Royal Pyra¬
It is Simhath Torah today and I celebrated the holiday
with a visit to an orphange, conducted by a certain Madame.
The children are clean, well behaved and happy. They obey
every look and word of their “mother,” as they call the direct¬
ress of the asylum. There is a deep affection between them
and an eagerness on the part of the children to help. They
wait at table, assist in keeping the large, roomy house clean
and tidy and take care of their snowy white little beds in the
dormitories. When visitors come on holiday occasions, the
children do the entertaining, singing beautiful Hebrew melo¬
dies and dancing Palestinian dances. They all converse in
excellent Hebrew, and even one little tot of three, whom I
addressed in English, commanded me to "Daber beivrith”
I have been invited to several homes by local prominent
members of the community, to help celebrate the reunions
with members of their families, who have returned from Gali¬
lee upon the Turks defeat. I am rather loathe to go as I have
just received word that Lieutenant G—, a young Judaean,
with whom I formed a brief but intimate friendship while in
Egypt, has fallen in battle. And I am thinking of the many
other fresh graves on the hills and in the valleys of Samaria
and Galilee—graves marked by crude wooden crosses and
Mogin Dovids; graves of boys whose homes in Australia,
England and America are waiting for good tidings and wait¬
ing in vain, for there shall be no happy reunion.
In the company of some friends I went into the Bokharan
quarter to do some shopping. The Bokharan Jews have form¬
erly been the wealthiest in Jerusalem, but now they are desti¬
tute and many of them subsist on the little money derived
from the sale of their silks and household furnishings and
We enter a square courtyard, which had previously been
a very attractive garden, but now very much delapidated and
forlorn. Into this court open the doors and windows of about
a dozen one-story, stone dwellings. We are ushered into one
of these and squat on the rug-covered floor, while our hostess,
a very stout and rather pleasant-faced Jewess, dressed in a
flowery, silk kimona, brings out some material and spreads
it out before us. Meanwhile the entire neighborhood has be¬
come advised of our visit and purpose and women and girls
and old men troop in, each bearing a bundle which is gravely
deposited in a circle around us.
The bundles are opened and the contents displayed—
shimmering silks of brilliant color and pattern, kimonas and
kaftans, and boots of soft leather, covered with beautiful de¬
signs. The prices asked are exorbitant, but we have been
forewarned and we bid about one-half, and after much clatter
and chatter I secure several pieces with which to drape and
bedeck the dull, gray walls of my den.
Among the good people who crowded into the room to
show us their silks and tapestries and picturesque garments,
my friend, who guided us, pointed out one young Persian
Jewess, who is but fifteen years old, and who has been a divo-
cee for the last three years; another, a Bokharan, though but
eighteen years of age and looking like thirty, has given birth
to four children, of whom but one has survived.
This evening I had the refreshing experience of visiting
a real home and making friends with a very pleasant and in¬
teresting Russian family. Mr. P— is a gentleman who has
been in Palestine for more than twenty years, being the repre¬
sentative and administrator here for a very powerful and
wealthy Russian organization, supporting numerous schools,
hospitals and the magnificent Russian Hospital on the Mount
of Olives. He does not speak English and I know nothing of
Russian, but by the use of our eyes and shoulders and hands
we manage to understand each other quite well, though we
frequently have to appeal to my friend V. to help us out of
a difficult situation. Madam P— is a very hospitable and
refined lady, who still looks young and vivacious nothwith-
standing her silver white hair. She has a mania for card read¬
ing, in which occult science she is quite an adept, and while I
was being entertained by M. P—, poor V. was being initiated
into the mysteries of a very dismal and tragic future, in which
were revealed a blonde man, a tall dark man, a stout lady and
a fascinating vampire, all hopelessly entangled.
It is a glorious Sabbath afternoon and I have taken to
the open road for a long tramp to Mutza, a small Jewish col¬
ony, situated about six miles from Jerusalem and about a
thousand feet below it. The peace of the holy day is
on the highway and on the men and women and children lei¬
surely sauntering along or sitting and chatting by the road¬
side. There is a glint of bright, vivid color here and there,
where a rainbow-hued silk kerchief or a satin and velvet kaf-
tan makes a sharp and refreshing contrast to the dull gray
We pass a ruined tower with the impress of the Crusader
masons on its hoary and rugged walls. At its foot, a flock of
sheep are grazing and a shepherd boy is lying flat on his back
in the shade of a tall and gnarled olive tree, like a Sultan
taking his afternoon siesta. The sun is descending behind the
clouds on the horizon, tinting them scarlet and silver and
bronze—such colors as no human artist ever had the imagina¬
tion to conceive or the audacity to picture. Now the sun has
disappeared behind the hilltops and twilght is rapidly envelop¬
ing the road and its wayfarers, the little silent villages and
huts nestling on the mountain sides and in the valleys deep
The evening star shines out brightly and very soon the
heavens are studded with the glittering, silver points and
night has overtaken us. Lights twinkle mysteriously in the
distance like will-o’-the-wisps and from somewhere in the val¬
ley a crooning Arabian song ascends to us far up on the road
winding around the mountain. The night is moonless, but the
pale soft light of the stars guides us kindly on our way until
we reach Mutza, where, in the cottage of one of the colonists,
we are accorded a hearty welcome and are treated to a royal
repast of bread and cheese and curdled milk.
While passing one of the military hospitals here, my
attention was attracted by an old man whom I had operated
on for cataract and a young woman in shawl and kerchief,
sitting on the stone stairs, wringing their hands and carrying
on a piteous lamentation. On questioning them I found the
cause of their trouble to be the following:
The son-in-law of the old man, the husband of the young
woman, assisting, or rather leading, in the wailing, had been
run down by a military automobile and was in the hospital,
apparently dying. “Now, how can we procure from him an
ante-mortem divorce, so that the childless young wife shall
*ot, according to the Jewish ‘Chalutza’ law, have to marry the
husband’s younger brother, a worthless scamp in Galicia.
This was the tale of woe unfolded to me. I felt that I
should do whatever possible for these poor people, so I entered
the hospital and was led to the cot, whereon lay outstretched
the victim of the Juggernaut of modern civilization. To make
a long story short, I found the young husband very comfort¬
able and very much alive, in fact, in no danger as yet of giving
up the ghost, so I decided not to broach the subject of the
divorce, lest it do him more mischief than the automobile. I
went out and reassured my weeping friends at the hospital
gate and they departed very happy and very grateful, hurling
blessings at my unprotected head.
The Bokharan quarter in the suburbs 4 if Jerusalem is
built on an eminence sloping far down into a Gilley, merging
into a plain and running up again into hills and mountains
to the distant horizon beyond. The women are bedecked in
silks of the gaudiest and most brilliant colors, matching the
fantastic tints of the setting sun on the cloud-f)gbke<g sky.
As I pass through I hear the welcojpusr “Shsflom” from
every side, binding and knitting firmly and closely the Jew
of the east and the Jew of the west.
I leave the Bokharan district by way of a narrow, stony
goat path and clamber down into the valley, where are pitched
the camps of thousands of Hindus with their hordes of camels
and asses and horses. I pass a good many evidences of exca¬
vations. At the bottom of a deep pit, I find the entrance to an
ancient rock tomb. The massive granite portal is ornamented
with sculptured festoons and garlands. Through this entrance
almost choked with debris and rubbish, I crawled into a large
quadrangular chamber hewn out of solid rock. The walls
contain niches or “Kokim,” where the corpses were placed,
and two low narrow passageways lead into adjoining and
similar chambers. The floor of this cave tomb is strewn with
the bones of animals who evidently have slipped and fallen
into the pit and then crawled into this chamber of death,
whence they never more emerged.
Every morning and afternoon on my way to and from
the hospital, I pass under the barred and grated windows of
the prison. And at one of these apertures, high up in the stone
Waif, there is a figure crouching, pressed against the iron bar¬
rier. The face is dark and wild and young, framed in jet
black hair and the eyes rove wistfully and pleadingly—some
daughter of the desert, perhaps the child of a Bedouin chief¬
tain, the sweetheart of a wild rider of Moab, caught like a
little bird in the net of Law and Order, the ways of which are
not her ways and the signs of which are strange and inscrut¬
On the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, situated
on a hilltop overlooking a vast expanse of country, is the
Monastery of Tantour. I spent one very pleasant Sabbath
afternoon within its cloistered walls.
From Jerusalem to this Monastery is a two hour uphill
walk and with the fiery sun beating down on the wayfarer, the
end of the journey is a very welcome relief.
We arrived at lunch time and the monks were sitting
around the table awaiting us. They all rose as we entered
and cordially gave us greeting. Then we sat down to the re¬
past. The food was plentiful, varied and savoury, and the
brothers did not seem to suffer from lack of appetite, particu¬
larly as there was plenty of wine on the table and the bottles
were not put to shame, by neglect. One good, rotund friar,
seated near me, emptied several tumblers and the others
seemed to be keeping pace with him. After the meal and the
grace, we sat under a cool, arched portico for an hour. Then
we were conducted through the building.
What interested me particularly was the policlinic in
which the monks (one of them a physician) administered to
the physical ills of the villagers and fellahis in the vicinity.
The facilities were very poor and the treatments rather crude,
but very conscientious and devoted.
We were also initiated into the mysteries of a monastic
wine cellar. Here we were introduced to the fountains,
whence gushed the delicous and exhilirating draughts we had
quaffed in the dining hall. Rows upon rows' of casks, each of
a certain kind and time of vintage. We were obliged to
sample a variety of these rather than offend our good and
And so the day waned and the twilight approached, and
we bade farewell to the holy, hospitable brethren and to their
quaint Mediaeval monastery and journeyed back to Jerusalem
in the refreshing coolness of the night, which had rapidly
descended upon us. There is nothing more inspiring, more
conducive to reflection and spiritual peace, than a walk on
the Bethelem road in the silence and mystery of the night with
the full moon and the myriad of stars overhead and the fields
and stones and the houses and ruins, and the tents and camels
and the turbaned men, and the distant hills and mountains,
all sharply outlined in silver light and pitch black shadow.
I am in the habit of taking long walks in the evening.
The nights are cool and refreshing and afford a grateful re¬
lief after the day’s heat and toil. And it keeps me out of my
little room, where memories and yearnings and longings are
constantly tormenting me. There is no remedy for acute
homesickness like a long brisk walk over rough, stony roads
and through devious byways in the stillness and solitude of
This evening my rambles led me far away from the accus¬
tomed paths out into a wilderness of stony fields and dark
mysterious Arab dwellings. I felt fatigued and sat down to
rest on a huge boulder by the roadside. Suddenly I heard
hurrying foosteps approaching and soon I discovered two
human figures running towards me. At a distance of about
fifty paces they perceived me and stopped in their tracks. For
a few brief moments I could hear them excitedly exchanging
some words'. Almost at the same time I became aware of
voices and footsteps coming nearer and nearer. The men in
the road plunged over the stone wall across the fields. Their
pursuers were now visible in the gloom and they followed
the direction taken by the fugitives, yelling and cursing.
I sat as one frozen to the stone and watched this weird
spectacle and listened to the unearthly blood curdling sounds.
Then came the red flash of a gun and a sharp report, then
another and another, followed by an inhuman, agonizing
shriek—and all was silent once more.
My destination this afternoon was Bethlehem, a distance
of about six miles from Jerusalem. On the way I stopped at
Rachael’s Tomb by the roadside. It is a small square, dome
covered stone building, which has been hallowed for many
years by the footsteps of devout pilgrims of the three great
world religions. It is supposed to mark the burial site of our
matriarch and its stones are constantly moistened with the
tears of those who come here to pour out their bitter grief
and pray for Rachael’s intercession on behalf of Israel.
A few minutes walk from this mausoleum there stands a
beautiful villa, the residence of a family of Arab Christians,
six brothers who have amassed an immense fortune in trade
with America and France. I have been treating some mem¬
bers of this family and they have frequently importuned me
to pay them a visit, so I dropped in on them this afternoon
while on my way to Bethlehem.
The house is a miniature Alhambra, a magnificent work
of Moorish architecture and the interior is fitted up and furn¬
ished like a French chateau. It consists of salons and cham¬
bers and boudoirs and nurseries and bathrooms—forty-two
compartments in all, built around a courtyard, enclosed by a
circle of red and white Saracen columns.
There are fifty-four souls living in this eastern palace.
They all eat at the same table and the expenses are paid out
of the same strong box. The household duties are appor-
tioned off among the ladies in such manner that each one hat
certain tasks and responsibilities, on which no one is permitted
to infringe. One purchases the foodstuffs, another the cloth¬
ing for all the women and children, so that if Madam M—
desires a new hat from Paris, she must speak to sister-in-law
about it, as hubby has nothing to say in the matter.
In the same manner, the family income is pooled into a
common fund, in which all have a share and from which every
expense is paid out.
I was introduced to each of the six brothers and found
them a pleasant and congenial lot. There is an air of culture
and refinement about them, which expresses strongly the
French influence with which they all seem to be veneered.
The oldest brother, a grey-bearded, stout and smooth-
mannered gentleman of about sixty is the head of the family,
and I marvelled at the almost reverent courtesy with which
the other brothers comported themselves towards him.
Several of the children were trotted out and gravely in¬
troduced to me. They are healthy looking and well behaved,
dark-eyed, little rascals and they obtain their schooling at tie
French Monastery nearby.
The ladies of the household were not trotted out to be
introduced, so I am unable to tell you how they look and what
We were treated to tiny cups of thick, fragrant, black
coffee and to “Arak,” a delicious liqueur distilled from grapes.
Then in the company of one of the brothers, we proceeded on
our way to Bethlehem.
This city of hoary antiquity and hallowed memory is
perched on the shoulder of a mountain, from which one sees
the Jordan valley and the hills of Moab. The surrounding
country shows patches of cultivation, though many of the
fields have been ravaged and many of the olive trees uprooted
by the Turkish troops, during their last days in this vicinity.
We walked through the crooked, narrow streets and alleys of
Bethlehem, looking into the dwellings and peering into the
dark dungeon-like stalls used as shops. In one of these, we
found a number of women, squatting on the ground kneading
dough and shovelling the kneaded lumps into a stone oven to
bake. The shop is very dark and filled with smoke, which
vainly attempts to escape by the doorway and by a small
aperture in the opposite wall.
The women of Bethlehem wear a peculiar, quaint attire
and a broad white head-dress, which sets off the native charm,
and beauty, with which I found many of them quite strikingly
After making a tour of the town, we entered the Church
of the Nativity, an old Basilica, said to have been erected in
the third century by Queen Helena of Byzantium, over the
birthplace of Jesus.
In the interior of the Church are two rows of magnificent
columns, hewn out of single solid blocks of granite.
We find that here also the Catholic, Greek and Armenian
Sects have divided off the sacred places amongst themselves,
not without bitter, and occasionally bloody feuds. Hundreds
of lamps are suspended from the ceiling and numerous tapers
serve to accentuate the sombre gloom of the place.
We are led into a grotto and shown the exact spot where
Jesus was supposed to have been born. Then we are lead to
the spot where the babe was laid away in the manger, while
the three wise men of the east, who had been guided hither
by the Star of Bethlehem, knelt around and worshipped. We
are also shown the identical place where the Angel Gabriel
appeared to Mary and commanded her to flee to Egypt with
Joseph and the infant for fear of Herod’s wrath and murder¬
ous malice. And then we descend into the long and narrow
and labyrinthine gallery, cut out of the rock which leads
through numerous grottos used as Catacombs by the Ancients,
and through which the fugitive little family made its escape
out of the city and out of reach of the swords of Herod’s
Late this afternoon I permitted myself a brief respite
from my clinic and sallied forth on a cross-country hike. As
I passed the Damascus Gate and turned up the road leading
to Jericho, I was accosted by a little Arab urchin, “Mister,
wanna see Solomon’s quarries?” “Sure,” said I, and he led
me into an enormous grotto, the entrance to which is right
underneath the Jerusalem Wall. It is a vast cavern with laby¬
rinthine passages and is said to have supplied much of the
stone for Solomon’s Temple.
Issuing forth from these subterranean regions my little
guide kept close to my heels. “Wanna see Mount Olive?”
“Sure,” said I, “lead me to it;” and so I made another trip
to the venerable Mount with my little gamin trotting before
He is a dark-haired, dark-eyed, very dark-faced little lad¬
die, barefooted and bareheaded and smiling continually be¬
tween shreds of broken English. I elicited from our con¬
versation that his name was Ibrahim and that his age is
twenty-two, which by a careful cross examination, I reduced
to twelve; that his father was in the army and his mother was
dead and he ate and slept wherever luck permitted.
From the Mount of Olives, I viewed the ever- fascinating
panorama of the brown, rolling mountains of Judaea and of
the long, deep cleft through which the Jordan River flows and
empties into the Dead Sea, seen clearly and distinctly like a
sheet of blue glass in the dull, tawny frame of the hills. My
guide stands near and evidently relishes my keen interest,
which he has been instrumental in satisfying. He points a
little black finger towards a cluster of buildings down in the
valley eastward. “Wanna see Bethany?” “Indeed I do,”
said I, having rested sufficiently and being eager to continue
So down we scrambled for a good long hour over a nar¬
row winding path, full of jagged rocks and stones. Ibrahim
sprang around on his bare feet like a mountain goat and I lum¬
bered and slid along after him in my heavy boots and uni-
form, envying him his thin, airy kimona, fastened with a nar¬
row sash around the waist.
I finally find myself in the Village of Bethany, having
been providentially spared from sprains and fractures in my
I stop for a few minutes to be shown the Tomb of Laza¬
rus and the exact spot where he was resurrected by Jesus. I
also had the pleasure and sacred privilege of standing on the
veritable stone whence Jesus mounted his donkey while on his
way to the Holy City. I have to confess that it is indis¬
tinguishable to me from the myriads of other stones with
which this naked land is covered, but tradition has put its fin¬
ger on this particular one and I do not propose to fight tradi¬
tion, especially on a hot day like this.
Bethany is a replica of the typical Arab village of crooked,
narrow, dusty paths and low stone huts without air or light,
and full of filth, smoke, human beings, animals and vermin.
On the way back, we stopped at the Garden of Gethse-
mane, situated at the foot of the Mount of Olives, and one of
the most hallowed spots in Christian history. A genial and
florid Franciscan friar leads us through this beautiful and
tenderly guarded oasis, plucking some passion flowers for me
and pointing out eight gnarled and venerable olive trees, which
are reputed to have stood here twenty centuries ago, when
Jesus sought refuge and shelter in Gethsemane. After resting
here, and refreshing myself with a long draught of cool, crystal-
clear, spring water, I bade farewell to the friar, slipping a coin
into his open palm and depart.
I ascend towards Jerusalem, just as the setting sun is
riotously and fantastically painting the domes and minarets
against the horizon with all the colors of his rainbow palette,
and the weird, monotonous chant of the Muezzin floats down
over the valley.
Miss S—, bustling and benevolent, has been devoting
practically all of her time during the last few weeks to the
distribution of clothing among the poor of Jerusalem and the
refugees from the north, and she has been working herself
thin in her efforts to be helpful. Recently an incident occurred
which did not at all replenish her waning enthusiasm.
A grand fair has been held in the Bokharan quarter, to
which the Arabs from the surrounding suburbs and villages
flocked in large numbers, and at which various and sundry
articles of attire were exchanged for paltry gold and silver.
And now many Turks and Arabs are parading through the
streets of Jerusalem dressed in garments which had been gen¬
erously donated and zealously gathered by charitable ladies
in America for poor Jews and Jewesses in Jerusalem, who had
obtained them wherewith to clothe their nakedness and then
had sold them to the children of Esau for a mess of pottage.
I visited the home of Mr. R—, one of the foremost Jew¬
ish citizens of Jerusalem. He is a scholarly gentleman, very
much devoted to the collection of coins and pottery. I was
initiated into the mysteries of his curio cabinet, containing all
sorts of Palestine coins and some beautiful specimens of
Phoenician glassware, as well as other relics of antiquity.
While examining his coins, the first one I was shown dated
from the reign of Simon Maccabeus about 135 B. C. It bears
the representation of a palm branch and a pomegranate on
one side and on the reverse side a cluster of grapes encircled
by an inscription which reads “In the year of the redemption
of Zion.” Other coins of later date also bear Hebrew inscrip¬
tions on both sides and engravings of palms, pomegranates,
grapes and garlands of flowers.
But as we examine the coins of succeeding rulers in Israel
we find the foreign alien influences becoming stronger and
finally prevailing. Here we pick up a coin with Hebrew on
one side and Greek on the other, and on one side there is the
unhallowed representation of a human head. And now we are
holding a coin of Herod’s time, bearing no Hebrew inscrip¬
tion at all, but Roman on both sides, with a Roman patrician
head on one surface and the figure of Victory on the other.
Then with the destruction of the Temple and the fall
of the Jewish state, comes a hiatus followed by Barcochba’s
short lived and ill-fated revolution in the second century of
the Christian era. The coins of this tragic epoc are Roman
coins with Hebrew letters and the palm branch and pome¬
granate and cluster of grapes, stamped over the Roman in¬
scriptions and over the figures of Roman Caesars and gods.
The last coins of this series bear the head and name of Em¬
peror Hadrian on one side and on the other “Elia Capitolina,”
the new pagan name for the razed and ravaged Jerusalem and
i bound and kneeling figure of Judaea under a Roman shield.
This evening a knock at the door of my room admitted
Dr. Moshe Elijah Yakob. He is a tall, spare man, of striking
Semitic aspect, very dark skin and long flowing, jet-black
hair and beard. He wears a fez of black felt on his head and
the rest of his attire does not require much mention, except
to note that it is worn, frayed, shabby and patched. He al¬
ways carries a Bible fondly clasped under his arm and his
specialty is the Prophets, with whom he is in close and inti¬
I usher him into my den and offer him a chair, which he
accepts with a profound Oriental bow, with his hand pressed
over his heart, while he murmurs “Dear sir, I hope I am not
disturbing your honored and precious privacy.” He comes
out of the mysterious East, and he is the dreamy, visionary
East incarnate, though he speaks English faultlessly. He
was born in Persia of an ancestry dating back lineally to the
ten lost tribes of Israel, some of whom were transported by
Sennacherib from Samaria to Shushan. “Here is a letter, dear
sir, which I wrote to General Allenby a month before the
present victory and therein I prophecy the complete down¬
fall of the Turk in the day in which it actually took place.
The finger of God is writing now on the tablets of Destiny,
but we need the key and the true interpretation which can
only be found in the Holy Word and particularly in the Pro¬
“In the time of our Temple, the Lord revealed His will
through his messengers and through the Urim vethomin.
Ah! you do not know what that means, dear sir: I will tell
you. The Kabballah teaches us that the breastplate worn by
the High Priest, consisting of twelve stones, one for each tribe
of the nation, was the oracle whereby the Most High deigned
to communicate His pleasure and commands to His children.
Each stone bore the name of a tribe and in these stones were
contained all the letters of our Alphabet. At certain times of
crises or calamity in our existence, the letters would burn and
glow like fiery flame and flash forth the message of the Lord.
But since the downfall of the Temple, the Almighty has
turned his face from us and His children have not heard their
“But now a new time is coming; in fact, dear sir, it has
already arrived, for, verily, I am convinced by all the signs
and prophecies in the Word of God that the time of the
Messiah is here. The spirits of our Tzadikim, our patriarchs,
our saints and holy men shall descend and dwell with us and
guide us to a higher and purer, yea, to a diviner life.
“How shall we act? I shall answer you, dear sir,—in
two ways. First, we must turn our faces to all the people of
the earth with love and tolerance and brotherliness, not to
sneer, not to deride, not to revile, not to scorn or profane.
And second, we must search within us for him who shall come
with a message from the Holy name. And we shall hearken
unto his voice and he shall lead us like a column of cloud by
day and like a pillar of fire by night. And then shall all the
scattered children be gathered together and the Word of God
shall once again go forth from Zion.”
A communication has just been brought in bearing the
glorious tidings that an armistice has been declared by the
warring nations. It means that the Hun has confessed him-
self vanquished and peace is near at hand.
I walk out into the city—the dark, silent, mysterious city
with the wonderful, starry, moonlit heaven above and the
mud, sticky and slimy underfoot. Here and there I meet
groups of drunken soldiers, parading the streets unsteadily,
singing and yelling. Jerusalem seems so benumbed with
suffering and terror that it is huddling within barred doors
and behind closed windows' on this eventful night, when the
message of peace and hope and salvation is resounding
throughout the world, flashing from mountain and hilltop and
valley, from city and village and hamlet.
The window of my operating room looks out upon a magnifi¬
cent view over the mountains and valleys of Judea to the deep
canyon of the Jordan and the basin of the Dead Sea. The sky
overhead is an endless kaleidoscope of color and form and beauty
and the sun dips into the Mediterranean Sea behind a panorama
of cloud and flame.
But near my window there are likewise many things of in¬
terest and attraction. One of these comes in the form of a thin,
small, withered man in ragged kaftan and tattered gray-white
knee-breeches, his face covered with a long grizzled beard and
a pair of curly corkscrew earlocks, straggling down to his neck.
He comes every afternoon just when the sun is concentrating
its warmth and tenderness on the stone pavement in the little
corner beside my window. He spreads his patched and thread¬
bare cloak on the flagstones and seats himself with his back against
the wall, drinking in the sunshine and warmth which is so pleasant
on this chilly autumn day.
After making himself as comfortable as a king on his throne,
he takes out a heavy, yellow, well-thumbed volume of the Talmud
and commences in a droning, sing-song chant to unravel and
unfold the intricacies and mysteries of the lore which was bom
in this very sunshine, in this very ancient land.
One of my patients today was a tall, patriarchal Arab. He
was brought in by his wife, a much younger and very attractive
looking woman, despite the fantastic tattooing of her chin and
cheeks. She told me that as he was rapidly losing his vision,
she was seriously contemplating changing him for a younger man
with one excellent eye, as the opportunity was just now offering
itself to her. Before transferring herself to the new affinity,
she would like to know whether I could operate on the man's
eyes and make them as good as new, for in that case she would
continue to retain him as her lord and master, the other gentle
man being blessed with but one good eye in his head.
Many of the dreams and tragedies enacted on the stage or
depicted in books are considered impossible and the creations sole¬
ly of inflamed imaginations, yet I have witnessed today the culmi¬
nation of a tragedy which rivals anything ever dreamt of or
written about by poets or dramatists.
The family X—, living in Jerusalem, consisted of three sons
and one daughter, as dark and beautiful and desirable as the
Shulamith which the poet king glorified in song. Two of the
sons were drafted into the Turkish army, sent to the front and
The remaining son was kept hidden away and by the occa¬
sional application of backsheesh was left unmolested.
There is a certain saintly-looking, greybearded Jerusalemite,
who always travels around on a little donkey and who is so ob¬
sequious that he almost tumbles off his mount as he bows to
me whenever I meet him. He has the eyes of a ferret and the
conscience of a jackal. Before the Turkish evacuation of the
Holy City, he made hay while the sun shone, secretly denouncing
many Jews to the authorities and helping them to make up pro¬
scription lists for execution and exile, as well as informing against
those who were evading the horrors and barbarities of Turkish
The X— family fell into his path. That two of the sons had
been offered up did not matter. He demanded hush-money and
they gave him the last few coins they had. Then he demanded
more and they gave him the furniture of their home. Finally he
pointed a crooked finger at the girl. “I am an old and unhappy
widower; here is one who can comfort and cheer my declining
days.” The mother shrieked out her curses on his head and the
Turkish ruffian soldiery came and tore away from her arms her
last surviving son.
He was a frail, delicate lad, the idol of the home and the pet
of his sister. She frequently came to see him in the camp on
the outskirts of the city, risking the leers and insults and offensive
attentions of the brutal officers. One day she met the old informer
in camp. He and her brother’s superior were engaged in deep
and earnest conversation and when they noticed her, they nudged
each other while the old fiend grinned diabolically and the Turk
That day in her presence the brother was whipped unmerci¬
fully by the officer until the blood trickled from the bruises on
liis face and he dropped fainting to the ground. The girl was
hysterical and frantic in her pleas for pity. The officer called her
into his tent and gave her the vile and dishonorable condition on
which she could secure her brother’s release. She fled from his
sight and came to her home, wild and distracted.
On her next visit to the camp she was again compelled to
witness the torturing of the lad, which had now become a daily
occurrence. The officer again called her into his tent and once
more mentioned the price which she was to pay for her brother's
freedom. This time the half crazed girl yielded and that nigiit
the brother was smuggled out of the camp not knowing why or
whither, and the sister went home broken and dishonored.
The infant bom to this unfortunate girl has been adopted
by a bachelor in our midst. The mother is wending her way
downward and the brother has nevermore been heard of.
At sunrise today I drove out of Jerusalem for Hebron, taking
with me an assistant and a nurse, as well as medical and surgical
supplies for a day’s work in “El Chalil,” as it is known among
the natives—the City of the Friend of God. It is a distance of
about twenty-five miles, mainly uphill along a country of majestic
views replete with sites of sacred and hoary antiquity. Some¬
where in these valleys or on these hillsides through which we are
now speeding in our automobile the sons of Jacob pastured their
father’s flocks and little Joseph in his coat of many colors came
to tell them his marvelous dreams. Here near Bethlehem, is the
field where Ruth gleaned in the wake of the reapers until Boaz
saw her and culminated the pastoral romance by making her his
Near Bethlehem and just beyond Rachael’s Tomb the road
bifurcates and we follow the branch on the right, leading to
Hebron. The country hereabouts is very fertile, the hillsides are
terraced and covered with olive groves and vineyards. Further
on we pass the Pools of Solomon, immense reservoirs, guarded
by the sombre ruins of an old Saracen castle. These pools re¬
ceived their water supply from the mountain springs abounding
in this vicinity and transmitted it by aqueducts of rock to Jerusa¬
Nearby there stands a gigantic solitary gateway, the sole
vestage of a powerful fortress built here by the Crusaders.
After an enchanting and unforgettable ride of two hours we
enter Hebron, a forlorn and dilapidated Arab city of tumbling,
crumbling stone dwellings and narrow, crooked streets, leading up
and down steep and slippery inclines. We stop for a few minutes’
refreshment at a wayside tavern, proudly flaunting the name of
“Oak of Abraham.” It is presided over by a heavily bearded,
one-eyed ogre, and its filth and wretchedness are indescribable.
Hence we proceed to the Jewish Hospital, which is now
vacant and which the retreating Turks have stripped of every
thing which could be stolen, ripped or torn away. Here we re¬
main for several hours examining and treating the sick and ailing
who flock from every direction as soon as they hear of our ar¬
rival. A large portion of the population is afflicted with malaria
or trachoma or both, and these scourges are fostered and aggra¬
vated by the prevailing filth and extreme poverty.
We visit the Jewish schools, where I find about 40 % of the
two hundred children examined, suffering from trachoma. I do
what I can for these unfortunates, with the help of their intelli¬
gent and conscientious teachers, who spare no effort or energy
or sacrifice in their work against tremendous odds and in face of
difficulties and hardships.
We wind up our day in El Chalil by visiting the giant old
tree, called the “Oak of Abraham,” far advanced in decay and
said to have been planted by our Patriarch Abraham, in front
of his tent where the angels of the Lord appeared to him and fore¬
told the birth of Isaac.
We also pay a visit to the Cave of Machpelah, the burial
place of Abraham and Sarah. We cannot enter the cave, as
it is jealously guarded by the fanatical Moslems against all in¬
fidels. We have to content ourselves with viewing the imposing
mosque, built over the cave, at the walls of which pious Jews and
Jewesses come to pray and pour out their hearts to the sainted
We walk in the direction of Mount of Olives, but before
we descend into the valley, we turn into a road on our right
and pass along in the shadow of a stone wall until we reach
a rough wooden gate with a heavy iron ring in its centre, which
we grasp and hammer vigorously against the rickety door. It
is opened by a little, black, bleary-eyed Arab urchin and we enter.
Here we find ourselves in a great open enclosure and we are
standing on a platform at the top of a broad stone staircase. We
descend the stairs to a depth of about thirty feet to an opening in
the rock wall facing us, leading into an immense cistern used in
ancient times for bathing and ablution by those who visited their
dead in these rock catacombs, called the Tombs of the Kings.
We enter through an arched gateway on our left into a colos¬
sal roofless arena, hewn out of the solid rock. From this open
arena, we grope our way into a series of subterranean chambers
connecting with each other, in the walls of which are the
“Kockim” or oven-like recesses for the reception of the sarcophagi
of the dead. At the feet of many of these “Kockim” are other
smaller recesses for the sarcophagi of children* which were buried
at the feet of their parents. Along the walls of these ancient
catacombs are small niches for the oil lamps which were con¬
stantly kept burning in the dwellings of the departed.
Tradition relates that in the century before Christ, there dwelt
in Adiabene, a land across the Jordan, a certain Queen Helena,
who embraced Judeaism and came with her entire family, her
retinue and her household, to live in Jerusalem. It was for this
family, that this colossal monument was hewn and carved into
the bowels of the mountain. In this arena-like court, Queen
Helena lived and prepared for death on the very threshold of
her grave. And when she breathed her last, her children buried
her in their subterranean tomb, reverently placing her sarcophagus
in one of the “Kockim,” which we have examined today by the
feeble, flickering light of four candles.
It is just one year ago that the British vanguard entered
Jerusalem. We celebrated this memorable anniversary at the
home of Prof. Boris Schatz this evening. The elite of Jerusalem
were conspicuously and vociferously present. Mrs. Schatz is a
highly cultured lady and a charming hostess and the Professor is
always beaming goodnature and geniality on everyone around
The reception took place in the Atelier and between admiring
and studying the panels and paintings and bronzes and watching
the expressive faces and listening to the conversation buzzing about
me, I took no notice of the flight of time. As the evening pro¬
gressed, the stiffness and formality wore off and very soon all
were singing or humming Hebrew melodies and dancing Pales¬
tinian roundelays. It was a genuinely joyful and not to be for¬
gotten evening, a few hours of cordial, friendly social intimacy
and not a single speech delivered to mar the festive occasion.
After a day’s work in Hebron, we started home in our ma¬
chine. It was rapidly growing dark and the night would be moon¬
less. which did not trouble me as the chauffeur-mechanic-engineer,
who chaperons me on these trips, assured me that our lights were
excellent and so they were for about five minutes; in fact, they
were too bright to last, and suddenly they expired without a warn¬
ing. Overhead hung a very black and starless sky, before us lay
a long rough road over the mountains of Judea, full of dangerous
and abrupt windings and turnings, and behind us reposed Hebron,
in which there is a hotel graced by the name of “Eschel Abra¬
ham,’* presided over by a one-eyed ogre and teeming with all sorts
I never reached a decision so quickly in my life—barely a
fleeting moment I tarried and hesitated and in the next instant,
my grinding, pounding, crackling, groaning, puffing and whistling
Ford was swallowing up the road as fast as its wheels could
carry it. Many were the asses and camels I missed by a hairs-
breadth, many were the profound and eloquent curses hurled after
us by the Arab muleteers. Many were the steep precipices and
yawning chasms from which our Guardian Angel saved us from
being flung into, and many were the cliffs and boulders and tower¬
ing rocks that he thrust aside for us as we nosed our way through
the darkness and the dense mountain fog, until we safely reached
the Gates of Jerusalem.
This is a day that will forever remain as one of the mile¬
stones in the history of mankind and particularly as the inaugura¬
tion of a new epoch in the life of Palestine and the Jews. It
marks the dawn of peace upon a bloodstained and mutilated world.
It commemorates the triumph of the British forces over the
Turks at the gates of the Holy City one year ago. It recalls the
victory of the Maccabean revolution against Antrochus and his
legions and the liberation of Israel from the yoke of the oppres¬
sor, and moreover it is Thanksgiving Day in America, with in¬
finitely more to be thankful for than at any other period in the
life of our Republic.
About two hour’s walk from Jerusalem lies Ain Karim—“The
Well of the Merciful”—a beautiful village, nestling on a hillside,
peopled by Russian nuns and pilgrims.
We start out on our journey about ten in the forenoon. It
is a delicious day, mild and sunny, and we swing along the wind¬
ing, climbing road, over terraced mountainsides, looking down
into Arab hamlets and villages in the valleys. Through the middle
of the valley, following its course, runs a broad, shallow, stone-
filled ditch, which is the dried up bed of a little river that becomes
swollen and torrential during the rainy season. Here and there
we see huge mounds of stones and rocks, which serve as watch
towers for the keepers of the fields. And we are reminded of the
Prophet’s exclamation, when all around him was desolation and
despair and darkness and death, “Oh! watnhman, watchman,
what of the night!”
Soon a turn in the road brings into view a little town situated
on the slope of a mountain. It is different from anything I have
seen in Palestine. Here are whitewalled houses and gabled roofs
and steeples and spires in a setting of deep green cypresses and
olive and pine. It is Ain Karim, a little cluster of Russian monas¬
teries and convents and villas and little stone huts. It is like an
exotic plant brought from Ukraine or Crimea and planted on a
brown stony mountain in Judea.
Before entering Ain Karim, we pass through a squalid, rather
picturesque Arab village, nestling at its feet. There are several
springs of water here and wherever the living fluid bathes the
soil, it becomes clothed in a rich verdant green, which stands out
strikingly amidst the brown and gray stones. Everywhere are
little gardens and vegetable patches and their vivid green con¬
trasts beautifully with the yellow and blue splotches moving hither
and thither wherever the Arabs are weeding and hoeing.
At the outskirts of this village we began to ascend into Ain
Karim. Here we meet good-natured, squat, broad-faced Russian
peasant women, who greet us in their friendly fashion.
We are very hungry and tired and on making inquiries we
are guided up a steep, narrow, rocky path to a little stone one-
story house, hidden and tucked away among shrubs and bushes
and trees. Here we are introduced to Matushka Anna Mik¬
hailovna, a happy soul in spite of the tell-tale lines of care on her
face and the yellow skin and the deep sunken blue eyes. She seats
us at a little table in front of the doorway of her home, over¬
looking a magnificent view. A samovar is soon humming and
singing and a simple but wholesome and plentiful repast is placed
before us. Anna Mikhailovna is running back and forth urging
us to eat and drink and telling us in snatches, about her distant
home on the steppe and about her life here.
Friend V— speaks Russian fluently and the Matushka
needs no coaxing. Many and interesting are the things and
events and experiences she talks about and occasionally she
sighs wistfully and shakes her head sadly. I gather that
something deep and tragic has broken Anna’s life and driven
her from her home to the seclusion and asceticism and hard¬
ships of her hermit hut in Ain Karim.
The sun is sinking behind the mountain tops and the
twilight shadows are deepening and lengthening. From our
little table in front of the hut, we gaze out upon a scene of
vast and impressive beauty and grandeur, a scene wild and
rugged and strange and sacred ; rolling brown hills and hollow
valleys and the gray Arab village at our feet and flecks of
green upon a hillside or in a ravine, where a field or a grove
of trees stands out sharply and vividly. And the declining
sun sheds its warm golden lustre over all, changing the gray
into silver and the brown into carmine red and tinting the
green with orange and purple and violet.
Early every morning I am awakened with the dawn by
the twittering and chirruping of the birds, nesting in the
branches of the old olive tree, and looking into my window.
I lie in bed for a while dozing and half dreaming and then
I hear singing from the kitchen below, sweet childish trebles
mingling with the warbling of the birds, in the chill gray
morning. I recognize the voices of our two little housemaids,
Hannah and Rebecca. While I am lazily debating whether to
get up or not to get up, these two young girls, who would
still be attending school in America, are already hard at work
preparing breakfast and setting the tables. All day they are
constantly on the go. It is always “Hannah, get me this,” or
“Rebecca, hurry up and fetch me that.” Their wages are ridi¬
culously meagre, their clothes are threadbare and shabby;
they look thin and worn and occasionally suffer from chills
and fevers, but through it all and in spite of everything, they
sing their sweet, crooning Hebrew and Arabic songs and once
in a while a snatch of a New York or a London popular
melody. And whenever I am inclined to be gloomy and
grouchy and dissatisfied and despondent, the sound of Hannah
and Rebecca singing at their menial tasks pulls me up and
helps me to carry on more cheerfully and contentedly.
The flood gates of heaven are open and the rain is stream¬
ing down in torrents and the wind is howling and whining
like all the fiends of Hell let loose.
Last night I dreamt of home and all morning I have been
sad and sick at heart. I finished my work at the clinic and
while on my way to our quarters I was suddenly rooted to
the spot by the sweet plaintive strains of Mendelssohn’s
"Song Without Words.” The melody issued from a building
which is used as an asylum for blind children. Like one en¬
tranced I opened the gate leading into a large court, where
blind children were pacing to and fro linked arm in arm, and
guided and drawn by the music I entered the house. In a
dingy, chilly square room, bare but for a piano, a table and a
couple of chairs, sat two children, a boy and a girl of about
twelve, at the piano playing together.
Their eyes are sightless, shrunken orbs over which the
lids droop down as if to shield them from scrutiny and vulgar
pity. The faces are serene and motionless, yet betray an in¬
ward vision, and feeling as the fingers search and glide over
the ivory keys. And so they play the “Song Without Words,”
these poor blind waifs who have never seen the light of day or
the stars of night, and I listen enraptured and I wonder what
visions without sunlight or shadow, their souls are beholding.
This day is the first anniversary of the entry of the con¬
quering British into Jerusalem. The city is celebrating in gala
fashion with music and banners and parading crowds and
hawksters and vendors of nuts and sweets. But the average
man on the street, the real Oriental is stolid and indifferent
and seems devoid of patriotism and that fervid enthusiasm
which is born of a deep love for one’s native land.
I have just returned from a gathering arranged by the
municipality of Jerusalem in commemoration of the occasion.
It was a motley crowd charasteristic of the Holy Land and
significant of the problems to be solved here, and the condi¬
tions to be dealt with. Here sat the Military Governor with
his staff, representing the Aryan race and the greatest empire
in the world. Here are black Nubians from Abyssinia and
blond priests from Russia and black-bearded, delicately fea¬
tured Armenians. Here are Arab Moslems and Arab
Christians, Sheiks who have accomplished their pilgrimage to
Mecca and their brothers who kiss the stones of the Holy
Sepulchre. Here is a cardinal in his magnificent robes and red
cap and by his side sits a Rabbi, a descendant of the Spanish
Marranos, conversing with the white-bearded, saintly-looking
Greek Patriarch. And near me sits a young Syrian, educated
at the American college at Beyrouth and gives vent in low
undertones to his dissatisfaction at the oriental obsequious¬
ness and subserviency expressed in the addresses to the
She is a wizened, stooping little figure of a woman with
deep sunken eyes that sparkle with kindliness and good humor
behind the thick, red, granulated lids. If you ask her about
her age, she will shrug her shoulders and say “How should
one remember such trifles; what with high prices and the
fever and sore eyes and other troubles, I have long forgotten
how old I am, but I think it must be somewhere between fifty
You naturally will tell her that she is looking much
younger, but in reality you estimate her nearer seventy.. She
comes every morning to the clinic, dragging and hauling a
huge basket containing oranges, cookies and flies. Our clinic,
God knows, is sufficiently crowded • without old Chanah Braine’s
setting up shop here, but she tries to squeeze herself
and her wares into an unobtrusive corner, from which she
bows and smiles to me whenever I pass and pours blessings
on my head in her quaint Galician jargon, and during all this
torrent of blessings she smiles so appealingly, almost pite¬
ously, and you know how difficult it is for me to resist the
feminine smile, so there Chanah Braine sits with her basket
and her fruit and her multitude of flies and my patients re¬
fresh themselves from the depths of her basket while waiting
their turn to be treated.
Now the other day, Chanah Braine, during a lull in the
work of the clinic, opened her heart to me and revealed a
bottomless pit of trials and tribulations. It was rather a
lengthy tale and the only reason we ever finished it in time
for dinner was that I persistently steered her towards the
main shore and kept her from drifting into the limitless ocean
of her vague and hazy memories.
She came to Jerusalem about five years ago from a little
village in Austrian Poland. She married off seven children
and buried nine sons and daughters and one husband.
She sold her little home and her few chattels and came to die
in consecrated Holy ground. Here she bought a little plot,
six feet long by three feet wide on the slope of the Mount of
Olives, where uncountable thousands of the chosen people lie
awaiting the trumpet blast of the Messiah. With her own
hands she.cut and sewed for herself a shroud and then she
bowed her head and prayed for the end to come swiftly and
painlessly. But the weeks and the months passed by and still
she walked among the living though her spirit was already in
another world. A year and two slid by and her few remaining
pennies had long been consumed and she felt that she would
have to stretch out her hand for the loathed Hallukah—she
who had always given alms to others.
Then it came to pass that one day the town Shadehan
(matchmaker) Rab Eliezer Chaveles came to her and said
“You are alone in the world; you will soon be homeless and
will have to go to the asylum; I have a plan for you, a brilliant
idea; you know Reb Eliezer Dvosis, a gem of a Jew, a pearl,
a diamond, a lump of gold, pious and learned; he has a little
home, he is also very lonesome, no kith or kin in the world;
he makes a few shillings a week as a scribe. You will marry
him and you will not become a ward of charity. All that is
necessary is that you sell your burial plot. It is a choice mor¬
sel and I know several rich men who would pay a pretty penny
for it. Reb Eliezer has a plot for two, which he will share
with you and the money for your plot will be quite sufficient
tc buy a comfortable little fruit stand on which I have my
eye, not far from the Jaffa gate. Think it over, Chanah
Braine, I will call tomorrow for your answer.”
She did think it over, all that day and all through the
hours of the restless, sleepless night. Poor, poor Chanah
Braine, who never uttered a murmur or complaint against the
will of the Lord, now moaned: “Oh, why don’t you take me,
God of my Fathers, how long will you let me suffer here, a
burden to myself and the world?”
But the next day her decision was made; evidently it was
the finger of the Almighty, and when the marriage broker
called with Reb Eliezer Dvosis, they found her clothed in her
Sabbath garments, a beuatiful silk kerchief on her head tied
in a knot under her chin, her faded, wrinkled face calm and
The transaction was arranged quickly, witnesses were
called in, a plate was broken, the Mazol Tov was uttered and
the match on the brink of the grave was consummated. That
was three years ago. Since then the troubles of Chanah
Braine have augmented and increased. Her husband, Reb
Eliezer, turned out to be a helpless, sickly and ailing old man,
though very tenacious of life. The little stand by the Jaffa
gate was a commercial fizzle and had to be sacrificed for a
song and Chanah Braine with the proceeds of the sale of her
establishment, fitted herself out with an enormous basket,
filled with fruit and nuts and home baked cookies, which she
lugs around in her feeble, emaciated old arms.
So there she sits one or two hours every morning in the
dingy, crowded, noisy waiting hall of the clinic and smiles and
bows whenever she sees me pass through.
Early this morning I left Jerusalem for Jaffa as a member
of the Sanitary Commission, appointed to make a tour of all
the Jewish colonies and settlements in Palestine. It was
cloudy and foggy when we started out in the machine, but it
soon cleared up and we sped along towards a most wonderful
and, to me, a symbolic rainbow, covering the distance between
Jaffa and Jerusalem in approximately two hours.
I spent several hours of the day tramping through the
outskirts of Jaffa. The weather is mild, the sky a deep blue,
contrasting vividly with the rich luxuraiant green of the orange
groves, dotted and speckled with the golden yellow fruit.
Oranges are ripening now and the gardens and plantations
are alive with men and women picking and packing the lusci¬
I met many women on the road, gracefully balancing enor¬
mous baskets full of oranges on their heads. The entire scene
is in striking contrast to the dryness and dustiness and gray
brown barrenness of two months ago, when I paid my last
visit here before the blessed rain came down to unseal the
womb of the pregnant earth.
Last night I was awakened from my sleep by a chorus of
shrill shrieks and howls coming from a distance, approaching
and growing stronger and then receding and becoming fainter
and fainter. It was a weird and gruesome sound in the still¬
ness of the night and sounded like the cries of children in dis¬
tress. But as I listened, wondering and pondering on its.
meaning, I recalled that I had heard a similar sound one night
while walking around the Jerusalem Wall. At that time I had
perceived a pack of lean, wolflike creatures streaking away
over the ruins and graves in the moonlight. And here in
Jaffa I heard once more almost under my very window the
blood-curdling, sickening, howling and yelping of the scaven¬
gers of the night. “Jackals 1” I muttered and turned over and
went to sleep again.
We reached Ludd at nine in the morning, and from there
we traveled through the barren stony hills of Judea, across
the flat, fertile plain of Jezreel, saturated with the blood of
armies, who have marched and fought over it from the dawn
of history to the present time. We travelled all day and after
sunset arrived at Samakh, a little one-horse station on the
shore of Lake Galilee. It was raining in torrents when we
climbed out of the dingy, crowded car and sought shelter
from the downpour under the platform shed.
Several stalwart, Australian soldiers stalked about, like
sceptres in the gloom. The whining cry of an infant attracted
my attention and I found, seated on some bundles in a dark
corner, a Jewish woman with a babe in her arms. The child
is very sick, has a constant fever and is growing weaker and
weaker, so she is taking it to the hospital in Tiberias. Now
she is stranded at the station as no boat is sailing for that
point tonight. The wailing of the child, which had subsided
for a while, begins afresh and elicits some chocolates from the
sympathetic Australians. One young giant runs out into the
shower and reappears with his canteen full of hot tea, which
he offers to the woman.
It is clear that we must find quarters for ourselves for
the night as well as some food and shelter for this poor woman
and child. One of our party secures an Arab guide and
trudges off into the darkness in search of Daganiah, a little
Jewish colony about two miles from Samach. We sit on the
platform on our bundles, huddled together and watch the
ceaseless streaming of the rain. An hour passes, then two,
then three. The sick child exhausted with its wailing has
fallen into a fitful restless slumber.
My own thoughts are in a little cozy home, many, many
miles away, across deep seas and towering mountains, and
beyond strange lands and stranger peoples.
I am aroused from my reverie by the welcome sound of
approaching wheels and the splashing of horses’ hoofs in the
mud, and the yelling of the driver. It is an open peasant
wagon of boards and poles, half full of straw drenched with
rain and saturated with mud. But it is a welcome sight never¬
theless, and we lift the woman and child into it and then pile
in with our bundles and belongings.
The three mules pull heroically, very frequently stimu¬
lated by the snap of the driver’s whip. The wheels sink into
the soft clayey mud up to their hubs. The wagon lurches
back and forth, and from side to side like a vessel in a stormy
sea, until finally, when we have almost given up hope of ever
pulling out of the deep, sticky, slimy slough, we see twinkling
lights and in another quarter of an hour, we drive into the
village of Daganiah.
We are welcomed by the colonists and treated to a simple
but abundant and wholesome meal of “lebben” (curdled milk),
olives, black bread, cheese and coffee.
Then I retire to rest and a sound sleep until I am awak¬
ened by the bleating of the flock of sheep being driven out of
the yard to the fields for pasture, and I jump out of bed in
time to see the glorious day, dawning over the placid, mirror¬
like Lake Kinnereth, blue and crystal-clear, reflecting the
golden, azure sky and the fleecy clouds and the green hills
of Galilee encircling it like a gem.
This morning we spent a few hours investigating the
colony of Daganiah. There are thirty-one souls here at pres¬
ent; sixteen men, eleven women and four children. This
colony was established seven years ago by young men and
women coming from Russia in search of liberty, and social
and economic Justice and national self-expression.
They are ardent Zionists and triple-armored socialists.
They all speak a fluent and beautiful Hebrew and most of
them are cultured and well educated; graduates of Russian
gymnasia and universities. They came full of hope and enthu¬
siasm, impelled by an idealism sublime in its poesy and all-
They came to Palestine, determined to help found here
a Jewish model commonwealth, based on the great Trinity-
Equality, Fraternity and Liberty. They settled on the shore
of the Kinnereth, a beautiful and a sacred spot, and they called
it Daganiah. A tract of land was allotted to them by the
Jewish National Fund. They erected buildings; a large dining
hall where all eat together, two adjoining buildings used for
living and sleeping quarters and several barns, stables and
sheds. The land continues to be the property of the National
Fund. Each worker receives a monthly wage of sixty francs
and an equal share in the profits that remain at the end of the
year, after all expenses are deducted.
This little colony has during its brief existence, contri¬
buted one hundred and sixty thousand francs to the National
Fund. The colony is administered by a committee of three,
selected each month. Men and women vote and serve equally.
At certain regular periods, all the members of the com¬
mune meet and decide upon certain important matters and
also apportion the various tasks and functions among them¬
Individual preferences as well as capacities and abilities
are taken into consideration in the allotment of the work.
The sanitary and health conditions of Daganiah are de¬
plorable. A number of the colonists are affected with trach¬
oma and other eye inflammations, due to the blinding sun and
dust of the long dry summer. All of them are subject to at¬
tacks of malaria and some of them have succumbed to a perni¬
cious form of malaria, called blackwater fever. Infants be¬
come affected with malaria and trachoma during the first year
The malarial infection has induced in nearly all of the
colonists a degree of anaemia, which is more or less marked
and which is contributed to by the dyspepsia to which many
have fallen victims.
Flies are very much at home here and settle themselves
thickly and tenaciously on everything and everybody.
Before leaving Oaganiah, all the members of the colony
gathered in the large dining hall, to have a conference with
They are a group of intelligent looking young men and
women, the former in workmen’s blouses, bound with girdles
around their waists; the latter quite attractive looking, in
spite of their short hair and the yellowish pallor which is
characteristic of all.
The spokesman is a tall gaunt chap, with a high forehead
and keen brown eyes, somewhat sunken in their sockets. His
skin is parchment-like and his features are emaciated. He
speaks slowly, distinctly and directly, with a clear voice and
in a beautiful Hebrew which, I blush to confess, I follow with
“Many of us are here since the colony was founded seven
years ago. A great many more have come and gone to other
parts and other climes where the difficulties are less and the
burdens lighter and the recompense greater. The heat is well
nigh unbearable for as you well know this spot is situated
over six hundred feet below the sea-level. To work in the heat
requires superhuman effort. To sleep is well nigh impossible.
We are constantly drenched with perspiration and we drink
gallons of water.
“This pouring of water into our systems, while we are
overheated, as well as the poor quality of the food and the
irregular hours of working and sleeping, has made of nearly
every one here a confirmed dyspeptic.
“After all these years of toil and hardship and self-sacri¬
fice, which has cost us our strength and health, we are now
confronted with the question;—Shall we continue or are we
fighting a losing battle? We believe that we cannot carry on
here much longer, unless conditions are made more endurable.
It is for you, gentlemen to see that it is done. We colonist*
form the vanguard of our nation in Palestine. We are trying
to hold a front which is unsanitary, unhealthful, unlivable.
You must remedy these evils for us. Otherwise we cannot
hold the line and all our labor and sacrifice will have been
wasted and in vain."
So spoke one of those who have gone out to reclaim the
land of our fathers for us, and this is the tragic situation in
which we find them. Yet their ardor is unquestionable and
their enthusiasm undampened, and their idealism unimpaired,
though bitterly disappointed.
It is our sacred duty to check and prevent any further
waste and squandering of these, our best and most promising
forces. We must prepare the land, we must drain the marshes
and swamps, we must eradicate the blinding trachoma—the
malaria which saps the vitality of individual and state. We
must establish a system of public health and hygiene and last
but not least, we must harness the Jordan with its rapid flow
and tremendous fall of twelve hundred feet from Lake Merom
to the Dead Sea, and with potential electric power enough to
drive every labor saving motor in every farm and homestead
and colony in Palestine.
We drove out of Daganiah after leaving a little sum for
the National Fund in lieu of payment for lodgings and victu¬
als which the colonists refused to accept from us. They har¬
nessed a team of mules to a long crude, hay cart and sent us
off with many hearty “Shaloms.”
We travelled over a muddy stony road, along the shore of
the wonderfully, beautiful Lake Kinnereth with its diadem
of hills now bare and barren, but waiting for the loving hand
of their people to make them blossom once more and team
with life and industry.
We ford the Jordan near its entrance into the lake.
Horses and wagons are half submerged and we climb up as
high as we can on the sides of the cart, but not high enough
to keep our boots from getting full of Jordan water.
We meet a good many Bedouins on their wiry horses.
Some of them are carrying rifles slung across the saddle and
look as if they would furnish very poor entertainment on a
lonely road in a dark night.
We pass numerous ruins of villages, built along the shore
of the Lake, mute witnesses of a large, active population that
has been driven into exile or died out together with its homes
its farms, its gardens and roads, its monuments and temples,
and its fleets of white winged boats on the water.
Here we are shown the tomb of the learned and wonder¬
working Rabbi Meyer bal Hahess and there high up lies buried
Rabbi Akiba the leader of the ill-starred Bar Cochba rebellion
against the Roman Empire in the second century of the
Further on we see a rivulet of steaming water hurrying
down into the Lake. It comes from one of the hot Sulphur
springs with which this vicinity abounds. Now we catch
sight of Tiberias looking very picturesque against the deep
blue waters of Galilee with the towering mountains in the
We drive into the city in the early afternon and find
lodging in the only hotel in the place which is passable, clean
Early this morning we leave Tiberias in an old rickety,
diligence, to which are harnessed two asthmatic nags, for the
hire of which to Rush Pinah, a five hours trip, we are obliged
to hand over eight pounds sterling, to the villainous looking
We still follow the muddy clayey road along the shore of
the Lake. The land hereabouts is mainly swamp and morass
which breds malaria enough to poison an empire.
The crying need here is for drainage in winter, digging of
canals to guide the streams of water into the Lake and during
the long hot, dry summer, when the wet, green meadows be¬
come sandy wastes, irrigation is essential.
All this can be accomplished both here and elsewhere in
Palestine, by a systematic, concentrated effort. The outlay of
capital and labor will be enormous but the abundant harvests
and the repopulation will amply repay for the investment.
At one spot our driver pointed with his whip at some¬
thing that looked like a rock, about a half mile from the shore.
“That,” he said, “is the wreck of a small steamboat in which
the Germans fled from Tiberias on the approach of the Eng¬
lish. The British spied the vessel steaming away and con¬
centrated their fire on it. The shells shattered the boat and
she sank with all on board.”
We meet many covered wagons, looking like American
prairie schooners, loaded with refugee men, women and child¬
ren and their packs and chattels, coming back from the north
to seek their devastated homes from which they had been
driven by the Turks.
Gradually we leave behind the marshy plain, bordering
on the lake and begin to ascend the rugged mountain. The
road is very rough, full of huge boulders and furrowed by deep
ruts, so that we cover most of the distance on foot.
Twilight deepens and the evening star comes out, over
Mount Hermon, and still we trudge on. Soon the darkness
of night envelopes the landscape and the lights of Rosh Pinah
gleam like beacons of hope to the weary wayfarers.
We reach the village at about seven in the evening and
are guided up the very steep main street to a caravansery or
inn which is very anxious to be known as a hotel, where we
put up for the night.
The place is also used as a tavern, and is much frequented
by the Australian soldiers stationed here, who sit around the
table waited on by a little, genial, long bearded inn¬
keeper in his red fez and carpet-slippers, or by Louisa the
smiling waitress and maid of all work, who has acquired a
cockney English from the customers and speaks it as if to the
Rosh Pinah is a little village situated on the side of a
mountain. There are forty colonists with their families living
here and about one hundred other families who subsist miser¬
ably on very meagre incomes which they eke out through
work on the farms of the colony and in various other ways.
Here in my poor quarters, I came among Jews, Sephari-
dic and Persian and Ashkenazi who are dressed in rags so
tattered and torn that the naked skin is unprotected against
the wind and rain and influenza and pneumonia are added to
the scourges of malaria and trachoma from which nearly all
suffer. The wretched homes consist of one or two rooms into
which from five to ten human beings are huddled.
Many of the children work in the fields and earn about
five piastres (twenty-five cents a day). These are the hewers
of wood and drawers of water. Their food is bread, made of
duhra, and tea and some green vegetables. They have no
means of heating their hovels, and cleanliness is an unknown
I inspected a number of these houses located in one alley,
and every individual I examined is suffering from trachoma
and malaria. The medical help is practically nil with the ex¬
ception of a dose of quinine or some eye application, which
the local druggist administers for a few “mettaliks.”
Mishmar Ha Yardin on the shore of Lake Merom con¬
sists of one long muddy dirty street with a row of low, dila¬
pidated one-story stone houses on either side. The population
is saturated with malaria and nearly all are afflicted with
Men, women and children are mostly bare-footed or walk-
ing around in slippers and wooden clogs. They are yellow
from anaemia and thin and enfeebled from improper and in¬
The homes are bare and cheerless, full of dirt and flies and
the stone floors are plastered with a coating consisting of
a mixture of manure and lime in water. In one house I found
the floors paved with red brick tiles. I expressed my surprise
and was told that the house had been renovated for the use of
an administrator who in the eleventh hour decided not to live
in the village. So this family remained instead, and now their
tiled floor makes them the envy of all the villagers. Mishmar
Ha Yardin has been swept successively by Turkish, German
and British armies, who have marched through its single street
and each contributed something to the destruction and decas-
tation of the little settlement.
An old grey-beard escorted me on my tour of inspection
and bit by bit he told me his sad story. “I came here twenty
years ago and with my hands I helped to build these houses
and plant the fields and gardens of the colony. We came full
of hope and love for Zion. And we were happy to be in the
land of our fathers. Then the fevers attacked us and we
sickened and many of us died. I buried my wife and five
children. There are but two sons left to me, one is in Brazil
and the other is somewhere in the Turkish Army. I do not
know whether he is alive or dead.
We planted fields and gardens and cared for them lovingly
and tenderly; came the Arabs and uprooted and destroyed
everything. We had to bribe them off and frequently had to
fight with them and there was bloodshed. Still we managed
to exist; a little backsheesh here, a little bribery there and toil
and suffering all the time; we managed to keep body and soul
together with God’s help.
“Then came the war; we were right in the path of the
fighting armies—on the very battlefield, as it were. Whatever
we possessed was taken from us, horses, cattle and food. Cold,
and no warmth nor proper clothing; sick, and no help nor
That sums up the tragic tale of Mishmar Ha-Yardin.
I strolled out of the village, down the steep hill and stood
on the bank of the Jordan, the rushing, tumbling, foaming,
tossing, turbulent Jordan, surging with energy that could be
converted into a blessing for the entire land. A short distance
up the stream stands an old bridge, spanning the river. It
has been half shot away by the retreating Germans and Turks,
but the British in a couple of hours repaired it with iron and
timber and relentlessly pursued the fleeing foe.
The winding road leads to Damascus and over it have
passed the legions of all empires and the caravans of traders
many centuries before the time of Father Abraham.
Before leaving the colony I visited an encampment of
Bedouins on its outskirts. They are still the black tents of
Kedar as in the time of Esau and Laban and Sisera; tents of
straw matting and black goat-hair cloth with their denizens
of tatooed women and black-bearded men, and children of all
shades of color from the crinky-haired, flat-nosed negroid to
the blond or ruddy haired, fair-skinned descendant of a Cru¬
sader warrior. They pitch their tents near the Jewish colonies
and help in the work of the fields; incidentally they convey
their diseases and their vermin to the villagers.
On going back, I come across a couple of German lorries
and a heap of exploded shells. I was told that many corpses
were frequently unearthed by the plough, as it scrapes the
surface of the soil.
Today I visited Machnaim, a little colony about two hours
walk from Rosh Pinah. It is a clear, sunny, bracing morning
and I hum a tune as I tramp along, now and then stopping to
pick some scarlet or purple anemones or a narcissus, looking
like a lily-white shield of David with a golden heart in its
centre. Cyclamen and iris are also coming into bloom and the
fields and hillsides are beginning to bedeck themselves in
flowery bridal robes.
I find Machnaim a pleasant and interesting community
of twenty-five intelligent young working men and women. It
ip conducted on a co-operative basis and all share alike in the
work and profit. The health conditions are not very bad and
compare strikingly with two Arab homes located in the
The Arab dwelling which I entered, is a large, stone,
barnlike structure having two doors, no windows and no
chimney. On one side are kept the cattle, sheep and goats
and on the other side of the barn the floor is somewhat ele¬
vated and here the family have their home; their kitchen,
dining room, bedroom and parlor. This side of the barn is
not encumbered with furniture; a few blankets and straw rugs
piled up in a corner supplying all the comforts of home. The
kitchen consists of an iron tripod covered with a huge black
kettle under which glow a few lumps of charcoal. These
Arabs are tilling the fields of some colonists, who dwell in
Rosh Pinah. The fellach, after deducting ten percent of his
produce for taxes, gives four-fifths of the remainder to his
landlord and retains one-fifth for himself.
It is rather a relief to find a few steps away a little group
of men and women working together in co-operation, helping
each other and sharing equitably the fruits of their labor.
In the cool of the evening we sat outdoors under the
stars, drinking tea and listening to Arab folk stories:
The Hwodja and his mother-in-law.
In a little village by the banks of the Jordan once dwelt
a Hwodja, a wise and holy man, who had made his pilgrim¬
age and had kissed the Shrine at Mecca.
He was blessed among other things with a mother-in-law,
who was a particularly virulent specimen of the breed. One
day a messenger came to the Hwodja and said: “O, Sheik,
your mother-in-law has fallen into the river and is drowned!”
The Hwodja and all the village rushed to the spot where the
catastrophe had occurred and peered into the depths of the
rushing stream, but no trace of mother-in-law was anywhere
to be seen.
Then the Hwodja divided his neighbors into two parties.
“One party,” he ordered, “shall search for the body down¬
stream and I and the larger party shall go up the stream for
the corpse.” “O, wise and learned Hwodja,” queried one of
the neighbors in wonder, “why search upstream, when the
body must surely have been carried down with the flood.”
“Verily,” quoth the Hwodja, stroking his long beard, “Your
words are pearls of wisdom, but you did not know my mother-
in-law. She always did things her own way.”
I was up and out of bed at five in the morning. The
eastern horizon was a long strip of fiery red that gradually
became transformed into golden, as the rim of the sun peered
over the crest of the mountain.
We ate a hasty, but hearty breakfast, and drove off in
our rickety diligence bound for the north. After about two
hours travelling, we stopped at Ayelet Ha Shachar. It is a
small co-operative colony, consisting of nine men and seven
women. It is a quadrangular structure, a high stone wall sur¬
rounding an immense muddy courtyard, into which open the
doors and windows of the huge barn and the two buildings
used for living purposes.
The common dining hall, in which we meet the colonists
and make our examinations, is a large white-washed room with
a floor of baked clay; the furniture is limited to a long table
and a couple of benches of rough, unpainted pine. Flies
swarm everywhere, on everything, but nobody pays any atten¬
tion to them.
The place originally belonged to a colonist who abandoned
it and it remained unoccupied for a couple of years until the
Jewish Colony settled this group of young working people in
it. TTiey seem to be satisfied and imbued with an unquench¬
able idealism, despite the severe hardships and the sufferings
from malaria and deficient nourishment.
We drive on from Ayelet Ha Shachar and very frequently
we alight and walk to save our sorry nags and our dilapidated
chariot from being stranded in the deep sticky mud.
The country through which we travel has a wild, pictur¬
esque beauty. The hillsides are carpeted with green between
the dark gray and brown rocks and here and there a little
brook or rivulet, swollen by the recent rains, comes tumbling
down into the valley.
We are entering Huleh, one of the most remarkable tracts
of land in the world. The Jordan coming down from the north
to Lake Merom spreads its waters over a vast steppe of fifteen
thousand acres. Through the entire length of this plain is a
narrow channel, which is the bed of the river. Streams com¬
ing down from the winter rains and the melting snows of
Hermon and Lebanon, fall into this valley, which is like a
basin encircled by a wall of mountains and convert it into a
swampy morass, breeding fever and pestilence.
Immense flocks of crows and wild ducks circle overhead
and on the stony slopes on either side of the valley. Half wild
Bedouins live in huts of plaited and woven reeds and subsist
on what they manage to scrape from the soil with their
wooden plows, and on what they bring down with their rifles
from among the wild birds of the marsh.
It has been stated by experts that the Huleh basin, con¬
sisting of 16,000 acres of extremely fertile marshland, if
drained and irrigated by an adequate system of canals and
planted with alfalfa, could furnish pasturage for 5000 head of
Herds of cattle and flocks of goats graze around each
village and lie in the mud among the huts.
Gradually the road begins to ascend and we climb and
climb, trudging along wearily on foot most of the way, while
darkness descends on us and the stars come out, and I have
to walk in front of the panting horses with my little pocket
flashlight, that an angel of a friend bestowed on me in Amer-
ica, and thus light up the narrow, stony road and save us from
tumbling over a precipice.
At last we see the lights of a village and about eight in
the evening we tramp into Metullah, the northermost outpost
of the Jewish colonies, situated on the frontier of Dan,
eighteen hundred feet above sea level.
Metullah is a picturesque highland village, perched on
the shoulder of a mountain. You stand in the middle of its
single thoroughfare and the snowcapped Lebanons loom up
before you, while on your right is the white sugar-loaf cap of
The houses on either side of the street are single story
stone, red-tile-roofed dwellings, each containing about three
rooms and housing an average of eight individuals. The loca¬
tion is magnificent and the climate exceedingly salubrious,
were it not for the mosquito pest which has saturated the in¬
habitants with malaria. Nearly all the children and many of
the adults suffer from Trachoma for which they receive no
regular and methodical treatment. The epidemics of eye
inflammation that sweep over Palestine every summer and
autumn do not spare Metullah. With adequate sanitation and
the extermination of the mosquito, Metullah could become the
health resort of Palestine and, in fact, before the outbreak of
the war, plans had been made for the erection of a Sanitarium
At present the colony is in well-nigh destitute state. The
villagers are impoverished by the ravages of war. Their live
ji , ba f ■ nea . rl y ap been stolen or confiscated. They are
sadly lacking in medical aid and seriously sick patients have
t0 J be J . t I ans , ported h y wagon to Tiberius or Beyrouth, a rough
and difficult journey of many hours.
The beaten and retreating Turks have wreaked their
malice on many Jewish settlements, but Metullah seems to
have received more than her share of brutal treatment. The
clean, wholesome, quiet little hotel, where we have put up
during our stay here has been the scene of inquisitorial tor¬
tures that would have brought the blush of shame to Torque-
Let us listen as the stout, motherly landlady tells the
story in her own way:
“Here around this little table where you are sitting now,
the Turkish and Arab officers used to sit during their fre¬
quent and never to be forgotten visits of inspection to Metul-
“Many of our people were arrested and brought before
them on trumped-up espionage charges, and here they were
placed, crowded together against the wall. The Chief Com¬
missioner would call out a name from a list in his hand. The
poor Jew was seized by the gendarme and dragged before
him. “Tell us what you know and who has helped you in
your rascally business.” The Jew was innocent and could only
plead for mercy.
He was hustled into the adjoining room and there he was
whipped with horsehide until his screams and shrieks died
away as he fainted under the lashes of his tormentors.
And so it went on for weeks and months. It has made
my hair gray to live through it. Many unhappy ones from
here and elsewhere were dragged away to Damascus. Some
of them died like dogs on the way; some were hung; most of
them never came back.”
After examining the school children and most of the vil¬
lagers, I stroll away to get a closer view of the country¬
side. On the outskirts of the village a number of young Jew¬
ish girls in blue gingham dresses and white kerchiefs tied
around their heads, are working in the fields. They belong
to a co-operative group of women, who live together in the
larger building at the end of the street near the quaint little
They are an optimistic set of girls, most of them intel-
ligent and well educated, and their courage continues un¬
flinching, despite illness and hardship and deprivation.
The country hereabouts is full of bubbling springs in the
winter months. During this time the land is green and re¬
freshing to the eye.
In the long, dry, hot summer, the streams cease to flow
and the springs dry up and the land becomes brown and gray.
I trudge along until I reach the brink of a deep chasm,
at the bottom of which flows a swift foaming stream. I fol¬
low along the edge of the canyon, admiring the wonderful
cascade and rapids. Here is a picturesque mill, deep down in
the ravine, its huge wheel being whirled around by the minia¬
ture Niagara. I follow the narrow path and clamber and slide
down into the gorge. From the depths I look up with awe and
admiration at the unequalled splendor and beauty of the cata¬
ract, which drops like a lily-white bridal veil between two per¬
pendicular walls of ruddy brown three hundred feet high.
I was awakened before sunrise by the beating of the rain
against the roof of the attic in which I slept. I arose, poured
some ice cold water over my face and hands and dressed and
breakfasted in the dim morning light.
Outdoors it is very murky and muddy and gloomy, as we
drive out of Metullah, our faces turned southward. About an
hour later, we reach Talcha, a little, co-operative colony of
eight souls, living and working under very difficult and un¬
Outside of the colony, a Bedouin tribe is encamped in
their huts of rushmats and goathair cloth. I visit one of the
huts. The inmates are seated on the ground around a little
fire of twigs and thistles, which the women cut and gather and
carry, tied in huge bundles on their heads.
One of the women is baking bread on a flat stone heated
over the crackling fire. She takes a ball of dough flattens it
out into a very thin round cake and drops it on the hot stone.
She turns' it over a few times and the baking is completed.
These Bedouins are shepherds, tending the immense flocks
of sheep, belonging to one of the very wealthy Arab Effendis,
who are the feudal lords of these serfs and dwell in Oriental
luxury and indolence in Damascus and Beyrouth.
Beyond Talcha, we skirt Huleh again. Overhead there
is a flopping of countless wings. An army of ravens are fly¬
ing together, like a living cloud. The cloud assumes all sorts
of weird and fantastic shapes, now stretching itself out thin
and wide and suddenly shrinking together again and dropping
like a meteor on the ground in search of food. In a few mo¬
ments, as if in response to a given signal, they rise all to¬
gether and soar away, the flapping of their wings sounding
like the pattering of raindrops on the dead leaves in a forest.
We are approaching Lake Merom, lying tranquil and
beautiful amidst the green hills. I climb out of the diligence
and walk along the shore of the lake, dense with reeds and
Flocks of wild ducks are swimming about peacefully and
here and there a stately pelican stands deep in the water with
its long beak and delicately curved neck, poised ready to dive
into the depths for the unsuspecting fish.
Yesod Hamaalah is a colony of about two hundred souls
on the shore of Lake Merom. Here we have the usual long,
wide, muddy street, with its two rows of one-story, stone
houses. The mud is brown and sticky and so deep that you
sink into it to your knees and your boots become two heavy,
gigantic clods of mother earth. It is everywhere, outdoors
and indoors, on man and on beast.
This colony is one of those belonging to Baron Rothschild
and administered by the Jewish Colonial Association. This
form of administration with its factors and intermediaries
and agents has well nigh killed off all initiative and stunted
Still the inhabitants are very hopeful and the expression
which one hears most frequently is, “We are rid of the Turk,
our bitterest enemy and our greatest obstacle; now we can ex¬
pect that our labors and efforts will not have been in vain.
The landscape around Lake Merom would delight the
heart of every lover of beauty of nature. The foliage is semi-
tropical. There are fig and olive and orange groves and ma¬
jestic palms and shady alleys of gigantic trees.
Hard by the colony there is an Arab village of huts, built
of sunbaked mud and dung, with a picturesque stone mosque
in its midst. Half naked children swarm about and women
with tatooed faces eye you curiously. Some of the young
ones are tall and graceful and beautiful as Shulamithas,
though their raven black hair is unkempt and their supple
limbs are wrapped in tattered garments and their dark faces
are unwashed. But their teeth are like two rows of ivory and
their features are regular and finely chiselled. However, they
age early and the older women are as ugly as hags.
The filfth here is indescribable and the health conditions
proportionately bad. All plans for the sanitary improvement
of Palestine must reckon with the Arabs living in villages,
towns and districts in close proximity to the Jews.
Yesod Hamaalah is built in the midst of swamps and the
climate has claimed and gathered its toll from among the
settlers. Near the outskirts of the village, there is an orange
grove, through which I cut across on my way to the Lake.
In the midst of it stands a long, low, ramshackle building, its
windows broken, its walls tumbling down and its doors ham¬
mered up with boards and shingles. The rows of trees stretch¬
ing out for acres in every direction, are stunted and barren of
fruit. Thorns and weeds and wild shrubs choke up the paths
between the trees. For fifteen years a colonist dwelt here
with his family.
They planted the orchard with their own hands, tended
and ntttured it untiringly, and the young plants grew and
thrived under their loving care, and after a few years com¬
menced to yield their golden fruit.
Then came the typhus and robbed the family of its
mother and one of the sons already enfeebled by malaria.
The father and the remaining son continued at their posts,
but their hearts were heavy and the little home was a very sad
and neglected place. A letter came from Australia from an
uncle offering the son a fine and remunerative position on his
The young man hesitated, loathe to abandon the home¬
stead and the careworn father. Several months elapsed and
another letter came with still more glowing promises. This
time the son yielded and went away across the sea.
Letters came from him frequetly, imploring the father to
leave the lonesome, fever-ridden home. The old man worked
on, in his beloved orange grove, but his strength grew feebler
and the fruits of his labor, less and less.
Finally he could work no more, and he too turned his
footsteps away from the homestead and the graves of his dear
ones and the hills of his beloved Palestine, to which he had
come; a young, enthusiastic pioneer and which he now aban¬
doned ; a lonely, broken and prematurely aged man.
While visiting the homes of the colonists, I made the
acquaintance of a family of Russian converts to Judaism.
They come from southern Russia, having left their home, a
generation ago, to escape from persecution, incurred by their
observance of the seventh day Sabbath.
In Palestine they as well as other Sabbathniks separated
entirely from the Greek church and entered the fold of Juda¬
ism. They are a simple, intelligent, hospitable, hard-working
people; speak Hebrew fluently and observe the Jewish laws
Among the inhabitants of Yessad Hamaalah are also a
number of Sephardi families. Their homes are much cleaner
and neater than those of the other Jewish colonists, but in
other respects in their modes of life and their oriental ways,
they resemble the Arabs more than they do the Ashkenazi
Jews. Still they live together amicably. Their children at-
tend the common village Hebrew school and they help each
other in ploughing the fields and bringing in the harvest.
Before leaving we rowed across to the Arab settlement
adjoining Yessod on Lake Merom. We were received by the
venerable Sheikh and most of the male and female members
of the village. The hut of the Sheikh, also built of sun-baked
mud, is a little more spacious and pretentious than the others;
nevertheless we preferred to stay outside and here* seated in
a circle we partook of thick black coffee in tiny cups, and
little cakes of sweetened dough.
A f *-er examining and treating a number of the Arabs, we
departed accompanied by a large retinue of curious, half-naked
dirtv. brown children and the thanks and blessing of the com¬
We drove out of Yessod Hamaalah early in the after¬
noon, and reached Rosh Pinah at nightfall, a very tired and
hungry party of travellers.
I had been walking uphill a great part of the distance as
our horses were hauling the wagon with great difficulty
through the clayey mud and I strolled along leisurely behind
the diligence, stopping now and then to gather some flowers
that grew wild by the roadside; purple and crimson anemon-
ies, iris, cyclamen, narcissus and some fragrant pink roses
from a bush that bowed its head at me, alluringly over a stone
wall by the wayside. And so in honor of the New Year, our
dinner table in the bare and gloomy dining room of the little
hotel at Rosh Pinah was graced by a bouquet of dainty flowers
gathered in mid-winter.
The town of Safed is reached by an ascent of about fifteen
hundred feet from Rosh Pinah, over a narrow stony preci¬
pitous, bridle path. As we climbed higher and higher the view
became more vast and magnificent.
Far beneath us, framed in a circle of mountains lies Lake
Kinnereth, placid and mirror-like with Tiberias, like a little
grey patch on its green shore. Here is the rounded headed
mountain Tabor and beyond stretches the Carmel chain, and
to the north the snow-white caps of Lebanon and Hermon
glisten in the sunlight.
Our wiry sure-footed steeds carry us higher and higher
until Safed lies before us, a grand and picturesque panorama.
Now we descend and our guide indicates the various quarters
of the city; the moslem, the Jewish and the Christian, each
separate and aloof from the other as if in fear of contam¬
The descent into the city is very steep, the stony path has
now become a slippery cobblestone staircase, through a nar¬
row, crooked street.
I don’t think we make a very graceful group, sitting back,
stiff and rigid in our saddles, and it is with a sigh of infinite
relief, that we finally stop and alight at the gate of the Jewish
Of the eight thousand Jewish souls in Safed, prior to the
War, only three thousand are left. Three thousand have
died of hunger and pestilence and the rest have fled the
country. The town is full of little orphans, many of them
homeless and destitute.
In one school, late in the afternoon, the teacher dismissed
more than half the number of tots, immediately after my ex¬
amination, “Run along to the synagogue, you have to say
Kaddish” (prayer for the souls of the departed).
It is pitiful to see these thin, yellow, wizened children,
with their solemn, appealing faces framed in the straggling,
unkempt hair and long curly earlocks.
The Jewish community of Safed has for years, subsisted
on the Hallukah charity from abroad and when that charity
was cut off by the War the rotten fabric collapsed and people
sold their homes and belongings to the Arabs for a miserable
pittance, while little children in the streets died for want of a
crust of bread.
The problem of Safed is the problem of the entire Jewish
population of Palestine.
Healthful, livable conditions and useful remunerative
labor is the solution. Filth must be disposed of. Water must
be provided. Swamps and marshes must be drained. The hor¬
rible sickening stench-saturated districts unfit for human habi¬
tation must be demolished and new homes constructed.
Malaria and trachoma, affecting the majority of the people
and impairing their physical and mental vitality, must be com¬
bated. And above all, the blot of pauperization, with the de¬
gradation and degeneracy following in its wake, must be eradi¬
cated. In brief;—healthful conditions and useful occupations.
A noted philanthropist, while visiting Safed, received a
delegation of local citizens in audience. He said to them:
"I would like to see more of our people digging the earth.
Are any of you following that noble calling?” “Yes indeed,
most honored Lord,” responded a couple of sallow-faced,
stoop-shouldered Chassidim. “We are the Chevra Kaddisha."
(Society of grave-diggers).
There is a beautiful public garden in Rosh Pinah and I
spent several hours strolling about in it. Here is a profusion
of luxuriant semi-tropical foliage on terraces graded around a
central fountain. Rows of banana palms and fig and eucalyp¬
tus, side by side with the pine and poplar of the northern
Flowers grow wild everywhere, but the garden wears an
air of sad neglect and inattention. However it a charming
and tranquil retreat, and refreshing to jaded spirits and flag¬
ging courage and to the bitterness of many disappointments
Very early this morning when I arose and looked out of
my window, I saw in the valley, far below, a vast field of
fleecy snow. It was a marvelous spectacle, the snow-white
sheet and the green mountain slopes around it. Gradually the
eastern sky became illuminated by the red and golden sun¬
rise and as if by the touch of a magic wand, the white field,
stretching as far as the eye could reach, lifted and floated and
melted away, and I perceived that what I had marvelled
at had been a vapory cloud, which had settled down on the
valley and had enveloped it as in a sheet of snow.
The little town of Migdal is beautifully situated on the
shore of Lake Kinnereth, an hours drive from Tiberias. Cot¬
ton, bananas, pineapples and other semi-tropical fruits flour¬
ish here in profusion.
Unfortunately the swampy nature of the land fosters the
mosquito, and malaria is very prevalent, causing considerable
illness and suffering.
I met a very interesting old man here. A white-bearded
old Patriarch in a sheep-skin cap and high boots and a peasant
blouse and breeches, with a girdle around the waist.
Twenty-five years ago he came over from Russia, bring¬
ing with him a little fortune. This he distributed among vari¬
ous communistic and co-operative colonies.
With a team of horses and a plough he took his place in
the field among his comrades; working-men and women.
Since that time his career has been a checkered one. He has
been a Shomer (guard) and several scars of slashes and rifle
wounds bear mute witness to numerous and sanguinary en¬
counters with Arab marauders. Now in the evening of his
life he is a night-watchman at Migdal, being incapacitated by
age and malaria from arduous labor in the fields. Here as
we sit on the low stone wall and look over the valley of the
deep blue Lake Kinnereth, to the majestic mountains of Jau-
lon beyond and to the vast plateau of Hauran he weaves his
dreams of a network of co-operative colonies, stretching far
and wide throughout the length and breadth of the land, of
settlements of co-operative groups, linked together by com¬
mon ideas, sharing equally the fruits of their labor and work¬
ing in harmony toward the social and economic advancement
of the state.
Early this morning we journeyed in a boat over the Sea
of Galilee to Kinnereth. There is a little wooden dock at
Tiberias where the fishermen bring in their hauls and sell
them in the nearby stalls. Here the fish lie in huge piles and
the women crowd and haggle and bargain with the fishermen
over the weights and prices. It is a motley, yelling, gesticu¬
lating shouting, oriental crowd.
We crossed the Lake in a huge boat, rowed by six,
swarthy, villainous-looking Arabs.
The long heavy oars dip rythmically and regularly with
the water, and the clumsy heavy boat glides along swiftly,
while our boatmen keep time with a weird monotonous chant.
The beauty and charm of the sunlit water and the green
undulating shores baffle description. I have never seen a sky
so blue, nor a view so clear and vast nor ever bared my head
to a breeze so pure and refreshing as on the sacred, historic,
We landed on the shore of the Kinnereth colony and as¬
cended the terraced hillside of the village. The day is very
warm and we can form a conception of the intense heat that
makes life almost unbearable and work almost impossible
here during the summer.
After making our examinations of the villagers and in¬
specting their homes which belong to the usual type of square-
stone, red-tile-roofed, three room dwelling found in the other
colonies, we walk out of the village across the almond and
olive groves and past the vegetable gardens, cultivated by a
co-operative group of farm workers. We reach the Jordan at
its point of outlet from the Lake.
This fascinatingly beautiful region is a nuasmatic swamp,
breeding fever and pestilence for the torment of the colonists
and the natives.
Within a stone’s throw of the Jordan’s swiftly flowing
current and a few minutes’ walk from the colony Kinnereth,
stands a row of small dismal huts into which the fresh air
and sunlight never penetrates.
Seven years ago fifty Yemenites were brought from their
home in southern Arabia anl planted here. Since then twenty-
seven of them have been laid away in the hillside graveyard;
victims of the fever and the miserable conditions under which
These industrious, hard working vestiges of a once virile
and robust race, are degenerating under the baneful spell of
malaria and tuberculosis, and the vitality-sapping conditions
As the evening advanced we found we could not return by
boat, as the Lake had become very rough. Our party decided
to ride back to Tiberias immediately.
A stony, rutty road that had once been a broad, smooth
Chausee when Herod was wont to drive his chariot over to
his winter villa on the Lake, budged off alone, over the wind¬
ing road that runs along the coast as far as the town.
It is a clear night though the moon is but a crescent, and
I swing along cheerily while the white crested waves are
beating a merry tune on the rocky shore.
Now and anon I meet a fellach on his donkey, while
Mrs. Fellach trudges along behind, carrying the family pos¬
session on her head. Or I suddenly find myself approaching
a gloomy, sinister, muffled figure on horseback, a line of camels
marching by, swaying back and forth to the rhythmic tinkling
of the little bells around their necks.
At last, on rounding a curve, I perceive the lights of
Tiberias, and soon my five-mile walk is over. I strongly
recommend it to all kindred spirits who love solitude and the
sound of a stormy sea beating against a rocky shore, and the
sight of the broad open road in the pale moonlight and the
kiss of the playful breeze on the neck and brow.
Bethania is a deserted village several miles out of
A few mongrel wolf-like dogs prowl around among the
empty houses and a half dozen unkempt, tattered Sephardi
make up the total population.
Five years ago the settlement was founded at great cost
and effort. Fifty men and women came here to realize their
hope of an ideal home and occupation in the land of their
fathers. A few fell sick with fever, then a few more, until
in a short space of time all the members of the little com¬
munity were suffering from malaria.
They could not work, and the fields were left untilled
and the ploughs rusted in the barns. And hunger came and
added its pangs to the torments of ague, until finally the
colony disbanded and everyone fled to kinder and more con¬
Such is the story of Bethania, an experience oft repeated
in Palestine, wherever a colony is planted without regard to
health conditions and without previous adequate drainage and
Beyond Bethania we passed the massive ruins of a bridge
across the Jordan, built by the Romans and rebuilt by the
crusaders. I sat with the driver, a husky bronzed young lad
who had much to relate of his experiences as a Shomer with
the Arab raiders who during the Turkish regime, would fre¬
quently descend upon the fields of the colonists and rob
and steal and even kill.
The robbing of a pair of mules, the raiding of a field would
precipitate a fight and whenever Arab blood was shed the
Shomerin knew that one of their number was doomed, and
they always rode, night and day, with eyes alert and rifle
cocked and ready.
After a brief stay in the colony of Milchaniah, we drove
through a long lane of fragrant Nimosa, and commenced on our
ascent out of the Jordan valley.
As we climb up into the mountains, we behold the broad
semi-tropical valley at our feet with the sacred river winding
through it on its serpentine trail, to the Dead Sea.
It is green and beautiful to behold in winter, but in summer
it is an intolerably hot infernal cauldron, over which the fiery
blasting breath of the Sirocca blows from the eastern desert, or
clouds of white, chalky blinding, choking dust sweep from the
This morning we woke at Yemma, in a little inn, where we
liad put up for the night. I had slept but middling well, owing
to a goodly number of tiny crawling visitors, who had honored
me with their company in my bed. After breakfast we
examined the children in the schoolhouse and found them a set
of bright, intelligent merry youngsters, despite the fact that many
of them are afflicted with malaria and trachoma. I admire par¬
ticularly the pretty garden and vegetable patch in front of the
school, planted and cared for by die children.
From the school, we set out visiting each house in the set¬
tlement and found them fairly comfortable, though lacking con¬
siderably in cleanliness and neatness.
The Yemma colonists have also suffered during the war
years, which accounts for the delapidated state of their houses,
barns and garden patches.
During the afternoon we climbed up six hundred feet, to
Poreah, a colony of about sixty souls, some of them hailing from
America. The settlement is situated on a mountain overlooking
Lake Galilee twelve hundred feet below, and the Jordan valley
with Kinnereth and Daganiah and Bethania and various Arab
villages nestling here and there like patches of red and brown and
grey amid the deep green of the hills and plains.
Poreah has a very healthy situation, yet the inhabitants are
suffering exceedingly from malaria owing to the impure cisterns,
in which the rainwater is conserved for the long dry summer and
which are excellent breeding places for the anopheles mosquito.
The colony is almost hidden away in the midst of thick
groves of almond trees planted a few years ago. Its broad rich
fields are well tilled and yield abundant harvests.
After spending several pleasant hours with the genial and
hospital Poreahans very much devoted to their beautiful little
colony, I bade them farewell and rode back to Yemma in the
Next day we drove out of Yemma, ascending a rough nar¬
row stony road. The country is very rocky and ghastly white
’imestone crops out here and there between the green patches.
Our driver points his whip at the mantle of clouds enveloping
the head of Mount Hermon, and prophesies a heavy rain shower.
We speed up our panting mules and in the forenoon we reach
Sarona, a colony owned by a corporation of Chicago Zionists,
and cultivated by a group of a dozen working men and women.
It is situated in the middle of a vast fertile healthful plateau,
about one thousand feet above sea level. Two thousand dunans
are under cultivation for wheat and barley.
An hour’s drive from Sarona, brings us to Kaphr Kama, a
picturesque settlement of Georgians from the Caucasus. Early
in the afternoon we drive into Sedgera, situated on the slope of
a hill at the rim of a plateau.
This colony numbers one hundred and fifty souls and culti¬
vates fifteen thousand dunans of land. Adjoining the colony
there is a village of about three hundred Arabs, among whom
live a number of Jews from Kurdistan.
These Kurdish Jews interested me very much, and I visited
some of their homes. They are a wretched miserable people,
living in a state of abject poverty and filth. They perform all
sorts of menial work for the colonists, receiving extremely low
wages. Otherwise their European brethren have nothing what¬
soever to do with them.
Their half-naked, barefooted children are not permitted in
the Hebrew school and they have no synagogue. Neither do they
attend the house of prayer in the colony. In mode of life and
appearance they are hardly distinguishable from the Arabs, except
that many of their children have beautiful Auburn hair which
contrasts strikingly with their swarthy skins and dark eyes.
At four in the afternoon we left Sedgera and skirting Mount
Tabor, we reached Mescha at the foot of the mountain, just as
the first stars peeped out and in time to hear the Cantor and the
little congregation chanting the Sabbath eve services as we drove
past the open door of the house of prayer.
Mescha is a thriving colony of two hundred people, having
ten thousand dunams under cultivation. The staple product here
as well as in the surrounding colonies is grain, though several
hundred dunams are devoted to the culture of almonds, grape 4
I found a good many Arabs stalking about in the village
and I discovered that many Arab families live in the stables in
die rear of the courtyards behind the colonists’ dwellings.
The cattle, horses and mules are kept on one side of the
barn and on the other side mounds of duhrra, heaps of straw and
a fellach couple, with half-dozen children. The health condi¬
tions particularly as regards malaria and trachoma are ex¬
tremely bad among the colonists, and considerably worse among
these natives living in the stables and working as herdsmen and
farm hands in the colony.
I felt tired and sick at heart after my morning’s work,
particularly as I had slept very poorly the previous night. The
village apothecary had honored me with an invitation to accept
the hospitality of his roof. I did so, gratefully, not at all rel¬
ishing the appearance of the inn at which we stopped.
The family parlor was placed at my disposal. A couch was
metamorphosed into a bed and a mountain of pillows and feather
beds piled upon it. We sat up for a long hour, cracking almonds
and chatting of Zionism and world politics, and then I took a
candle and proceeded to retire.
I climbed up on to my couch and buried myself in the feather
bed. I dozed off and began to dream of home when I suddenly
felt a stinging sensation in the back of my neck. I made a hasty
and thorough search, which resulted in the finding and disposing
of the invader.
I lay back with a deep sigh of relief and prepared to go off
to sleep again, when 1 began to feel myself attacked in various
quarters. I realized that the first invader had been but one of a
scouting party, and that now an entire army was attacking.
After a brief but vain defense, I climbed down from my en¬
trenchments, lit a candle, and spent the rest of the night reading
and dozing alternately until the welcome light of the dawn
streamed in through die window. \
At breakfast, my kind host and hostess asked me solicitously
whether I had slept well, and I answered, may heaven pardon me,
“that never had I enjoyed so sweet a slumber.”
The prophecy of rain which our driver had made yesterday
from the veil of cloud hanging over the head of Hermon was
realized to-day when the flood gates of heaven were opened and
a heavy torrent threatened to deluge the earth. We were warned
that if the rain continued long, the roads would become impass¬
able, and so we decided not to tarry any longer but to start im¬
mediately. At three in the afternoon, with the downpour at
its heaviest, we piled into the diligence and open peasant cart,
huddling together under pieces of canvas and drove out of
Three hours of travelling through mud and ditches and
swollen Wadys, brought us to the colony Merchavia, after night¬
Merchavia stands on the edge of the fertile vale of Esdraelon.
It was established eight years ago as a co-operative colony by
Franz Oppenheim, on land owned by the National Fund. Since
then its life has been full of trials and vicissitudes.
Various difficulties and complications arose. Disagreements
among the members of the colony and disaatis faction with the
conditions and with the results attained after much toil and effort,
together with deprivation and illness, frequently threatened the
co-operation with shipwreck.
The war added its burdens and sufferings to the over-loaded
scale and the co-operation dissolved and the members disbanded.
Within the last year, the Zionist organization, through its
local executive body, the Misrad, took hold of the reins of Mer¬
chavia, and established here a Cvoutza (group), consisting of
twenty-five young men and women.
They cultivate about five thousand dunam, raising grain,
vegetables and dairy products. Each member of the group re¬
ceives one hundred and twenty-five francs per month and an
equal share of the profit of the colony, at the end of the year.
It rained heavily all day, and the great court-yard became
an almost impassable morass. Nevertheless we managed to per¬
form our work both in the colony proper and in the adjacent
village, settled by a number of Jewish colonist families.
I wore my military greatcoat and high military rubber boots
and waded through the mud from house to house. In almost
every home we found some member of the family down with
fever, and even of those who walk around and perform their
daily tasks, a great many are having active symptoms of malaria.
With me, on my round of visits, went a young woman who
serves here as nurse and apothecary. She is a slim wisp of a
girl with rich blond hair and steel grey eyes, and a dainty little
nose, half inclined to be snub. I walk by her side and feel
ashamed to be wearing my high rubber boots and waterproof
coat, while she trips from stone to stone, or wades through pud¬
dles in a pair of shoes, rather out at the heel, and out dressed
in shabby tailor-suit with an old tam-o-shanter set jauntily on her
She says laughingly in answer to my offer of the coat, that
she enjoys the rain and does not mind the mud a bit. Six years
ago she was a girl of seventeen, living with her family in one
of the colonies. “I was brought up a petted and spoilt child by an
over-indulgent and wealthy father. I was waited on from morn¬
ing till night, had fine clothes, private teachers, plenty of books
and delightful friends. Then I became acquainted with some
members of a group of girls working in the fields of the colony.
I found them utterly different from the set in which I had moved.
“I found them idealistic, self-sacrificing, broadminded and
free as the wind that came down from the mountains. They were
not hampered by conventions of fad or fashion. They were not
burdens to anyone but self-reliant and self-sustaining.
“Their national aspirations were lofty, sincere and intense,
and for those ideals they were ready to suffer, and did suffer all
sorts of hardships and privations.
“I came to a decision that meant an estrangement between me
and my parents and resulted in my leaving the shelter of my
father’s roof. The group welcomed me into its midst and I be¬
came “comrade Sarah.”
‘‘We went to a colony in Galilee and worked there for two
years. It was a pestilential place and I was assigned with a half-
dozen other girls to the task of planting eucalyptus trees in the
great swamp on the outskirts of the colony.
“Every other day another girl worked by my side, taking the
place of the one prostrated with fever. Every day I worked on,
standing knee deep in the mud, with the tormenting mosquitoes
stinging my face and neck and hands
“Each morning, with the sunrise, I vowed that I would stick
to the task, until it was finished; fever or no fever. There was
another girl who took the vow also, little Deborah, frail and
small as a child but of undaunted courage and indomitable will.
The fever was already in her blood, as it was in mine. We ate
quinine regularly and took each other’s pulse anxiously.
“I saw that she was giving way under the effect of the illness
and the work and the want of proper food. “Stay home and rest
up a bit,” I pleaded, but she laughed at my anxiety and went out
into the swamp.
“And one day we had to carry her in. Poor little Deborah.
We carried her in and a few days later, we carried her out and
buried her in the little graveyard on the hillside.
“I finished my work and left the place, ill and feeble. When
you pass through that colony, you will see a majestic grove of
eucalyptus trees, where formerly the deathly swamp had sent
forth poisonous vapors and virulent mosquitoes.
“You will find one tree standing solitary and aloof from the
rest. I planted it the day after little Deborah died and occasion¬
ally I make a pilgrimage to the hallowed spot.
“I have never quite recovered from the fevor I contracted then,
and the labor of the fields proved too arduous for me. My group
always helped me and assigned the lighter tasks to my share and
I continued working and living and dreaming with them until the
war broke out and we were torn asunder and scattered. Then
I found an opportunity to learn practical nursing which I have
always loved, and during the last two years I have been devoting
myself entirely to this work; going wherever “comrade Sarah” -
is most needed.”
Such is the tale of this charming little blond girl, as she
pilots me about through the dormitories of the workers, through
the homes of the colonists and through the huts of the swarthy
Yemenites and Sephardis.
In the afternoon, four mules, harnessed tandem fashion to
a huge hay wagon, conveyed us and our bundles to the railroad
station at Fould. We piled into the waiting freight train, happy
and thankful to find shelter from the streaming rain, under the
roof of the cattle car.
At eight in the evening we pulled into the Haifa station,
where the glare of electric lights and the din of ringing belU,
and the chug-chug of motor trucks and the whistling of locomo¬
tives, and the rushing back and forth of officers and porters,
were welcome sights and sounds to eyes and ears benumbed by
the silence and monotony of plain and marsh, and the drabness
of the long muddy road.
Haifa is a miniature Alexandria. Some parts of it are beauti¬
ful. The German colony in which my hotel is situated, is the
cleanest and most attractive residential quarter that I have so far
seen in Palestine.
A long boulevard runs through the colony, lined with rows
of shady trees. The houses are spacious and handsomely con¬
structed ; surrounded by pretty and well-tended gardens.
Almost the entire German colony has been requisitioned by
the military authorities, for officers’ quarters.
We drive through the bazaar with its little shops, where the
merchants sit crosslegged, smoking their nargilehs. And here
and there we see a more pretentious establishment, modelled and
conducted after the European pattern.
Haifa is the future commercial centre of Palestine. Its port
can, by means of the construction of a breakwater, become one
of the finest harbors in the world.
On one side of the city is the magnificent bay, its shore dotted
with groups of white-walled, red-roofed houses amidst semi-tropi¬
cal foliage. And on the other side towers the long, green ridge
of Mount Carmel, like a giant, guarding the little city at its feet.
In the evening at the dinner table, I was surprised to meet
Dr. F., late of the Z. M. U., and Mr. X, who had entertained
the members of our party during our stay in Cairo. F. has re¬
signed his post and the two are travelling together through Pales¬
tine, making plans for development and construction work in
the interests of a million pound corporation which they say they
Rather a curiously assorted pair. F. with his receding fore¬
head and disappearing chin, over which the nose and lips pro¬
trude, the latter adorned by an infinitesmal, but carefully kept
moustache. F. says “I have given up practice for good, I’m
through with it. Palestine needs development, houses, roads,
bridges and we are going to build them. In ten years from now,
.my friend, you won’t recognize Palestine,” and he patronizingly
■ miles at me and twirls the stunted blond growth over his lip.
During the conversation, Mr. X. reclines in his easy chair, his
elephantine bulk folded comfortably away, sipping a cup of Turk¬
ish coffee and puffing at a nargileh.
A red fez sits jauntily over one ear, the little eyes are half
closed, but watching you slyly, and the greasy face over which
the swarthy skin is stretched taut wears a look of beatific peace
Mr. X. says, “Have some wine, have some cognac, take some¬
thing. Don’t be so confoundedly serious. Here F. strike up a
tune on the piano, and let’s imagine ourselves back in dear old
Cairo. Why worry always about ideals and principles? Every¬
body here is full of ideals and principles. Fiddlesticks! These
things won’t hold water. Make all the money you can and get
all the joy and fun out of life. Them's my ideals and principles."
And Mr. X. practices what he preaches. Cairo has much to
tell about how he has accumulated his wealth. He never shrank
from any lucre no matter how filthy and he never scrupled at
any trade or venture, no matter how dishonest or immoral.
We drove up to Mt. Carmel and gazed down upon picturesque
Haifa, resting peacefully on the shore of the beautiful bay of
Sailboats, fishing smacks and here and there an ocean steamer
dot the deep blue water of the bay, while on the other shore we
can faintly discern the outlines of the old city of Acre, and far
beyond, against the horizon, are the snow-capped Lebanons and
white peak of Hermon.
Mount Carmel is one of the beauty spots of the world. There
i= a charm and fascination in its grandeur and solitude, in its
groves of cypress and pine, in its glens and shady retreats. If I
should ever wish to retire from the world, I would seek seclusion
and tranquility in a cool, green, peaceful, quiet little cypress grove
hidden away somewhere on Carmel.
Here from my retreat, I would watch the coming and going
of the ships in the bay. I could behold the city, bustling and
active and growing stronger and more prosperous from day to
day. I could see the speeding trains, bearing their burdens of
passengers and merchandise to and from the city, and to the north
the hoary Kishon, winding its serpentine way to the sea.
While driving back to the hotel, we came upon a gang of
several hundred Egyptian laborers, marching by, singing at the
top of their voices. These men are going home after six months
of service here and their joy is indescribable.
They march along holding each other’s hands, singing and
dancing and cavorting, and yelling with all the strength of their
lungs. Verily it is good to be “going home!”
To-day we drove to Acre, a ten-mile journey along the shore
of the Bay.
The day is beautiful and mild and the drive on the sand,
lapped by the waves of the sea is pleasant and enchanting.
We meet a caravan of camels swinging along majestically,
loaded with merchandise and military supplies. Fishermen are
casting and pulling in their nets. Here a group of swarthy Arabs
are bathing in the surf.
Donkeys and carts, footmen and horsemen are passing and
repassing over the strip of silver sand between the shimmering
sea and the tall stately palm trees.
The city of Acre becomes more distant, its domes and minar¬
ets standing sharply outlined, against the blue sky. A wall en¬
circles the town, on land and sea, and its towers and turrets bear
evidence of crusading battles.
Richard the Lion Heart captured Acre and the city was the
last crusader stronghold to be recaptured by Saladin. Napoleon
also laid seige to Acre, but retired discomfited. The city is
picturesque, though squalid and poor. Its narrow devious streets
-and bazaars have not yet felt the touch of the magic Western
The finest impression I carried away with me, of Haifa was
the magnificent Polytechnicum building situated amidst beautiful
grounds on a hill affording a panoramic view of the city and the
At eleven in the forenoon we left Haifa, and travelling
through the plain of Sharon, by train and partly by wagon and
mules, we reached the colony of Zichron Yakob or Zimmarin, at
two in the afternoon.
Zichron Yakob is a colony established about thirty-seven
years ago, by families from Roumania and Russia. It now num¬
bers upward of one thousand souls including about one hundred
Yemenites. The settlement is fairly thriving and prosperous and
cultivates about 30,000 dunams (7,800 acres) of land devoted to
grain, oranges, olives and grapes.
Most of the land here as well as in many of the other col-
onies belongs to Baron Rothschild and is administered by the
Jewish Colonization Association, through its agent.
The colonist receives a parcel of land which he can till for
a number of years, paying a small rental per annum, and receiving
a loan of money with which to carry on his work.
Or he can arrange to pay for his farm, in small yearly in¬
Nearly every institution and public work here, has been built
and carried on by the Baron’s money. You visit the little hos¬
pital built by the Baron, and when you ask the reason for its
sad state of bareness and neglect, you are told that the Turks have
ripped everything out and the Baron has not yet supplied the
money for restoring and replacing.
The colonists are not interested in the hospital. The institu¬
tion is used mainly by the farm laborers, who, when they fall ill,
have no means wherewith to secure medical care and nursing
and are brought under the sheltering roof of the hospital.
We saw one young lad who had been injured while at work
in the field. His master immediately replaced him with another
(an Arab) and the boy, homeless and destitute, was carried into
the instiution by some friends.
Such is the apathy and indifference of the colonist, bred and
fostered by a pauperizing philanthropy. His motto is: “What is
not of use to me or my family, does not concern me, and I will
not pay a single shilling for any work or any institution or any
improvement that I can coax or cajole the Baron or the Zionist
organization into paying for.’’
You drive along a road, still in a state of passability, and
you are told, “this was built by the Baron.” You cross a quaint
stone, arched bridged over o wady and you discover that this too
was constructed by the same kind genius.
You stop at a ruined building by the roadside. You find,
upon entering that it is the remains of a very substantial bath¬
house, now minus windows, doors and roof.
A short distance beyond, you come to a large pretentious
structure, intended by the Baron for a modern dairy. It, also
is in a sad state of decay and dissolution.
A short drive up the hill and you discover a building, set
in the midst of a cool, shady grove, of pine and fir and balsam.
This building, broad, spacious and roomy, had been erected at
great expense as a convalescent home for patients recovering
from malaria and other ailments.
Now an Arab squats on the bare stone floor, sifting his
duhrra wheat and keeping a couple of goats away from the heap
of grain. He is the director, keeper and sole occupant of the
Sanitarium and the institution which was erected to fill very urg¬
ent need, and which is now in a sad state of delapidation, deso¬
lation and neglect.
On the way to Tantoura, a group of stone buildings was
pointed out to us as the “Glass factory.”
About twenty years ago the colonies in this vicinity decided
to have a factory for the manufacture of bottles for their wine.
A commission was immediately dispatched to the Baron and as a
result, in the course of a few months, the glass factory became
an accomplished fact.
One of the leaders among the colonists had been sent to Bel¬
gium and he returned chockfull of knowledge and with a staff
of glass experts in his train. Work was started and everything
went on swimmingly except for one minor detail.
The bottles insisted upon exploding as soon as they were
filled with wine and corked. All sorts of tests, and experiments
and processes were tried, but all in vain.
At last the project was abandoned, after the expenditure of
a small fortune, and now the buildings are vacant and the ma¬
chinery is rusting and useless.
The immense wine-cellars at Zichron second only to those of
“Kishon le Zion” have also been constructed by capital flowing
from the same inexhaustible fountain.
This establishment has really accomplished very much for
the colonists, by purchasing their grapes and converting them into
wine, which is then distributed throughout the world.
It is a gigantic cave, blown by dynamite out of the rock.
Over it are a series of buildings, full of wine presses, vats, casks,
barrels and pipes.
At present the machinery is at a standstill and the casks are
nearly empty as a result of the military occupation.
The village of Zichron Yakob is not a very attractive place
although it is set in one of the beauty spots of Palestine.
Stationed on an eminence you see the ocean on one side and
the vast green rolling Plain of Sharon on the other. The fields
are dotted with groves of olive and almond and fig and eucalyp¬
tus, and here and there a meadow covered with a carpet of blood-
The streets of Zichron are squalid. The fences are broken
and tumbling down, and the one-story stone houses are sadly in
need of painting and repair. The centre of the town is where the
two streets cross each other.
Here Arabs and Jews congregate, trading and bartering anti
peddlers of fruit and other foodstuffs swarm about, just as in
any little Ghetto quarter.
The dwellings consist of two and three rooms each, although
many poor families, especially among the Yemenites, content
themselves with one room which is the kitchen, dining room,
bedroom and parlor of the family.
About two hundred Arab farm hands and servants live in the
village and these people dwell in the stables here, just as they do
in some of the other colonies.
The war and years of Turkish misrule have stamped their
brand of demoralization, and indifference here as elsewhere.
"Soochra” has been the bane of the colonies. Mules, foodstuffs,
wagons and labor, all “soochra” (without pay) for the Turkish
army. There is another word only slightly less detestable to the
colonist and that is “Mukhtar.”
The Turk authorities in their demand for soochra and back¬
sheesh did not deal with the colonists directly, but through the
medium of a factor in every colony called a “Mukhtar,” a sort
of poisonous fungoid outgrowth of this rank form of misgovem-
The Mukhtar was the creature who handled the bribe money
and carried on all the negotiations. And he usually played the
game so well that he had his paw on the throat of the colony all
the time. ,
Not far from Zichron Yakob lie the colonies of Shveyah,
Marrach, Chouni, Karkour and Bath Schlomah. All these set¬
tlements are in a sad state of backwardness and retrogression.
Arabs occupy many of the houses and till much of the land.
In Marrach, the dwellings are placed over the stables, con¬
structed in a quadrangle around a muddy central courtyard. The
Arabs live in the stables with the cattle and mules and the colon¬
ists live overhead, each family crowded into one or two rooms
and the filth and unsanitary conditions are indescribable.
Almost all are suffering from malaria and trachoma.
In Chouni we found ruins of a magnificent Roman am¬
phitheatre and the remains of a stone acqueduct conducting
water from springs in this vicinity to the seaport of Caesaria.
These are some of the scanty and scattered vestiges of
the splendor and prosperity of the kingdom under the reign
of Her d the Great.
Near Chouni, we visited the Crocodile River nursing its
sluggish course through pestilential marshes.
At Shveyah, I was very much interested in one family
living in the colony for many years. The family consists of
a middle aged couple and five children, two sons and three
daughters. All are working very hard and their occupation
is grafting Palestinian vine stalks on American stems.
The object of the grafting is to make the vine immune
against the destructive phyloxera; a disease which cannot pre¬
vail against the hardy American stock.
The stem with its graft is planted in a nursery and tend¬
erly cared for during a period of one year. Then it is trans¬
planted into a vineyard, and in three or four years begins to
yield luscious grapes.
Another pursuit of this interesting and industrious family
is silk culture. I was shown the various stages of the pro¬
cess. How the tiny eggs are hatched into little worms with
ravenous appetites who feed on the mulberry leaves supplied
to them and grow rapidly from day to day.
After about four weeks of carefully feeding the silk¬
worm, and keeping him scrupulously clean, he commences to
incarcerate himself in a cocoon. In another three weeks the
cocoon is complete, and the worm punctures his way out and
flies off as a beautiful butterfly, leaving the cocoon spoiled
To prevent this, one must be on the watch and as soon
as the cocoon is ready, it is dipped in scalding hot water,
thereby killing the worm and dissolving the cement away
from the fine silk thread which can then be unravelled.
Some of the worms are permitted to develope into the
butterfly stage in order to procure the eggs which are devel¬
oped by the butterfly.
We drove out of Zichron Yakob this forenoon. On the
way, we passed some mounds of stone which were pointed
out to us as Turkish landmarks upon which their land meas¬
urements are based. This primitive system of surveying has
been the cause of untold trouble and expense to the colon¬
A tree, a stone or a stake in the ground are used as
boundary marks and the limits of a field or pasture are ever¬
lasting bones of contention, which have occasionally culmin¬
ated in bloodshed.
Twenty-eight years ago a number of wealthy Jewish
families of southern Russia, determined upon escaping from
the oppression and racial discrimination of the Czar’s domain,
by emigrating to Palestine.
One of them was sent as an agent and emisary to pur¬
chase land and make all arrangements for the establishment
of a colony. He arrived in the Holy Land in winter, and was
very much impressed by the greenness and beauty and fertil¬
ity of the Plain of Sharon.
Here in Samaria, near the east-coast he purchased a large
tract of land from the Arabs, and the colony of Hedera came
But there was one factor the colonists had not reckoned
with, and that was malaria.
All along the coast here, the sand is driven up by the sea,
and by the wind in enormous dunes. These form a barrier
preventing the outflow of water from the low, flat maritime
plain towards the ocean, thus converting the entire region into
a vast, soggy, muddy swamp.
The colonists sickened, many died and the rest became
enfeebled, discouraged and disheartened. Still they had sunk
all their wealth into the settlement and with ruin staring
them in the face, they were determined to fight the battle to
the bitter end.
After a couple of years of bitter toil, they decided upon
appealing to the Baron for help. He harkened to their call,
and came to their rescue by sending large gangs of Egyptian
and negro laborers under expert engineers to plant eucalyp¬
tus trees and drain the marshes around Hedera. Hundreds
of men succumbed to the deadly fever. Others were sent to
replace them and the work was carried on at an enormous
expenditure of money and human life.
Finally a great part of the task was accomplished and
the health conditions of the colony underwent a marked im¬
Now Hedera is set into the midst of a vast picturesque
eucalyptus forest. Thousands of these trees have been de¬
stroyed by the Turks in their campaign, but new green
branches have begun to spring from the unsightly stumps and
in a few years all traces of the vandal will have been effaced
by the rapidly growing forest.
Malaria is still very prevalent in Hedera which is now
a thriving colony of three hundred people, owning about thirty
thousand dunams of very fertile land, devoted mainly to orange
culture and the cultivation of grain.
I occupied part of my stay in Hedera with an examination
of the Yemenite settlement, located on the outskirts of the
colony. Here I found about seventy Yemenites, living under
the most wretched conditions, of filth, poverty and overcrowd¬
ing, families of six and seven, huddled together in one small,
dark, bare room.
They are paid exceedingly small wages and nearly all of
them suffer from malaria and trachoma in aggravated form,
while many have succumbed to tuberculosis.
Seven years ago this Yemenite Settlement was established
by three hundred enthusiastic and devoted immigrants, from
Yemen, in the southernmost extremity of Arabia. During the
seven years, two hundred of them died, a few fled back to their
old homes and seventy still remain.
I was grieved to find that the colonists here, as elsewhere
are totally indifferent to the unfortunate plight of their
Rishon-le-Zion is a colony near Jaffa, established about
thirty-seven years ago, and now contains over sixteen hun¬
It devotes itself mainly to orange, almond and vine cul¬
ture. One of the largest wine cellars in the world has been
erected here by “the Baron.”
The village consists of a couple of intersecting streets,
the main street, being a wide unpaved thoroughfare running
up a hill at the top of which stands a large square. The houses
are rather shabby, the streets are squalid, and no specail at¬
tention or care is paid to beauty and attractiveness of exterior.
The peace and quiet of the Sabbath is resting on the
colony. Men and women and children are strolling up and
down the street. Many Jewish soldiers are stationed in a
nearby camp, and they fraternize with the villagers, paying
particular attention to the younger element of the fair sex.
Rishon, as well as so many other colonies has suffered
exceedingly from the war and also from a plague of locusts
that well nigh ruined the plantations about two years ago.
At present the colony is well on the way to recovery.
Its plantations are very fruitful and very beautiful. The
long even rows of orange trees with their deep green leaves
and golden yellow fruit, the forests of almond trees, now cov¬
ered with snow-white blossoms, form a beautiful and never
The workers in the plantations are mainly Arabs living
in the adjacent villages. At times about two thousand of them
are employed by the colonists, in the vineyards and orchards.
Some Yemenite families living in wretched hovels on the
outskirts of Rishon, supply the domestic help as well as a
number of field laborers.
Petach Tikvah is the wealthiest and most populous of all
the colonies in Palestine. The little town established about
fifty years ago now contains three thousand inhabitants and
its fifty thousand dunams of land include about one-fifth all
the Jewish orange plantations in Palestine.
Arabs to the number of well nigh three thousand are
employed in the colony and its plantations.
There is an anecdote that when the Baron came on a visit
to Petach Tikvah all the able bodied Jewish men were mus¬
tered out, armed with spades and pitch forks, and hoes and
other implements of agriculture, not an Arab was anywhere
The Baron was very much impressed by this army of
Jewish tillers of the soil, until one young workingman stepped
forward, and said, “My Lord, I greet you in the name of five
Jewish and three thousand Arab farm laborers.”
Subsequently that young “Bolshevik” lost his job, which
of course, considerably reduced the number of Jewish farm
laborers in Petach Tikvah.
In spite of its evident wealth and prosperity, the colony
is still the recipient of aid from the lea and from the other
outside sources for its school work, its medical aid and its
Evidently it is very difficult to throw off the yoke of “un¬
This morning we left Jaffa for Rechoboth by automobile.
After travelling a few miles, we were halted by a de¬
tachment of soldiers who warned us of target cannonading
across the road.
We stopped for a while listening to the roar of the guns
and watching the explosion of the shells on the distant hills.
Then we turned back and travelled through the Arab town9
of Ludd, and Ramleh to the little colony of Ben Shemen.
Hereabouts is located what is left of the Herzl forest to¬
ward which thousands of pounds have been contributed by
Jews from every corner of the world.
Twenty-seven thousand of the young olive trees have
been destroyed by the armies that have camped and fought
The land belongs to the National Fund and about two
thousand dunams are cultivated by a small cvoutza of young
men and women.
We also paid a visit to Ekron, a colony established thirty-
four years ago, and numbering four hundred inhabitants. It
devotes itself mainly to the raising of grain, and judging by the
poor delapidated tumbledown appearance of its homes, it is
not in a thriving condition.
I found the eye affections here, the worst and most neg¬
lected of any colony in Palestine.
We returned to Rechoboth in the evening and spent the
night in a little hotel, the host of which claims to be a direct
lineal descendant of the House of David.
Katrah (Gedera) is situated about two hours journey from
Rechoboth. This colony numbers one hundred and fifty
and possesses about 5,000 dunams of land.
It was established in 1882 by a group of students from
Russia, fleeing from the persecutions and pogroms of the
Romanoff regime. The imposing synagogue in the centre of
the village has almost been shattered and ruined by the Brit¬
ish shells showered on it to dislodge the Turkish battery which
had taken up its position in the building.
On the outskirts of Katrah are Turkish trenches and
several mounds were pointed out to me, marking the spots
where British bombs had exploded and slaughtered numbers
of Turkish soldiers now buried under the grass hillocks.
From Katrah, we drove to Kastiniyeh, along a road lined
on either side by dense hedges of thorny cactus, crossing over
many deep Wadys, now pools of muddy water, but in the
heavy rains becoming impassable freshets.
After examining most of the two hundred colonists living
here, and assuring ourselves that here, as elsewhere, a vast
amount of work and capital is required for better, more attrac¬
tive homes, for schools and sanitation and medical aid, we
drove back to Rechoboth.
I arose when the morning star still shone high and brill¬
iant in the Jaffa sky and the eastern heaven began to show
roseate glimmerings of the dawn. I dressed hastily and
Tel Aviv is silent and asleep, the even rows of houses and
little gardens, with their tall spectre like cypress trees look
very picturesque in the dim light. Out of Tel Aviv, I come
abruptly into a quarter of crooked, vile-smelling lanes and
tumbledown shacks, slapped together, of old boards and rusty,
Here dwell the Semenites and Sephardis as well as many
poor Ashkenazi Jews. I hasten through this district wading
through the moist deep sand and soon I find myself on the
broad stretch of beach. I swing along, with my chest ex¬
panded, and my lungs drawing in deep breaths of the cool
refreshing breeze. In the distance the rays of the morning
sun, touch with a wand of gold the domes and minarets and
rectangular-tiled roofs of the city of Jaffa rising tier upon
tier on the rocky promontory against which the waves of the
sea have been beating and breaking since the earliest memory
Legend has it, that on this rugged and treacherous shore,
Andromeda was bound to the rocks and rescued by Perseus.
A haze is rising from the sea, and it envelopes the city in
a filmy veil which softens and diffuses and reflects the slanting
sunbeams. Fishermen are casting their nets from the shore,
wading out into the icy sea.
Their naked, bronzed, muscular legs and thighs and broad
chests and shoulders make them magnificent models for sculp¬
tor and painter.
The sand of the shore is covered with myriads of shells
of all marvelous and beautiful shapes and colors. Every one
of these has harboring within its delicate wall, a living thing, a
tiny off-spring of the prodigal, all pervading life which has
breathed existence into the tender little shells, crumbling
under my feet, into the putrefying devilfish which I thrust
aside with my cane, and into the dried skeleton which leers
at me, white and ghastly, from its burial in the sand.
Spent the forenoon examining the children in the Recho-
both school and kindergarten. On the whole, the children are
cleaner, better cared for, and make a more favorable impres¬
sion than in any colony I have visited.
I also paid a call on the Yemenite school. This consists
of a small dark room, the door being the sole opening for the
admission of air and light.
About twenty-five boys are seated in a circle on the floor,
every four of them pouring over one volume. In the centre
of the swaying, chanting ring of youngsters, reclines the mon¬
arch of this kingdom; an old grizzled Yemenite teacher, a fez
on his head and a long vile-smelling pipe between his lips.
One breath of this atmosphere is sufficient for my sensi-
tive constitution, and I escape into the open air, where the
children are brought out and lined up for my inspection.
Accompanied by the inn-keeper’s daughter, a highly in¬
telligent and well bred young girl, I walk to Zanuka, the near¬
est Arab village, about half an hours stroll from Rechoboth.
Our first stop is at the Djamma. As we enter the court¬
yard, we find about a hundred boys, arranged in a row around
the high stone wall; each with a square sheet of tin in his hand,
on which a prayer from the Koran is inscribed in thick blue
The teacher reads a verse, and then they all chant it to¬
gether monotonously, as loudly as their young throats can
Almost everyone of the children is a sufferer from Trach¬
oma. The discharge dries up in the eyelashes and hordes of
flies settle on the lids and make themselves at home unmo¬
From the Djamma we walk through the village to the
home of the Sheikh. We find the royal court a large, square,
muddy enclosure tenanted by dogs and poultry, some goats,
a couple of sheep, and a few donkeys, and a camel, not to for¬
get to mention a number of women and children.
My guide Miss B— who speaks Arabic fluently, has a
friend here, Latifa, the Sheikh’s newly acquired second wife.
Latifa spies us coming and runs joyously to meet her former
friend and playmate.
She conducts us into one of the mud baked huts encircling
the courtyard, spreads a straw mat on the cement floor, piles
some cushions on it and has us comfortably seated, cross-
The chamber is large and clean, the ceiling is rather low
and smoke begrimmed, and the walls are covered with fantastic
paintings and primitive designs very much like those of the
Latifa is dark and tall and slim, with large black eyes,
soft and lustrous, like those of a gazelle, in spite of the Kohl
staining the eyelashes. Her features are delicate and her figure
graceful and sinuous. There is another occupant of the
chamber, a slightly older woman. A lace veil covers the lower
part of the face revealing only a pair of piercing, fiery eyes.
As we converse with the volatile, bustling Latifa, who is
preparing coffee for us in a brass pot, over a small heap of
glowing charcoal embers, the veil is gradually lowered and
finally drops down to the neck, disclosing a face of exquisite
The lady rises to the full height of her rich, voluptuous
form the lines of which are accentuated by her long clinging
garment of blue, homespun wool, and silently glides out
through the open doorway.
“That,” says Miss B— is the Sheikh’s first wife, but his
heart belongs to my Latifa, with whom he fell madly in love.
This romance lasted two years, and threatened more
than once to result in a tragedy, for the old sheikh had been
opposed to the match at the very hour of his death.
He reasoned that love was a disease and that a woman so
afflicted, was not fit for marriage. And he took unto his son
for a wife Mira, the daughter of a neighboring Sheikh. But
the flame of love refused to be extinguished by this diplomatic
match, and Musa and Latifa continued to meet clandestinely,
though the affair began to be talked about and the followers
of the two old Sheikhs began to cast dark, sinister glances at
each other, which boded no good.
For two years this unhappy romance continued and
Latifa began to look wan and worn and Musa scowled and
frequently laid his hand heavily though not too lovingly on
Mira. Until one day the old Sheikh closed his eyes forever
and Musa fell heir to the chieftanship which his family had
borne for many generations. His first royal act was to call
for Selim, the father of Latifa and request of him the girl’s
hand. Selim demanded seventy-five pounds, but forty-five
pounds in gold was the price finally agreed upon and Latifa
became Musa’s bride.”
While the conversation was carried on, a tall, powerful
figure darkened the doorway and the young Sheikh himself
came in and greeted us by touching his right hand to his fore¬
head and then pressing it to his heart. As he came in he mut¬
tered something to Latifa and she immediately disappeared.
Musa is very dark and decidedly handsome, with a high, nar¬
row forehead, shaded by a mass of thick black curly hair, a
pair of burning, penetrating eyes, a thin, aquiline nose, some¬
what thick, sensuous lips, and a double row of powerful, ivory-
Latifa reappears with a plate on which are three tiny
cups; Musa pours some coffee into one of the cups, sips a
little, slowly and loudly and then hands the cup to me. Miss
B— also receives a cup of the delicious, thick, black fluid,
though the same honor is not accorded to her. The last cup
he pours for himself and we all drink, except Latifa, who
stands regarding her lord and master with a mute gaze of
mingled love and expectant obedience. After our coffee is
finished, Musa says something to Latifa in a voice that is al¬
most soft and gentle and she stoops down laughingly and
grasping my fair companion’s hand, raises her from the
ground. Miss B— explains that she is invited to Latifa’s pri¬
vate chamber, and the two young women walk out hand in
hand like a personification of Europe and Asia.
Another visitor, Musa’s younger brother, comes in. He
speaks a broken English and we carry on a conversation
touching a little on world politics, a little on orange culture
and a trifle more on the rights and privileges of women in
Europe and America, about which they manifest a keen curi¬
osity. The Sheikh says: “Woman is a delicate, precious
thing; she has to be carefully watched and guarded. Besides,
if you give her a little freedom, you are no longer sure of her
at all. I felt that it would take more than one visit and very
many hours to convince his oriental mind that his conception
of woman as man’s creature and chattel and plaything was
barbarous. Moreover, Miss B— and Latifa returned and
spared me the effort.
We bade them farewell and salaamed our way out of the
royal court, now occupied by the late Sheikh’s six sons with
their wives and numerous progeny.
Before departing, I innocently asked Musa, through my
interpreter, whether he was blessed with any children, and he
answered, raising his palms to heaven, ,‘No,” but then in a
moment he naively added, “Let Allah be thanked, both Mira
and Latifa are in “the delicate state.”
As we walk out of the village in the evening dusk, we
stop for a moment at the well and watch the village youths
standing somewhat at a distance admiring and occasionally
chatting with the young belles, walking back and forth with
huge water pitchers gracefully balanced on their heads. And
we are reminded of the beautiful biblical narrative of Eliezer,
the steward of Abraham, meeting Rebecca at the well and
selecting her for Isaac’s bride, from among the daughters of
his master’s kinsmen.
Rechoboth, established about forty years ago by wealthy
Jews from Russia, is one of the fairest among the Tewish col¬
onies in Palestine. It is surrounded by broad, fertile fields
yielding rich harvests of wheat and corn, as well as the Arab
staple cereals, dhurra and sumsum.
The white-walled cottages with their rectangular red-
tiled roofs straggle uphill and downhill among trees and gar¬
dens and the almond groves, now bedecked with lily-white
blossoms like newly fallen snow, and the orange plantations
and the vineyards encroach almost upon the heart of the village.
Over a hundred colonists and their families dwell in this
garden spot and every day about a thousand Arab men and
women come in from the surrounding villages with their
camels and asses and oxen to work in the fields and orchards
Adjoining the colony there is the inevitable Yemenite
settlement with its squalor and filth and poverty.
In the centre of the village, at the summit of the hill,
stand the synagogue, the People’s Hall and the schoolhouse,
symbolic of the ideas and aims, which many years ago brought
these settlers from Russia to create for themselves in Pales¬
tine a free home and an opportunity for self-expression and
It is related that when the Australian troops, after long
and weary marches through a wilderness dotted with Bedouin
encampments and Arab mud settlements, first caught sight of
the picturesque white and red cottages of Rechoboth nestling
amidst its gardens, it seemed like a glimpse of home to them
and they uttered a shout of joy that could be heard for miles
around and broke into a run downhill towards the village.
Returned to Jaffa and thence by automobile to Jerusalem,
passing through the green and fertile plain of Sharon, enter¬
ing the mountain pass called the Babel Wood and climbing
over the rocky stone-covered hills of Judea. We reached
Jerusalem the mystic, hoary, sacred city, under whose spell
and for a sight of which I had been yearning during the six
long weeks of our tour.
Tiberias, March 7, 1919.
I have just come into my room from the Tiberias Hos¬
pital, which is but a short walk from the hotel. From my
window I behold the sunset over the green mountains and
the sky is purple and orange and scarlet and the soft, fleecy
clouds are edged with gold. The Lake of Galilee lies peaceful
and smooth and clear like a sheet of blue crystal. Here and
there on its bosom the white winglike sail of a fisherboat
glides lazily along.
I have had a difficult day's work and I am somewhat
tired, but satisfied that the sun is not setting on a day spent
in vam. I have, working with me,, three physicians, five trained
nurses and twelve pupil nurses. The hospital is kept clean
and wholesome despite many hardships and difficulties and our
“Jty or roore patients are receiving all the care and comfort
that kindness and love of beauty can give them.
On Sunday, March 2nd, I awoke at sunrise and left Tiber¬
ias for Safed on horseback. It is a journey of about 20 miles,
but for that short distance it is undoubtedly one of the most
interesting in the world. Tiberias on the shore of the Lake
Galilee (Lake Kinnereth) is 690 feet below the level of the
sea and Safed is a city built on a mountain top on the site
of an ancient fortress about three thousand feet above sea
level. You climb and climb over the rough, stony road, wind¬
ing around mountains and crossing deep valleys. The country
unfolds before you like a map as you ascend. You turn in your
saddle and behold the beautiful Lake and the Jordan
River winding like a long, thin, silver serpent through its
green, fertile valley. To the north you gaze with awe and
spellbound admiration at the snow-white head of Mount Her-
mon, towering like a giant over the land and ats its feet,
like a small silver mirror, lies Lake Merom, into which the
northernmost end of the Jordan pours its rushing torrents of
# Here and there you can point out the Jewish colonies with
their square stone houses and red-tiled roofs, strikingly differ¬
ent from the gray and brown mud-hut villages of the Arabs.
After about three hours of travelling, my companion and I
dismount and rest by the road partaking of some bread and
butter and cheese and eggs, which our hostess at the hotel
prepared for us. Our horses crop the rich grass and lie con¬
tentedly. Having rested and refreshed ourselves, we remount
and resume our journey. At about noon time we ride through
the wide, cobble-stone-paved street of the colony Rosh Pinah,
and an hour later, after a very steep and difficult climb, we
enter the city of Safed.
I remained in Safed until the following afternoon. I in¬
spected our hospital here, which is under my control, ex¬
amined the school children and gave instructions to our doctor
and to the school nurse for the regular and systematic
treatment of the trachoma and other eye diseases with which
a high percentage of the people, particularly the young child¬
ren are afflicted. Safed is very poor and very dirty and owing
to its situation on the top of a mountain, is almost isolated
from the rest of the world. Altogether about 12,000 men,
women and children find their homes in its crooked, dirty,
foul-smelling streets and dark, squalid, unwholesome houses.
Before the war there were 10,000 Jews in Safed. These
people subsisted almost entirely on charity or Hallukah
funds collected from outside Jewry. During the war the
golden stream from America and Russia and Germany and all
other parts of the world stopped suddenly and completely and
about 4,000 Jewish men, women and children died of hunger
and of typhus and other diseases, following closely on the
heels of starvation.
The Jews sold their homes and their belongings to the
Arabs for the sake of buying a little food, with which to keep
body and soul together. Many of them fled out of the un¬
fortunate city wherever their weary footsteps could carry
them and now the Jewish community of Safed numbers barely
On Monday, March 3rd, early in the afternoon, we rode
out of Safed and our surefooted horses began the long descent
down the stony, serpentine road over the rugged and precipit¬
ous mountains. After we had ridden about two hours, the
sky suddenly became overcast with black, heavy clouds; the
mild, gentle breeze became a sweeping, tearing, rampaging
gale. Peals of thunder and flashes of lightning played con¬
tinually overhead. A violent storm of rain and hail drove
our horses off the road and made us seek shelter behind
a huge overhanging rock. The rain streamed through
our coats and uniforms and boots and we were soon soaking
wet and icy cold. The storm lasted almost an hour before
its fury was spent and a lull set in.
We remounted our shivering horses and galloped away
in the hope of warming up our stiff and frozen limbs. The sun
came out, bright and radiant through a rift in the clouds and
far away in the distance a glorious rainbow spanned the valley
of the Jordan.
At a turn in the road we passed a gang of discharged
Turkish prisoners returning to their homes. They trudged
along barefooted and ragged, haggard and wane. It was a
pitiful sight and I shall never forget the picture of the starved
and suffering men, so weary and sick that they could hardly
drag their bleeding, naked feet through the mud of the road.
At eight in the evening we rode into Tiberias and I im¬
mediately rolled into bed, drank a few cups of hot tea and
was delighted, reading the precious letters from home, which
I found awaiting me.
Tiberias, Palestine, Sunday, March 23, 1919.
My Beloved Boys:
I have a little spare time now. My chief nurse, who is
the autocrat of the operating room, compels me, much against
my will, to take an afternoon off, as she thinks I have been
working too hard.
I cannot spend the afternoon in a happier or pleasanter
way than by taking my big little boy Isidore and my little,
big boy Abraham on my lap (in imagination, of course) and
clasping them tightly in my arms and having a jolly good
time with them.
Now boys, make yourselves comfortable: you, Isidore, on
the right knee, and Abraham on the left knee. Snuggle up
close; I am afraid you have too many marbles and picture
buttons in your pockets, boys; they are rather hard on daddy’s
lap. And now that we have made ourselves comfortable and
at home, let us hear what you boys have to say for yourselves.
Have you been good and obedient to your darling mother or
have you worried her and made it harder for her to bear the
absence of father? You answer that you have both been very
good, but I detect a little suspicious twinkle in your little
mother’s eye, which tells me that you have occasionally fallen
from grace and behaved like a pair of mischievous rascals.
Well, I shall take your word for it (with a small grain of salt),
and if you have misbehaved now and then, we shall turn over
another new leaf and let bygones be bygones.
Now, how much progress have you made in Hebrew? I
am studying a little Hebrew myself and when I come home
(in the happy day to come), we shall see which of us has ad¬
vanced farther in the holy tongue, and little mother will give
the biggest piece of strawberry shortcake to the most diligent
of her three boys.
I suppose you are getting the best marks obtainable at
school. I am quite sure that you are bringing home an A,
B-f-, A, every month and that you are immortalizing your
names on the Eagle honor roll. Please tell Miss Quinn that
I was very much pleased to receive her kind postcard with
the picture of your school on it.
As you are aware, I am now stationed at Tiberias, and
this will probably be my headquarters until the termination
of my stay in Palestine.
It is very pleasant here now; the climate is mild and
balmy and the hills are covered with a rich green carpet,
adorned with scarlet and purple and yellow flowers.
The Sea of Galilee can be viewed from the window of my
room, a beautiful placid mirror of greenish blue water. Oc¬
casionally, when I have a little spare time I go out for a sail
on the Lake and then I am reminded of the happy days we
spent together on Lake George. Both bodies of water are
wonderfully beautiful and encircled by green hills and moun¬
tains, only the southern sky over Galilee is of a clearer, deeper
blue and is pierced in the north by the snow-white head of the
giant Mount Hermon.
Tiberias is a quaint little city, very poor, very dirty and
Its streets are crooked and narrow and its stone houses
are shabby, delapidated and tumbledown, but when you raise
your eyes and behold its magnificent setting of rolling, tower¬
ing hills and mountains on one side and the sacred Lake Kin-
nereth on the other, you forget all about the misery and pov¬
erty and ugliness of the town.
The people of Tiberias are a conglomeration of Arabs,
Polish Jews, Russian Jews, Frank Jews (those of Spanish
descent) and other nationalities. They are dressed in every
sort of garb and costume. Some in fur hat or shtreimel and
long caftan, others in red fez and long, many-colored kimonas,
still others in turban and longflowing robes with broad sash
or girdle around the waist.
They have all sorts of odd and picturesque customs and
ceremonies which distinguish the various races and creeds
living here, but they resemble one another in their oriental
indolence and disinclination to do steady, useful work.
Just now, as I write these lines, I hear a noise of beating
drums, and tinkling tambourines, and twanging zithers and
clapping hands and chanting voices.
I go out on the balcony and look down into the narrow
street below. Two long rows of Arabs are facing each other,
beating their hands together and singing a weird monotonous
oriental melody. They sway their bodies back and forth and
keep time with their feet and so they march sideways down the
street. In the midst of them is a tall swarthy Bedouin with
fiery eyes and coal black hair braided Indian fashion, in two
long heavy plaits that hang down over his shoulders. He
dances in and out among "the swaying, chanting Arabs as
graceful and lithe as a serpent, now turning, now winding, now
stepping slowly and rhythmically, now whirling around as
if in a mad frenzy.
In the wake of this wedding procession, rides a solitary
horseman. He is the bridegroom and is dressed in fine linen
and shimmering gaudy-colored silk and is being escorted to
his waiting bride.
For the next week or more, there will be feasting and
dancing and merry-making and bringing of gifts, of clothes
and fruit and delicacies of various tastes and flavors.
A couple of days ago we celebrated Purim in the hospital,
with a band of music, consisting of an old half-blind fiddler,
playing on a screeching, groaning fiddle, a drummer beating
with his fists and fingers on something that looked like a
kettle, and a boy shaking a tambourine over his head as if he
were trying to scare away the flies.
All our little patients were brought out on the broad ver¬
anda of the hospital and those who are convalescing, were
permitted to dance.
Across the street there is an orphan asylum, and all the
little orphans in their gingham frocks and little white caps
on their shaven heads, came over to join in the frolic. Little
Itzchak is the best dancer of them all. He is bandy-legged,
has an enormous pot-belly and is minus one eye, but he is an
imp of mischief. He can dance a “freilichs” (Jewish folk
dance) like a veteran Chassid and it is a sight for the Gods to
see him tripping about, now one foot up in the air, now the
other, with one hand on his head and one hand akimbo, his
face one, huge, broad smile almost stretching his mouth from
ear to ear, while his curly locks wag back and forth and from
side to side to the rhythm of his dancing.
Our kind nurses, who are sisters and mothers of these
poor sick children, bring out cakes and candies, and big, fat
“hamentashen” (tarts) full of delicious jam and you can
imagine what a picnic the youngsters are having.
And now, my little sons, I fear you will have to leave
your cozy seat on my lap for twilght is setting in fast, and
I have to go over to the hospital to visit my patients.
Before I let you out of my arms, I must relate to you
something very interesting that I noticed the other day.
It was but an ordinary occurence, one of the commonplace
events that are going on around us all the time, though but
rarely inspiring us with admiration and wonder.
A cup of sugar was brought in and placed on a marble-
top table in my room. In order to keep the flies out of the
sweet treasure house, I placed an orange on the cup and
pressed it down tightly, completely covering the sugar. About
two hours later when I wanted to procure some sugar, I per¬
ceived two long trails of tiny, black ants going to and from
the cup, those marching away bearing little white crystals in
their jaws. I picked up the orange out of the cup and, lo and
behold, the sugar was hidden under a mass of moving, crawl¬
ing, minute insects. How did they find out about the sugar
in the cup? Have they a marvelous sixth sense, which we
poor human beings do not possess ? Or did a stray wanderer
discover the precious sweet treasure and rush off to bring his
family and friends and neighbors? I am afraid your daddy
cannot answer these puzzling questions. Nevertheless, he
stands full of admiration and awe before this great and won¬
derful old world of ours and the sacred, mysterious life with
which it is overflowing.
The filth and misery of most of the dwellings in Tiberias
cannot be described. The odors are sickening and the sights
are disgusting. All the pollution of the slums trickles and
flows down into the beautiful Lake Galilee, and contamin¬
ates its sacred waters. And the women and children of Tib¬
erias fill their pitchers with this water and use it for drinking
and cleansing purposes.
The Poorhouse in Tiberias is a tumbledown, stone struc¬
ture, situated in a blind alley. It is used as a temporary
shelter for the poorest and most miserable of this poor and
almost destitute community. On the stone floor are scattered
some dirty mats and sacking and on these are squatting and
reclining about a score of men and women and children. They
are haggard and sunken-eyed and hollow-cheeked. Some are
swaying and moaning with the pangs of illness and hunger;
others are quiet and motionless with the silence and inertia
A groan from one corner of the dim chamber attracts my
attention. A young girl of about eighteen sits huddled to¬
gether on a bundle of straw. She turns her face towards me
and it is a picture of unusually intense suffering. The cheeks are
sunken and wan, the skin is like yellow parchment, the eyes are
large and lustrous with a feverish, unnatural brilliance, the lips
are grayish blue, but the teeth are large and even and pearly
white, the nose is small and delicate, the forehead is high and
straight and smooth. She is wrapped in a ragged, threadbare
blue garment with here and there a large rent, through which
the shivering, emaciated limbs peep out. “Nahomi” is her
name. Neither father nor mother nor kith or kin has she any¬
where in the wide world. “I came here a month ago,” she
says in soft, musical Arabic; “I am sick and suffering and no
one comes to bring any help or relief. By day my fever and
pain torment me; by night the vermin rob me of slumber.
You, kind sir, cannot endure the smell here for a few minutes
and this unbearable stench has been in my nostrils for weeks.
If I am to die, I pray that the end may come quickly. Once
a day they bring us some food, but we barely touch it, for we
are too sick to eat. I wonder whether God or man is to blame
for our misfortune.”
And while Nahomi is pouring out her tale of woe, a
couple of Arabs bring in a figure on a stretcher, made of sack¬
cloth and two long poles. They deposit their burden on the
ground and depart.
The new arrival is a man about forty, horribly emaciated
and with the look and odor of a living corpse. He is too
weak to sit up and collapses helplessly on the mat. A middle
aged woman and a girl of twelve rush over to him and com¬
mence to kiss and embrace him with piteous sobbing and
wailing. The wretched spectacle brings a painful lump into
tny throat and I hasten out, followed by several of the inmates,
who volunteer the information that the man has been sent out
of the hospital because he is in a dying condition and his bed
is required for another patient.
Into the court of the Poorhouse open the upper windows
of the School for Girls, and now their young voices are sing¬
ing a Hebrew, national hymn. The music of the sweet song
and the childish voices mingle in my ears with the moans
and wails eminating from the Poorhouse.
One day in Tiberias, while sitting on the balcony of my hotel
during the extreme heat of the late afternoon, I fell into conver¬
sation with a lady physician from Beyrouth.
During our chat, she informed me that she was a follower of
a new riligious movement, called Bahaism, which had originated
in Persia fifty years ago and was now penetrating into every
country of the globe. “The Bahai movement,” she said, “aims
to bring about the oneness of humanity and the unity of religion.”
Then she wrote and gave me a letter of introduction to Abbas
Effendi. the head and leader of the sect; “the Master,” as she
called him, now living in Haifa.
And so one day while in Haifa, I took advantage of a few
hours’ leisure and inquired my way to the home of this latter-day
prophet. He lives in a large, comfortable, roomy, stone house,
which you enter by ascending a broad, marble staircase, after pass¬
ing through a garden full of flowers of the richest colors, growing
in profusion amidst orange and lemon trees, heavily laden with
golden yellow fruit.
A chocolate-colored individual in gaudy-colored, flowing
robes, with the eyes and features of a Siamese, answers my ring
and salaams me into a spacious room, the floor of which is cov¬
ered witth a rich, magnificent Persian rug and the walls and chairs
and divans bedecked with artistically woven oriental tapestry.
Here I sit a few minutes in silence and in wonder, somewhat
akin to awe. Suddenly my Siamese friend glides in again, carry¬
ing a small, round ebony table, inlaid with ivory. This he deposits
in front of me and I find on it a small silver case filled with
cigarettes and another one filled with matches. Having struck a
light for me, he glides out in the same uncanny manner. I take
a few puffs at the aromatic cigarette, when suddenly the door
swings open agab and a stout figure of medium height, clad in
a flowing black robe, enters the room and approaches me slowly
and majestically, as I rise from my seat. I see standing before
me a man of about seventy-five, the large leonine head and high
wrinkled forehead covered by a snow-white fez, from under
which the silvery locks straggle down to the shoulders and
mingle with the long venerable beard.
He motions me to sit down and sits down also on an ad¬
joining divan. Then he utters a few words in Persian and I
am surprised at the strength and volume and musical resonance
of the sound. Apparently he has called someone, for almost
immediately a young man appears, clad in a long surtout of
brown pongee silk and a white fez covering his black, curly hair.
He is the secretary and speaks a choice, fluent English, which
he has learnt at the American College in Beyrouth.
I present my letter of introduction, which the old patriarch
reads easily and without the aid of any glasses. Having pe¬
rused the epistle, he says, “Good, very, very good” in English
and then a few sentences in Persian.
“The Master says,” explains the secretary “that he is happy
to greet you and judges by the warm and glowing introduction
of Dr. B— that you will be in strong sympathy with the Bahai
Whereupon I express my desire to learn more about Ba-
haism and a very interesting conversation ensues, which lasts
about an hour, during which we sip some delicious black coffee
in tiny cups.
“Bahaism,” says the Master, “is not a distinct creed. It
merely aims to combine that which is fundamental and universal
in all religions—the existence of a Creator, allwise and all-power¬
ful, who guides the destinies of mankind.” Thus spoke the
venerable Abbas Effendi ana then he paused to listen to my
“I believe,” said I, “in an infinite creative power, which
permeates the universe. I do not believe and cannot conceive
that accidental variations—mere accidents—which have been trans¬
mitted by heredity and perpetuated by the survival of the fittest
can account for the marvelous structure, say, of the human
body, every organ of which is a wonderful complete menhan-
ism—complete, far beyond the achievement of the human mind
—delicately adjusted and perfectly adapted to the performance
of its function.
“It seems to me that Life is an intelligent principle, endowed
with the power of adapting the organ to the performance of
its function. The structure endowed with Life, is endowed
with the power of becoming changed, modified and perfected
in adaptation to its environment. The living cell undergoes
transformation to participate in the formation of an eye or a
limb or a nerve, depending on the function which the organ is
called upon to perform, and the tendency of the intelligent prin¬
ciple which is Life and which is resident in the protoplasm of
the cell, is towards perfection of structure and function, in re¬
sponse to conditions in the environment. This will explain the
marvelous delicacy of an organ like the human eye, with its
power of regulating and converging light rays and taking im¬
pressions on the sensitive living plate—the retina, rapidly chang¬
ing for various distances or for swiftly moving objects, as when
we look out of the window of an express train, travelling at the
rate of sixty miles an hour.
“Likewise, the marvelous co-ordination of the muscles of
the body and the sense of equilibrium, which is dominated by
a tiny, delicate nerve organ, situated in the bone of the internal
“The production of digestive secretions for the chemical
transformation and assimilation of nutriment and the generation
of internal secretions in the body, so vital to the continuance of
life and the maintenance of a normal balance—all this, as well
as the countless other manifestations of life, testifies to a Uni¬
versal Intelligence as the Principle Cause—creative and direct-
• _ >r
Abbas: “Yes, like this garden, with its fruit trees and rows
of flower beds; it requires care and watching and tending.
Each plant has to be watered and the soil around it kept
free from weeds that choke up and destroy. As my gar¬
dener is to my plants and trees and flowers, so is the Lord
God to His children.”
I: “You mean that Providence is ever watching over us,
guiding our destinies, preserving us from harm, rewarding us
for our good deeds and punishing us for our wickedness?”
Abbas: “That is precisely what I mean. Providence is all-
just, all-wise and all-beneficent.”
I: “Then how can you account, for instance, for this mis¬
fortune which I witnessed today. A physician in the prime of
life, a God-fearing and upright man, the father of small children,
was suddenly stricken blind in both eyes while in the perform¬
ance of his duties?”
Abbas: “The ways of Providence are inscrutable to mortal
eyes. A parrot was once sitting on the branch of a tree and he
observed a little mother bird and its nest of younglings devoured
by a hideous serpent. The parrot said in his heart ‘There is no
God, and Providence is but an ancident,’ but a little later he saw
the snake torn to pieces by a tiger and on the next day the tiger
was mortally wounded by a lion and on the day thereafter, the
lion was shot and killed by a hunter, and then the hunter while
climbing on a mountain, stumbled and fell down a precipice and
his neck was broken and his body was a mangled heap.”
I: “You mean that every occurrence in the life of man is
subject to a guiding Providence and that we are unknowingly
and unconsciously receiving rewards for our good acts and retri¬
bution for our misdeeds. Then you believe and teach that prayer
can avert calamities or bring about change in our circumstances.
Would not that be contrary to the laws of nature, which are
fixed and eternal for the living, as well as for the morganic.
Abbas: “Providence is above the laws of nature. Nature
is but the manifestation of the Deity and the material with which
He performs His Work and accomplishes His wonders.”
Early this morning you see me in a shaky, rickety carriage,,
drawn by two big, raw-boned, rib-lined, old nags, and rolling
along the glistening white, sea-beach, stretching from Haifa to
The waves are breaking and the surf is bubbling almost
under the horses hoofs.
The day is glorious and sunshiny, the sky is a clear, azure
blue, transparent and cloudless. Behind us is the Carmel,
crouching like a lion, with the picturesque, white-walled, red-
tiled little city of Haifa, nestling at its foot.
Haifa is receding, growing dimmer and hazier in the dis¬
tance, while Acca with its domes and minarets and battered
old seawall is approaching nearer and nearer.
At midday, we enter the ancient city, that has played so
conspicuous a role in the battles and triumphs of the Crusaders
and has been their last stronghold in the Holy Land; a city
against which Napoleon flung his war-tried legions in vain.
We drive through the narrow, crooked streets, overhung
by arches and projecting latticed windows, through which black-
female eyes peer at us curiously. Pretty soon our Jehu stops
and lets us know that our “highborn majesties” will have to
climb out and walk, as it is impossible to proceed farther in the
carriage. So we stroll around, looking at the little stalls in the
Bazaar with the bearded, turbaned, indolent Arab merchants,
who seem to get cross and troubled if anyone disturbs them in
their chatting, coffee drinking, and smoking of the fragrant, bub¬
We find nothing more worthy of purchase than a collection
of old Turkish and Persian stamps which we desure from a
street gamin. _
After attending to our clinic, and while on our way back
to the carriage, we peer through an open gateway into a broad,
shady garden, and with the habitual impudence of Westerners,
we march right in. We find ourselves on the grounds of a
venerable and imposing mosque.
It is an immense court, lined with sycamore trees and with
a fountain playing in its centre. An old, white-bearded Sheikh
approaches us and invites us to enter the sacred precincts, which,
of course, we do, very readily.
The marble-tiled floor is covered with immaculately clean
straw mats, a gallery enclosed by a delicately carved trellis work
and supported by slender marble columns, surrounds the vast
interior of the temple. The walls are of various sorts of marble
and porphyry, covered with inscriptions from the Koran in beau¬
tiful colored mosaic.
Against the wall, facing the entrance is the pulpit of the
Muezzin, which is a tiny temple in itself with four slim, grace-
iul porphyry columns supporting a gilded pear-shaped cupola.
Over the centre of the mosque is the dome, a magnificent
.and almost perfect hemisphere. Encircling the court of the
mosque are a number of small one-story stone buildings, each
•containing a single chamber, topped by a sugar-loaf dome. Here
we are presented to several pilgrims on their way to Mecca, and
some who have already performed the holy pilgrimage and have
These holy men spend their days here, sitting crosslegged
ion fheir carpets, swaying back and forth, intoning passages of
ttbe Koran. We pay our respects to these venerable gentlemen,
as well as to the guardian Sheikh by the distribution of back¬
sheesh and salaam our way out of the picturesque court.
We drive back along the seashore just as the sun is sinking
in a symphony of color, into the western sea.
In the deepening twilight, the camels that swing by us silent¬
ly, appear huge and weird. The stillness is broken by the ever¬
lasting lapping of the waves on the white sandy beach.
I have set sail with the dawn in a boat, manned by three
oarsmen, to visit some of the sacred places on the shores of
Lake Kinnereth. This beautiful sheet of water, best known to
the world as the Sea of Galilee, is about thirteen miles long
and about seven miles across at its widest part. It lies in the
midst of the fertile valleys and green hills, allotted by Joshua,
to the tribes of Naphthali and Zebulon.
Lying six hundred feet below sea level and surrounded com¬
pletely by towering hills, it appears like a huge volcanic crater.
The hot springs on the shores of the Lake and the steam which,
occasionally bubbles up from its depths two hundred feet below
the surface, also testify to its volcanic origin. Very frequently
tremendous storms lash the sacred, placid waters into a frenzy,,
hurling the waves headlong against the stone wall of Tiberias
and even over the low flat roofs on the shore. These storms
are probably due to volcanic disturbances at the bottom of the
The morning of which I am writing is cool and pleasant.
A spanking breeze bellies out our sail and our little vessel plows
its way swiftly and gracefully through the choppy waves. We
are bound for Capernaum on the northern shore of Kinnereth;
Capernaum where Josephus Flavius found refuge with a band
of faithful patriots when the Romans captured their strong¬
hold at Julias.
Tiberias is rapidly receding in the distance and I lean back
in my seat at the stern of the boat and think of the days when
fleets of vessels manned by Jewish fishermen sailed on these
waters and the fertile shores of the Lake abounded with popu¬
lous villages, teeming with life and activity.
Here lived a race of simple, hardy peasant folk, who tilled
the fruitful valleys and pastured their flocks and herds on the
hillsides and sent their devout pilgrims and their first fruits and
sacrifices to the Sacred Temple in the glorious city of Jerusa¬
lem. And so I dream of the past, when the hills which are now
already becoming brown and naked, since the last rains, were
covered with vineyards and irrigated gardens and groves of
olive and fig trees.
And suddenly I hear a humming sound, borne to my ears
on the breeze, and the sound draws nearer and grows stronger.
until from behind a cloud a little speck emerges and sails across
the blue right over our boat and our swarthy, half-naked Arabs,
whose necks are craned and whose black eyes are almost popping
out of their sockets with wonder at the birdman and his marvel¬
Towards noon we reach Capernaum, which is but a soli¬
tary Monastery built on the site of the ancient city of thirty
thousand souls, the beauty and prosperity of which have been
revealed by recent excavations.
Here we are received by an old Franciscan Friar, who
guides us among the ruins of a synagogue built two thousand
years ago. The style of architecture is Greco-Roman and beauti¬
ful and imposing in spite of the ravages of time and the vandal¬
ism of man.
Here we see a Mogen Dovid sharply graven on a frescoed
limestone lintel and here a five-leafed flower, symbolizing the
five books of the Torah. Some staircases are well-night intact
and massive columns and delicately carved capitals and pedestals
are scattered about. Even some fragments of the stone trellis
work enclosing the women’s gallery can still be seen.
We accept the hospitality of the good Friar and lunch with
him in the cool, quiet dining hall of the monastery. He is a
scholar and endowed with much wisdom and a rich store of in¬
formation about the historical sites in the Holy Land.
He relates an interesting incident connected with the exca¬
vations over which he had been in charge. A letter from a lady
pilgrim, who had visited the Holy Land in the third century
written to Queen Helena of Byzantium, describes in detail the
magnificent synagogue of Capernaum, at that time still almost
During the succeeding centuries the synagogue had been
ravaged and demolished and unitl thirty years ago was completely
covered and hidden under a mound of earth and rubbish.
In the work of unearthing this treasure, the excavators were
aided considerably by the detailed description devoutedly written
down in that ancient letter, now reposing in the Museum of the
The Friar tells us furthermore, that Jesus of Nazareth,
Who was a citizen and taxpayer of Capernaum, had worshipped
in this synagogue, amidst the ruins of which we are now rever¬
ently treading our way.
From Capernaum we set sail again and skirt the northwest¬
ern shore of the Lake, visiting Tabigha and Magdala, famous
in Jewish and Christian stories, the latter place, now a squalid
Arab village of mud and dung hovels, reputed to have been the
home of Mary Magdalene.
Late in the afternoon, we cast anchor and devote an hour
to fishing. My hook and line bring us several good sized fish,
but it is as nothing in comparison with the catch of our “Kapi¬
ton,” who wades our from the shore and flings his net on the
water and in a few minutes hauls it in full of wriggling, tossing,
At nine this evening, while reading in my room, I suddenly
heard screaming and shouting coming from the streets of the
city, followed by the sound of shooting. I hurried down stairs
and out into the moonlight and saw men and women running
panic-stricken and bands of soldiers and gendarmes hastening
to the scene of trouble. There had been rumors of impending
riots against the Jews floating about in the air during the last
few days and I feared that the tragedy had commenced to be
enacted. I turned my footsteps towards the hospital and found
the nurses pale and trembling and several wounded men lying
about in the clinic, having just been brought in from the town.
I peelel off my coat, rolled up my sleeves and commenced
operations. There were several nasty wounds and gashes among
them and I worked until midnight dressing and bandaging.
Nearly all of the wounded were Jews, several of them being
policemen and gendarmes. I was told that a number of Arab*
had also sustained injuries, but apparently had been shy of ap¬
plying to the hospital for treatment for fear of arrest.
To-day is the annual celebration of the anniversary of the
death of Rabbi Meir, the Wonderworker who died many hun¬
dred years ago and who is buried near Tiberias. Every year
thousands of pilgrims journey from near and far to pray and
pay homage at the tomb of the famous Rabbi. Jews from Yemen,
Jews from Tartary and Moscow and Vilna and Amsterdam and
London ,and even from New York and Chicago. They pray and
fast and dance and finally towards sunset they light a huge bowl
of oil in which are soaked many wicks. The privilege of apply¬
ing the match and starting the column of fire is sold for a hun¬
dred or two hundred pounds to some rich zealot, who may have
travelled from Bokhara or Calcutta to perform the sacred func¬
As a result of yesterday’s riots in Tiberias, the Military
Governor has issued a ban against parading through the streets
and congregating in crowds. The Jewish shops in the Bazaar are
closed and the aspect of the city is subdued and solemn.
I walked up to the Tomb of Rabbi Meir on the shore of
the Sea of Galilee. It is an old rock sepulchre, over and around
which are built several ramshackle stone buildings containing
synagogues, study rooms and lodgings for the “students,” dark,
dusty chambers built around a central court.
The “students” are palefaced, stooping, callow youths and
bearded men, all of them garbed in dirty kaftans and fur-lined
shtreimlichs, from under which the earlocks curl down almost
to the shoulders. Each one is lodged and fed at the expense of
the all-bountiful “Hallukah” and paid a monthly stipend of from
two to five pounds sterling for services rendered in the study
of musty, obsolete Talmudic treatises.
In the main synagogue, built directly over the sepulchre, I
beheld a throng of men, women and children, walking about or
sitting on the ground, eating, drinking, talking, praying and
holding wax tapers or glasses containing oil and lighted cotton
Towards one end of the synagogue there is a small en-
closure positioned off by a railing in the centre of which is a huge,
while-washed oven-like affair. This is the monument over the
grave of the “Wonderworker.” The crowd here is very dense,
praying and swaying, and the oven is aglow with innumerable
lighted candles stuck into its surface.
I shoulder my way out into the open, glad to catch a
breath of the refreshing breeze flowing from the Lake.
Many Bedouins have pitched their black goat’s hair tents
in the near vicinity of the Tomb and their sinister, scowling
looks betoken that trouble is brewing. But thanks to the re¬
solute and timely action of the Governor, the storm has prob¬
ably been averted, at least for the time being; the streets of
Tiberias, as well as the road leading from Rabbi Meir’s rest¬
ing place to the city, are being patrolled by a hundred Indian
Cavalrymen and a large number of Jewish and Egyptian
A number of tents are pitched in the vicinity of the
Tiberias hot springs. Here dwell people who have come from
great distances to bathe and be relieved of their aches and
ailments in the steaming sulphurous waters.
Upon the hillside there stands a large tent of black goats
hair, reminding one of the black tents of Kedar, in one of
which dwelt Jael who slew Sisera, the foe of Israel, when he
fled from the hosts of the Lord and came to her pleading for
shelter and a drink for his parched lips.
“At her feet he sunk, he fell, he lay; at her feet he sunk,
he fell. Where he sunk there he fell down dead.”
The black tent on the hillside belongs to an Arab Chieftain
whose domains lie across the Jordan. There he has vast
tracts of pasture land and flocks and herds innumerable; man-
servants and hundreds of vassals.
This modern son of Edom is suffering from a sore afflic¬
tion of the skin, so he has bidden farewell to his eight loving,
black-eyed wives and his regiment of children and has em¬
barked in a little fleet of sailboats on the Sea of Galilee and
the propitious breeze, sent by Allah, has wafted him and his
host of retainers to the western shore; where he is at present
sojourning, near the healing, life-giving waters of Chaman
He is a powerful prince among the Arabs, and over “j s
tent waves the royal banner of the King of Hedjas. Emir
Mahmud Falhoun is an abstract of his name and titles, which
if given in full, would cover several pages.
As I approached the tent, I was met by suspicious glances
and black looks from the triple circle of Bedouins guarding
the chieftain’s abode.
But a word from my guide and interpreter—-the magic
word “Hakim” (physician) acted like an “open Sesame,” and
the squatting slouching figures in picturesque robes and tur¬
bans arose erect and stood aside to let us pass.
They are a hardy, manly-looking war-like set of rascals,
these swarthy sons of Esau, quick to resent a look or a word,
suspicious and treacherous as jackals, welcoming the stranger
with Abraham’s hospitality; but stripping him and robbing
him once he has gone beyond the pale of tribal shelter.
The Emir is a short stocky man, with a curly black
beard, framing a face, rather handsome, in spite of its fat,
voluptuous sensuality. We exchange a few comments by the
aid of my suave interpreter and partake of the cup of hospital¬
ity filled with black fragrant coffee.
Then we bid farewell to each other, the son of Jacob and
the son of Esau, American doctor and Bedouin chieftan shake
each others hands and I am guided out, past groups of tall
majestic figures in flowing robes who arise and stand motion¬
less and erect as the Prince and I walk by and salute each
other for the last time.
I depart with a faint suspicion in my heart that it is- not
for the hot baths alone that the Emir has come to the vicinity
of Tiberias, but that the hosts of Edom are mobilizing and
the tents of Ishmael are gathering together for the coming
long and bitter struggle betwen Jacob and Esau for the in¬
heritance of Canaan.
About a half hour’s walk from Tiberias, along the lake
front, from out of the side of the mountain, from the inner cav¬
erns of the earth, gushes forth a steaming, boiling stream of
Three, rambling, barn-like old buildings have been erected
here to accommodate the hundreds and the thousands of the
lame and the halt and the rheumatic and the debilitated who
flock from far and from near, to bathe in the waters of these
The main Bathhouse is about two centuries old. Its in¬
terior consists of one large chamber, with a central pool, en¬
circled by a storm platform and a colonade of slender pillars.
Over the pool is a dome, pierced by a large number of round
apertures, through which the light filters in and the steam and
odors of the water and the perspiring human bodies evaporate
The water is brought into the pool from the boiling stream
welling out of the mountainside. About once in three days
the pool is emptied and resh water allowed to flow in.
The water is scalding hot and takes over twelve hours to cool
down sufficiently, to permit of bathing.
And then for three days the bath is not renewed, and
hundreds of people, many of them suffering from skin diseases,
immerse themselves therein, until the water which bubbled
up from the earth crystal clear, becomes dark and murky.
The remedy for this abomination of a marvelous natural
gift, which remedy I have suggested to the British Military
Governor is to build a large, cooling cistern or reservoir,
roofed over by a dome-like roof but provided with many
openings at the sides, protected by wire screens.
In this huge tank a large quantity of fresh cooled water
of the spring could be stored and conducted by pipes to the
pool, the contents of which could be changed daily or several
times daily by mixing hot and cold spring water until the
temperature required is obtained.
The hot-sulphur-saturated springs, situated on the shore
of one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the world,
could become the nucleus of a health resort and sanitarium
for thousands of people from every part of the globe, who
would be attracted hither by the beauty of the landscape, the
sacred associations and memories clustering around the Sea
of Galilee, and the mild, balmy winter climate.
It is eight in the evening and I have just returned from
a visit to Kinnereth. I am tired, but not hungry and am pre¬
paring to jot down a few notes before retiring to bed. But
there is something on my mind that intrudes itself into my
thoughts and interferes with the working of my pen.
A plaintive, weird, haunting melody keeps running
through my brain, a monotonous theme yet alluring and fas¬
cinating. One night during the week when I was rather
wakeful, I heard a sound of singing coming up from the road,
underneath the window of my room; a singing accompanied
by the twanging of the strings of a guitar.
And I listened and listened, enchanted by the sad melodi¬
ous strain. And I have been hearing that song ever since. I
sing it softly, I hum it gently and then someone with smiling
and mischievous eyes says, “Please, whistle it,” and I whistle
Toward evening I returned to Tiberias in a sailboat. The
gallant little vessel plowed its way bravely through the choppy
waves, impelled by a brisk northwest wind. I sat in the
boat, holding on firmly and proudly to the tiller which my tall
swarthy black-bearded picturesque Arab boatman permitted
me to manage, and I watched some Kingfisher birds diving
from great heights, swiftly and suddenly into the water and
then emerging with the struggling, squirming fish in their
I watched the sun disappearing behind the mountains in
a glory of crimson and orange and gold. And then as the twi¬
light deepened and the heavenly colors and tints softened and
melted away, the slender silver crescent of the new moon
arose on the horizon, an omen of rest and peace and tranquility
Today while on my visit to the Migdal farm, I had occa¬
sion to speak to its very efficient manager concerning some
sanitary matters. Mr. G— was not in the colony but one of the
farm laborers escorted me down the hill to the shore of the
lake, where in a shady eucalyptus grove, I found my man in
the company of half a dozen Arab Sheikhs, officers, of the
Shereef, whose kingdom extends to the Trans-Jordan.
These officers are here as members of a commission to
arrange about the borders of their domain, and their fishing
rights on the lake.
A large, square piece of carpet was spread out on the sand
and the Arabs were seated in a circle, in the centre of which
were some bottles of wine, dishes of “mishmish” (apricots),
ruts, bread, cheese, olives and an abundance of sweetmeats.
They were eating and drinking in a manner in which Arab
and Turkish commissions are unrivalled.
The object of the commission was very far from their
thoughts and quite probably, they never did take the matter
much to heart, as I learned later when I met them again in
Tiberias whither they came with their Shereefian soldiers,
looking like a gang of ragged, villainous banditti.
As I approached the circle, they all arose and gravely
saluted. Each one placed his right hand on his forehead and
over his heart as G-— presented me.
Upon their pressing invitation, I squatted down among
them and partook of some refreshments. The gentleman near¬
est to me handed me a glass filled with some liquor, which I
sipped to the health of everyone present.
After several sips I put the glass down near me, and
entered into a conversation with one of the commissioners who
spoke a broken English. After a few minutes of a voluble,
but I fear, rather vain attempt to make each other understood,
my throat became exceedingly dry and I reached out my hand
for the glass, but alas it was gone.
I looked around in dismay and discovered my glass of
Arak travelling from mouth to mouth around the bearded
circle. And then a light dawned upon me and I understood
why the Arabs had gazed at me expectantly and longingly as
1 was leisurely sipping the beverage, which I in my western
naivete had imagined was intended for my lips alone.
I left Tiberias at ten in the morning for Yemma, the first
colony in my second tour of Galilee. My means of transit
was a rough springless hay-wagon drawn by two mules. A
few sacks of wheat at the bottom of the wagon served as
We ascended the rough mountain road and I marvelled at
the beauty and splendor of the scenery that unfolded itself
at my feet as we climbed higher and higher. The Sea of Galil-
lee, smooth and placid, the Jordan River winding and twisting,
through its green valley, the tiny picturesque colonies and
hamlets, dotted here and there on the shore of the sea, the
banks of the stream and the sides of the mountains.
As we approach Yemma, we are met with the sight of
huge mounds of wheat stacked up sky-high, while other im¬
mense piles of grain are being threshed by mules and oxen
walking around and around in circles.
Here and there, men and women, there heads bound up
in kerchiefs to protect them against the burning sun are
threshing and winnowing.
The war has checked the importation of harvesting ma¬
chinery and those having been previously introduced by the
colonists, have been stolen by the Turks or have fallen into
The Vaad (village council) of the colony has prepared a
room for me in an uroccupied little stone house situated at
the end of the single street which constitutes the colony.
It is a bare white-washed room, but clean, light and airy.
My furniture consists of an iron bed-stead, a chair, a ward¬
robe, a desk and David, a little black-bearded Sephardi Jew,
bare-footed and in tatters and rags.
He brushes my clothes, polishes my boots, makes my
bed, sweeps the floor and brings in fresh water. He is very
zealous and makes himself exceedingly useful. I take my
meals in a little inn here and the food is simple, fresh and
wholesome; plenty of cheese, lebben and black bread.
This afternoon as I was coming out of the clinic I per¬
ceived a commotion in the street. People were gathered in
groups talking excitedly. Several men carrying rifles slung
across their shoulders were hurrying downhill towards the
fields and now and then a horseman galloped by, clattering
on the cobblestones with his rifle in his hands.
One young blond, bareheaded lad, his face tense with
emotion almost ran me down. Someone volunteers the in¬
formation that a band of Bedouins had stolen a team of
mules from a colonist coming home with a load of hay.
The blood of last weeks murderous assault has not yet
dried on the road, and the nerves of the people are on edge
and their hearts are full of grief and apprehension.
Fully two score armqd men, some mounted and some in
wagons drive out of the colony almost at a moment’s notice,
in hot pursuit oft he robbers.
About two miles from Yemma, there is a long deep
Wady which in winter is a swollen torrent rushing toward
the Jordan, but at present, its steep banks and deep dry rocky
channel, form a pass, in the shelter of which, marauding bands
fording the river, from the Hauran, enter and leave the
In this Wady the pursuers overtook the robbers and many
shots were exchanged. One of the Bedouins fell from his
horse, wounded. The rest closed in around him, firing volley
after volley at the colonists. After a few minutes, they sped
away, taking their wounded comrade with them, but leaving
the stolen horse behind.
I dread the parting of the day. The twilights are enchant¬
ing, the evenings are calm and cool, the white moonlight
nights are beautiful beyond description, but after the days
work my lonesomeness weighs upon me like a burden of lead.
Tonight I walked and walked along the solitary
moonlit road on the outskirts of the village, until I came back
fagged out. And now after an hours sleepless tossing in bed,
I light my candle open my haversack and take out a bundle of
letters. My loving messages...I read and reread them and
fondle and caress them. Here is the zigzag straggling scrawl
of small chubby fingers saying “Goodnight” to Daddy and
here between the lines I can see the suppressed sorrow and
yearning and heartache of my Beloved. And here are a few
kind cheerful words from my Friend.
And now I am gazing with moisture-dimmed vision at
the quaint Hebrew characters of the message from Mother.
Goodnight to you, my loved ones. May Allah, the Allah
of the Universe, the Allah of all creeds and races, keep you
and safeguard you. Amen!
I am now sojourning at Mescha, a colony situated at the
foot of Mount Tabor.
At five this morning accompanied by a young colonist,
who volunteered to act as my guide, I started out on my climb
of the mountain.
The sun was just ascending on the horizon, and a cool
gentle breeze was blowing from the west. We passed a few
Bedouin encampments, guarded by packs of ravenous looking
The people at first eyed us suspiciously, standing at a
distance, but soon the children, some of them, coal-black, flat¬
nosed, thick-lipped, wooly-haired Ethiopians, surrounded us,
clambering for backsheesh. Here and there a group of women
are sitting on the ground, threshing out the wheat, which they
pick up in the fields, after the reapers have finished their
tasks and the sheaves have been piled on the wagons and
carted away. Then these Arab women and children come into
the fields and gather the stalks that have been left behind,
even as Ruth did in the field of Boaz. This custom is called
“lekket,” both in Hebrew and Arabic.
Here in this valley, at the foot of Mount Tabor stood the
black tents of Kedar and here today I see the very same tents
of black goat’s hair, with the flocks of sheep and goats around
them. So are we brought in this land, near and close to the
We climb higher along the narrow, rugged road and at
our feet we behold spread out like a deep, green carpet, the
vast and fertile vale of Jezreel, where Ahab met his bloody
defeat at the hand of Jehu, while Jezebel sat at the lattice,
watching and waiting.
The hills of Naphthali are on the west and far beyond,
towards the north is mount Carmel and Gilboa, the scene of
Joshua’s victorious battles. On the east, beyond the Jordan
valley rise the plateaus of Gilead and Hauran. And now we
are ascending into the morning mist, that hangs like a thin
hazy veil around Tabor’s head.
At seven we reach the monastery at the top, and here we
are welcomed by a Franciscan friar who prepares a whole¬
some breakfast for us, which we consume with keen and
After our repast, we are shown some fragments of ancient
buildings and sculpture. We visit the ruins of a huge, formi¬
dable fortress erected here by the crusaders. And nearby we
inspect the foundation walls and rock tombs of an Israelite
village, in which as tradition would have it, the prophetess
Deborah dwelt and judged the people.
“Gaum” is the Bedouin’s supreme unwritten law. An
eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, blood for blood. If a
tribesman is killed, the slayer will pay the penalty with his
own life but if he be not known, and his identity be concealed,
then another, even though an innocent life, will have to be
The deed is done quickly and secretly. If the Arab has
been killed, near a colony, a few of the tribesmen will lurk
in ambush until they have washed off the score in blood.
Then they ride away, knowing that their comrade will lie at
peace in his grave; for Gaum has been achieved, vengeance
has been taken.
It does not matter that the Bedouin was slain while at¬
tempting to rob and kill. The laws of Gaum know but this:
that blood alone can wash away blood.
If the slayer flee, and the pursuers are close upon his
tracks, then he can find no safer shelter than in the midst of
the tribe of his victim. Nay, the very tent of the nearest kins¬
man of the murdered man will be his most secure refuge.
Here the pursuers will not enter or in any way molest him.
He will be given food and drink and a corner in which to
rest and sleep, and that will continue for three days. On the
fourth day, the host will escort his unbidden guest on his way
for a mile or more and place his hand on his forehead and
heart, on parting, in token of friendship and brotherly love.
But a short stretch down the road, a band of horsemen will
suddenly appear, as if springing from the ground. The fleeing
fugitive will be surrounded and the bloody atonement be
Early this morning a government motor car, driven by a
Tommy, stopped in front of my hotel at Jerusalem and I was
whirled away toward Bersheeba.
For fifty miles we travelled southward through the gray
stony mountains of Judea, and down among the foothills and
the sandy plains, four hours of rough, zigzag, winding road,
through a stony, treeless, waterless country.
Occasionally we passed the black tents of a Bedouin
encampment, or the dried mud-hovels of a Fellahin village.
A few flocks- of goats and sheep are grazing on the stubble of
the furrowed fields. They scatter as we approach, and the
Arab shepherds give chase, yelling and swearing.
How primitive it all is. How very little changed from the
days when Abraham and Lot pastured their flocks here and
their herdsmen quarreled over some of the wells we are pass¬
Many of the wells have large, round heavy stones rolled
over their moults, and we are reminded of the meeting be¬
tween the daughter of Jethro the Midianite and the fugitive
Moses fleeing from the wrath of Pharoah. Farther south we
leave the mountains and the foothills, and we emerge on the
broad, brown, rolling plain.
There is not a sign of human life or habitation anywhere.
The birds overhead; ravens and vultures and beautiful birds
with golden orange breasts and wings of shimmering green,
are the only living things, besides a solitary olive tree, a
patch of vivid color against the gray and brown—a lonely
straggler into the desert.
Most of the Bedouins have wandered north with their
flocks and herds of sheep and goats and camels.
You will find their black tents now pitched on the shores
of Galilee and Merom and beyond the river Jordan.
With the first rains after the long, hot, parching summer,
they will drift back and plough up these hillsides and valleys
and plant their corn and maize and barley. And here they
will stay until they have harvested their meagre crops, reaped
and threshed and winnowed and milled; then they will fold
their tents and glide away in search of richer pastures.
The fierce sirocco wind smites us in the face, hot and
scorching, like the breath of an oven. Sometimes the wind
whirls up clouds and columns of choking, blinding sand.
We pass across the trenches that had been held by the
Turks and Germans and finally by the victorious British.
Here the Turks had mustered their forces and had prepared to
throw thousands into Egypt. They had almost reached the
Suez Canal when they were beaten and hurled back, and here
around Bersheeba, they stood at bay until they were hunted
out of these trenches and dugouts and driven north like chaff
before the wind.
We reach Bersheeba in the early afternoon and are driven
to the Governorate where we find Major K— and his staff
awaiting us at the table.
Today is market day in Bersheeba. With the very first
streaks of dawn, hundreds of Bedouin men and women come
streaming into the town, bringing their produce and their
The quiet little town consisting of a few rows of low
stone houses and stalls on either side of straight, broad streets,
becomes awake and noisy with the sounds of barter and
Here are women of the desert, bedecked with coins and
trinkets on their heads and faces and bosoms and arms. Tall
and dark dignified Bedouins in flowing robes and turbans
stride about or sit in front of the stalls, sipping thick, black
coffee and smoking narghilehs.
In the market-place on the outskirts of the town, there is
a Babel of sounds and noises; men and women haggling over
camels, asses, goats, sheep, saddles, heaps of grain and fruit.
Little swarthy, chubby infants looking like pocket edi¬
tions of their elders and covered with dirt and flies, crawl
about under the very hoofs of the camels.
The fair lasts all morning and in the afternoon, many of
the Bedouins attend the Sheikh’s court where their individual
and tribal differences and difficulties are adjusted. The court
is held in the large hall of the Administration Building. At
the desk at the head of the room, sits the presiding judge, a
tall, lean, smooth shaven British officer.
On one side are seated a row of Sheikhs of tribes; bearded,
dignified, majestic looking Bedouins in colored robes and
turbans, their right hands resting on the heavily carved silver
hilts of their long, curved swords.
They are silent and stern and look like a group of rein¬
carnated warriors of Saladin.
A defendant and plaintiff are brought in. Each chooses
a Sheikh to represent him. The Presiding Judge chooses a
third Sheikh. Plaintiff and defendant squat down on the
floor in front of their two judges and each tells his story.
When they have each recited their grievances, the judges
put their heads together and discuss the merits of the case.
The decision is recorded by the clerk. The Sheikhs set their
seals to the document and the litigants press their thumbs
into an ink pad and affix their fingerprints to the paper.
At least half a dozen cases are being tried in the hall
simultaneously. Most of the disputes are concerning land
boundaries, inheritance, strayed or stolen cattle and occasion¬
ally a woman.
Where an agreement cannot be reached, the parties of the
first and second part frequently adjourn to the tomb of some
noted and venerated saint where each swears the other out of
countenance. Or they resort to the mediaeval trial by fire.
About twenty miles south of Bersheeba, there dwells a
holy hermit who is in direct communion with all the saints of
heaven and all the spirits of the underworld.
He places the end of an iron rod in the flame, until it is
red and glowing. When this is applied to the tongue of one
who tells the truth the flesh will not burn, but if applied to
the tongue of one who lies, the flesh will immediately be
scorched and consumed. There is no record of this test ever
Just on the outskirts of Bersheeba, beyond the grove of
trees and on the fringe of the desert, there is a little city ten¬
anted 'by the dead. Here are several hundred wooden crosses
marking the graves of those who have fallen in action and
those who have died of their wounds. ,
Plain wooden crosses, half buried in the desert sand, their
crudely painted letters, dull and well nigh faded. In a corner
of the graveyard are a clump of “Shields of David ’—six
pointed boards over the mounds where the Jewish dead lie side
by side with their Christian comrades, just as they fought
shoulder to shoulder, on the battlefield and their blood flowed
together and mingled in one stream and seeped into the soil
of the ancient land.
At eight this morning, our steamer Praga, anchored in the
beautiful Bay of Kahnea, denting the shore of Crete.
We were immediately surrounded by a fleet of rowboats
and sailboats manned by yelling, shouting, gesticulating
Greeks. Several crews were fighting for the honor and privi¬
lege of conveying us ashore. Finally, after one boat had been
nearly capsized and the various parties had almost exhausted
themselves howling curses upon each others fathers and
mothers and grandparents, we clambered down the shaky
swinging stairway and were deposited in one of the boats.
A few minutes row, brought us to the landing of the little
city of Kahnea, picturesquely situated on the shore of the bay
at the feet of rugged, towering cloud-capped mountains.
Just as we spring from the boat on the broad step of the
■tone pier, we are greeted by the familiar and ever welcome
“Shalom,” from several individuals, who by our looks and the
red Mogin Dovid on our uniforms recognized us as brethren.
They invite us to visit the synagogue which we promise to do,
after we have made a tour of the town. So we hail a fiacre,
driven by a dark-visaged villainous looking Greek whose looks
slander him most wrongfully for he turns out to be a very
pleasant chap and speaks a little broken English picked up
while selling fruit in Boston.
Kahnea is a quaint place, the narrow winding streets are
rather clean; the sidewalks are obstructed by chairs and
benches occupied by husky healthy looking men, who, though
it is early morning, are already seemingly resting and relaxing
from a days arduous labor. i;
Contentment and indolence are graven on their feature^
and their forms are sprawling in languid repose.
We pass a number of beautiful villas, nestling white an3
dainty, in the midst of green shady gardens, and we alight
from the carriage and stroll through the market, which is an
immense stone barrack roofed over with glass.
Here are exposed for sale, fruits, vegetables and fish and
meat and many other sorts of foodstuffs, while in the squats
outside the market, a flock of sheep are examined and auc¬
The old sea wall also claims our interest. Part of it is
very massive and seems quite ancient.
As we return to our starting point, on the quay, after an
hours drive, we are met by a venerable, white-bearded old man
in a long black gown and a round black cap, from under ths
rim of which the silvery hair straggles out and down about the
forehead and face.
Apparently the news of our arrival has spread like wiI<J-
fire, for we are soon surrounded by a large fraction of ths
local Israelite community and escorted to the Jewish quarter.
This very antique Ghetto consists of several narrow
streets whose projecting balconies and latticed windows al¬
most meet and obscure the daylight.
But the place is fairly clean and the Sephardi Jews wht>
make up most of its denizens are quite neat and prosperous-
looking people. They greet us everywhere with a hearty
From every doorway old men and children come forward
and shake us by the hand, and women more shy and reticent
admire and bless us as we pass, for we bear on our arms ths
red seal of Zion. And our eyes have beheld the mountains
and valleys and the sky of Judea, and our feet have trod the
streets of the holy city.
We are conducted to the old synagogue, which dates
hack to the twelfth century. It is used but rarely now by the
tommunity, as daily services are held in a new and more pre¬
But the old house of prayer, full of cobwebs and cluster¬
ing memories is still revered and tenderly preserved. It has
Witnessed untold oppression and inhuman persecution, with
now and then an interval of peace and prosperity and happi¬
ness. And now, when it is crumbling in old age and decay,
its venerable old walls may yet hear the final farewells of its
children as they come into the sacred house to offer up a last
[ irayer before departing forever from Kahnea to return to the
and of their fathers.
For the hearts of this little community are yearning for
Palestine and they are preparing to gather together their few
bfelongings, pull up their stakes and set out on their pilgrim¬
We are treated to refreshments in the house of the Chac-
ham Bashi and men and women come in, gaze upon us lov-
iiigly and entreat us for a word, a brief message from the
“What news from Zion?” is the question all ask and their
feyes light up with hope and joy as we tell them of the work
that is being done and the efforts that are being made to re¬
gain the land for the children of Israel.
' They have suffered grievously during the war, their sons
have fallen on the battlefields of Europe, and many have come
back, wounded and crippled. But the vice of hatred and dis¬
crimination is holding them tightly and mercilessly in its grip.
, So Zionism has come to them like a redeeming Saviour.
From the venerable Chacham Bashi to the bright eyed olive-
skinned little school boy, and from the rich stout, smug mer¬
chant to the grimy, toil-worn shoemaker in leather apron and
greasy smock; all have their faces turned towards Jerusalem
and their hearts pulsating and their feet marking time and
their ears keen and eager for the great word that shall send
them on their way.
They escorted us back to the boat and the patriarchal
Chacham Bashi wrote out a blessing in the old Hebrew script
and presented it to us in a basket full of red and white ole¬
anders, and olive and myrtle and jasmine leaves gathered by
As we are rowed away from the quay, we gaze with a
feeling akin to awe, upon their faces, radiant with hope and
enthusiasm and across the water we hear, “May we meet
again in Jerusalem.”
Farewell to Zion’s sacred land.
To Galilee’s blue sky.
To Judah’s mountain, plain and strand,
O, Zion, land of sacred truth,
And prophets’ dreams divine,
Thou, home of Judah’s strength and youth,
My beloved Palestine.
Thine is the soil that gave me birth,
Here, first, I drew my breath,
And here within they blood-drenched earth.
My fathers sleep in death.
Here was I young, here was I strong.
Amid thy craigs and rocks,
And heard the royal minstrel’s song.
And watched the bleating flocks.
Long years I’ve roamed o’et land atid sea,
A weary exile’s way,
By night I dreamed of Galillee,
And prayed and hoped by day.
Then came a call from Zion's strand,
A groan of mortal pain,
A cry for help from Judah’s land,
From hill and dell and plain.
It circled o’er the western sea,
It thundered at my door,
It stirred the slumbering soul in me,
That cry from Judah’s shore.
Of hollow cheeks, and sunken eyes.
And shoulders bowed with care.
And babes unsheltered neath the skies,
And grief and dull respair.
Thy wounds are deep, thy woes are great,
Thy grief and pains are mine,
O, would that I could consecrate,
My life to Palestine.
We heard the call across the wave.
We came in close-knit ranks.
We gave our help, to heal, to save.
Nor sought for praise or thanks.
Now loved ones watch for our return,
And tender lips implore,
And aching hearts with longing, yearn
On fair Columbia's shore.
Good-bye to Zion’s sacred land,
To Galillee’s blue sky,
To Judah’s mountain plain and strand,
. jcciiwam ruev
I lie Cclnian Library
ASMINGTON DC 7