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Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism, and his famous quote

Tuesday, July 7th at 6PM (please arrive by 5 PM) at the grave site of Theodor Herzl on Mount Herzl, will be the annual Herzl Memorial ceremony.

In attendance will be leading Israeli officials including President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

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As a tribute to the man and the memorial, The Jewish Press offers the following poem in honor of the great Zionist:

 

118 years ago in Basel

A prince arose to address his people

At the First Zionist Congress.

 

With the prophet’s piercing eye

That gazed into future and past

Herzl told the delegates

That soon the Jews of Exile

Would have their state at last.

 

“In Basel I founded the Jewish State,”

Attested the Viennese journalist-playwright

In the most dramatic scene of his brief life’s play

In which his was the leading role.

 

Spurred by Dishonored Dreyfus and the Jewish plight,

By the deathly spite of the anti-Semite,

And the fading light and the gathering night of the Jewish fate,

Herzl told the Zionist delegates

“We must have a Jewish state before it is too late.”

He won Jewish hearts with this theme

“If you will it, it is no dream.”

 

From where did Herzl spring

This modern Jewish king

Who put the Dispersed People’s case

For a home, a place,

For a persecuted race

To emperors, sultans and potentates?

 

From 2000 years of exiled prayers

Remembering Zion and Jerusalem,

From the Prophets foretelling a time of Return and Redemption ,

From the poets praising with inspired emotion,

From the persecution of conquerors, Crusaders,

Inquisition, Cossack and Czar,

From Expulsion, pogrom, mob and massacre,

From the Rabbis and precursors

Who spoke of Return

And the Restoration of the Chosen Nation

To the abandoned, desolate Holy Land

For which they centuries-long with deepest longing

Loyally did yearn.

 

From all these Herzl sprang,

His cry, their cry,

His vision, their vision.

Unsparingly, the Psalms they sang

He forged into the Zionist reality

With action, with deed,

Transforming the prayers, the prophecies,

The darkness of despair

Into a shining pillar of hope

That was to lead the Jewish People

Within five decades of Aliyot and Pioneers,

Of land reclaimed and leaders great,

To the Jewish State reborn in 1948.

 

by David Herman

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