A “Song of Praise” Celebrating the Yishuv’s Welcome of Lew Wallace to Jerusalem

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This self-described “Song of Praise,” to be sung by students of the Blumenholz Shul and the Lemel School “in honor of the great nobleman General Wallace, Consul of the United States of America” suggests that either the author of Ben-Hur, or the country in whose diplomatic service he served, was revered by the Yishuv. A “David” has come to “our ashen city” the text proclaims: “The Nobleman and Prince, General Wallace has entered… And set his palanquin within...”


The visit of the Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire to Jerusalem was, of course, an event of some moment in 1883. Perhaps the trip was timed to meet with the incoming Consul, Edwin Sherman Wallace, who would during his tenure frequently intervene with the Ottoman authorities on behalf of the Jewish community.

[Lew Wallace] Broadside, in Hebrew, 1 page, large folio, Jerusalem, November or December, 1883; being a song of welcome in celebration of Wallace’s visit, as U.S. Minister at Constantinople, to Jerusalem.

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Transcript

A Song of Praise

Sung by the students of the beit hamidrash [study hall] Doresh Tzion (Blumenholz Shul), may it be maintained in righteousness, and of the Von Lemel school, in honor of the great nobleman General Wallace, Consul of the United States of America, when he arrived in Jerusalem in the month of Kislev 5643.  

May songs burst from my lips,
David has entered my dwellings,
Merry city, raise your eyes,
From your thoughts and schemes,
Upon the mountains of the daughter of Zion,
Toward the precious Consul at the entrance to your gates.

The Nobleman and Prince
General Wallace has entered your palaces
And set his palanquin within.

Rise and rejoice melodiously,
Adorn yourself with tambourines and sing of love,
Swiftly ring forth the chimes of pipe-organs,
With drums and lyres in harmony.

Crowned in glory, come in peace,
Great prince of shining countenance.
A safe journey in the land of splendor
May God grant you succor and strength
From Kadesh and Zion.

I gently beseech your goodness, O' Lord
May he arrive safe and secure in his abode.
Pray shine your countenance on the ambassador
In his private residence and home.

May You return to our ashen city
Right hand raised in might and strength.
In joyous paean before His palace.
May you rejoice in His celestial song
In triumphant joy before your bastion.

My rock and king, pray guide my way
And in your mercy strengthen me.
You who know our inner thoughts
Illuminate my day.