Albert Einstein on the "Bumpy" Creation and Beautiful "Dream" of the Hebrew University

April 8, 1929

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Albert Einstein on the "Bumpy" Creation and Beautiful "Dream" of the Hebrew University
Autograph Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 792

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      Background

      At the heart of a Jewish homeland, Einstein thought, there would be a university: a place where knowledge for knowledge’s sake could be pursued, and justice sought, and personal independence encouraged and respected. These were, he felt, the motivating traditions of the Jewish people – a gift of destiny, he called it. A Hebrew University, administered for Jews by Jews, would mean that Jews could for once study without hindrance, free of discrimination and quotas. The establishment of such a “moral center” was, for Einstein, a necessity. In this letter to the British mathematician Selig Brodetsky - who would, in twenty years, become the University’s president – Einstein affirms that when it comes to the University, he is like a wild man…
       
      It is particularly dear of you that you were not alienated by my stubborn behavior in regard to the University matter. With the eloquent Jewish brothers, I face the situation like a wild man, who can only explain himself convincingly with gestures... Even if I will never see the day… I will not stop taking the Jerusalem University matter closely to heart… At the same time, I think that your and [Chaim] Weizmann’s more conciliatory demeanor may be the right one… The main thing is that everything that is being done has the sole purpose to serve the University; therefore I hope that even this bumpy way will reach a beautiful end.
       
      When Einstein visited the site on which the university was to arise, he was invited to speak from “the lectern that has waited for you for two thousand years.”


      Autograph Letter Signed (“A. Einstein”), in German, 1 page, quarto, on his personal letterhead, Haberlandstr. 5, Berlin, April 8, 1929. To Selig Brodetsky.
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      ALBERT EINSTEIN 
      BERLIN W, 8. IV.29.
      HABERLANDSTR. 5

      [Translated from German]

      April 8, 1929

      Dear Mr. Brodetsky!

       
      Thank you for your nice letter. Reading it constituted, or rather, constitutes a problem that cannot be underestimated. It is particularly dear of you that you were not alienated by my stubborn behavior in regard to the University matter. With the eloquent Jewish brothers, I face the situation like a wild man, who can only explain himself convincingly with gestures. That’s how you have to view my measure, not as a shortcoming of inner solidarity. Even if I will never see the day when I can undo my measure, I will not stop taking the Jerusalem University matter closely to heart. I believe that I can best serve an issue when I follow my instincts without thinking a great deal about it. So far, this has been proven to be the best way. At the same time, I think that your and Weizmann’s more conciliatory demeanor may be the right one for your politically educated natures. The main thing is that everything that is being done has the sole purpose to serve the University; therefore I hope that even this bumpy way will reach a beautiful end.
       
      With warm regards,
       
      Your
       
      A. EINSTEIN.