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Israel and Judaica

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David Ben-Gurion on Moshe Sharett’s Resignation as Foreign Minister

DAVID BEN-GURION, Autograph Letter Signed, to Moshe Sharett, July 28, 1956, Mount Carmel, Israel. 3 pp., 4½ x 8¼ in.

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I came to recognize that your service as Foreign Minister was not for the good of the country, although I did not cease to value your talents and dedication....

Item #24516, $4,000

John F. Kennedy Draft Speech Celebrating Israel’s 10th Anniversary

JOHN F. KENNEDY, Draft Typed Speech, as U.S. Senator, at the Greater Washington Observance of Israel’s Tenth Anniversary, Washington, D.C., May 11, 1958, with handwritten emendations. 6 pp. (lacking page 3 of 7). 8½ x 11 in.

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“It is heartening beyond words to spend a day where the focus is set upon works of peace and human achievement…. The years of crisis… have left no more bitter heritage than the homelessness and landlessness of millions. Yet the people of Israel, who have combined the loftiest idealistic vision with the greatest practical vigor, have proven that the human spirit – even under the cruelest suffering – has a power of endurance which no tyranny can extinguish.

            Israel is a land of many paradoxes, yet it has an inner strength and harmony which few nations of our time possess. Prime Minister Ben-Gurion observed some years ago: “If you don’t believe in miracles here, you aren’t a realist.”

John F. Kennedy first visited Palestine in 1939, and was an early and steadfast supporter of Israel. As a presidential candidate in 1960, he boldly declared, “Israel is here to stay.” President Harry Truman had formally recognized Israel within minutes of its Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, but Kennedy became the first U.S. president to create a military alliance and to openly supply arms to Israel.

Item #24386, $4,800

Announcing the UN Resolution
to Establish a Jewish State in Israel

[ISRAELI INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. November 29, 1947. 1 p. 27.5 x 39.5 in.

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To the Workers of Israel, celebrating the historic decision of the United Nations General Assembly authorizing the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel.

Item #21546, $4,800

Yom ha-Medinah:
Marking Israel’s Declaration of Independence—May 1948

[ISRAEL], Newspaper. Yom ha-Medinah. Jerusalem, May 14, 1948. 2 pp. 16 ½ x 22 in., unframed.

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Item #23011, $5,900

Shortly Before his Self-imposed Exile from Germany, Albert Einstein Supports an International Language to Promote Peace and Understanding

ALBERT EINSTEIN, Typed Document Signed, Berlin, Germany, December 18, 1929. 1 p., 8¼ x 11¼ in. In German, with Einstein’s autograph accomplishments.

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“I am willing to join the federation for the introduction of an international auxiliary language to promote understanding, peace, and cooperation among nations.”

Einstein was a lifelong champion of efforts to eliminate of the nationalist divisions that leaders erected between peoples, often to deadly effect. Esperanto, the “international auxiliary language,” was an easy to learn, politically neutral language invented by L.L. Zamenhof, a Polish ophthalmologist, in the 1870s-1880s. His goals, to transcend nationalism and create harmony and peace in the world community, were certainly shared by Einstein — and pilloried as a Jewish conspiracy by Adolf Hitler. Considering the date of the pledge, Einstein was taking an early stand against the Fascist future into which Europe was about to descend.

Item #24023, $6,000

Theodor Herzl Supports Yiddish Version of His Zionist Newspaper Die Welt

THEODOR HERZL, Typed Letter Signed, on the need to support the Yiddish version of the Zionist Paper Die Welt. One page, in German, to his “colleagues” of the Zionist movement. Countersigned by Oskar Marmorek, the secretary of the Actions Committee. March 3, 1901, Vienna.

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“You understand that the Yiddish edition of the World arose from the need to reach those social strata that were not reached by the German World. It was absolutely necessary to create a periodical which would in a reliable and faithful manner report on Zionist events and the Zionist requirements.”

Though his newspaper Die Welt linked together supporters across three continents. Herzl recognized that, for his vision of a Jewish homeland to become a reality, Western and Eastern Jews would need to join forces, as would the literati and the Yiddish-speaking man-in-the-street. This letter supports Di Velt, the short-lived Yiddish edition launched in 1900, one of Herzl’s attempts to bridge class, cultural and linguistic gaps.

Item #24453, $6,800

Before Declaring Israel’s Independence, Ben-Gurion Counters American Backpedaling and Pushes Start of Temporary Government

DAVID BEN-GURION, Autograph Letter Signed, “D. Ben-Gurion” to Rabbi Yehuda Leib Fishman. March 23, 1948, [Israel]. In Hebrew, one page on The Jewish Agency for Palestine stationery. 8.5 x 11 in.

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In 1947, as the British mandate over Palestine (established by the League of Nations in 1922) was about to expire, the United Nations called for partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Jewish leaders accepted the plan, but Arab leaders announced that they would oppose its implementation by force. President Harry Truman had endorsed partition despite opposition within his administration. On March 19, 1948, the U.S. shockingly reversed its position supporting partition; instead it called for a temporary United Nations trusteeship.

David Ben-Gurion, as head of the Jewish Agency, masterfully worked to contain the damage. Less than two months after writing this letter, Ben-Gurion and the recipient of this letter, Rabbi Judah Leib Fishman (Maiman), both would help draft and sign Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Item #24454, $12,500

President Washington Addresses Congress and Other Groups on Issues Ranging from Freedom of Religion to Democratic Governance

AMERICAN JUDAICA. GEORGE WASHINGTON, Book. A Collection of the Speeches of the President of the United States to Both Houses of Congress, At the Opening of Every Session, with Their Answers. Also, the Addresses to the President, with His Answers, From the Time of His Election: With An Appendix, Containing the Circular Letter of General Washington to the Governors of the Several States, and His Farewell Orders, to the Armies of America, and the Answer, FIRST EDITION. Boston: Manning and Loring, 1796. 8vo., 4¼ x 7 in. 282 pp. Foxed. Contemporary blind-tooled calf, scuffed, rebacked.

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This remarkable collection of speeches and letters by President George Washington is notable for including all of his annual messages to Congress (the forerunner of modern state-of-the-union addresses), including his first inaugural, and the response of Congress to each. It also includes letters from religious groups, state legislatures, municipal organizations, and a variety of other societies to the President and his response. Finally, it includes Washington’s letter of resignation as commander in chief of the armies of the United States and his farewell orders to the armies, both from late 1783.

Because it includes addresses from the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, and from the Hebrew Congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond, along with Washington’s responses, and was “published according to Act of Congress,” it is the first official publication of the United States government relating to American Jews.

Historic subscriber list at front, with Revolutionary War names of note, including Samuel Adams, General Henry Knox, and a large group of Harvard University tutors and students.

Item #24711, $15,000

The Building Blocks of Albert Einstein’s Creative Mind

[ALBERT EINSTEIN], Ephemera. Set of Anker-Steinbaukasten children’s building blocks by F. Ad. Richter & Cie., Rudolstadt, [Germany], c.1880s. Approximately 160 composite quartz sand, chalk, and linseed oil blocks in red, limestone and slate gray, in various sizes and shapes, together with three or more sets of building plans, all contained in two wooden boxes with printed Anker-Steinbaukasten labels.

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A unique and important artifact of his childhood.

Item #24284, $180,000
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