Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Meeting Rabbi Shmuel Salant in 1909.

I don't think this is a particularly obscure source, but perhaps some have not seen it. In 1909 Pearson's Magazine (v.22.5) carried an heavily illustrated, extensive article about Palestine called The Turks, The Christians and the Holy Sepulchre (pp. 581-605) by James Creelman. Since the lead into the article was designed so nicely, I reproduce it:

Creelman met with 95-year old Rabbi Shmuel Salant and wrote of his impressions. He also photographed him in what he claimed was the only portrait he ever sat for, which I doubt. As you will notice, Creelman had a flair for the dramatic. Still, it's clear that he was impressed and this is conveyed. His vivid description figuratively and literally add color to a time which is, at best, only accessible to us in black and white. Did you know that R. Salant donated money to relief for Christian massacre victims? You do now.


  1. I wonder what language the two used to converse. German, perhaps?

  2. He may have known Hebrew- educated people did back then.

  3. That's possible, but judging by the his bio (Canadian born yellow journalist working in New York) I doubt he knew Hebrew. A more interesting possibility is that R. Shmuel knew English. However, German is probably the best guess, unless there was an unmentioned interpreter, which is also very possible, since it may almost go without saying that a visitor to any of the ethnic groups in Palestine would have had an interpreter. Maybe if I took the time to actually read the entire article I'd find out. ;-)



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