|The caption reads "Rabbi Dr. Abraham I. Kook, 4/15/24"|
Where was this picture taken?
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) was a renowned Talmud scholar, Kabbalist and philosopher. He is considered today as the spiritual father of religious Zionism, breaking away from his ultra-Orthodox colleagues who were opposed to the largely secular Zionist movement.
Born in what is today Latvia, Rabbi Kook moved to Palestine in 1904 to take the post of the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa. He appears in many of the historic pictures taken by the American Colony photographers, usually as a bystander, without being identified. One photograph, from the Library of Congress' larger collection, identifies the rabbi, but the surroundings do not appear to be in the Land of Israel and actually look incredibly like a street scene in the United States.
Evidence suggests that the picture was taken in Washington DC before or after Rabbi Kook met with President Calvin Coolidge in the White House.
|Coolidge and Johnson, April 15, 1924|
The picture of the rabbi appears in a larger set of unaccredited pictures taken that week of well-known Washington politicians including Coolidge, the White House press corps, Senate leaders William Borah and Burton Wheeler, the Federal Oil Reserve Board, and more.
But why did Coolidge meet Rabbi Kook, and what was the rabbi doing in Washington?
|Rabbi M. M. Epstein, |
apparently on a ship
According to Hoffman, "The rabbis had originally planned to stay in America for about three months. However, because their fund-raising efforts were not as successful as had been hoped, they remained for eight months. In the end, they raised a little over $300,000, far short of the one million dollar goal which the CRC had set."
Hoffman described the April 15 conversation between the president and the rabbi: "Rav Kook thanked the President for his government's support of the Balfour Declaration, and told him that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land will benefit not only the Jews themselves, but all mankind throughout the world.... The President responded that the American government will be glad to assist Jews whenever possible."
|Rabbi Kook leaving a meeting with Winston|
Churchill and Emir Abdullah (1921)
Click on the photos to enlarge.
Click on the captions to see the originals.
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