The Great Adventure of 1929:The Impact of Travel Abroad on American Jewish Women's Identity
"I am getting so excited over the prospect of this trip that I find it difficult to function normally each day. It is all so marvelous that I can hardly believe that it is going to be true."Rebecca Hourwich, July 10, 19291
During the summer of 1929, Setty Swartz Kuhn (1868–1952) and Rebecca Hourwich (1897–1987) began to plan a trip abroad.2 Both had traveled overseas before, but this was to be the trip of a lifetime for each of them. They hoped to go to Russia, Turkey, Greece, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, an itinerary that would take several months and necessitate traveling by steamer, river barge, train, automobile, carriage, and mule. Sixty-year-old Kuhn, a Jewish woman from Cincinnati who was active in the League of Woman Voters and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, enjoyed the personal and financial resources to turn her dream trip into reality, but she was leery of traveling alone for so long and could not convince any of her children to accompany her. An acquaintance suggested she contact Hourwich, a younger woman who had recently left her job with the National Woman's Party. Hour-wich was writing copy for an advertising agency but aspired to find more interesting work and to establish her journalism credentials by reporting from abroad. She also came with the distinct advantage of speaking Russian, a legacy of her Eastern European Jewish immigrant parents, which Kuhn felt was important for the Russian leg of the trip. Kuhn herself knew German and French, the languages bequeathed her by her German Jewish grandparents and her own formal education.3 [End Page 85]
Nothing about the general decision to take such a trip was so unusual. Foreign travel at the time was common primarily for the middle class and wealthy, but, as historian Daniel Soyer has noted, third class steamship tickets and the new category of "tourist" accommodations made going abroad increasingly accessible to the working class as well. While some Jewish immigrants, even if they could eventually afford to do so, had no interest in returning to Europe or even in leaving the United States, others seized the opportunity to revisit their hometowns. Regardless of either their class background or their destinations, American Jews who traveled abroad during the first decades of the twentieth century joined a more general tourist boom. By one count, 278,331 United States citizens sailed for foreign countries in 1922; the number rose to 461,254 in 1930. Resident aliens also went abroad in large numbers: 92,246 in 1926 and 102,627 in 1929.4 These numbers reflected the growing commercialization of tourism during the period, a phenomenon enabled by the access of more people to a combination of leisure, vacation time, and discretionary income.5 In his classic work on tourism, Dean MacCannell points out that the early twentieth century saw a significant shift in travel abroad. Whereas earlier travelers typically intended to visit family and friends, to attend special events or ceremonies, or to conduct business of some kind, by the early 1900s sightseeing had become an end in itself and an entire mass tourist industry of guidebooks, markers, maps, and tour guides had sprung up to facilitate this new economic sector.6 Kuhn and Hourwich's trip encompassed both the older model of personal travel with a specific purpose and the newer model of tourist sightseeing.
Their 1929 journey also placed them squarely in yet another tradition: international travel by women. American women who could afford it had been traveling abroad regularly since at least the mid-nineteenth century. This was no less true of American Jewish women, who went to school overseas; visited relatives and sometimes found husbands; attended international meetings of various activist groups; and took sightseeing trips alone, with family members, or with organized tour groups. Most went to Europe, but some visited Palestine as well, and a few even traveled to Asia. A robust scholarly literature on women's travel explores how it freed women from domestic duties at home, shored up their individual agency through the daily decisions they made about how [End Page 86] to spend time and money, and gave them a voice through their travel writings, whether or not these were publicly shared.7 As scholar Mary Louise Pratt argues in her work on travel writing, the very mobility of traveling women contributed to the creation of modernity while also problematizing it in the figure of the "sentimental traveler."8 American Jewish women shared the same benefits and perils of travel as other women. They interpreted the sights they saw through similar sets of assumptions about the relative value of their own cultural backgrounds. Yet, as Kuhn's and Hourwich's accounts of their 1929 time abroad illustrate, they also participated in a particularly Jewish grappling with identity that added an extra dimension to their experiences.
Many of those who traveled, regardless of their class background or intentions, kept diaries and journals, meticulously noting their sightseeing itineraries, modes of transportation, and, very often, meals. Jewish women's journals, diaries, letters, and scrapbooks should be seen as a special case of the wider genre of American women's travel narratives. They are also witness to and commentary on diasporic Jewish communities during the last decades of the nineteenth century and first decades of the twentieth century. Neither Kuhn nor Hourwich was traditionally observant, and Hourwich in particular was then ambivalent at best about what Judaism meant to her. They both focused their activism on feminism and peace and identified more with an ethnic or cultural Jewish identity than a religious or national one. Yet in addition to seeking out other activist women on their travels, they also sought out Jewish sites. Their experiences illustrate the ways in which Jewishness shaped travel and identity among Jewish women who went abroad.
American Jewish women's history has largely neglected travel as a common, if not everyday, experience. Many major works in the field mention in passing that this or that figure traveled to this or that international meeting or visited relatives overseas, but there has been little sustained attention to what these experiences might have meant to them.9 [End Page 87] Particularly interesting are questions of how Jewish identity animated and shaped the experiences of American Jewish women abroad who, like Kuhn and Hourwich, visited pre-state Palestine.10 As avowed feminists and pacifists at the end of the 1920s, Kuhn and Hourwich set out on their journey believing more in the prospect of an international order than in the kind of national projects represented by both the young Soviet Union and the Zionist settlements they visited in Palestine. Their experiences abroad led them to confront their own Jewish and political orientations. This essay will draw on Kuhn and Hourwich's accounts of their 1929 odyssey as exemplars of a robust corpus of American Jewish women's travel narratives that deserves scholarly attention. As their journey demonstrates, going abroad could both destabilize and reaffirm American Jewish women's religious, cultural, ethnic, national, and gender identities.
When Kuhn first contacted Hourwich about accompanying her as a paid companion, both women were at a crossroads. Kuhn, a wealthy widow, was encouraged by her children to take a break from her many civic and communal activities to embark on this trip. She had been going abroad regularly since she was a music-mad eighteen-year-old who attended the Bayreuth Festival in 1886 but had never fulfilled her own lifelong dream of visiting Palestine, although as a Reform Jew and internationalist she viewed Zionism with caution. A politically savvy suffragist and peace activist and a supporter of international Jewish causes, she was also especially interested in seeing for herself what life was like for women and Jews in Russia after the Great War and the Russian Revolution.11 Kuhn was determined to make this trip the perfect blend of [End Page 88] casual sightseeing, in places both familiar and new, and purposeful visits to sites of feminist and Jewish activity. Thirty-two-year-old Hourwich, whose only previous trip overseas had been a lengthy reporting junket to South Africa in 1924, had been unsuccessful since then in fulfilling her desire to travel internationally. Separated from her husband and raising her daughter more or less alone, Hourwich was eager to see the sights of Europe and the Near East and then write magazine articles about her experiences that could help secure her financial independence. As the daughter of secular Jewish radicals, she, like Kuhn, approached travel from the perspective of an activist committed to the post-World War I idea of internationalism common among social and political activists at the time. Her family supported the idea of the trip, and her sister offered to move in with Hourwich's ten-year-old daughter Faith for the duration. Both Kuhn and Hourwich had relatives in some of the countries they planned to visit, and both had contacts in numerous places from their work in the suffrage and peace movements.12
Despite their mutual activist histories, Kuhn and Hourwich, separated by age, geography, and origin stories, had never crossed paths. They arranged to meet in New York in June 1929 to test the waters. The encounter went well, and Hourwich wrote to Kuhn that she thought they would get along, but would like to know exactly what her duties would be and how much of the time they would spend together. She asked Kuhn for a salary of $250 a month, most of it to be paid directly to her sister for household upkeep and care of Faith.13 Kuhn agreed to the financial terms and later in the summer advanced Hourwich half the September salary to cover the expense of preparing to leave.14 The question of how the two women would spend their time while traveling seems to have been of concern to both of them. In response to Hourwich's question about whether she would have any time on her own, Kuhn wrote that [End Page 89] although "one must have the privilege of being by one's self some time each day…when one travels to see and to learn and to enjoy" there would not be much time left over for other activities. She wanted reassurances that in Russia, where she did not speak the language, Hourwich would remain by her side, though she promised to "be a sport at sixty" and not cling too tightly during this or any other part of the trip.15
All these terms agreed upon, Hourwich spent most of July working with Thomas Cook's Travel Service to plan the trip, which was to include first class ship and train accommodations throughout, three meals daily, and two single rooms with a connecting private bathroom whenever possible. Less expensive arrangements might have been making travel accessible to more people at the time, but Kuhn, a woman of considerable financial resources, did not need to take advantage of such accommodations. She paid $3,620 to Thomas Cook's to cover all the expenses from August 23 through December 22, 1929, except for the month in Russia from September 2 through October 1, which was to be arranged by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and paid for separately.16 Letters and telegrams flew between Cincinnati and New York. Kuhn reminded Hourwich to get vaccinated for typhoid and suggested they both get as many visas in advance as possible.17 Since they would be going to Russia soon after their first arrival in Europe, they agreed to send their trunks to be held in Vienna and take only one large suitcase each to the Soviet Union.18 Kuhn had special luggage tags made up and sent them to Hourwich.19 After a summer of constant contact, Kuhn wrote, "My use of the word Companion was entirely for want of a better term. I trust with no reticence I may speak of you as a friend," even though the two women continued to address each other formally as Mrs. Kuhn and Miss Hourwich in their correspondence and their diaries.20 They met in New York and sailed to Bremen via Cherbourg and Southampton on August 23. What Kuhn referred to as "the great adventure" had begun.21 [End Page 90]
The basic plan of the itinerary had Kuhn and Hourwich traveling first to Germany and then to Leningrad, which was the point of departure for their separately-organized month in Russia. After that month, they were to proceed to Vienna and take the Orient Express to Greece and, after sightseeing there, go on to Constantinople.22 From Constantinople, they were to travel via Aleppo and spend several days in Syria before arriving in Tiberias and then staying in Jerusalem and touring Palestine for ten days. Next, they were to go to Egypt, visiting Cairo, Luxor, and Alexandria before taking a steamer to Naples and from there setting sail for the return journey to New York. As they made their way through countries and continents, they also spent a few days here or there in other places. In Rome they were even invited to a papal audience through one of Hourwich's contacts.23
On an extended trip this complicated, something was bound to go wrong. The misadventures began almost immediately. When Hourwich and Kuhn collected their Russian visas in Berlin, they discovered that boats for Leningrad departed only once a week and that if they did not leave within the next half hour to catch the train to the dock, their entire itinerary would be ruined. As Kuhn described it in a talk she gave upon her return to Cincinnati, "Picking up our suitcases as we went, never did death seem to lurk so close at every corner of the Berlin streets. As we madly rushed to the train, we were actually thrown into one compartment, our luggage into another, too exhausted to worry whether or not we should find our belongings untouched at the end of that fateful railroad journey."24 Once on the train they suffered from "unyielding beds" and men snoring loudly in the next compartment. The train was so cold that the two women huddled together under Kuhn's fur coat.25
This was only the beginning of some of the problems that plagued their trip. Hourwich's eyeglasses were stolen in Odessa.26 The cash that was supposed to be awaiting the travelers in Constantinople went missing, and the eighty-year-old guide supplied by the Thomas Cook office [End Page 91] seemed so decrepit that Kuhn and Hourwich refused his services.27 Other mishaps included Kuhn's fur coat, so useful as a blanket on the earlier part of the journey, flying out the window on the train from Lud to Haifa in Palestine.28 Most seriously, Hourwich discovered upon arrival in Cairo that her trunk had been broken into. Her jewelry, shoes, and much of her clothing had disappeared. Thomas Cook sent a representative, but there was not much he could do.29 Kuhn bought Hourwich some replacement items to tide her over for the last month of the trip.30
Everywhere the intrepid pair went, they kept travel journals. Each of them had written journals and diaries since adolescence, so they were accustomed to the practice of recording and ruminating on their daily activities, even in less exciting circumstances than these.31 Kuhn and Hourwich both commented candidly about their reactions to the sights. Hourwich found many parts of Constantinople old and filthy and was so underwhelmed by the art students' work at the Bezalel School in Jerusalem that she did not even bother to buy anything.32 Kuhn favorably contrasted the opulence and grandeur of the theater in Leningrad where she saw the ballet Sleeping Beauty to the more typical stark communist simplicity she observed everywhere else in the city.33 Like Hourwich, she found Constantinople unpleasant and was dismayed to note that Ataturk's modernizing program had stripped away all Turkish dress and customs except for the mosques.34
In spite of these critical reactions to some of what they were seeing, Hourwich and Kuhn relished their journey enormously and repeatedly wrote about how much they were enjoying themselves. They were both especially pleased whenever they had the chance to meet women who shared their feminist interests. As former suffragists and now committed peace activists, they deployed their international networks to arrange such meetings. This kind of activity was not unusual during the first decades of the twentieth century for politically-minded women, who very explicitly adopted an internationalist approach when it came to [End Page 92] women's issues.35 As historian Marie Sandell explains, there were three types of travel common to women involved in international activism: fact-finding journeys assessing the status of women in various places; recruitment trips to promote activist causes and solicit new members for specific organizations; and support missions to strengthen women's networks and share information.36 Neither Kuhn nor Hourwich officially represented any international women's organization, though they both did belong to the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom and support the work of the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship (until 1926 the International Woman Suffrage Alliance). Still, they took very seriously the task of learning more about the status of women in every country they visited, placing them squarely in line with the tradition of activist women's international fact-finding journeys.
Kuhn and Hourwich started as they meant to go on. Right after arriving in Russia they attended an educational film about sex and abortion and the communist approach to handling these matters. Hourwich also interviewed a Director of Women's Affairs to learn about Soviet attitudes toward birth control, which she discovered was freely available to women but only after they had given birth to two children for the good of the state.37 In Greece they had tea with three feminists who updated them on the League of Greek Women for Women's Rights.38 In Jerusalem they met with Rosa Welt-Straus, head of the Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights since 1919. Hourwich was less than pleased the following day when she argued with male Zionist leaders about women's suffrage. She had hoped that their attitudes toward women would be as modern [End Page 93] as they claimed their ideas about Jewish men and masculinity were, but they laughed at her question about including suffrage in any constitution and proffered the same anti-suffrage arguments she had dealt with as an activist in the United States years earlier.39 In Egypt, Hourwich and Kuhn went to the meeting of an activist women's group that had been founded in 1923. Hourwich noted that in Egypt women had demanded equality in marriage laws and education with some success but still generally veiled themselves.40 Only in Damascus was their local contact "unable to locate a feminist for us."41 While their trip was clearly for pleasure, it was also meant to be educational. The two women did not just put aside their broader communal and professional concerns. Their feminist activism was so central to their identities that they made it part of their journeys.
Even more fundamental to their extended time abroad was their Jewish identity. Kuhn came from a Reform family in Cincinnati, and Hourwich was a freethinker with ethnic or cultural rather than religious ties to Judaism. Still, both of them valued their Jewishness, however defined, and both of them had purposefully sought out Jewish experiences on their previous travels. When twenty-year-old Setty Swartz went on a musical pilgrimage to Europe in 1888, she made sure to visit the old Jewish ghetto in Venice, as well as the Jewish cemetery and synagogue in Demelsdoff, Germany, the town from which her mother's family had emigrated to America.42 Rebecca Hourwich noted the "Ku Klux mind" of some of her fellow ship passengers en route to South Africa in 1924 and took great pleasure in publicly informing them–after several weeks of listening to their antisemitic remarks–that she was Jewish. Once in Cape Town she visited the rabbi and attended services on Rosh Hashanah, where she was impressed by the synagogue building. She also observed a meeting of the local Women's Zionist Society despite her own distaste for Zionism, an ideological commitment to a concept of Jewish nationality that she abjured.43 [End Page 94]
Given these earlier experiences, it was not surprising that both Kuhn and Hourwich were interested in exploring Jewish sites and issues wherever they went on their trip together. While passing through Warsaw, they toured the Jewish quarter.44 In Constantinople, they visited both the old Jewish section and a newer synagogue with "modern furnishings and trappings" where the upper floor was reserved for the rich and the lower floor for the poor.45 In Cairo, they found an ancient church and synagogue next door to each other; an Egyptian priest offered to hold a donation to the synagogue, which would not accept money on Saturday. Hourwich approved of the Cairo synagogue's old Torah scrolls and Moorish architecture.46
The two elements of Kuhn and Hourwich's trip connected most deeply to Judaism were the month they spent in Russia under the auspices of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the two weeks they spent in Palestine. Their itineraries in both these places were deeply shaped by their Jewishness and differentiated them from the non-Jewish women who traveled to the same countries. Few non-Jewish women investigating social and economic conditions in post-revolutionary Russia bothered to visit Jewish agricultural colonies. Christian women who made pilgrimages to the Holy Land typically spent most of their time at Christian sites and approached the question of Zionism, if at all, from an outsider perspective unlike that of even the most unaffiliated Jewish women. Spending time in the USSR and Palestine forced both Hourwich and Kuhn to confront their own preconceptions about Jews and Jewishness as well as their attitudes toward Zionism and the question of Jewish peoplehood.
The JDC was initially formed by American Jewish donors during World War I to help sustain Jewish communities in Eastern Europe that were devastated by the war, as well as to launch massive relief programs in Palestine. In 1924, the JDC cooperated with the Soviet government in creating the American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation (Agro-Joint) to resettle more than 70,000 Jews in the Ukraine and Crimea and to train them as farmers.47 The Agro-Joint generally welcomed American [End Page 95] and Western European visitors–and potential donors–to the agricultural colonies. Indeed, as Daniel Soyer has noted, "From the mid-1920s on, a visit to the Jewish agricultural colonies in Ukraine and Crimea was practically mandatory for politically conscious Jewish tourists."48 While generally not paying for these trips, JDC officials were all too happy to demonstrate the success of their various projects and were willing to assist with logistical planning. Both Kuhn and Hourwich had JDC contacts who helped them plan their month in Russia, though most of the correspondence making the arrangements is missing from the records of the trip. With Hourwich serving as translator, they first did some standard sightseeing in Leningrad and Moscow, but they then made their way to Kharkov, Simferopol, Yalta, and Sebastopol to spend time at the Agro-Joint colonies, which they learned had started with 200–300 families and five years later already boasted 4,000 families.49 The colonists came from many kinds of Jewish backgrounds. Hourwich remarked that some of the Jewish colonists spoke Hebrew or Yiddish at home, but used Russian for official communications.50 Kuhn found Ezekiel Groner, the guide dispatched by the Agro-Joint to accompany them to the Jewish agricultural colonies, "quite illuminating on the Jewish problem" and "much disturbed by the war in Palestine, which the Russian Jews…consider rather favorable to themselves." According to Groner, "There [were] no Zionists among Russian Jews" in the agricultural colonies; the colonists believed that their efforts in their own country represented the future of modern Jewry. Kuhn appreciated the [End Page 96] reasons why the Agro-Joint might want to downplay Zionism but found it highly unlikely that all the colonists felt the same way.51
There was not much in the way of modern equipment in the Haklai colony they visited, but there was a school, hospital, bathhouse, and artisan's shop.52 Although few were traditionally observant, there were thirty to forty people at synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah on September 25 and some of them apparently kept kosher.53 Kuhn noted eating a supper of "Gefuilte Fish" at a kosher restaurant in one of the agricultural colonies. She observed that the Jewish colonies were "very primitive and uncomfortable," but acknowledged that the "hospitality [was] generous" everywhere they went.54 The colonists told their visitors that after the upheavals of the previous decades they would be happiest if the Soviet government would just leave them alone, despite the fact that some of their most up-to-date equipment, like their radios, came from the official representative of the Commissioner of Jewish Affairs in Crimea.55 There were arguments within the Soviet government about whether the Agro-Joint's gifts of land to Jews were counterrevolutionary, which left the colonists in a precarious situation.56 Impressed by the hard work of learning to farm under less than ideal circumstances, Kuhn could not help but notice that "the Jewish type here in the colonies [is] not at all the type of Russian Jew that we know in America."57 This comment probably reflected some of the tensions Kuhn had witnessed in her lifetime between established American-born Jews and Eastern European immigrants, but Hourwich, whose Russian Jewish immigrant parents were highly educated and would have had no idea how to farm, may well have agreed.
After leaving the Agro-Joint colonies, Kuhn and Hourwich continued to enjoy the services of a JDC escort to other parts of Russia. Presumably the JDC hoped that extending this courtesy would yield greater results in terms of the travelers' financial and ideological support once they returned home. They visited the Jewish Museum in Odessa, where Hourwich was amused to discover that Russian synagogues used to be [End Page 97] adorned with Imperial eagles but had removed them during the revolution a decade earlier.58 Less amusing was their visit to a Jewish employment office in Odessa, where they learned of the situation of the poor Jewish women who had to sew at home rather than in factories that would not hire Jews to work on site.59 In Kiev, they met a Jewish woman who summed up the status of Jews in post-revolutionary Russia:
In some ways it's better for the Jews, now, in some ways worse. Now he is a free man. He can go where he likes, he is no longer held down. But the Jew was born to commerce and now he cannot trade. Of course it causes hardship. But then the Jew has always suffered.60
While very sympathetic to the plight of Jews in the new USSR, neither Kuhn nor Hourwich necessarily agreed with this pessimistic outlook on the Jewish experience. After all, despite the many differences in their own biographies, they shared an American background in which it would be foolish to describe all Jews as inevitably suffering. Hourwich questioned the wisdom of the Agro-Joint's colonization projects in differentiating Jews from other farmers, though she realized that most Russian Jews lacked agricultural knowledge and required, at least initially, the kind of training that the Agro-Joint provided.61 Kuhn was perhaps more pragmatic about the persistent antisemitism that might make it necessary for Jews to continue to live apart even in a new nation that in theory admitted no religious differences and where there was a Museum of Anti-Religion.62 But as a peace activist with universalist inclinations, Kuhn remained uneasy about the separatism, whether coming from Jews themselves or forced upon them by others. All these concerns about the place of Jews in the world would be considerably magnified when they reached Palestine.
Even before they arrived in Palestine, Hourwich and Kuhn faced a challenge to their pre-existing beliefs in Syria. In Damascus, they met by appointment with Faris El-Khouri, a law professor and politician, who immediately began denouncing Jews in Syria and especially in Palestine. El-Khouri was firm in his belief that it was impossible for one homeland to contain two nations. Hourwich wrote in her notes on the conversation that the law professor characterized Jews not as regular [End Page 98] immigrants, but as Biblical conquerors, leaving destruction in their wake as surely as the Israelites did in the book of Joshua. Kuhn, who generally agreed with El-Khouri that the mandate system was an example of French and British imperialism, was less sure what she thought about his idea that Palestine should be part of an independent Greater Syria. Taking careful notes of their conversation on a separate piece of paper that she tucked into her journal, she seemed somewhat convinced by his argument that Jews should not go to Palestine with Zionist ideas about Jewish nationalism but only to earn a living and become citizens, just as they did in the United States. Both women devoted quite a bit of space in their travel journals to recounting the arguments they heard in Syria for and against Syrian independence and for and against Zionism.63
Although neither Kuhn nor Hourwich arrived in Palestine with much sympathy for political Zionism, they understood that the entire frame of any debate on the subject had shifted after the recent massacre of Jews in Hebron. Both of them preferred to think about the many Arab families in Hebron who had shielded Jews during the massacre, but there was no denying the sixty-seven Jewish deaths, including numerous yeshiva students and teachers, and dozens more serious injuries. Nine Arabs died as well. The British authorities responded by evacuating all surviving Jews from Hebron, ostensibly as a protective measure. 1929 was a grim year in mandate Palestine. Rioting led to the total deaths of 133 Jews and 110 Arabs and inflamed sentiments on all sides. This was the shaken, contested land Hourwich and Kuhn came to on November 9, and for the rest of their stay in Palestine, questions of Zionism, independence, a binational state, and Jewish identity were impossible to escape.64
The first stop in Palestine was Capernaum to see the ancient ruins of the synagogue there, and then Hourwich and Kuhn visited a synagogue in Tiberias. Both these sites demonstrated the deep historical roots of Jews in a land many saw as holy; it is likely that their local Jewish guide purposefully chose these first sights to underline that point. Hourwich described the Tiberias synagogue as "a House of God in its most elementary [End Page 99] sense, just a rude shelter. Impressive in its simplicity." This type of religious space always appealed to her, as she was suspicious of rich ornamentation in places of worship.65 From Tiberias, they traveled to Jerusalem by automobile, passing Jewish agricultural colonies en route and stopping to visit Joseph's tomb. Kuhn noted that "the whole drive [was] full of Bible lore." British soldiers heavily patrolled all the roads, a reaction to the recent violence. The companions spent their first night in Jerusalem at the American Colony Hotel, famed destination of many diplomats and politicians and well-heeled tourists, but Kuhn was uncomfortable, writing that the hotel was "very attractive but rather too Christian a community for our present purposes." The duo moved to a different hotel where the Jewish clientele was larger. Whatever Kuhn's feelings about the state of affairs in Palestine, she was there as a Jewish woman and wanted to feel socially and religiously at home, not just physically comfortable.66
Kuhn and Hourwich wasted no time exploring Palestine. They went to Tel Aviv in the company of Gershon Agronsky (later Agron), a Zionist journalist, and were delighted by the thriving, modern, entirely Jewish city. Agronsky also took them on a tour of an orange grove and a wine factory, and both women were duly impressed by the energy and enterprise shown by the Jewish pioneers who had turned arid land into something beautiful and productive.67 However, Hourwich was bothered by Agronsky's militancy and frankly skeptical about his claims that all the attacks by Arabs were coordinated in advance. She wrote in her journal of all the arguments she made against Zionism and imperialistic Jewish immigration but gave no space to Agronsky's replies.68 Back in Jerusalem after two days in Agronsky's company, Hourwich took a break while Kuhn went to visit an experimental school run by Deborah Kallen, philosopher Horace's sister. The school incorporated into its curriculum American-style progressive ideas about experiential and child-centered education.69 Together the traveling companions visited Hebrew University and met with its chancellor, Judah Magnes. Kuhn had known Magnes since his days as a pacifist American rabbi during World War I, and she was saddened to find him so bitter in the wake of [End Page 100] recent events. Hourwich had looked forward to meeting Magnes, one of the most important proponents of bi-nationalism in Palestine, and she, too, described him as "surprisingly bitter" and deeply pessimistic about the state of Arab-Jewish relations. That a figure of such stature was rethinking the possibility of Arabs and Jews living in harmony shook both women.70
There was time for more conventional tourism in Palestine as well, although escaping one form or another of politics proved difficult. Kuhn and Hourwich went to the Dead Sea, where Kuhn denounced the "horrible taste" of the mud she accidentally sampled, and they spent most of a day wandering the twisting, turning streets of the Old City of Jerusalem. Kuhn was struck by the "streets full of orthodox Jews going and coming from prayer at the Wall. Many quaint in appearance and dress." For her this sight stood out as "a symbol of Jews' abject condition as compared to [the] magnificence of the Mohammedans [sic]." All the visible symbols of Jewish piety made her uncomfortable, as did the dire poverty that was more in evidence there than it had been elsewhere in their Palestine itinerary.71 Hourwich's opinion of the Western Wall, at that time not entirely visible or accessible, was equally blunt: "The atmosphere was medieval, charged with black magic." Never before this trip had she seen so many Jewish men and women wearing the traditional black garb and head coverings of Orthodox Jews, and she found their evident privations and rejection of modernity distasteful. She much preferred the strong, pioneering types she had seen engaged in agriculture outside Jerusalem, much as she disagreed with their politics.72 For women not at all connected to traditional Jewish observance, the undeniable presence of religious Judaism in Palestine seemed disturbing and even threatening to their ideas about their own Jewish identities. [End Page 101]
Alienated from the religious fervor of the Jews they saw in Jerusalem, skeptical of the intense nationalism of the Jews they met in the agricultural colonies, both women were left uneasy by their time in Palestine. Even in presumably more compatible environments, like the ceremonial opening of Hebrew University's library, which was well-attended by many intellectuals and social activists, they felt out of place when all the speeches were delivered in Hebrew.73 Hourwich, an experienced writer whose travel journal generally expanded at length on her thoughts, seems to have stopped writing altogether for nearly a week, not resuming her record until arriving in Cairo on November 22. That gap, the only one in a travel journal that covered four months, might reflect her difficulty either in reconciling the competing voices she heard or her own mixed reactions to them. Kuhn continued to document their last few days in Palestine, but with a jumble of emotions that encapsulated her ambivalence. She was struck by the bustling Girls' Agricultural School they visited and enjoyed eating lunch at a kosher hotel. But she found the bad roads and the shortcuts their driver took to avoid potentially hostile Arab villages "rather terrorizing" and, like Hourwich, was more than ready to depart Palestine for Egypt.74
Once in Egypt, the last major destination of their trip, Kuhn and Hourwich visited a few synagogues but wrote primarily about the grandeur of the pyramids and the squalor of Cairo. They kept up their journals while in Egypt, but neither traveler referred again to Palestine or compared Egyptian hopes for political independence to the debate over nationalist aspirations and Zionism they had heard in Palestine. They may have been more willing to comment on the political situation in Palestine because they felt some connection to it as Jews. Still, this silence is somewhat surprising given their attention to politics in Palestine and their attendance at a feminist meeting in Egypt, where the women's movement was inextricably linked to Arab nationalism.75 In fact, Egyptian feminist Huda Sha'rawi, who founded the Egyptian Feminist Union in 1923 after attending an International Woman Suffrage Alliance meeting, continuously pressed the latter organization to condemn what she saw as Muslim women's persecution in Palestine and to support Arab demands for stopping Jewish immigration to Palestine. As historian Leila Rupp has documented, the International Woman Suffrage Alliance refused to [End Page 102] take a stand, citing its general policy of avoiding intervention in national questions as well as its obligations to both Jewish women in Palestine and Arab women in Egypt.76 Kuhn and Hourwich made no mention of any of these issues in their travel journals, leaving open the question of what they thought about what they had seen and heard in Egypt.
However, some of their actions after returning home offer clues as to their general reactions in the aftermath of their grand adventure. A year later, Kuhn made a sizable donation to Judah Magnes, in part to cover the publication cost of an English/Hebrew/German/Yiddish pamphlet urging Jews worldwide to support a binational state in Palestine. With Kuhn's permission, Magnes, apparently recovered to some degree from his bitterness and back in action as a vocal proponent of peace, also used the money to translate classic pacifist literature into Hebrew and to establish several Arab-Jewish clubs in Nablus.77 All these activities suggest the effect that the trip had on Kuhn's politics and philanthropy when it came to Palestine.
They also underline her ongoing commitments to peace and internationalism, which, if anything, grew stronger in the wake of the 1929 journey. In 1931, she went abroad again, traveling to Europe with her daughter Emma this time, and the following year she attended disarmament talks in Geneva. This occasion was commemorated in a tribute from her seventieth birthday party in Cincinnati: "Our Settie went over the ocean/Our Settie went over the sea/Our Settie went straight to Geneva/To speak internationally."78 Kuhn was invited to do so again in 1935 by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, though that time she declined. But throughout the deeply troubled decade of the 1930s, she found herself walking a fine line between her universalist peace ideals and her acknowledgment of the particular threat to Jews. En route to the 1932 disarmament conference, she visited a refugee office in Zurich and arranged to take in a German Jewish girl, something she did twice more in 1933 and 1937. Giving these young women a [End Page 103] home in Cincinnati was all Kuhn could think of to do to save them from "the doom of our people."79 Her 1929 trip was not the end of her traveling days, nor was it some sort of end point in her consideration of the role Jewish identity should play in her life and actions, whether at home or abroad.
Hourwich's responses to the 1929 odyssey proved somewhat different, unsurprising given the many dissimilarities between the women. They maintained a close, affectionate correspondence after the trip, though the frequency of their letters seems to have diminished over time. By 1932, the walls of formality had even collapsed enough that Kuhn was finally addressing Hourwich as "Dear Becky" rather than "Dear Miss Hourwich" in their letters.80 However, familiarity did not stand in the way of free expression of their opposing viewpoints. When Hourwich asked Kuhn in 1932 to support the "League for Mutual Aid," an ecumenical group, Kuhn turned her down because, as she explained to the younger woman, she was for now confining herself to helping her "racial family" in Jews' time of need.81 Hourwich was upset by what she saw as over-identification with Jewish causes. For her, the 1929 trip had confirmed the antiquated nature of much of Judaism and Jewish culture. Although she enjoyed many of the Jewish sights she had seen along the way, they did not automatically have any special value to her because of her own Jewish identity.
As planned, following her return to the United States, Hourwich sold a number of magazine articles about her travel experiences to various periodicals. One of them, "Malice in Palestine," appeared in The World Today in 1930. As its title would indicate, the article was far from sympathetic to Jews in Palestine or to Zionism. While she wrote with admiration of the settlers' "gigantic feat of reclamation, a permanent, ever growing, ever flowering monument to Jewish faith and hope in the Zionist ideal," she tended to agree with the Arab leaders she had met that there was something biblical and dangerous in the Zionists' zealous conquest of the land. She denied the existence of Arab antisemitism and blamed the Jewish immigrants' threatening influx in the postwar years for arousing Arab nationalism to such a fever pitch. "One comes away convinced that unless [the Zionists] temper their nationalist ideals to the common good of the community–Arabs, Jews, Christians, alike–the [End Page 104] greatest tragedy in Jewish history is yet to be staged," she concluded.82 Of course, Hourwich had no way to know that a different such tragedy would be unfolding within a decade.
Like Kuhn, Hourwich continued her involvement with peace groups throughout the 1930s, but unlike Kuhn, she remained committed to absolutist pacifism and preferred not to see Jews as a special case. She worked closely with the People's Mandate Committee, an outgrowth of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom that attempted to collect millions of signatures worldwide from citizens demanding that their governments renounce war. In 1937, she was one of a few American women joining the "Flying Caravan" mission to numerous Latin American countries to urge ratification of the treaties approved at the Inter-American Court for the Maintenance of Peace.83 Once World War II and the full malevolence of Nazism and Hitler's plans for the Jews became undeniable, Hourwich worked with the Dominican Republic Resettlement Association to help Jewish refugees rather than do more conventional war work that might in any way support the military.84 Only in the wake of the Holocaust did she reluctantly change her mind about the need for a Jewish homeland, though she never returned to Palestine or Israel, nor did she comment later about Zionism in either her public or personal writings.85 She also fulfilled her earlier dream of traveling extensively and became an expert on Africa who wrote and taught widely, especially on women in various African countries.86
Going abroad offered women a chance to exchange their regular routines for what they often described in their travel writing as adventures. [End Page 105] The positive experiences so many American women enjoyed abroad were captured in letters and travel accounts that encouraged others to follow them overseas, if they could muster the resources and time. Even dangerous, unpleasant, and physically demanding experiences–because they were generally temporary–presented a welcome change and an opportunity to escape at least some of the restrictions on their activities at home. Well into the twentieth century, women who traveled alone or with only other women claimed an independence and agency that belied gender conventions. For politically-minded American travelers like Setty Swartz Kuhn and Rebecca Hourwich, travel also enabled a comparison of women's status and progress in other places, a comparison that did not always redound to the credit of the United States. Although social norms still shaped their experiences abroad, travel thus allowed women like them the opportunity to consider their gender identities from outside the space of their regular lives.
Similarly, American Jewish travelers often reassessed the place of Jewish identity in their lives as they made pilgrimages to ancestral hometowns, attended synagogues, noted Jewish holidays in their journals and letters, sought out the company of other Jews, and explored Jewish sites and sights. In addition to affecting their individual senses of Jewish identity, these activities, whether related to religious observance, filial devotion, or general tourism, helped weave a web of connections among Jewish communities scattered around the world. Recent scholarship has made clear the many links among diasporic Jewish communities during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, whether the impact of Yiddish literature in New York on Yiddish arts and letters in Eastern Europe or the longstanding devotion to specific cities from which Jews migrated to multiple destinations.87
American Jews' travel abroad tended to undergird a sense of solidarity felt even by those who, like Hourwich, opted not to foreground Jewish identity. Yet as her own accounts demonstrated, Jewishness nonetheless shaped her travel experiences, and not only in Palestine, where presumably it would have been impossible to escape such an outcome. Kuhn, the more experienced traveler, explicitly set out to educate herself and then others about the status of Jews in the places she visited on this trip. Though their reactions to what they saw and experienced were not identical, both women returned home thoughtful about the variegated forms [End Page 106] and meanings of Jewishness. Kuhn and Hourwich gained new, perhaps unexpected, perspectives on the nuanced forms of Jewish identity and meaning they explored as both participants and observers throughout their travels. These new views of themselves and their Jewish identities were arguably the most lasting result of their remarkable journey. [End Page 107]
Melissa R. Klapper is professor of history and director of Women's and Gender Studies at Rowan University. She is the author of Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860–1920 (New York University Press, 2005) and Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in the United States, 1880–1925 (Ivan R. Dee, 2007). Her most recent book, Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890–1940 (New York University Press, 2013) was awarded the National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies.
1. Rebecca Hourwich (RH hereafter), New York, to Setty Kuhn (SK hereafter), Cincinnati, July 10, 1929, folder 7, box 87, Rebecca Hourwich Reyher (RHR hereafter) Papers, MC 562, Schlesinger Library on the History of American Women, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (SL hereafter).
2. Rebecca Hourwich married Ferdinand Reyher in 1917 and used the name Rebecca Hourwich Reyher for much of her professional life from that point on. However, the couple separated during the mid-1920s (officially divorcing in 1934), and many of her closer colleagues and friends reverted to using her maiden name. In the correspondence about the trip and in her travel diary, Setty Kuhn consistently called her "Miss Hourwich," so that is the name used in this article.
3. For more on Setty Swartz Kuhn and Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, see Melissa R. Klapper, Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860–1920 (New York: New York University Press, 2005) and Melissa R. Klapper, Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890–1940 (New York: New York University Press, 2013).
4. Daniel Soyer, "The Travel Agent as Broker Between Old World and New: The Case of Gustave Eisner," YIVO Annual 21 (1993): 356–357, 350.
5. See Valerie Smith's introduction in Valerie Smith, ed., Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989). 1.
6. Dean MacCannell, The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class, 3rd ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 60 ff.
7. Exemplary studies of American women's travel narratives include Lila Marz Harper, Solitary Travelers: Nineteenth-Century Women's Travel Narratives and the Scientific Vocation (Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001); Sidonie Smith, Moving Lines: Twentieth-Century Women's Travel Writing (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001); and Jennifer Bernhardt Steadman, Traveling Economies: American Women's Travel Writing (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2007). These texts generally focus on women's rhetorical practices in writing about their travel.
8. Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2007).
9. Two scholars who have taken some note of American Jewish women abroad are Linda Gordon Kuzmack and Mary McCune. They focus on Jewish women's organized activism, however, and all the international travels they describe were undertaken in direct service of particular causes and organizations. See Linda Gordon Kuzmack, Woman's Cause: The Jewish Woman's Movement in England and the United States, 1881–1933 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1990); Mary McCune, 'The Whole Wide World Without Limits': International Relief, Gender Politics, and American Jewish Women, 1893–1930 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005).
10. Henrietta Szold's life, which was utterly transformed by her first visit to Palestine in 1909, provides an obvious illustration. See Joan Dash, Summoned to Jerusalem: The Life of Henrietta Szold (New York: Harper & Row, 1979). Other examples can be found in Shulamit Reinharz and Mark A. Raider, eds., American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2005).
11. Kuhn was not alone in her fascination with women in Russia, which was shared by many American women's rights activists and journalists. See Choi Chatterjee, "'Odds and Ends of the Russian Revolution,' 1917–1920: Gender and American Travel Narratives," Journal of Women's History 20, no. 4 (2008): 10–33 and Julia L. Mickenberg, "Suffragettes and Soviets: American Feminists and the Specter of Revolutionary Russia," Journal of American History 100, no. 4 (2014): 1021–1051.
12. Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, "Search and Struggle for Equality and Independence," Part VIII, "Career Stepping Stones," interview conducted by Amelia R. Fry and Fern Ingersoll for the Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library and University of California, Berkeley, 1977, http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/projects/suffragist. It should be noted that in this oral history, Reyher's recollections of the trip do not always match the documentary record from 1929. For example, during the 1977 interview process she told a story of how she and Kuhn were introduced that does not match the correspondence from the time, and she remembered the order and length of parts of the trip incorrectly. Reyher was certainly mentally acute in 1977, but the passage of fifty years (and perhaps her extensive traveling subsequent to this particular trip) had understandably affected her recall of some details. For that reason, I use this source primarily for her recollected feelings about issues like feminism and Zionism rather than as evidence for the particulars of the trip.
13. RH, New York, to SK, Cincinnati, June 24, 1929, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
14. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, June 30, 1929; SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, August 9, 1929, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
15. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, June 30, 1929; SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, July 10, 1929, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
16. RH, New York, to SK, Cincinnati, July 10, 1929, folder 7, box 87; Cook's Travel Service Contract, folder 1, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL. The cost was $50,411.57 in 2016 dollars, accessed July 12, 2016, http://www.in2013dollars.com.
17. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, July 11, 1929, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
18. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, July 30, 1929, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
19. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, August 4, 1929, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
20. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, July 27, 1929, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
21. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, August 4, 1929, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
22. As I have chosen to do throughout the article, I am using Kuhn and Hourwich's terminology. In Russia, they referred to Leningrad rather than the earlier names of St. Petersburg or Petrograd (the name in use from 1914–1924), but in Turkey they referred to Constantinople, which had been renamed Istanbul with the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. In 1930, the Turkish government requested that all foreigners use Istanbul from then on.
23. Cook's Travel Service Contract, folder 1, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL; Reyher, "Search and Struggle for Equality and Independence," Part VIII, "Career Stepping Stones."
24. SK, "Russia," undated lecture, folder 9, box 4, Setty Swartz Kuhn (SSK hereafter) Papers, MS 173, American Jewish Archives Center, Cincinnati (AJA hereafter).
25. RH, "Notes on Russia Trip," September 24, 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
26. RH, "Notes on Russia Trip," September 28, 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
27. SK's Travel Journal, October 28, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
28. SK's Travel Journal, November 19, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
29. RH's Travel Journal, November 22, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
30. SK's Travel Journal, November 25, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
31. For more on girls' diary-keeping practices and on Kuhn and Hourwich as adolescents, see Klapper, Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860–1920.
32. RH's Travel Journal, October 30, November 14, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
33. SK's Travel Journal, September 4, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
34. SK's Travel Journal, October 28, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
35. Activist women created large and effective international networks, especially after World War I. See Leila J. Rupp, Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women's Movement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997).
36. Marie Sandell, The Rise of Women's Transnational Activism: Identity and Sister-hood Between the World Wars (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), 137–138. For examples of the kind of women's writing that came out of such trips, see Mineke Bosch with Annette Kloosterman, eds., Politics and Friendship: Letters from the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, 1902–1942 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1990). Jewish women are represented in this collection primarily by Aletta Jacobs, a Dutch doctor and activist, and Rosa Manus, a Dutch stalwart of several international women's organizations. Jacobs and Manus each took extended trips with Carrie Chapman Catt, a leading American suffragist who also served as the longtime president of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.
37. SK's Travel Journal, September 9, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA; Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, "Search and Struggle for Equality and Independence," Part VIII, "Career Stepping Stones." For more on American feminists' engagement with Soviet Russia, see Chatterjee, "'Odds and Ends of the Russian Revolution'" and Mickenburg, "Suffragettes and Soviets."
38. RH's Travel Journal, October 22, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
39. RH's Travel Journal, November 14, November 15, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL. For more on women's suffrage in Palestine, see Margalit Shilo, Girls of Liberty: The Struggle for Suffrage in Mandatory Palestine, trans. Haim Watzman (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2016).
40. RH's Travel Journal, November 23, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
41. RH's Travel Journal, November 8, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
42. SK's Travel Journal, November 15, 1888, folder 1, box 4; Marked photographs of Demelsdoff house, cemetery, and synagogue, folder 4, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
43. RH, "Record of Trip to South Africa," August 24, August 31, September 28, September 29, October 3, 1924, folder 9, box 10, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
44. SK's Travel Journal, October 3, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
45. SK's Travel Journal, October 30, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA; RH's Travel Journal, October 30, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
46. SK's Travel Journal, November 23, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA; RH's Travel Journal, November 23, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL
47. For somewhat dated but still useful histories of the JDC, see Oscar Handlin, A Continuing Task: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1914–1964 (New York: Random House, 1964) and Yehuda Bauer, My Brother's Keeper: A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1929–1939 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1974). The more recent McCune, 'The Whole Wide World Without Limits' is also strong on the JDC and especially women's participation in post-World War I reconstruction efforts in Europe. The standard work on the Jewish agricultural colonies is Jonathan Dekel-Chen, Farming the Red Land: Jewish Agricultural Colonization and Local Soviet Power, 1929–1941 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005). For a useful summary of Soviet policy toward Jews during the 1920s, see also Gennady Estraikh, "The Stalinist 'Great Break' in Yiddishland," in 1929: Mapping the Jewish World, eds. Hasia R. Diner and Gennady Estraikh (New York: New York University Press, 2013), 36–52.
48. Daniel Soyer, "Back to the Future: American Jews Visit the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s," Jewish Social Studies 6, no. 3 (2000): 141. The organized Jewish community also sent groups to observe the Jewish agricultural colonies in the far reaches of the USSR. See Henry Srebrnik, "Territorialism and the ICOR 'American Commission of Scientists and Experts' to the Soviet Far East" in 1929: Mapping the Jewish World, eds. Diner and Estraikh, 107–126. The ICOR was an American Communist group established in 1924 to support the Jewish agricultural colonies.
49. USSR Itinerary, September 2–October 1 or 2, 1929, folder 15, box 9; RH, "Notes on Russia," September 20, 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
50. RH, "Notes on Russia," September 24, 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
51. SK's Travel Journal, September 7, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
52. SK's Travel Journal, September 25, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
53. RH, "Notes on Russia," September 5, 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
54. SK's Travel Journal, September 20, September 24, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
55. SK's Travel Journal, September 25, September 27, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
56. RH, "Notes on Russia," September n.d., 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
57. SK's Travel Journal, September 25, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
58. RH, "Notes on Russia," September 28, 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
59. SK's Travel Journal, September 28, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
60. RH, "Notes on Russia," September 30, 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
61. RH, "Notes on Russia," September n.d., 1929, folder 14, box 9, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
62. SK's Travel Journal, September 7, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
63. RH's Travel Journal, November 8, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL; SK's "Notes on Interview with Faris El-Khouri," folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA. I have used Kuhn and Hourwich's spelling, but the name is better rendered as Fares al-Khoury. As an elder statesman of modern Syrian politics he later served as prime minister of Syria from 1944–1945 and again from 1954–1955. For more on al-Khoury and Syrian nationalism see Michael Provence, The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005).
64. The literature on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict is too large to cite here. For an accessible, deeply researched account of the situation in 1929, see Hillel Cohen, Year Zero of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1929, trans. Haim Watzman (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2015).
65. RH's Travel Journal, November 10, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
66. SK's Travel Journal, November 10, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
67. SK's Travel Journal, November 11, November 12, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
68. RH's Travel Journal, November 11, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
69. SK's Travel Journal, November 13, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
70. SK's Travel Journal, November 14, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA; RH's Travel Journal, November 14, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL. Only a week later, Magnes was being excoriated in the American Jewish press for his support of a binational state in Palestine, so the bitterness that both women remarked upon does not seem to have appreciably swayed his opinion on the importance of cooperation. "Dr. Magnes Scored in Jewish Press," New York Times, November 22, 1929. For more on Magnes see William M. Brinner and Moses Rischin, Like All the Nations: The Life and Legacy of Judah L. Magnes (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987) and Daniel P. Kotzin, Judah L. Magnes: An American Jewish Nonconformist (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2010).
71. SK's Travel Journal, November 15 and 16, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
72. RH's Travel Journal, November 16, 1929, folder 6, box 11, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
73. SK's Travel Journal, November 18, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
74. SK's Travel Journal, November 20, 1929, folder 1, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
75. For more on these connections, see Margot Badran, Feminism, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994) and Beth Baron, Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics (Berkeley: University of California, 2005).
76. Rupp, Worlds of Women, 58–60. In 1935, Margery Corbett Ashby, president of the International Woman Suffrage Association, visited both Palestine and Egypt, accompanied by the stalwart Dutch Jewish activist Rosa Manus. In Palestine they met with both the Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights and the Arab Women's Union. The official report of these meetings tried to remain balanced, but privately Ashby referred to the Arab women as "viciously anti-British and anti-Jewish" and the Jewish women as "dull and uninspiring." Sandell, 166–167.
77. Judah Magnes, Jerusalem, to SK, Cincinnati, October 8, 1930, folder 4, box 3, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
78. Iphigene Bettman, unpaginated travel journal, 1931, folder 12, box 1, Iphigene Bettman Papers, MS 667, AJA; SK Autobiographical Questionnaire, folder 10, box 3; SK 70th Birthday Tribute, folder 8, box 4, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
79. Autobiographical Questionnaire, folder 10, box 3; Gertud Baer, Geneva, to SK, London, August 22, 1935, folder 1, box 1, SSK Papers, MS 173, AJA.
80. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, November 19, 1932, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
81. SK, Cincinnati, to RH, New York, November 19, 1932, folder 7, box 87, RHR Papers, MC 562, SL.
82. Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, "Malice in Palestine," The World Today 56 (November 1930): 528.
83. For more on Reyher's peace activities during this period, see Klapper, Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace, 174 ff. Her own account of the "Flying Caravan" appeared in Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, "Southward on Wings of Peace," World Observer (April 1938): 25–27.
84. On the Dominican Republic Resettlement Association, see Marion A. Kaplan, Dominican Haven: The Jewish Refugee Resettlement in Sosua, 1940–1945 (New York: Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2008) and Allen Wells, Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosua (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009).
85. For more on the agonizing choices confronting pacifist American Jewish women during the 1930s and World War II, see Melissa R. Klapper, "'Those by Whose Side We Have Labored': American Jewish Women and the Peace Movement Between the World Wars," Journal of American History 97, no. 3 (2010): 636–658.
86. Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, "Search and Struggle for Equality and Independence," Part X, "Broadcasting, Lecturing, Teaching, and More Travel."
87. On the transatlantic nature of Yiddish literature, see Nina Warnke, "Going East: The Impact of American Yiddish Play and Players on the Yiddish Stage in Czarist Russia, 1890–1914," American Jewish History 92, no. 1 (2004): 1–29. On the global connections among Jewish emigrants from the same Eastern European city, see, for example, Rebecca Kobrin, Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010).