Forum: From Prayer to Action

Map Unavailable

Date(s) - 03/24/2019
9:00 am - 10:00 am



Speaker: Thomas Busch

The oral history will be the basis for the topic. By the turn of the 19th Century, the intolerable situation in the Pale of Settlement sparked revolutionary fervor throughout the area of Eastern Europe controlled by Russia. Numerous groups formed to take action to address the problem, rejecting the passive, prayerful approach of their grandfathers. While these groups disagreed in many ways, they coalesced to join in the 1905 Revolution. The period of repression which followed swelled the flood of immigration to the United States, and brought a new generation of activists into the American Jewish community. My family, consisting of a widow and her five daughters and one son, were greatly influenced by their tenant and tutor, who was a Socialist Territorialist. Their lives then became entwined with a group of young revolutionaries who escaped to America in the aftermath of the 1905 Revolution and were educated at Baron de Hirsch’s agricultural school in Woodbine, NJ. In Chicago, their close friends included Poale Zionists, Socialist Territorialists, Socialist Revolutionaries, Social Democrats, Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, and Labor Unionists. The philosophies that motivated them and the institutions which helped make their odyssey successful, in particular Baron de Hirsch’s philosophy of philanthropy, are the subject of my talk.

Thomas Busch served as Judge, first of Tippecanoe Superior Court No. 2 and then of Tippecanoe Circuit Court, for 15 years. His mother’s family immigrated from Russia in the first decade of the 20th Century, and settled in Chicago. His great uncle recorded an oral history in 1972, shortly before his death, which provides the impetus and much of the material for his talk. He spoke at Jewish Studies Program Noon Lecture and Discussion Series at Purdue in Nov 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *