“Something about Einstein had moved the Jews of [Los Angeles] in a way that no one before ever had (and no one after ever would). It was only after the scientist left that they sobered, leaving Dr. George J. Saylin, the head of the Los Angeles Jewish Kehillah, the official representative of the local Jewish community, to observe:
[W]e have overdone it, [and] we have permitted our emotions to get the better of us. Hero worship is as old as worship itself. Though we have accepted but one God, most of us cannot resist the temptation of manufacturing demigods a sideline.
Saylin had a point.”
Read more from Noah Efron on what L.A. Jews’ reverence for Einstein says about the relationship between Jews and Science on Zocalo Public Square. Efron is the author of A Chosen Calling: Jews in Science in the Twentieth Century, now available from The Johns Hopkins University Press and Hebrew Union College Press.