“Sarah Aaronsohn, New Palestine’s Jean D’Arc,” The Chicago Sentinel, May 22, 1925
A newspaper article printed in The Chicago Sentinel in May 1925, eight years after Sarah Aaronsohn's tragic death. In this article, Dr. Benjamin Jablons writes that the purpose of his article is to enlighten assimilating Jewish youth about modern-day Jewish heroes. Jablons describes the establishment of NILI and the fate of its founders. He glorifies the martyrdom of both Sarah Aaronsohn and Avshalom Feinberg and refers to personal information received from Alexander Aaronsohn, Sarah’s younger brother.
This is an excerpt from the article describing Sarah’s leadership of NILI:
“As soon as Sarah Aaronsohn learned of the death of Absalem Feinberg, she immediately stepped into the breach which was left and assumed entire control. She became an invaluable addition to the group. She introduced the system of carrier pigeons. She inspired every one of the group to renewed efforts and made them realize that if their efforts were successful they would have a greater claim for a Jewish homeland. The Balfour Declaration spurred her on to increased efforts and the result was that the Germans and Turks found themselves check-mated at every turn. They became suspicious, but so excellent was the organization that it was impossible for them to obtain a single clue…”
The Chicago Sentinel was a weekly Jewish newspaper that was active from 1911 to 1996. At the time, most Jewish newspapers were written in Yiddish, but this English-language newspaper appealed to many immigrants who were beginning to integrate into society yet still wished to maintain a traditional Jewish lifestyle.
Click here for more information about the newspaper.
This newspaper article could be used by teachers of Jewish Studies or Jewish History when learning about Sarah Aaronsohn and NILI in particular but also when discussing heroism in general. Using Jablons’ glorification of the martyrdom of the leaders of NILI, an interesting discussion could be held on the topic of role models and martyrdom today.
This article could also be used in English lessons to discuss the conventions of newspaper articles.
Teachers of Jewish History could use this resource as part of a unit on the pioneers at the beginning of the twentieth century.
What is this article about? Summarise the main ideas in your own words.
What is the author’s view of Sarah Aaronsohn?
Who was Joan of Arc?
Why does the author compare Sarah Aaronsohn to Joan of Arc?
What insights does this article give into the history of the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Israel in the years before the establishment of the State of Israel?
What insights does this article give into the Jewish community of Chicago?
Compare the description of Avshalom Feinberg's death in this article to the description in Sarah Aaronsohn’s letter to her siblings.
Why do you think the author puts such an emphasis on Sarah Aaronsohn’s torture, describing all the gory details?
Read the first and last paragraphs of the article. What is the author’s purpose in telling Sarah Aaronsohn’s story?
What was the author’s source of information when writing this piece?
Do you think this story was well-known in the Jewish world? Explain your answer using quotes from the newspaper.