LOST LOVE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF HENRIETTA SZOLD by Baila Round Shargel

LOST LOVE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF HENRIETTA SZOLD

Journal and Letters
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A remarkable look into the private sorrow of a public woman in what she called the ``dark chronicle of a broken heart.'' It is a story with all the elements of a great melodrama: the spurned love of an older woman for a younger man who appears to court her, then suddenly becomes engaged to a much younger woman; gossip and scandal in a closed social milieu; and a final, shocking revelation about the man in question, a scholar and leader in the community. It is the true story of Henrietta Szold, the American Jewish Zionist who founded the women's organization Hadassah, and Dr. Lous Ginzberg, one of the first faculty members of the Jewish Theological Seminary, in the early years of this century. And as related here in Szold's own journal, written after the events in an attempt to ``prove to myself that I was not a fool . . . that I may again respect myself,'' it becomes a powerful expression of passion aroused and thwarted late in a woman's life (Szold was in her 40s at the time, he was 13 years younger)--a woman previously dedicated to professional activity and intellectual pursuits. Having met Ginzberg at the seminary, Szold translated the lectures of the German-speaking scholar and ultimately, through her job with the Jewish Publication Society, became the editor and a translator on his classic work, Legends of the Jews. They took long walks in the park, he was an almost daily visitor at her home, and Szold was convinced he returned her love, until the fall of 1908, when Ginzberg returned from Europe to announce his engagement to a 21-year-old woman. This private journal records all the fluctuations in Szold's heart and mind as she tries to come to terms with the devastating loss. Shargel does a service in presenting this moving document, which turns the frozen image of an iconic figure in American Jewish history into a the full-blooded portrait of, as Szold described herself, a ``woman with a great capacity for love.''

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8276-0629-X
Page count: 370pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997