Our Jersalem

Front Cover
Read Books, 2008 - Travel - 352 pages
- amp gt ., quot i amp gt A OUR Jerusalem an American Family in the Holy City, 1881-1949 Bertha Spafford Vester Introduction by LOWELL THOMAS Doubleday Company, Inc. GARDEN CITY, N. Y. 1950 APPRECIATION LIFE in the American Colony of Jerusalem during the last decade was tranquil although surrounded by political turmoil-Our consuls were friendly. Religious leaders understood us better. Perhaps we had become less of an enigma, and perhaps Jerusalem had changed. Mod ern Jerusalem accepted us at our value. The old stories cropped up now and then, but were turned aside with oh-that-used-to-be looks, which hurt worse than accusations when one thought of the robust Christianity of the Colony s founders which allowed quot no room for self pity, as Mother expressed it, at the most crucial moment of her life. It was during this time that I began work on the record of my par ents experiences in Jerusalem and elsewhere which would serve as a record for my children and grandchildren. I have taken five years writing it, part of which was done while we were under fire in the recent war against the partition of Palestine. Preceding this I had worked for fifteen years gathering material incorporated in its writ ing, and for such contributed data, letters and memoirs, newspaper accounts and testimonials, legal, ecclesiastical and historic, I am in debted to more friends in the United States, the Holy Land, and England than I have space to acknowledge, but whose kindness and interest have contributed greatly to this account of our lives in Amer ica and Jerusalem, I should like to express my public appreciation to Mr, Lowell Thomas, author, lecturer, and radio commentator, whose friendship over manyyears has meant much to the American Colony in Jerusalem and to me, and who was the first to suggest that I turn into a book my private family record by which others might see the Holy City as it has seemed to us for nearly seventy years. To Dr. Millar Burrows, Winkley Professor of Biblical Theology at the Divinity School of Yale University and late Director of the Ameri can School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, I am deeply grateful for whole-hearted encouragement and advice My gratitude is also extended to the Rev, Charles T. Bridgeman, at present connected with Trinity Church, New York, formerly Canon of St. George s Cathedral in Jerusalem, who has given unstintedly of his twenty years experience in Palestine, particularly in church mat ters. I also wish to thank Miss Evelyn Wells for her help. BERTHA SPAFFORD VESTER vii INTRODUCTION By Lowell Thomas FOR years my wanderings took me to many parts of the world. In the course of these travels I met a fair proportion of the unusual personalities of our time statesmen, explorers, soldiers, scientists, missionaries, writers, mining men, merchants, and artists. When a traveler thinks of mountain ranges, certain peaks stand out in his mind Kinchinjunga in the Himalayas Aconcagua in the Andes Saint Elias and McKinley in Alaska Demavend in Persia Chomolari in Tibet Rainier in the Puget Sound country Mount Washington in New England, and a dozen more in various lands-Looking back on the people I have met, a few are like the mountains I have mentioned. One of these is the author of this book. Of all the remarkable personalities I have known, Berfha Vester is one of the few that I have envied. To me Jerusalem is the most dramatic of the citiesof this earth, more so even than Athens, Rome or Paris. And Berfha Vester is lie only outstanding person who has lived there, both as an observer and a participant in events, under the Turkish sultans, through World War I, the period of the Mandate, a second world war, and finally the period of the return of the Children of Israel. What a panorama Since the days when Dr. John Finley, famous editor of the New York Times, and I, first met her in Jerusalem, I have been urging her to write the story of her life...

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