October 5, 1941
Louis Brandeis, retired United States Supreme Court Justice passes away at the age of 84 in Washington DC. The first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, Brandeis embraced Zionism making it more acceptable for American Jews at a time when many American Jews were fearful of supporting the Zionist cause lest they be tagged disloyal to America. In 1915, he wrote, “loyalty to America demands…that each American Jew become a Zionist.”
Brandeis’ friendship with President Woodrow Wilson helped secure American support for both the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and the British Mandate in 1922. After a 1919 trip to Palestine, Brandeis was concerned about the financial struggles of the Zionist movement and the conditions in which settlers were living. Eventually, Louis Brandeis would inspire the creation of the Palestine Economic Corporation, which became an engine for financing projects in the Land of Israel.