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 The war has caused an of the whole world; vast changes have been in many peoples. Destruction of life and treasure has brought about a revolution of national assets and resources, and there has been stock taking of the spiritual no less than of the material possessions. We have confident hope that the material losses will be balanced by the moral progress of the peoples of the world, great and small.  
No people has felt the upheaval more than have the Jews. None has had a greater share in its sorrows. None has had more reason to examine carefully its past and its present and to define its future plans; and none can look with clearer purpose or with firmer courage into the future. For none has better ground than have the Jews for confident hope in the moral progress of the world,—that people which has been the constant witness of the course of civilization throughout the ages and has never lost its faith in the ultimate victory of Justice and Right.
We need not speak in generalities. The smaller nations are assured that their rights will be safeguarded in the future, and that these rights will embrace not only protection from attack and , but equally the right of development along the lines of their own national , the right of self-government, the right to cultivate their own spiritual possessions. There is no other people to whom this is so full of deep meaning as to the Jews. During the many centuries of the Dispersion our people has ever looked forward to its Restoration in its ancestral home. During these many centuries there has never been a day that the prayers for the Return have not in every country of the world in which the Children of Israel have been . This undying hope has been the factor in the unique, the of a small people among all the peoples of the globe.
The national movement of the past generation, which has led to the of the Hebrew language, to the founding of prosperous Jewish colonies in Palestine, to the establishment of the Zionist Organization with its branches throughout the world, this national movement has trained us to think politically and to act with statesmanlike grasp of present conditions and of plans for the future. A part of our people has been prepared to deal with the great national problems which themselves upon us today. Large numbers are still confused by the new outlook and must find guides to direct them in the new paths.
The Essays which Dr. Melamed presents to us in this volume are therefore most welcome at this time. He has his vast knowledge of history, philosophy and literature, and his intimate acquaintance with Jewish life in many parts of the world, to answer many of the questions about which there has been confusion, and to point out the direction of progress and development in the future. In clear and forceful language he has Jewish conditions in the past and studied the needs of the future, so as to point out what the present demands of us. We may not agree with all the views and conclusions expressed, but we shall find them original, suggestive and . The publication of these Essays is therefore and timely, and the Jewish public is deeply indebted to Dr. Melamed for their presentation.
December 23, 1917.

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