A postcard in which Goldie Meir writes that the 1918 American Jewish Congress was "the most wonderful thing imaginable" is part of a temporary exhibit exploring the First World War through the prism of the Jewish experience.
It opens Friday, June 29, and runs through Nov. 11 — the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day — at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City.
Nearly 250,000 Jews served in the American Expeditionary Force at a time before there was a modern Jewish state.
But the Balfour Declaration in 1917 had announced British support for a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.
A handwritten draft of that historic declaration is among the documents and ephemera featured in "For Liberty: American Jewish Experience in WWI." The exhibit was organized by the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and the American Jewish Historical Society in New York.
The gathering in Philadelphia in 1918 was the founding of the American Jewish Congress, intended to counterbalance the political dominance of the conservative German-Jewish elite at the time. Its aim also was to strengthen the American Jewish position at the anticipated post-war peace conference.
"Between the congress and convention I've been resting and having a good time," a 20-year-old Meir wrote to a friend in Chicago. "The convention starts tomorrow night. It will be hard work. I only hope that it ends as well as the congress."
Meir, who later changed her name to Golda, was a founder of Israel and was elected its fourth prime minister in 1969.
Admission to the exhibit in the Wylie Gallery is separate from the World War I Museum. Tickets may be purchased online.