Julian William Mack Edit Profile
Born in San Francisco, he obtained his LL.B. at Harvard and pursued graduate studies at Harvard, Berlin, and Leipzig before opening a law practice in Chicago.
He was professor of law at Northwestern University from 1895 to 1902 and then at the University of Chicago from 1902 to 1911. From 1903 to 1911 he was a judge of the circuit court of Cook County, Illinois, and in 1913 was appointed a United States circuit court judge. He fought for a progressive approach to juvenile delinquency and was active in the efforts to establish and then to expand a juvenile court system in the United States. In 1908 he chaired a White House conference on children.
In 1921, when Chaim Weizmann visited New York, Mack as president of the ZOA, presented him with the ZOA’s conditions for supporting branches in the United States of Keren Hayesod, the fund — raising arm of the World Zionist Organization, which Weizmann was planning to establish. Mack was closely associated with Justice Louis D. Brandéis and the so-called Mack-Brandeis group believed that the Jewish National Home in Palestine should be built up through investments rather than through philanthropy. They objected to combining investments with donations and felt that the Keren Hayesod should only be concerned with donations. Weizmann rejected what he called Mack’s Ultimatum and, at a bitter showdown at the 1921 ZOA Convention. Mack and Brandéis were defeated and resigned from the executive of the ZOA. However, Mack remained a member of the organization and at his death was a vice-president.
Mack and Brandéis then concentrated their efforts on building up investments in Palestine, and Mack was active in the Palestine Economic Corporation and many other pro-Palestine bodies. In 1930 he stressed that he saw Palestine as a national and not only a spiritual center.
Mack was a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers in which capacity he took a prominent part in opposing attempts to place a quota on the number of Jews admitted to the university (1922).
Mack was prominent in Jewish affairs and in 1906 was one of the fifty founding members of the American Jewish Committee. At the end of World War I he played an important role in persuading that non-Zionist body to support the Balfour Declaration. He himself was drawn to Zionism by his belief in American cultural pluralism, seeing it as a social movement and as part of the historical evolution of the American (not so much the Jewish) people. In December 1916 he stated: “This country has large numbers of nationalities fusing together into a new nation, the American nation, of which we are part. Each strain that goes to make up the American nation will be preserved as part of their American nationality.”
From 1918 to 1921 Mack was president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). He was the first president of the American Jewish Congress, established at this time, and the first chairman of the Committee of Jewish Delegations, the Jewish representation at the Paris Peace Conference. In 1919 he led a delegation to President Woodrow Wilson as a result of which the president endorsed the Balfour Declaration.
1911 - 1929
1911 - 1913
1929 - 1940
1929 - 1939