Who Was Albert Einstein?

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Who Was Albert Einstein book coverWhat the Book is About:

A part of the very popular Who Was series, Who Was Albert Einstein? takes an honest and interesting look at the life of one of the world's most brilliant scientists.

Jewish Content and Values

  • Zionism (an international movement created for the establishment and support of a Jewish State in Palestine): Einstein was a Zionist. He traveled to America to fundraise for the creation of a Jewish state. After the state of Israel was founded in 1948, Einstein was asked to be its second president! He was honored, but declined, saying, "politics is for the moment, while an equation is for eternity."
  • Shalom (peace): Even as a child, Einstein hated violence. Living in Berlin at the start of World War I reinforced Einstein's hatred of war. Einstein spoke out about the Nazis and urged President Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb to stop the war and return peace to the world.
  • Torah Umaddah (Torah and secular knowledge): Religion and science worked together for Einstein. "Ideas come from G-d," he once said, and his goal as a scientist was "to read G-d's mind."

Positive Role Models

  • Max Talmey was a family friend who served as an older brother and mentor to Einstein. Max saw that Einstein was bright and encouraged him to learn new ideas by bringing him books on a variety of subjects.
  • Albert Einstein was a brilliant man and an orginal thinker. He cared about Jewish causes and spoke out against Hitler. One of the last letters he wrote was one urging countries to ban nuclear weapons.

Content Advisory

  • The book contains a brief description of Hitler and the Nazis.
  • The book gently describes how Einstein was not always the best father or husband, often choosing his work over his family's needs.

Topics to Discuss

Einstein was in a hard situation: he deeply hated war, yet he encouraged President Roosevelt to build the world's first nuclear bomb. Why did he do this? Do you think he did the right thing? Why/Why not?

More for You

Albert Einstein and Hebrew University: Part of the Zionist dream of creating a Jewish state was to have a Jewish university in the land of Israel. In 1925, Hebrew University was created and Einstein, who had been actively fundraising for the university, joined Sigmund Freud and other dignitaries on its first Board of Governors. Before he died, in 1955, Einstein willed all his personal belongings, scientific papers, and the rights to his work to Hebrew University.