In the weeks following Levine's triumph, the Jewish-American community was
in a state of rapture as across the sea one of its own was received by European
dignitaries from Hindenburg to Mussolini. On Manhattan's Lower East Side, the
Jews spoke of little else.
"The anti-Semites in Germany and the anti-Semites around the world will
have to take their hats off to Levine the Jew," pronounced the New York
Yiddish daily newspaper Der Tog. "No longer will we be obliged to
prove that Jews are as capable and strong on the field of physical bravery as
on the field of intellectual achievements."
Within a month a half-dozen songs had been written in Levine's honor. The
transatlantic flyer was seen as heralding the advent of the modern Jewish hero:
independent, courageous, and proud. Two of the songs made musical allusion to
"Ha'Tikvah" (The Hope), the then unofficial Jewish national
anthem. The implication was unmistakable: here was a defining character for