The Samuel Family

David Samuel at the meeting
The CZA recently hosted a meeting of “Emunah - National Religious Women's Organization”. The guest speaker was Professor David Samuel, Professor Emeritus at the Weizmann Institute in the Department of Neurobiology. David Samuel is the grandson of Lord Herbert Samuel, First British High Commissioner of Palestine during the years 1920-1925, and the grandson of Yehuda Gur Grazovsky, who taught Hebrew and helped promote the language together with Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, at the beginning of the twentieth century. David Samuel told us about his famous grandparents and his personal story. 
The “First of Judaea”
Herbert Samuel  (PHPS\1339093)David’s paternal grandfather, Herbert Samuel, was born in Liverpool on 1870. He grew up in a traditional Jewish home, but during his studies at Oxford University he renounced all religious belief. David told us that Herbert’s mother insisted her son go to the University – an unusual action for Jews at the time, and made sure he ate kosher meat by sending him meat by train from London. After two years, Herbert sent her a letter: “Dear mother, although I try to keep rules and tradition, I can’t continue bringing meat to the University’s chef…” Although he ceased practicing Orthodox Judaism, he remained a member of the Jewish community, and kept kosher and the Sabbath "for hygienic reasons”.
While a student at Oxford, he became involved in Liberal politics. He was appointed to the British Cabinet as Home Secretary in 1909 and as such, became the first Jew to reach Cabinet office in Britain. In this position he promoted the idea of establishing a British Protectorate over Palestine and helped Chaim Weizmann in his efforts to carry out the Balfour Declaration. In the year 1920, it was decided that Britain would rule over Palestine in order to implement the  Balfour Declaration. Herbert Samuel was appointed as High Commissioner of Palestine.
When Herbert Samuel arrived in Palestine, the Yishuv welcomed him enthusiastically and called him the “First of Judaea”. In contrast to the Jews’ expectations, Samuel tried to remain neutral and gain the Arabs’ trust. He called Jerusalem the Capital of the Mandate in Palestine, and set up his residence at Augusta Victoria on Mount Scopus.
A teacher instead of a photographer
Yehuda Gur Grazovsky (PHG\1002980)
David’s maternal grandfather, Yehuda Grazovsky, was born in Belarus in 1862 to an Orthodox family. He studied photography in Vilna, and came to Palestine in 1887. In Palestine he did not find a job as a photographer, and so became a teacher. He taught Hebrew in Mazkeret Batia, Zikhron Ya’akov and Jaffa. Yehuda Grazovsky was one of the first four families that joined Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s initiative to speak only Hebrew while in Jerusalem. He was one of the publishers of the children’s magazine “Small World” together with Ben-Yehuda, and published many articles in the newspapers. He wrote Hebrew textbooks on various subjects, translated children’s books (including the books of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Jules Verne) and compiled various dictionaries in Hebrew. In 1911 he began running the office of the Anglo-Palestine Bank in Jaffa. He died in 1950.
Family Union 
While Herbert Samuel made his first steps in politics, his son, Edwin, joined the British Army and served in Allenby’s forces in Egypt. David told us the story of his parents’ meeting: his father came to Palestine as a soldier, and rented a room at the Grazovsky’s home in Tel Aviv. One day he heard wonderful piano-playing coming from one of the rooms of the house. Edwin went to see who was playing, and the door was opened by Hadassah Grazovsky. The two fell in love and decided to get married. By chance, just then Edwin’s father was appointed as High Commissioner in Palestine, and so the royal wedding was held at Augusta Victoria, in 1920. David was also born in Augusta Victoria, in 1922.
The wedding of Edwin and Hadassah, 1920 (PHG\1108760)
Britain - Palestine
David related that after Herbert Samuel left office he actually wanted to stay in Palestine. However, his successor, Lord Plumer, opposed the idea because of the difficulties it might cause in light of the delicate situation in Palestine, and so Herbert Samuel returned to Britain. Samuel continued to be involved in the Zionist movement after he left Palestine. In 1937 he was granted the title “Viscount Samuel of Mount Carmel”. He died in 1963 and Edwin succeeded his father in receiving the title, and later passed it on to David.
Edwin and his family stayed in Palestine. David tells us that he went to visit his grandfather in 1939. While in Britain, the Second World War erupted, and he was forced to stay with his grandparents. Herbert Samuel suggested to David that he will go to university in Britain until he could return to his parents. David took his advice and began studying chemistry at Oxford University. In the middle of his studies he was forced to enlist to the British Army, and served in India. In 1946 he returned to Oxford to complete his studies, and finally managed to return to Palestine where he began teaching at the Weizmann Institute.