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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Zionism 1: Jewish community in 19th century: Reforms and nationalism (Zionism)

The different kinds of Jewish communities in 19th century - developments - overcoming of old barriers - nationalism

from: History; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 8

presented by Michael Palomino (2007)

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Orthodoxy is attacked by reform Jewry

(from: History; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 8)

[Attacks: Intellectual Jews attack the old fashioned Jewish community life - assimilation without Jewish community life]


Jewish autonomy all this time [[during 19th century]] was being attacked, both from without and from within, not only in its form as a corporation, but also as a bastion of religious and social separatism. The early Jewish enlightenment circles regarded the community establishment as an institution for enforcement of Orthodoxy and meddling in their personal lives which they did not intend to suffer. To intellectual dilettantes of means, of the type of Isaac *D'Israeli, the father of Benjamin, community service was a nuisance. As he declared in 1813 to those who had elected him parnas [[chief]] of the community,

A person who has always lived out of the sphere of your observation, of retired habits of life, who can never unite in your public worship, because as now conducted it disturbs instead of exciting religious emotions, a circumstance of general acknowledgment, who has only tolerated some part of your ritual, willing to concede all he can in those matters which he holds to be indifferent; such as a man, with but a moderate portion of honor and understanding, never can accept the solemn functions of an Elder in your congregation, and involve his life and distract his business pursuits not in temporary but permanent duties always repulsive to his feelings (in: C. Roth: Anglo-Jewish Letters (1938), 238, no. 115).

This is an expression not only of D'Israeli's personal taste and indolence, but also of the trend toward assimilation and a renunciation of Jewish social cohesion and cultural tradition. With increased assimilation, such tendencies against autonomy became sharper and more meaningful. For people who appreciated the way of life and habits of the society of their environment, the forms of Jewish prayer, burial and marriage customs even looked ludicrous.> (col. 722)

Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8,
                            col. 721-722 with indications about internal
                            attacks by enlightenment circles
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8, col. 721-722
with indications about internal attacks by enlightenment circles

Religious developments: Overcoming of old barriers - research of the past - national attacks since 1848 - Jewish nationalism: Zionism

(from: History; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 8)


Cultural differentiation also led to many innovations and changes in Jewish life. Experiments of the Reform trend admitted explicitly that it (col. 725)

was proposed to break down halakhic barriers - which were considered latter-day increments on the core of pure Jewish faith - between Jew and gentile. These included kashrut [[Jewish nutrition rules]], the prohibition on *mixed marriages, and many of the Sabbath laws; there was also a move to abolish mention of the hope for a Messiah and for the return to Zion, and the use of the Hebrew language in prayer. On the last points Zacharias *Frankel seceded from the radical majority of the Reform and demanded a more conservative and historical approach (see *Conservative Judaism). This created yet a new facet of Jewish religious and cultural activity in Central Europe and later in the United States.

With the aim of throwing light on as well as learning about their own past, in order to present the case for emancipation and proposals for assimilation on a more respectful and firmer basis, the leading scholars of the *Wissenschaft des Judentums [[science of Jewry]] gradually developed a broader and increasingly secularized approach to their research into the Jewish past. The historical work of I.M. *Jost is the first sustained modern attempt of this type by a Jew.

Jewish ideals underwent a reformation with the aim of serving and reorientating Jewish religious consciousness. Reform circles tended to regard the Messiah not as a person who would come to redeem Israel but as a universalist process to redeem humanity. On the basis of this conception Leopold Zunz called the European revolution of 1848 "the Messiah".

A later development of this conception was the theory of Jewish "mission": Israel had to see itself as the guardians and carriers of pure monotheism for all mankind; in modern circumstances assimilation would only help to fulfill this duty. Pointing to the social, religious, and political failings of Christianity, such theorists considered their "purified" Judaism the destined vehicle for making monotheism paramount.> (col. 726)

[The idea of a "Jewish nation" is provoked by discrimination]

<The blood libel case in Damascus (the *Damascus Affair) in 1840 shocked Jews everywhere, not only because of the cruelties inflicted on the victims and absurdity of the charge but also and mainly because they saw a recrudescence of an extreme medieval-type expression of Jew hatred. It led Moses *Hess in his Rom und Jerusalem (1862) to reject his own assimilationist and revolutionary past. His sense of isolation and humiliation caused by the anti-Jewish attitude of the left-wing Marxist radicals brought him back to a deep feeling of the historic continuity of the Jewish nation and to place great hopes for its future on its land. Hess had a much greater impact than commonly accorded him: his response fitted the challenge felt by many Jews in West and Central Europe.

The historian Heinrich *Graetz was deeply moved and influenced by this work. In 1863 he wrote to Hess:

"I am now in a state to let you know something that will interest you. The plan of settlement in Erez Israel - or Yemot ha-Mashi'ah [Hebrew in the original] - is beginning to crystallize."

In 1870 he communicated to Hess an idea of "a very cultured Englishman, a Christian"; Graetz was not permitted to communicate the whole idea, but could only ask "whether in France, in which Jews already have military training, and there are men of courage among them, there may be found about 50 that could become a kind of gendarmerie [[constabulary]]. They will find excellent employment but they must bring with them a certain measure of Jewish patriotism. ... Please look into this matter and tell me your opinion" (published in: Zevi (Heinrich) Graetz: Darkhei ha-Historyah ha-Yehudit, ed. by S. Ettinger (1969), 268, 272). (col. 727)

[Nationalism: The European nationalist agitators are agitating against the Jews]

<"The spring of nations" of the 1848 revolution introduced a new complication and an added tinge to the trends of assimilation and acculturation. Jews in Prague for example found themselves caught between the crosscurrents of German and Czech nationalism. in *Budapest they were caught in the triangle of German, Magyar [[Hungarian]] and Slav national demands, and in Galicia in the triangle of German, Polish, and, later on, Ukrainian demands. The upsurge of national consciousness gave rise to animosity against Jews. The Czechs resented the assimilation of Jews into the German sector, while many Slav nationalities contended their assimilation into the Magyar [[Hungarian]] group. Hence from now on the question whether to assimilate or not to assimilate was joined with the problem into which nationality to assimilate.> (col. 726)

[The reaction to the European agitators: Jewish nationalism is created - nationalist models]


The state of mind of Jews, in particular those who from alienation returned wholly or partially to Judaism, was influenced in the 1860s to 1890s both by their hostile reception in Christian society and the spectacle of awakening nationalism among suppressed peoples. When Italy united in the 1860s a geographical term became a political reality. Germany united to become a mighty empire through its victory of 1870-71. Slav peoples were demanding independence and fighting for their cultural identity against German or Magyar [[Hungarian]] demands for their assimilation. Other Slav nations had revolted against the Ottoman Empire and established their independence.

Ancient Greece had been resurrected relatively long ago (at the end of the 1820s), and Philhellenism had become a long-enduring fashion and ideological trend among cultured people in Europe. The whole meaning of Jewish assimilation was questioned in the light of these developments. Was Jewish continuity and culture less cogent and valuable than that of Serbs? Were Jews better received by the dominant nations than the Slavs and the Magyarism [[Hungarians]]? Inevitably the question was asked, Why give up?

From the 1840s gentile circles in England expressed hopes and formulated plans for "Jewish restoration to the Holy Land". These projects were not only supported by sectarians without political power but also by political leaders like the Earl of Shaftesbury. Pamphlets were published. Some activists like Laurence *Oliphant went to Erez Israel to try to work them out. These projects and ideas were in a large degree prompted by the rapid and visible weakening of the Ottoman Empire and the anarchy within it.

the Ottoman Empire was considered at that time "the sick man of Europe". The Crimean War was fought in the 1850s over the settlement of its fate. Though subsequently kept alive, this empire appeared to offer good opportunities for obtaining concessions and charters, in particular as the system of *capitulations made interference in its affairs possible and even easy.

[Mordecai Manuel Noah 1825: The idea of a Jewish state "Ararat"]

This combination of external circumstances and the (col. 727)

examples of national struggle and national resurrection was noted inside Jewish society by people who were either disappointed in their contacts with the environment or who, rooted in Jewish culture and society, reacted to the ravages brought about by assimilation. It was no accident that the pioneers of the idea of combining the reawakening of Jewish national consciousness with the return to Erez Israel came either from the cultural borderline of assimilation like Moses Hess and his followers, or from the social borderline of the eastern districts of Germany where Jews living their own traditional life saw destructive influences advancing upon them;

such were Elijah *Gutmacher and Zevi Hirsch *Kalischer, or Judah *Alkalai from the heartland of the Slav Struggle for independence against the Ottoman Empire in Serbia (*Yugoslavia). In the United States of America Mordecai Manuel *Noah proposed (1825) the creation of the Jewish state "Ararat", first in the United States, while later on his attention shifted to Erez Israel.> (col. 728)


A religion can never be a "nation", but there can be religious territories and religious festivals in every state].

Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8,
                            col. 725-726
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8, col. 725-726
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8,
                            col. 727-728
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8, col. 727-728


The renaissance of Jewish solidarity and national thought that began in the 1860s continued and developed in the period under consideration. All the circumstances of the general growth of nationalism, the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, and above all, the feeling of Jews that they were not (col. 744)

wanted in the social and cultural world around them with growing awareness that social and cultural understanding and acceptance mattered, led to a return to Judaism and to specific solutions for it. Leon (Judah Leib) *Pinsker suggested in his Autoemancipation (1882) that Jews could free both themselves and the world from the malaise of anti-Semitism if they would only make a sustained effort to return to the "state of nature" of a nation living in its own land and within its own social and economic framework, and ceased to frighten others by persisting in a ghost-like existence in exile. His ideas coincided to a considerable degree with ideas of other Jewish thinkers of different shades, like Nathan *Birnbaum, Moses Leib *Lilienblum, and Peretz *Smolenskin.

[Herzl Zionism: "hopes that were destined to disappointment" - Uganda "night asylum" - Herzl organizations]

A supreme example of the Jews shocked out of complacent assimilation was Theodor *Herzl. Through his imaginative thought and charismatic leadership he rallied around his personality and ideas all those who wanted a Jewish effort for the creation of a home of their own. Herzl stood outside most of Jewish culture, and was indifferent even to Hebrew. He put his trust mainly in diplomacy and in the possibility of obtaining a charter from the Ottoman Empire and shaping out autonomous Jewish existence within it: methods and hopes that were destined to disappointment.

Nevertheless, Herzl had the power to carry over his trauma, his consequent pride in being a Jew, and his political sense for symbols and forms of leadership, and to bequeath them to Zionism after him. His attempt in 1903 to lead Jews to a "Nachtasyl" [[night asylum]] in Uganda, mainly for the sake of alleviating the sufferings of Russian Jews, failed in a large measure due to the opposition of those very Jews (see *Uganda Scheme). The territorialists who later wanted to continue this trend of Herzl's thought were destined to fail in all their attempts, lacking the motive force of the historic attachment to Erez Israel (see *Territorialism).

The various organizational and financial instruments (see above) created in Herzl's lifetime and soon after his death were to assist the ultimate achievement of the Jewish state by enlarging their methods and including "practical" settlement work.

[since late 19th century: Jewish settlement activity in Palestine - money from Baron Rothschild - old and new yishuv - which culture should it be? - Ginsberg suggestion for a "Zionist leadership"]

From the days of the *Bilu pioneers in the late 19th century Jewish settlement activity in Erez Israel did not stop despite many problems and failures, and despite the political view that was reluctant to engage in settlement before achieving a proper charter. Baron Edmond de *Rothschild intervened to assist Jewish settlement from 1883. His methods were often bureaucratic. His officials lacked contact with the settlers, but the money poured in (1 1/2 million pounds sterling over approximately 15 years) and the instructors he sent helped to save them from economic catastrophe and to embark on various agricultural and horticultural efforts.

The main problem of the Zionist settlers at the beginning of the 20th century was ideological and social. Tensions between them and the halukkah settlers created a gulf between the "old yishuv" and the "new yishuv", as the two sectors in Erez Israel came to be called. The settlers of the first villages soon accepted French culture, spread by the Alliance schools as well as by the officials of the Baron.

Asher Ginsberg (*Ahad Ha-Am) was shocked at what he saw in both the cultural superficiality of Zionist leadership and the emptiness of purpose in the settlements. He suggested a new "spiritual" Zionism. His positivist thought contributed much to the ideological buttressing of secular Zionism.> (col. 751)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): History,
                            vol. 8, col. 743-744
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): History, vol. 8, col. 743-744
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8,
                            col. 751-752 with indications about Zionism,
                            stupid Herzl, and Ginsberg urging for a
                            central Zionist leadership
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8, col. 751-752 with indications about Zionism, stupid Herzl, and Ginsberg urging for a central Zionist leadership


[Racist Zionists founding racist Zionist organizations for a racist Zionist Herzl Israel]

The years between 1880 and the creation of the [[racist Zionist Free Mason CIA Herzl]] State of Israel in 1948 were also ones of creativity in Jewish social organization and forms. Where the old community structure continued to exist it was destined to acquire importance through the activities of [[racist]] Zionists, autonomists, and other Jewish political party representatives, to revive and use it as an instrument for national, secular, social, and educational policy. It was further strengthened when the community organization became, under the minority treaties a recognized cell of Jewish self-government as a minority in various states.

International Jewish organizations patterned after the Alliance Israélite Unvierselle continued to appear with specific goals for diplomatic or philanthropic activity. To combat anti-Semitic propaganda the B'nai B'rith order set up its Anti-Defamation League in 1913, while in [[racist kaiser]] Germany the *Central-Verein deutscher Staatsbuerger juedischen Glaubens [["Central Organization of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith"]] carried on such activity until its prohibition by the Nazis [[and their collaborators]]. Various organizations for the aid and direction of emigration arose in this period, the most prominent being the *HIAS [[Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society]] and later the *Palestine offices of the [[racist]] Zionist Organization; *ORT [[initials of Rus. Obshchestvo Rasprostraneniya Truda sredi Yevreyev, originally meaning: "Society for Manual and Agricultural Work among Jews"]], *OSE [[OSE / OZE: Obshchestvo Zdravookhraneniya Yevreyev (founded in 1912 in Russia), Engl.: Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jews]], and above all the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (from World War I) served to provide training for professional skills, health needs, and massive charity wherever required. The Jews of the [[criminal racist]] United States who were emotionally attached to "di alte heym" [["the old home"]] and still retained memories of the hardships they underwent while taking root in the "New Country", made charity not only a duty and function but also a social bond and an ideal in life, a factor of cohesion in itself, ad in forging links with other Jews; this proceeded from the time of World War I, in particular in relation to Palestine and later on the [[racist Zionist Free Mason CIA Herzl]] State of Israel.

The year 1897 saw both the convention of the first [[racist]] *Zionist Congress and the creation of the first all-state Jewish socialist party, the *Bund of Russia. The calling of (col. 742)

the [[racist]] Zionist Congress and the method of ensuring its permanence through elected institutions acting in the interim between congresses, and, above all, through the institution of the *shekel, created an international Jewish framework that saw itself the representative of its "voluntary citizens", and "a state in preparation". The [[racist]] Zionist Organization created the instrument of the *Jewish National Fund and *Keren Hayesod [[United Israel Appeal: the central fund raising organization for racist Zionist Herzl Israel]], which served as financial agencies of this extra-territorial state. Even Orthodox Jewry found itself compelled at the beginning of the 20th century to organize in this novel form of a political party, establishing the *Agudat Israel [[Orthodox political party]]. This form took root: the *Folkspartei, the *Jewish Socialist Workers' Party (Sejmists), and other Jewish groups organized as political parties to advance their aims, sometimes on a territorial and sometimes on an international basis.

In the Soviet Union the ruling Communist Party created its "Jewish section", the *Yevsektsiya, in 1918, which served as an instrument of agitation and propaganda in opposing the Jewish religion and Hebrew national culture. In the [[criminal Gulag]] Soviet Union also emerged Jewish units of local municipal and regional autonomy (see above). The search for forms continued in the attempt to create a *Jewish Agency to unite [[racist]] Zionists and non-Zionists in work for Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]], and later in the method of raising *bonds for [[racist Zionist Free Mason CIA Herzl]] Israel to assist an independent [[racist Zionist Free Mason CIA Herzl]] Jewish state. Cultural activity was also organized in the free countries through separate organizational frameworks, like the Central Yiddish School Organization (CYSHO; see *Education) for Yiddish schools and culture, and *Tarbut for Hebrew secular schools and culture. The various trends of Jewish religious thought and life developed organizations of their own, in particular flourishing in the pluralist [[criminal racist]] United States, in the shape of the three main groupings of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox, with several splinter groups (see, e.g., *Reconstructionism). Many organizations tended to link themselves in one way or another to the [[racist Zionist Free Mason CIA Herzl]] State of Israel, though there is also in the [[criminal racist]] United States the *American Council for Judaism, active mainly as anti-Zionist and anti-Israel. In the camp of the *New Left, stirrings have been felt toward expression and organizational articulation on specific Jewish matters and issues, though in the main it is inimical toward and destructive of Jewish cohesion.> (col. 743)

[[racist Zionist Free Mason CIA Herzl]]

(Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]]

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Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): History, vol. 8,
                    col. 741-742
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): History, vol. 8, col. 741-742
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): History, vol. 8,
                    col. 743-744
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): History, vol. 8, col. 743-744

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