Although a "longing for Zion" has always existed in Judaism, Zionism's call for the Jews' return to Palestine is a distinctly modern phenomenon. This book investigates Zionism's reception by bourgeois West European Jews from 1897 to 1914, with regard to the movement's approach toward those who were not seen as the potential immigrants to Palestine. The episodes considered here - the institution of the Zionist Congress, debates about a secular-national culture, idealization of Zionist heroes and a "New Jewish Man," Zionist art, presentations of Palestine, and the Jewish National Fund - helped foster European Jewry's identification with Zionism. These partially succeeded in establishing a "supplemental nationality," shaping Western Jewry's perceptions of the movement and profoundly influencing modern notions of Jewish identity. The Zionists were able to "nationalize" part of Western Jewry because they drew on the liberal view of nationalism which had spawned Jewish emancipation, combined with vague and unobjectionable elements of Jewish culture which did not always imply a deep commitment - especially zedakah, the tradition of giving to charity. Even though the "problem of culture" is typically portrayed as a divisive force in the movement, this study contends that a shared ideal of culture helps account for the attraction of middle-class, assimilated Jewry to Zionism.
  • ISBN13: 9780807846056
  • Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
  • Pubilcation Year: 1996
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 00280
Publication DateSeptember 16, 1996
Primary CategoryHistory/Jewish - General

Zionist Culture and West European Jewry Before the First World War

Write a Review

Free Shipping over $35 and Free Returns 

$0.25 off if you opt out of free returns