At the Crossroads: Essays on Ahad Ha’am by Jacques Kornberg

By Jacques Kornberg

A founder of smooth Israel, Ahad Ha-am (1856-1927) used to be one of many shapers of the modern Zionist recognition. His occupation spanned the period of Russian Jewry’s nationalist awakening. over the last decade of the 19th century, he was once the prime theorist of the Russian Zionist flow. Afterwards, he was once overshadowed by way of Theodore Herzl, who imposed his personal stamp on Zionism. With the failure of Herzl’s international relations and his early loss of life in 1904, Russian Zionists deserted Herzl’s priorities and progressively refashioned this system of the Zionist association of their personal photo. greater than a person else, Ahad Ha-am supplied the ideological authority for this shift. till on the Crossroads, there have been no up to date experiences of Ahad Ha-am. This long-awaited assortment comprises 14 essays by means of the world over recognized students in glossy Jewish historical past and literature. The essays diversity from reports of Ahad Ha-am as a literary stylist, his position within the revival of Hebrew, his political inspiration and job, his debates with well-known contemporaries in regards to the Jewish destiny, and the reinterpretation of his principles by way of his Zionist disciples. the final photograph offered via this ebook is a brand new photograph of Ahad Ha-am—far much less Westernized and much extra embedded within the nineteenth-century Jewish and Russian cultural milieu than was once formerly inspiration.

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Ahad Ha-Am's conception of the Jewish spirit was monolithic, not pluralistic. He opposed efforts to "normalize" Jewish culture through European borrowings that went beyond the narrow circle of intellectualist and didactic ideas he believed would preserve Jewish continuities. 18 Professor Nash has described the clash between Ahad Ha-Am and the younger generation of Hebrew writers, troubled by their alienation Page xx from the European cultural mainstream. " Just as the yoke of the Law engaged religious Jews at every moment of their waking lives, secular Judaism must offer the Jew "a standard for all his actions ...

Judaism's direction was "this-worldly," toward an ethics emphasizing the individual's social feelings. 13 In his evolutionary conception, the moral sense undergoes a progressive development and as such raises other realmssuch as society and religionto higher levels of refinement. In insisting that the Jewish Volksgeist carried a social ethics, implicated in a progressive development, Ahad Ha-Am set Jewish nationalism on a course in harmony with Enlightenment values. 14 Accordingly, Judaism and the spirit of modern science were no strangers.

He has edited Julius SimonCertain Days, and has written numerous articles for scholarly publications. BEN HALPERN is Koret Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus, Brandeis University. He is the author of The American Jew: A Zionist Analysis; The Idea of the Jewish State; Jews and Blacks: America's Classic Minorities. JACQUES KORNBERG is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. He has published a number of articles, in particular on modern German intellectual history and on the early history of Zionism.

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