By Jacques Kornberg
A founder of smooth Israel, Ahad Ha-am (1856-1927) used to be one of many shapers of the modern Zionist cognizance. His occupation spanned the period of Russian Jewry’s nationalist awakening. over the past decade of the 19th century, he was once the prime theorist of the Russian Zionist circulation. Afterwards, he used to be overshadowed via Theodore Herzl, who imposed his personal stamp on Zionism. With the failure of Herzl’s international relations and his early dying in 1904, Russian Zionists deserted Herzl’s priorities and steadily refashioned this system of the Zionist association of their personal photograph. greater than an individual else, Ahad Ha-am supplied the ideological authority for this shift. until eventually on the Crossroads, there have been no updated reports of Ahad Ha-am. This long-awaited assortment contains 14 essays through across the world recognized students in glossy Jewish historical past and literature. The essays diversity from reviews of Ahad Ha-am as a literary stylist, his position within the revival of Hebrew, his political proposal and job, his debates with recognized contemporaries concerning the Jewish destiny, and the reinterpretation of his rules via his Zionist disciples. the general photo awarded by means of this booklet 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 concept.
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Extra resources for At the Crossroads: Essays on Ahad Ha’am
During the 1920s and much of the 1930s, Zionism under Chaim Weizmann's leadership was set on a course of gradualism and minimalism. Zionist moderation and realism encouraged the British to balance Jewish and Arab demands and to calm Arab fears, enabling Jews to establish by degrees a national base in Palestine. Political maximalism in those years would have been self-defeating. Professor Halpern, in his study of Ahad Ha-Am and Weizmann, argues for a strong convergence of views between the two and for Zionism's indebtedness to Ahad Ha-Am's sober political realism.
In his views on the strategy of national revival, Ahad Ha-Am emphasized the "subjective" over the "objective," free moral effort over determinist material need. In this he parallels the populists rather than the Marxists, in particular Peter Lavrov, one of the fathers of populism, whose influential book Historical Letters was published in 1870. Lavrov believed that ideas and individuals moved history, not impersonal laws nor equally impersonal socioeconomic forces. The intelligentsia, bound by moral ideals, possessing a cultivation that raised them above the "given," acted in a realm of freedom, beyond nature.
In the rise of Jewish nationalism in tsarist Russia, only the third factornationalism promoted by a native intelligentsiacame into play. Nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe often arose among peoples under foreign rule, sometimes dispersed among several states. Bereft of a state and often with a distorted, incomplete social structure, these peoples' national claims were enunciated on the grounds of a common history, culture, and ethnicity. As such, a native intelligentsia of scholars and litterateurs, living among peoples untouched by modernity, first constructed the literature, history, and myths of their as yet unborn national communities.
At the Crossroads: Essays on Ahad Ha’am by Jacques Kornberg