Philip V. Bohlman
University of Chicago
Before they realized what they had, they felt as if they were in acute danger of losing it. The early Zionists were well acquainted with the power of song. It had accompanied them as they found their way through the university and attempted to make their way into European society. It had signaled the emergence of new traditions as the liturgy of the synagogue had been arranged for four-part men's chorus, and then the synagogue chorus had been mapped onto nineteenth-century nationalism by undergoing a transformation to the Jewish Männerchor. The early Zionists realized that song could empower them to lay claim to Romantic nationalism and to give voice to an emerging Jewish nationalism. All this was before Hebrew song.1
Zionism embraced song from its beginning. Even before the institutionalization of modern Zionism at the 1897 Basel Congress, song had been there. Proto-Zionist student organizations had edited songbooks. Sources and repertories had been identified, and editorial procedures were in place. At Basel in 1897, congress organizers had gathered five songs in a booklet, and from the First Congress on,____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Nationalism, Zionism and Ethnic Mobilization of the Jews in 1900 and Beyond. Contributors: Michael Berkowitz - Editor. Publisher: Brill. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 25.
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