Between Tradition and Modernity: Haim Zhitlowski, Simon Dubnow, Ahad Ha-Am, and the Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity

Between Tradition and Modernity: Haim Zhitlowski, Simon Dubnow, Ahad Ha-Am, and the Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity

Between Tradition and Modernity: Haim Zhitlowski, Simon Dubnow, Ahad Ha-Am, and the Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity

Between Tradition and Modernity: Haim Zhitlowski, Simon Dubnow, Ahad Ha-Am, and the Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity

Synopsis

"During the late nineteenth century, Russian Jews faced the opportunity and challenge of participating in society at large. Haim Zhitlowski, Simon Dubnow, and Ahad Ha-Am (pen name of Asher Ginsberg) are leading representatives of that "transitional generation" who struggled to articulate the issues of national identity and culture as the Jewish community experienced the ideological and political process of modernization and secularization. Rejecting the pragmatic activism of the political Zionists and militant socialists who would eventually triumph over them, Ahad Ha-Am, Dubnow, and Zhitlowski attempted to reaffirm in secular form the spiritual and ethical ideas of traditional Judaism. Weinberg emphasizes their roles as secular prophets who called for the revitalization of Jewish society's fundamental values and ideals. They were influenced by the ideas and attitudes of Central and East European nationalism, whose leaders saw themselves as moral teachers and guides to spark the cultural reawakening of oppressed ethnic groups. Weinberg's lively narrative explores the history of their proposed solutions to crises of Jewish self-definition, communal authority, and survival: for Zhitlowski, through Yiddish language and culture, Jewish socialism, and Diaspora nationalism; for Dubnow, the first modern historian of the Diaspora, through an understanding of Jewish history and the autonomous communal structure of the Jews in Russia and Poland; and for Ahad Ha-Am, through "cultural Zionism," the renewal in Palestine of the Hebrew language, land, and spiritual values." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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