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BEN MICH 

ZIONISM AND JEWISH 
C ULTURE 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 
LOS ANGELES 



^As3 



Q.. 



wT PAMPHLETS 

^y H. Sacbsk, LiOM SiMOX, 
and S. Lakdmak. 




No. 2. 



Sonism and Jewish Culture 



by 



NORMAN BENTWICH. 



PnbU^ed by " Tb« Zionist," 4, King** Bcncb Walk, Tempi*. 
LondoOf E.C. 

1915. 

[Price 3<1*» po*t free.] 




The Library 
University of California, Los Angeles 



The gift of Mrs. Cummings, 1 963 







Zionism and Jewish Culture. 



IT is said to have much exercised the philosophical schools 
of the Middle Ages whether the egg was created before 
the chicken, or the chicken before the egg. Similarly, 
we may imagine, the future historians of the Jewish people 
will be much exercised to know whether the movement for 
the Renaissance of Jewish culture preceded Zionism, or sprang 
out of it. In truth they are two aspects of one idea, correl- 
ative to each other as much as the convex and conca\e sides 
of a mirror; both are the expression of the Jewish national 
consciousness, and both have as their aim to preserve the 
individuality and restore the influence of the Jewish peo]:)le. 
It will be as well, in the first place, to explain as clearly 
as possible what is meant by .Jewish culture : ("oi" it is one 
of those compendious catchwords which sound \ ei-y well in ;ni 
address, but are awkward to define, and eonsccincntly liaxc 
become vague in their comiotation. Culture, indeed, has 
acquired a specialised sense in the English language as the 
higher learning, and tlie nujre lofty kind oT llioiiglil : .■ind 
in this sense it has obtained a somewhat disparaging associ- 
ation among a j^cople which is essentially jiraetieal. liright 
spoke of it contemptously as "a smallci-ing of llic Iwo (Iciui 
languages," and Mr. Frederic Harrison calhd il "' a dcsinibic 
quality in a critic of new books." We are not (piitc sure lliat, 
by reason of a false analogy with culture in I he Isnglisli sense, 
something of the same disparaging association does not cling 
about the i)]u-ase "Jewish Culture"* in this country. Hut. 
Jewish culture is not a higher kind of .Jewish le.iiniiig, oi- a 



2(]9iir507 



special preserve of the scholars and the educated class. It 
is the whole intellectual and s])iritual exjjression of the Jewish 
people : — the fund of ideas and ideals which it has created 
during its long life, its outlook on the world, its literature 
of all ages, its history in the past, its hope in the future. The 
total product of the Jewish spirit, that is Jewish Culture. 
Its two basic foiuidations are the Bible and the Ilel^rew 
language : the first, the depository of its profoundest con- 
ceptions and its fundamental teachings, the other the 
permanent instrument of its thought. Upon these two 
foundations there has been erected almost the Avhole of our 
spiritual heritage : — the religious ordering of life with its 
elaborate system of law as develoj^ed in the Mishnah. the 
Talmud, and the Mediaeval Codes, and its wealth of ceremonial 
and observance woven into daily conduct, which have together 
moulded Jewish character for generations, giving to it its 
special quahties and a definite bent ; the moral and ethical 
teaching and the philosoiihy and fancy, which have sprung 
from the thought of its wise men in different ages, and are 
contained in the apocryphal and apocalyptic writings, the 
collections of Agadah and Midrash, the Hellenistic-Jewish 
hterature of the Spanish period, the mysticism of the Kabbalah, 
and the modern Jewish learning of the last century ; the 
record of its struggles to preserve its individuality through 
the ages, which is written in its tragic history of two thousand 
years, and is burnt into the inner soul of the nation ; lastly, 
the statement of its aspirations and ideals, which is partly 
to be found in its prayers, jDartly in the movements that stirred 
it in former epochs, and partly in the movements and impulses 
that stir it to-day. 

In the culture of most other historical nations we include 
a specific development of art, of architecture and building, 
of painting and sculpture, of music and drama. But Jewish 
culture, owing to the unique circumstances of its growth, 
has no corresponding development worthy of note. The Jewish 
spirit has found no permanent expression save in life and in 
literature ; and even the greater part of its literary tradition 
is innocent of art. But what it lacks in variety and formal 
beauty, Jewish culture makes up in spiritual depth and 



intensity. It is the thought of a people whieh, through a 
history longer than that of any other people, has been devoted 
to a peculiar idea of God and of human life and has preserved 
and developed that idea with a zeal and loyalty unparalleled, 
and under a sustained trial such as no other people has suffered. 

The faith of the Congregation of Israel in former ages, 
and of those who resist assimilation to-day, is that these ideas 
and this outlook are still good, true and precious, and that 
they have still a supreme value for us and for humanity at 
large. It is the desire to make them again a living and creative 
influence among ourselves, and also, it may be, in a larger 
sphere, as they were in the days of our national existence, 
which has led to the Renaissance of Jewish culture, and is one 
of the deeper underlying motives of the national revival. In 
this essay we are primarily concerned not with the details 
of the revival but with its inter-connection with the movement 
to re-establish the Jewish nationality in its old home ; but 
something must be said, by way of prelude, about the con- 
ditions which led up to both the cultural Renaissance and 
the National awakening. 

When the French Revolution opened a new era of eman- 
cipation for the Jews of Central Europe, and Napoleon l)r<)ke 
down the walls of the INIedifcval Ghetto, a violent tendency 
towards assimilation asserted itself. As when he came into 
contact with Greek culture after Alexander's conquests, so 
now, when he was admitted into the world of European 
culture, the Jew was at first seized with a contem})t for his 
own heritage and a passion for the ideas of other peoples. 
All that was Jewish seemed narrow, and what was non-.Jewish 
was enlightenment. As Dubnow has put it, the password 
of the day was " Out of the national into the human." Not 
only were the Jews profoundly affected by the general cos- 
mopolitan movement in thought, but utilitarian reasons were 
added in their ease to augment the centrifugal force. The 
abandonment of their distinctive national outlook .itul Iheir 
national culture seemed to be a necessary part dl' lli< price 
of their jiolitical and social emancipation. In order to be 
good French and German citizens, they luusL adopt I'reneli 
and German ways of life, and be Jews only in rehgious creed. 



They repeated in each country tlie words of the Paris San- 
hedrin : " Nationally speakinfr. \\v belong to our immediate 
surroimdings : there is no Jewish nation : there are Germans, 
Frenchmen, and Englishmen confessing the Jewish religion." 
The tendency to reduce Judaism from a culture to a creed, 
which was started by Moses Mendelssohn (who nevertheless 
himself retained a genuine feeling for Jewish life and thought) 
was carried to its extreme extent by his followers, who 
possessed neither his intellect, nor his virtues, nor his training. 
It is true that follo^ving his work of writing the Hebrew Bible 
Commentary, the " Biur," a German school, known as the 
INIeassefim, developed in a periodical literature ncAV themes 
and a ncAV style, treating of the ideas of their new culture 
in the national language. But this revival of Hebrew was more 
sentimental than real, and w^as the work of dilettanti rather 
than of enthusiasts. And it did little or nothing to prevent 
the rush towards apostasy and absorption. The more solid 
and genuine attempt to bring modern thought into touch 
with Jewish tradition and the Hebrew language arose in a 
country where the Jewish spirit was stronger than it was in 
the Germany of the Mendelssohnian period. In Galieia, the 
Haskalah movement, which aimed at bringing enlightment 
to the Jew through Jewish means, was inaugurated by the 
writings of Krochmal and Rappoport ; and it was their pupils, 
Zunz and Fra?nkcl, Avho brought back to Germany a new 
appreciation for Jewish culture, which had a deeper root 
in the past than the outpourings of the followx'rs of Mendelssohn. 
But this later German School of Jewsh learning was, on the 
other hand, more concerned with the history than the present 
development of Jewish culture ; Judaism was for it a science, 
which merited the special study of Jews, but was detached 
to some extent from modern life. Zunz, indeed, hoped by 
appealing to the historical consciousness of his people to regain 
their love for their ancestral faith and literature, and by 
revealing the beauties of Jewish literature and the tragedy 
of Jewish history to arouse the sympathy of the Germans 
for their fellow-citizens. He aspired also to establish a " Science 
of Judaism " which should take its place at the Universities 
as a recognised department of study. But, as Mr. Segal has 



well shown*, these various objects could not be successfully 
pursued together, and in the result none of them was achieved. 

While the archaeological and historical treatment oi 
Judaism failed to win back the western Jews to national 
consciousness, a more living movement was working to bring 
about a regeneration of Jewish life in the East. The light of 
Western civilisation gradually filtered into the darkness of 
the Russian Pale of Settlement, and meeting there with a 
stronger Jewish consciousness than existed in Germany, it 
did not prove so destructive of Judaism. At the same time, 
its work here, too, Avas partly negative. Jev^ish culture and 
Judaism in the Ghetto had become by repression remote from 
modern life and modern thought, and overloaded with pre- 
scriptions and regulations. The new generation of Maskiliiu 
or Humanists, who developed the Haskalah, sought, on the 
one hand, to clear away this overgrowth and to introduce 
a more progressive spirit into the religion, on the other to 
develop the modern forms of literature, and to introduce the 
ideas of Western Europe in the Hebrew language. Much of 
their thought Avas crude and superficial, and much of their 
writing possessed little literary merit ; but at least Hebrew 
to them was a hving language, not an interesting sur\ i\;il ; 
Jewish literature was the expression of a li\ing ])eoi)le, not the 
record of bygone generations : and Jewish religion was the 
practice of a living organism, not tlie outworn lr:i<lili'm of 
past ages. Their work, therefore, had in it the hrcalh of 
life, and while the German school ap])caled i)rimarily to the 
student and tlie seliolar. Lebensohn, Mapn. Scluilnian. and 
Gordon created a new Hebrew literature wliieh Ixcauic a 
lasting induenee on the masses of the peopU'. 

The revival of Jewish culture had not at first an inini((li:ilc 
and obvious association with the aspiration for a niilionni 
restoration. It is true that the love of Zion is a leading ni.)li\c 
with the pioneers of tlie new Hebrew: hnl il was nol till Hie 
recrudescence of bitter anti-Jewish feeling in llie seventies 
and eighties eaine to arouse the jx-ople lioin lluii' IkImI ni 
the a(l\'ent ol'a cosnioixililan Milhiiiuin ,in<l (lie agi- of nni\ < rsal 



♦ "Aspects of the Hebrew Genius" (Roiitledge 1910), p. 195. 



6 

equality and fraternity (which they had cherished for o\cr 
half a century in spite of most glaring facts) that a clear national 
consciousness inspired the writers. The Jewish awakening, 
which was produced by the anti-Semitic outbursts in Germany 
and by the more brutal persecutions in Russia, gave a great 
impulse to the latent national yearning of the peo])le. That 
yearning found a double expression in literature, which has 
continued to our day. On the one side are the Jewish writers, 
who, with their ideas rooted in European culture, reasoned 
out the logical necessity for the Jews to be a separate people. 
On the other side are the Hebrew writers, who. with their 
thought rooted in Jewish culture, called on their brethren 
to realise the national hope of the return to Zion. Like the 
ancient Tannaim, the great Rabbis who ga\e varying 
expression to the Jewish spirit in the first two centuries of 
the common era, so the contemporary pioneers of the Jewish 
National movement gave varying expressions to the cry of 
their people for the resettlement in Palestine. 

In the first generation we have Kalischer and Hess ; the 
first a religious enthusiast, burning with ardent belief in the 
fulfilment of prophecy, who by his " Drishat Zion " roused 
the Alliance Israelite to found the first Jewish agricultural 
school in Palestine, the IMikvch Israel ; the second, a historical 
philosopher impelled by a scientific conviction of the essential 
individuality of his people, who, in his " Rome and Jerusalem,"' 
laid down some of the fundamental principles of Jewish 
Nationalism. In Russia, we have a little later Smolenskin 
and Pinskcr, the one, in his Hebrew monthly, Hashachar, 
proclaiming the need for re-establishing the spiritual bond 
of the Jewish people and making their common language 
again a living force, and voicing also the need for the return 
to Palestine, so that the land may become a centre for that 
culture Avhich can be expressed only in Hebrew ; the other, 
roused by the terrible massacres in 1881 to set before the people 
in an impassioned pamphlet, Auto-Emanzipation, a solution 
for the international Jewish problem by the restoration of 
the nation somewhere in the world, and working for the 
colonisation of Palestine, rather because on that land alone 
could he focus Jewish national feeling, than because he himself 



felt the necessity of its historical and spiritual association. 
Coming to our own times, Ave have a similar contrast in Achad 
Ha'am and Herzl. Achad Ha'am, pointing to the inner 
servitude which has followed the outAvard freedom of tlie 
emancipation, strives to arouse in his people a new si)irit, 
and insists that in Palestine alone can the spiritual regener- 
ation of Judaism take place. Herzl, awakened like Pinsker 
to a full Jewish consciousness by the brutal shock of anti- 
Semitic hatred and the conviction that the Jew cannot receive 
eqtiality and free scope in Western Europe, turning to his people 
Avith the appeal that being a nationality they should make 
themseh^es a nation, and like Pinsker again, discerning their 
passion for their ancestral land, dcA'oting his life to the heroic 
endeaA^our to secure for them a legally-assured home in 
Palestine. The contrast betAveen the two aspects of the Jewish 
national moA^ement is striking. On the one side, as we have 
seen, are those Avho are concerned primarily with the problem 
of Judaism ; on the other, those Avho are mo\'ed by tlie 
problem of the Jew : these most affected by the spiritual 
degeneration of their people, those by their economic and social 
disabilities ; these appealing to them in the national language, 
Hebrew, those in the ado))ted language of the cnvironnuiit 
in which they happen to live. 

But if among the jiioneers and leaders tluri' was a lunda- 
mental difference of emphasis on the ol^jective of the National 
movement, their ideals have been, in the process of time, 
combined within the movement itself. lioth spirihml iind 
political Zionists — to give them tlie names by wiiich liny 
were distinguished — looked for the realisation of Muir niiiis 
in the resettlement of Palestine ; and they could work logillur 
Avhole-heartedly for this common goal. Palestine w.is I he 
all-powerful magnet which attracted cA^ery force lor I he 
regeneration of the Jewish people. There was. loo. nnotlK i- 
common bond between the tAvo sections, in llnir opposition 
to the assimilationist tendencies of the Jewisii eonininnilies 
in the Diaspora, which regarded I he whole of .fnd.iism. s;i\e 
its monotheistic creed, as sordid or oWsoleli' oi- holh. iind 
proceeded to get rid of it sometimes !)>■ gr;i(lii;il so-e;ill((l 
reforming stages, sometimes by more r:i(lie;il measures. 



Whether with a view to preserving Judaism or to saving 
the Jews from extinction, it was necessary to set up a counter- 
acting force to this centrifugal self-despising mo\'ement ; 
and that force could be found mainly in the encouragement 
of Je\\ish culture. From its inception, then, the Zionist move- 
ment has embraced as part of its programme the revival of 
the Jewish consciousness — and that in two directions : b}' 
the re-establishment of a Jewish system of education and 
a Jewish national life in Palestine, and by the endea^'our to 
stimulate the spread of the Hebrew language and the knowledge 
of Jewish history and literature, and generally to revive the 
national consciousness, in the communities of the Diaspora. 
It is this double movement which we have to describe 
in some further detail. But in the first place a few words may 
be said of the place which Jewish culture has occupied in 
the official Zionist organisation. In the early Congresses it 
was a notorious apple of discord, and it had for a time to be 
eliminated from the programme of discussion, because of 
the fierce passions that centred around it. This trouble Avas 
caused partly by the dislike of the active political party for 
what they treated as the fantasies of academic theorists, and 
partly also by the destructive tendencies which marked the 
writings of many of the exponents of Jewish culture, and 
which were bitterly resented and dreaded by the orthodox 
upholders of Jewish tradition. The standpoint of certain 
extremists indeed gave some reason to fear that the Jewish 
culture which they desired was to be entirely divorced from 
the Torah ; for such a revival, or rather reAcrsal. of Judaism 
the religious i^arty could have no sympathy. But though 
there has remained some misgiving between the two sections — 
which was illustrated not very long ago by the protest of the 
Misraehi group against the introduction in the programme 
of the Tenth Congress of the topics of Hebrew education and 
Hebrew literature — and though there still lurks a feeling that 
Jewish Culture is a pretty euphemism for heterodoxy, and 
the word itself an invention of the Epikouros, the antagonism 
has largely died away under the influence of a clearer under- 
standing ; and all sections are now agreed in regarding the 
spiritual revival in Palestine as one of the outstanding aims 



9 

of the movement. Recognition of the place of the Hebrew 
speech in the Zionist ideal was shown at the Eighth Congress, 
when it was resolved that Hebrew should be the official 
language of the movement. Since then, the use of 
Hebrew has grown from Congress to Congress, 

Turning now to the steps which, under the influence of 
the National movement, have been taken in the Diaspora 
to foster Jewish culture, the most notable and the most 
important is the endeavour to make Hebrew a living and 
spoken language. The rc-ereation of the national spirit can 
clearly be served by nothing better than by the strengthening 
of one of the great national bonds which have held us together. 
It is true that the thorough revival of Hebrew recpiircs a 
regular system of education in and through that language ; 
and that in the countries where the Ghetto still exists the 
feeling of suspicion towards the new Hebrew cidture and its 
exponents induces an opposition to the substitution of the 
national for the Galnth language, Yiddish, as the \ehicle of 
instruction ; while in the lands where the Ghetto has broken 
down, the admission of the Jewish child to the secular Statt- 
school and the regular use of the native tongue make Hcl^rew 
a secondary, often a tertiary language, and Hebrew education, 
even where conducted according to the " natural method,'' 
a truncated and incomplete thing. But in spite of these 
obstacles the progress of Hebrew is more marked year by 
year even in the West. It shows itself in the foundation of 
Talmud Torahs employing the Ibritli B'lbrith method, and 
of a smaller number of regular Hebrew day-schools where 
a modern education is given in that language ; the estab- 
lishment of societies of adults for Hebrew s|)eaking : the 
holding of conferences for the same object ; the publiealion 
of Hebrew books for the instruction and edification of tlic 
young ; the growth of a modern Hebrew literature cinl)r;icing 
every form of literary art, and counting writers sneli as I5yalik 
and Achad Ha'am, who for style, as well ;is lor llioiiglil. rniik 
among the great writers of the day ; and lastly in I In (iig.iiiis- 
ations of a Hebrew press comprising journals and rex icws 
such as Hazephirali. Hashiloach, and lia'olam, which may 
take their place among the best of their diiss in l-lurop''. 



10 

Side by side with the revival of Hebrew there goes the 
endeavour to arouse the national conseiousness among the 
weaker but more numerous brethren, who have little or no 
Hebrew, by a Jewish literature in tlie European languages. 
In part this literature consists of translations of the Hebrew 
masterpieces of our Renaissance, in part of books of reference, 
of which the most striking example is the Jewish Encyclopaedia ; 
but it can also point to a number of original Avorks, many 
of which have in time obtained translation into Hebrew. As 
examples of the Aariety of this so-to-say exotic JcAvish liter- 
ature, we may mention the Yiddish jjoems of Shalom Aleichem, 
and the English poems of Emma Lazarus, the toidenz-novei 
of Herzl, Altneuland, the romantic biographies of Zangwill 
in " The Dreamers of the Ghetto," the Yiddish novels and 
stories of Perez and Frug, the Jewish History of Dubnow, 
the Essays of Schechter and James Darmesteter and, in a 
very different manner, of Nordau. 

In every country there has been a quickening of the Jewish 
spirit, showing itself in the renewal of the study of Jewish 
achievements and in the outbursts of a literary activity directly 
prompted by the national feeling. In every country, too, 
where there is an organised Jewish community, there has 
appeared a periodical literature designed to foster and subserve 
that cause. One other factor should be mentioned, though 
it is as yet poor as a form of art, and not very happy as a 
cultural influence — the Jewish Theatre, which chooses its 
subjects largely from the ideas or the personalities dear to 
the national consciousness. 

It may seem surprising that the national movement has 
not yet produced in the Diaspora any distinct movement 
in the synagogue, the depository of the traditional religion 
which is the most vital part of Jewish culture. It has, indeed, 
brought back a number of individuals to some religious tie ; 
it caused some of the leaders of the Haskalah to retiu'n to 
the observance of Judaism as a national way of life ; but 
it has not hitherto led to the promotion of a religious revival 
which should give expression to the national side of Judaism, 
while setting it free from the overgrowth of regulation that 
had clung to it when the Jewish people were cut off from 



11 

outside thought. The reason is partly to be found in the 
fact that Zionism offers a broader basis to the Jewish people 
than religion alone, and that its non-religious aspects were 
naturally the first to be developed ; partly also in the difficulty 
of interfering in any way with religious practice and belief, 
round which there are always gathered at once the most 
conservative and the most iconoclastic zeal, and the most 
uncompromising sentiment. But the task of reviving the 
Jewish religion under the influence of the new national awaken- 
ing, and of interweaving it anew into the life of the Jewish 
people in such a way as to bind them together without inter- 
fering with libert}^ of thought or repelling their reason — this 
remains the most difficult work of the Renaissance in this and 
the future generations. It may be that it cannot be faced 
till we have that settlement of Jewish life in Palestine at the 
development of which we have now to glance.* 

We find there the same manifestations of the re\i\al of 
Jewish culture as in the countries of the Dispersion. l)ut in 
some respects to a much intcnser and more striking degree. 
Above all, Hebrew has had more chance there to become the 
natural language of a settled people. The idealistic spirit, 
which had urged its adoption in the Jewish schools of Europe, 
was reinforced in Palestine by a practical necessity. The 
Jewish communities in the towns at the end of the niiu'teenth 
century were in their variegated character microcosms of 
the Jewish people. There were Se})hardim. descendants 
of long settled ancestors or of refugees from the Peninsula, 
who spoke the Ladino dialect which had been brought from 
Spain ; there were Yemenites who s]ioke Arabic ; tliere were 
Russians, Galicians, Rumanians, and Germans speaking the 
Yiddish jargon in one of its many forms, and there were 
Persians and l^okharans who spoke an Arabic-Jewisli dialect. 
Lastly, there was a section of the children and of the younger 
generation who had been educated at the European schools 
established under the auspices of the Alliance Isra'fUtc, 
the Hilfsvereiti and the Anglo-Jewish Association, and who 
spoke French, German, or English according to the nationality 

* A (Ictailcd account of the revival of Jewish cultiiie in Palcatinc is rcscivcil for 
another pamphlet in this series. 



12 

of the institution which they had attended. For it had Ix'en 
the curious design of the Jewish bodies which had regard 
to the welfare of the Palestinian population to make their 
JeAvish foundations in the Holy Land outposts of the interests 
and the language of the countries in which they were located, 
and to fit the Palestinian children rather for emigration to 
Europe or America than for membership of a Palestinian 
community. But the rapid growth and the extraordinary 
variety of the Jewish settlement which has entered the land 
during the last twenty years emphasised the need for a common 
language of instruction, and the growth of the national spirit 
ensured that Hebrew should be the language. Thus, while 
Yiddish still remains dominant in the old-style Chedarim 
and a section of the Talmud Torahs in the towns, in the 
agricultural colonies throughout the country and in all the 
more modern elementary and secondary schools of the cities, 
Hebrew has become the vehicle of education, and by this 
means is establishing itself as the mother-tongue of the yoimgcr 
generation. A noteworthy sign of the place which Hebrew 
has now won is the fact that the European schools in Palestine — 
with the excejDtion of those of the Alliance, which with 
pertinacious perversity opposes all that makes for the strengthen- 
ing of the national consciousness — have made Hebrew the 
primary language and teach it as the language of speech. 
It is then fairly certain that the Jews of Palestine within a 
few generations will be a Hebrew-speaking community. Nor 
can it be doubted that, as the demand for teachers of Hebrew 
by the " natural method " increases in other Jewries, the 
Teachers' Seminaries in Palestine will become a reservoir for 
them all, and a new meaning will be given to the Talmudic 
saying : " The speech of the people of Palestine is itself a 
Torah." 

Besides the schools, there are other indications of the 
expansion of Jewish culture in Palestine, where it has no 
indigenous culture to compete against, and is therefore more 
stimulated and encouraged than in Europe. Every Jewish 
centre and every large colony has its Beth-Am or popular 
club, where debates and lectures and social entertainments 
take place in the national language ; several Hebrew papers 



13 

and periodicals arc written and published in the country, not 
always very faithful to the traditional ideas of Judaism or 
even to its fundamental principles, but at least bearing witness 
to the general spread of the Hebrew knowledge. The more 
permanent forms of literature have their representatives in 
men like Ycllin and Luncz and Ben- Yehuda ; and Palestinian 
Jewry has given in Doctor Aronsohn at least one man who 
has taken a high place in the scientific investigation of the 
country. 

In Palestine, as in the Diaspora, the Renaissance of Jewish 
culture has not yet led to a satisfactory grappling with the 
religious problem, and the two parties are ranged in opposing 
extreme attitudes. On the one side the upholders of the 
whole tradition in all its detail ; on the other the repudiators 
of the whole, who claim that religion need not enter into the 
new life in the land. Neither party stands on firm ground, 
but the synthesis of their jioints of view which can only be 
attained by a profound understanding of the Jewish spirit 
in the past and the ])resent, '' true to the kindred i)oints of 
Heaven and home,"" remains for this or a future generation 
to accomplish. 

So much for the present. We have seen that, while in 
the Diaspora the re-awakening of the JcAvish spirit has during 
the last few decades been steadily displayed, it is in Palestine 
that it has produced the healthiest and the most striking 
results. In Palestine, Jewish culture and the Hebrew language 
arc fast becoming the normal language and culture of a people ; 
there is being established a Jewish way of life and a Jewish 
adaptation of modern culture ; and in a communit}^ which 
is gradually developing a full and many-sided activity, the 
Jewish element is dofninant. Thus little by little the environ- 
ment is being created from which there may be expected to 
spring a powerful Jewish influence and a creative imagination. 

What the future has to bring forth it is always hazardous 
to say. But history warrants us in the conviction that no 
culture which influences humanity at large can be produced 
apart from a national environment. We cannot conceive 
Greek art and Greek thought, aj^art from the Greek city-State ; 
the Renaissance of the fifteenth century, apart from the Italian 



14 

cities ; the Elizabethan drama, apart from Eli/.abcthan 
England ; or, the spiritual teaching of the Bible, apart 
from the Jiidsean Kingdom. In the same Avay, then, there 
cannot be a vital and enduring revival of the Jewish spirit 
apart from a restored Jewish centre. History again warrants 
us in the conviction that nationalities like individuals have 
their proper function, which if they neglect, they degenerate 
and decay. And the study of our past and of the ideals and 
aspirations of our people in all times leads us to believe that 
the true Jewish function is spiritual teaching and the realisation 
of a spiritual conception of life. Nobody can say Avith honesty 
that the scattered Jewish communities are fulfilling that 
function to-day. But the faith that we have of being an 
'Am -Olam, an eternal people, the faith which is part of 
Judaism and of Zionism, assures us that, given again the free 
environment and the opportunity of development, the old 
spiritual power will return and the national genius again be 
manifested. The Jewish spirit, as it has been said, Avould 
manifest itself in a new order founded on the old, purified 
and enriched by the experience which our greatest sons have 
gathered from the life of the ages. It is perhaps hardly 
necessary to add that the question of the political form which 
the Jewish national centre is to take becomes of subordinate 
importance when we regard Zionism from the point of view 
of Jewish cultiu-e. Even if there were a Jewish State in 
Palestine, we should have to apply to it the words that Ibsen 
used of Norway : — " States like ours cannot hold their own 
by material forces : but nations like ours can earn the right 
to exist by labouring for culture." 

At the present moment, when the whole structure of 
civilisation appears to be threatened by the most terrible war 
in human history, it may seem Utopian to dream of the 
realisation of such an ideal. Palestine is itself involved in 
the world-struggle, and none can say to-day what will be 
the effect of the war either on the solid foundations of Jewish 
culture which have already been laid, or on the possibility of 
continuing the work on the old lines. But the Jewish people 
has learnt in the school of endurance to take a long view, and 
the ideals of social righteousness and the brotherhood of 



15 

nations, which are of the very essence of Jewish culture, and 
have been upheld through centuries of exile and suffering are 
not to be forgotten because their voice is temporarily drowned 
in the clash of arms. Rather is it the business of the Jew 
to keep a firmer hold on his national ideals, believing that 
the stri\ing towards their realisation will not only preserve 
the Jewish nation, but will help to lead the world along the 
line of true progress. From this point of view the insistence 
on Jewish culture and on the need for its revival in its ancient 
home is even specially appropriate at the present time. And 
though the immediate future is entirely uncertain, there is 
yet some ground for hoping that the political changes due 
to the war will have the effect of giving the Jewish people 
a more splendid opportunity than it has had since the disi)ersion, 
of ])ursuing its natural work in the old Jewish land. 

In a beautiful dream of the progress of the pure Zionist 
ideal, which looks for the revival of the Jewish spirit in the 
ancestral land of the Jewish people, Achad Ha'am has foretold 
how gradually Palestine becomes the educational and spiritual 
centre of all Jewry, how children come to its schools, and 
young men to its universities, from Jewish communities all 
the world over : how they carry back with them a fertilising 
influence to invigorate the communities of the Diaspora, and 
how by this stream, from the foiuitain of lixing waters, the 
Jewish spirit everywhere is fortified, and becomes an acti\e 
and conscious power. That dream is already in our day 
beginning to be a working reality : the movement towards 
the East has begun : I he louiulalion of a .Jewish eullurr in 
Palestine is being laid before our eyes. And when in the 
land of the Prophets, we have planted a people speaking the 
language oi' tlie Prophets and inspirid by the ideals of the 
Prophets in their daily life, the work ol" the Renaissance and 
the aims of Zionism will be on their way together to fulfilment : 
Palestine will be a liglit to Israel, and Israel will be a light 
to the nations. 



16 



ZIONIST PAMPHLETS. 

Edited by H. Sacher, Leon Simon, 
and S. Landman. 



This forms one of a series of ten pamphlets which will be 
issued at short intervals during the suspension of " The 
Zionist." The aim of the series is to inform the Jewish 
and Non- Jewish world as to the spirit, the objects, the 
machinery, and the achievements of Zionism. The following 
are the subjects and authors : — 

" Zionism and the Jewish Pegblem," by Leon Simon. 

{Ready. ) 

"History of Zionism," by S. Landman. [In the Press.) 

" Zionism, its Organization and Institutions," 

by S. Landman. 

" Jewish Colonisation and Enterprise in Palestine," 

by J. M. SiEFF. 

" Hebrew Education in Palestine," by S. Phillips. 

" A Hebrew University for Jerusalem," by H. Sacher. 

" Zionism and the Jewish Religion," by F. S. Spiers. 

" Zionism and Jewish Culture," by Norman Bentwich. 

{Ready. ) 
" Zionism and the State," by H. Sacher. 

" Palestine and the Hebrew Revival," by E. Miller. 

It is believed that a knowledge of the true facts will 

make Zionism ajipeal to a large number of people who 

have not had, or have not sought, the opportunity of 
knowing what Zionism means. 

The subscription for the whole series is 2/6, post free. 
Special terms are allowed to secretaries of Societies. Sub- 
scriptions should be sent to the Manager of " The Zionist," 
4, King's Bench Walk, Temple, London, E.C. 

Petty & Sons (Leeds) Limited.. Whitehall Printeries, Leeds. 



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