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What Is the Talmud? – How and why was the Oral Torah written …

Posted By on August 23, 2018

The Talmud is acollection of writings that covers the full gamut of Jewish law and tradition,compiled and edited between the third and sixth centuries.

Talmud is Hebrew for “learning,” appropriate for a text that people devote their lives to studying and mastering.

The main text of theTalmud is the Mishnah, a collection of terse teachings written in Hebrew,redacted by Rabbi Yehudah the Prince, in the years following the destruction ofthe Second Temple in Jerusalem.

Over the next severalhundred years, the rabbis continued to teach and expound. Many of thoseteachings were collected into two great bodies, the Jerusalem Talmud,containing the teachings of the rabbis in the Land of Israel, and theBabylonian Talmud, featuring the teachings of the rabbis of Babylon. These twoworks are written in the Aramaic dialects used in Israel and Babyloniarespectively.

There are manycommentaries written on the Talmuds (mostly on the Babylonian Talmud, which ismore widely studied), notably the elucidating notes of Rashi (Rabbi ShlomoYitzchaki, 10th Century France), Tosafot (a group of rabbis wholived in the years following Rashi, many of whom were his descendants and/orhis students).

These two commentariesare printed together with the Babylonian Talmud, surrounding the main text,having become an part of the study of Talmud. The standard edition of theBabylonian Talmud comprises 2,711 double-sided pages, with many, many morepages filled with the teachings of other commentators.

The first page of Talmud as it appears in standard editions, the text surrounded by the commentaries of Rashi,Tosafot, and others.

The Talmud is divided into six general sections, called sedarim (orders):

Zeraim (Seeds), dealing primarily with the agricultural laws, but also the laws of blessings and prayers (contains 11 tractates).

Moed (Festival), dealing with the laws of the Shabbat and the holidays (contains 12 tractates).

Nashim (Women), dealing with marriage and divorce (contains 7 tractates).

Nezikin (Damages), dealing with civil and criminal law, as well as ethics (contains 10 tractates).

Kodashim (Holy [things]), dealing with laws about the sacrifices, the Holy Temple, and the dietary laws (contains 11 tractates).

Taharot (Purities), dealing with the laws of ritual purity (contains 12 tractates).

As anyone who has learned the Bible can attest, there are certain verses where there is no way of knowing what it refers to by just looking at the verse. Examples include the commandment to circumcise oneself, or to put tefillin on the arm and head, or to take the four species on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

There is no way of knowing from the verses alone what exactly are we supposed to cut when we make a circumcision, or how to put on tefillin, or even what it is. The same holds true for almost all other commandments. More details are given in the Written Torah for some commandments than for others, but at the end of the day, there is a glaring lack of detail and information.

This is where the Oral Torah comes in. It is an owners manual and companion guide (so to speak) for the Torah. With it we can understand what the Torah means, and determine the details of the various commandments. Furthermore, we have rules of exegesis so that we can determine the Torahs view on various issues that are not directly addressed. The Oral Torah comprises traditions and extrapolations based on the inscribed Torah, the Bible.

Just before the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, Gd tells Moses that He will give him the stone tablets, the Torah and the commandments.” By adding the word commandments in addition to the Torah, Gd implies that there commandments that are not included in the Torah. This, among others, is a clear implication of the existence of the Oral Torah.

The Torah itself commands us to keep the Oral Torah:

You shall do according to the word they tell you, from the place the Lrd will choose, and you shall observe to do according to all they instruct you. According to the law they instruct you and according to the judgment they say to you, you shall do; you shall not diverge from the word they tell you, either right or left.

The traditions of the Oral Torah were passed down from generation to generation, from Moses to Joshua, and from there down to the leaders and sages of each generation, until eventually, after the destruction of the Second Temple, they were written down in what is known as the Mishnah, Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) and Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud).

The above leads us to the obvious question. If the Oral Torah is so essential to understanding the written Torah, why wasnt the Oral Torah written down to begin with?

Before Moses received the second set of tablets, The Lrd said to Moses: Write down these words for yourself, since it is through these words [lit., by word of mouth] that I have formed a covenant with you and with Israel.

The Talmud explains that this verse implies that there is a prohibition of saying the written word by heart, and of writing down the Oral Torah:

Rabbi Yehudah bar Nachmani, the public orator of Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish, taught as follows: It is written, Write down these words for yourselfimplying that the Torah is to be put into writing; and it is also written, since it is through these words (lit., by word of mouth)implying that it is not to be written down. What are we to make of this? It means: Regarding the written words, you are not at liberty to say them by heart; and the words transmitted orally, you are not at liberty to recite from a written text.

A tanna of the school of Rabbi Ishmael taught: It is written, Write down these wordsthese you may write (i.e., the Written Torah), but you may not write halachah (i.e., the Oral Torah).

There are many different reasons given for the prohibition of writing down the Oral Torah. Among them:

Practically, if the Oral Torah was to be written, including all the laws that govern every possible case that could arise, there would be no end to the amount of books that would need to be written. Therefore, only the parts of the Torah that can be limitedi.e., the twenty-four books of scripturewere to be written down; the rest is supposed to be transmitted orally.

Any written text is subject to ambiguities, multiple interpretations, dissensions among the people, and confusion with regards to what actions to take based on the law. Therefore, Gd also gave a tradition that would be taught orally from teacher to student, so that the teacher could clarify any ambiguities. Had this oral tradition also been put to writing, it would then have required another work of explanation and elucidation to explain that work, ad infinitum. Indeed, this concern was borne out when the Oral Torah was eventually written down.

The oral tradition is the explanation of the Written Torah. When it has to be learnt orally, the student will understand it only from a teacher who teaches the material well; had it been written down, one might be tempted to be satisfied with what is written, even without really understanding it.

Keeping part of the Torah oral ensures that that the Torah remains the private treasure of the covenantal community. Had the entire Torah been written down, any nation could have copied it and claimed it as their own; now that it was only partially written down, any copying done without access to the Oral Torah would be immediately discernible as foreign to the Torah.

For over a thousand years, from the days of Moses until the days of Rabbi Yehudah the Prince (late 2nd century CE), no one had composed a written text for the purpose of teaching the Oral Law in public. Instead, in each generation, the head of the court or the prophet of that generation would take notes of the teachings which he received from his masters for himself, and teach them orally in public. Similarly, individuals would write notes for themselves of what they had heard regarding the explanation of the Torah, its laws, and the new concepts that were deduced in each generation concerning laws that were not communicated by the oral tradition, but rather derived using one of the thirteen principles of biblical exegesis and accepted by the high court. For while there was a prohibition against writing the Oral Torah, it applied only to actually transmitting it through writing; however, one was permitted to write it down for personal use.

With the rise of the Greek and Roman empires and their persecution of the Jews during the Second Temple era, it became increasingly harder to learn and transmit Torah teachings from teacher to student. Additionally, during this era there were disputes in Jewish law that, due to the increase in decrees against Torah learning, remained unsettled, since doing so would require peace and calm.

By the time the schools of Hillel and Shammai became well established in the century before the destruction of the Temple, disputes on the law had become so widespread that there was fear that it would eventually seem like there were really two Torahs. The unsettled conditions prevented the sages of those times from resolving these disputes, or even at least organizing and categorizing them.

It was not until the days of Rabbi Yehudah the Prince, who enjoyed a strong bond of friendship with the Roman emperor Antoninus, that there was some respite from the Roman persecutions. (See here for the story of how their friendship began.)

Rabbi Yehudah and his colleagues, foreseeing future turmoil and the increasing dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora, which would then lead to further uncertainties about the Oral Law, used this period of peace to set about collecting all the teachings, laws and commentaries that had been heard from Moses and which were taught by the courts in each generation concerning the entire Torah. After analyzing these teachings, Rabbi Yehudah composed a single authoritative text that would be available to everyone.

As a basis for his text, Rabbi Yehudah used the teachings of Rabbi Akiva and his disciple Rabbi Meir, due to their great capacity to retain what they learned, and the superb and extremely concise and precise way in which they had arranged their own teachings and what they had heard from previous generations. He also added other teachings, leaving some of their original wording, but also at times changing it.

Since there were rabbis who might have heard from other sages minority opinions that were not accepted as halachah, Rabbi Yehudah also included these minority opinions in the Mishnah. This way, should a person claim, I have heard a different tradition from my teachers, we would be able to point to the Mishnah and say, Perhaps what you have heard was the opinion of so-and-so.

He categorized and divided the laws by subject and into different tractates, and then each tractate was further divided into chapters and laws. Each law is called a mishnah, either from the root shanah, meaning teaching and instruction, or from the root sheni, meaning second, as in the second part of the Torah. Thus the entire work in general is called the Mishnah or Mishnayot.

While all classic sources agree that Rabbi Yehudah redacted the entire Mishnah that we have today, there are differences of opinion as to whether he actually wrote it down or continued to teach it orally. Rabbi Sherira Gaon and Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi) are of the opinion that Rabbi Yehudah merely formulated the entire Mishnah orally, but that it was written down only many years later. Maimonides, on the other hand, writes explicitly that Rabbi Yehudah himself actually wrote down the entire Mishnah. In an attempt to reconcile the two views, some explain that while Rabbi Yehudah did in fact write a personal copy of the Mishnah, in general it was originally taught orally, and it was only later that the written version was used.

Not all of the extant material was included in the Mishnah. For had Rabbi Yehudah attempted to collect it all, it would have been too lengthy and would have been forgotten, thus defeating the very purpose of the Mishnah. Instead, Rabbi Yehudah, with the help of his colleague Rabbi Natan, formulated the essential topics and general rules in an abbreviated and precise language. They were divinely aided in composing the Mishnah in such a way that a single word can be the source for a number of fundamental principles of Jewish law as well as homiletics.

For reasons of brevity, too, the Mishnah does not include many of the laws that were common knowledge, such as the details of tefillin, tzitzit, mezuzah, etc. As an example, the very first mishnah, which deals with the laws of the recital of Shema, does not begin by informing us that it must be recited in the morning and evening, but by asking, What is the right time for saying the Shema? taking it for granted that one already knows the actual obligation of the daily recital of the Shema.

These features of the Mishnah won it general acceptance as the definitive summation of Jewish law; indeed, its compilation (c. 3949/189 CE) marks the end of an era, with the Mishnaic sages being known in Jewish history as the tannaim (instructors, from an Aramaic root cognate with shanah) and the subsequent sages being called amoraim (explainers). The Mishnah supplanted all previous collections and formulations of Tannaitic teachings, which then came to be known as baraitot (sing. baraita), meaning [teachings] outside [the Mishnah]. The most prominent collection of baraitot is that of Rabbi Chiya (a student of Rabbi Yehudah) and Rabbi Oshaya, known as the Tosefta. It follows the order of the Mishnah and supplements it, elaborating somewhat more on the laws.

In a broader sense, the term baraita includes other collections of material containing teachings by the tannaim, such as Megillat Taanit, Mechilta, Sifra, Sifri, Seder Olam Rabbah and Zohar.

The sages of the Talmudic period, known as amoraim, continued to study, expound, clarify and elucidate the Mishnah, as well as developing their own new insights based upon the rules of extrapolation.

Shortly after Rabbi Yehudahs death, attacks and persecutions against the Jews living in Israel intensified and the migration of Jews to Babylonia increased. This migration included many of the leading sages of the time, including Rabbi Abba Aricha (better known as Rav), one of Rabbi Yehudahs leading disciples. Other sages and students of Rabbi Yehudah, such as Rabbi Chiya and later Rabbi Yochanan bar Nafcha (who as a young boy attended Rabbi Yehudahs lectures), remained in Israel. Thus for a while there were major centers of learning, yeshivot, in both Babylonia and Israel, and some amoraim regularly traveled back and forth between them, bringing the teachings of each center of learning to the other center.

Rabbi Yochanan (d. approx. 4050/290 CE) became the leading Talmudic authority in the Land of Israel. He began gathering the teachings and explanations of the post-Mishnaic sages, and this became the basis of what later became known as the Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud). Subsequent generations of amoraim in Israel continued to add various teachings, especially aggadic (homiletic and non-legal) ones. However, work on the Jerusalem Talmud was halted somewhat abruptly when the Roman ruler Gallus, in the year 4111/351 CE, attacked and devastated the Land of Israel, instituting harsh decrees against the Jews. Most of the remaining sages fled to Babylonia, and the Jerusalem Talmud remained in its rudimentary form.

Meanwhile the centers of learning in Babylonia continued to flourish, and it was not until around the year 4152/392 CE that Rav Ashi, together with his colleague Ravina I, undertook the editing of what was to become the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud). They gathered the teachings of the earlier sages, organized and clarified their statements about the Mishnah and the discussions of the amoraim on these, and presented these in a logical and comprehensible way.

Both Talmuds contain many of the same teachings, and each one quotes sages from the other center. However, because the Jerusalem Talmud was never fully redacted while the Babylonian Talmud was, and furthermore because the latter was completed some 150 years later, the Babylonian Talmud is much more widely learned and considered more authoritative. In fact, any unspecified reference to the Talmud almost always refers to the Babylonian recension.

(There are also differences in stylethe Jerusalem Talmud is written with less back-and-forth than the Babylonian Talmudand in language: the amoraic discussions in the Jerusalem Talmud are written in Western Aramaic (Syriac), while in the Babylonian Talmud they are in the Eastern Aramaic dialect. See Why is The Talmud in Aramaic?)

After Rav Ashi and Ravina I died, their colleagues and students who had helped redact the Talmud completed their monumental task. The death of Ravina II (son of Rav Huna and nephew of Ravina I) on the 13th of Kislev in the year 4236/475 CE (or, according to some, 4260/499 CE) is considered the end of the Talmudic era.

After the death of Ravina II and the completion of the Talmud, no further additions to the Talmud were made, and the Talmud was not to be disputed. The sages of the succeeding era (known as the Rabbanan Savorai), however, added some slight editorial touches, such as subheadings from the Mishnah in places where the Talmud begins a new subject.

The sages who taught the teachings, ordinances and decrees which make up the Talmud represented the totality of the sages of Israel, or at least the majority of them. Because of this, and because the Talmud was accepted as binding by almost the entire Jewish people at the time, its laws are considered binding on all Jews no matter when or where they live. And it is precisely this binding that has kept our Jewish identity strong for thousands of years throughout this long and bitter exile. May we merit the ultimate redemption speedily in our days!

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Sephardi Jews (Yahadut Sfarad) Total population Sephardi Jews2,200,000up to 16% of world Jewish population Regions with significant populations Israel 1.4 million France 300,000400,000 United States 200,000300,000 Argentina 50,000 Turkey 26,000 United Kingdom 8,000 Colombia 7,000 Morocco 6,000 Greece 6,000 Tunisia 2,000 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2,000 Panama 8,000 Languages

Historical: Ladino, Arabic, Haketia, Judeo-Portuguese, Berber, Catalanic, Shuadit, local languages Modern: Local languages, primarily Hebrew, French, English, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Italian, Ladino, Arabic.

Judaism

Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, other Jewish ethnic divisions, Samaritans, other Levantines, other Near Eastern Semitic people, Spaniards, Portuguese and Hispanics/Latinos

Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim (Hebrew: , Modern Hebrew: Sfaraddi, Tiberian: Spradd, lit. “The Jews of Spain”), are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis and emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced in the Iberian Peninsula around the start of the 2nd millennium (i.e., about the year 1000). They established communities throughout Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity. Their millennial residence as an open and organised Jewish community in Iberia was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain’s Catholic Monarchs in the late 15th century, which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions.

Historically, the vernacular languages of Sephardim and their descendants have been:

More broadly, the term Sephardim has today also come to refer to traditionally Eastern Jewish communities of West Asia and beyond who, although not having genealogical roots in the Jewish communities of Iberia, have adopted a Sephardic style of liturgy and Sephardic law and customs imparted to them by the Iberian Jewish exiles over the course of the last few centuries. This article deals with Sephardim within the narrower ethnic definition.

The name Sephardi means “Spanish” or “Hispanic”, derived from Sepharad (Hebrew: , ModernSfard TiberianSpr ), a Biblical location.[1] The location of the biblical Sepharad is disputed, but Sepharad was identified by later Jews as Hispania, that is, the Iberian Peninsula. Sepharad () still means “Spain” in modern Hebrew.

In other languages and scripts, “Sephardi” may be translated as plural Hebrew: , ModernSfaraddim TiberianSpraddm; sefard or Spanish: Sefardes; Portuguese: Sefarditas; sefardita or Catalan: Sefardites; Aragonese: Safards; Basque: Sefardiak; French: Sfarades; Galician: Sefards; Italian: Sefarditi; Greek: Sephardites; Bulgarian: Sefaradi; Template:Lang-bs; Serbian: Sefardi; Turkish: Sefarad, Judaeo-Spanish: Sefaradies/Sefaradim; and Arabic: Safrdiyyn.

In the narrower ethnic definition, a Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century, immediately prior to the issuance of the Alhambra Decree of 1492 by order of the Catholic Monarchs in Spain, and the decree of 1496 in Portugal by order of King Manuel I.

In Hebrew, the term “Sephardim Tehorim” ( , literally “Pure Sephardim”) is used to distinguish Sephardim proper “who trace their lineage back to the Iberian/Spanish population” from Sephardim in the broader religious sense.[2] This distinction has also been made in reference to genetic findings in research on Sephardim proper in contrast to other communities of Jews today termed Sephardi more broadly[3]

The modern Israeli Hebrew definition of Sephardi is a much broader, religious based, definition that generally excludes ethnic considerations. In its most basic form, this broad religious definition of a Sephardi refers to any Jew, of any ethnic background, who follows the customs and traditions of Sepharad. For religious purposes, and in modern Israel, “Sephardim” is most often used in this wider sense which encompasses most non-Ashkenazi Jews who are not ethnically Sephardi, but are in most instances of West Asian origin, but who nonetheless commonly use a Sephardic style of liturgy.

The term Sephardi in the broad sense, thus describes the nusach (Hebrew language, “liturgical tradition”) used by Sephardi Jews in their Siddur (prayer book). A nusach is defined by a liturgical tradition’s choice of prayers, order of prayers, text of prayers and melodies used in the singing of prayers. Sephardim traditionally pray using Minhag Sefarad. The term Nusach Sefard or Nusach Sfarad does not refer to the liturgy generally recited by Sephardim proper or even Sephardi in a broader sense, but rather to an alternative Eastern European liturgy used by many Hasidim who are in fact Ashkenazi.

Additionally, Ethiopian Jews, whose branch of practiced Judaism is known as Haymanot, have recently come under the umbrella of Israel’s already broad Sephardic Chief Rabbinate. Furthermore, in modern times, the term Sephardi has also been applied to Jews who may not have even been born Jewish, but attend Sephardic synagogues and practice Sephardic traditions.

The divisions among Sephardim and their descendants today is largely a result of the consequences of the royal edicts. Both the Spanish and Portuguese edicts ordered their respective Jewish populations to choose from one of three options:1) convert to Catholicism to be allowed to remain within the kingdom,2) remain Jews and be expelled by the stipulated deadline, or3) be subjected to death without trial for any Jew who did not convert or leave by the deadline.

In Spain, the Jews were only given four months from the time the decree was issued before the expiry of the set deadline. Under the edict, Jews were promised royal “protection and security” for the effective three-month window before the deadline. They were permitted to take their belongings with them except “gold or silver or minted money”. It has been argued by British scholar Henry Kamen, that “the real purpose of the 1492 edict likely was not expulsion, but compulsory conversion of all Spanish Jews. Yet in giving Jews a choice and three months to think about it, the plan backfired; many opted to leave the country rather than convert”,[4] which ultimately was to Spain’s detriment. Between a third to one half of Spain’s Jewish origin population opted for exile, many flooding into Portugal.

Foreseeing the economic aftermath of a similar Jewish flight from Portugal, King Manuel’s decree five years later was largely pro-forma to appease a precondition the Spanish monarchs had set for him if he wished to marry their daughter. While the stipulations were similar in the Portuguese decree, King Manuel then largely prevented Portugal’s Jews from leaving, by blocking Portugal’s ports of exit. This failure to leave Portugal was then reasoned by the king to signify a default acceptance of Catholicism by the Jews, and the king then proceeded to proclaim them New Christians. Actual physical forced conversions, however, were also experienced throughout Portugal.

Sephardi Jews, therefore, encompasses Jews descended from those Jews who left the Iberian Peninsula as Jews by the expiration of the respective decreed deadlines. This group is further divided between those who fled south to North Africa, as opposed to those who fled eastwards to the Balkans, West Asia and beyond. Also included among Sephardi Jews are those who descend from “New Christian” conversos, but then returned to Judaism after leaving Iberia, largely after reaching Central and Northern Europe. From these regions, many would again migrate, this time to the non-Iberian territories of the Americas. Additional to all these Sephardic Jewish groups are the descendants of those New Christian conversos who either remained in Iberia, or moved from Iberia directly to the Iberian colonial possessions across what are today the various Latin American countries. The descendants of this group of conversos, for historical reasons and circumstances, were never able to formally return to the Jewish religion.

All these sub-groups are defined by a combination of geography, identity, religious evolution, language evolution, and the timeframe of their reversion (for those who had in the interim undergone a temporary nominal conversion to Catholicism) or non-reversion back to Judaism.

It should be noted that these Sephardic sub-groups are separate from any pre-existing local Jewish communities they encountered in their new areas of settlement. From the perspective of the present day, the first three sub-groups appeared to have developed as separate branches, each with its own traditions.

In earlier centuries, and as late as the editing of the Jewish Encyclopedia at the beginning of the 20th century, they were usually regarded as together forming a continuum. The Jewish community of Livorno acted as the clearing-house of personnel and traditions among the first three sub-groups; it also developed as the chief publishing centre.Template:Synthesis-inline.

The relationship between Sephardi-descended communities is illustrated in the following diagram:

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Sephardi Jews | Familypedia | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Ashkenazim and Sephardim – Jewish History

Posted By on August 8, 2018

For the last 1,000 years the Jewish people have, for themost part, been grouped into two categories: Ashkenaz and Sepharad.Contemporary Ashkenazim are Yiddish-speaking Jews and descendants ofYiddish-speaking Jews. Sephardim originate in the Iberian Peninsula andthe Arabic lands.

While there are differences in culture, language, genetics,and nuances of ritual observance, the commonalities between the two groups aremuch stronger than what divides them. Thus, a Sepharadi from Morocco and anAshkenazi from Moscow would immediately find common ground in a prayer servicethat is 95% identical, in mitzvah observance, and of course, the Hebrew language.

The Cordoba synagogue was built by Sepharadic Jews in 1315. After Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, it was converted to a hospital.

Sepharad is the Hebrew name for Spain. Thus, the Jewishpeople living in Spain and the Iberian Peninsula becameknown as Sephardim. The earliest recorded Jewish settlements in Spain dateback to the 3rd century, and Jews may have been living in Spain since the FirstTemple period. King Solomons taxcollector was said to have lived the end of his life there. Having grown inprominence under Muslim rule, they were arguably the most illustrious Jewishcommunity in the world. Spharad produced Torah scholars, scientists, financiers,and thought-leaders whose works are still being studied today, including IsaacAbravanel, Nachmanides, Maimonides and others. The Jews in Sepharad developedtheir own language, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish).

Ferdinand and Isabella expelled practicing Jews from Spain, forcing those who remained to worship in secret. The Spanish exiles formed a Sephardic diaspora that stretched from London to Aleppo.

In 1492, the Catholic king and queen of Spain, Ferdinand andIsabella, expelled all Jews from their lands (this was not the firsttime Jews had been expelled from Spain). Only those who converted toCatholicism were permitted to stay. Spanish Jews poured into Portugal (fromwhence they were soon expelled as well), North Africa and anywhere else theycould find a safe haven.

In many placesfrom Amsterdam to Aleppothey became thedominant Jewish culture in their new host communities. This explains why Jewsfrom lands far from Spain are known as Sepharadim. Since the big-tent Sepharadincludes many more Jews than just the Spanish refugees and their descendants, amore accurate term for Jews of eastern provenance that has gained popularity inrecent years is Eidot Hamizrach (Communities of the East).

A large and lively Sepharadic community once lived in Salonica, Greece.

While legends abound, it is not entirely clear when Jewsbegan populating the Rhine Valley, or where they had come from. Details inliturgy and other clues point to the Holy Land as a possible point of origin.Beginning around the 10th Century, the Jewish communities straddling France andsouthern Germany rose to prominence as a learned and vital center of Jewishlife.

The ancient staircase leading down to the mikvah in Cologne, site of early Ashkenazi settlement.

Ashkenaz is the Biblical name of a grandson of Japhet, theancestor of the Romans. Perhaps because the area had been part of the RomanEmpire, the region, its language, and its (non-Jewish) inhabitants wereassociated with that name. In time, the Jews living there became known asAshkenazim as well.

As Jews in Ashkenaz suffered successive waves of murderouscrusades, Talmud burnings, massacres and severe repression, they made their wayto the more welcoming lands to the east. There, Ashkenazi life flourished, and Yiddish(a Jewish concoction of German, Yiddish, Aramaic and more) became the dominantlanguage of the Jews of Eastern Europe until the double scourges of Nazism andcommunism conspired to kill millions of Jews and squelch the Jewish identity ofmillions of others.

Jewish merchants in 19th century Warsaw.

While the essentials of Judaism are the same for all Jewishpeople, there are some differences in Ashkenazi and Sephardic observance. Hereare some of the more pronounced differences (in no particular order):

Top: a Ashkenazi synagogue with the seating facing east. Below: A Sephardi synagogue with the seating facing the center.

There have been thousands of great Sepharadic and Ashkenazicrabbis, sages and teachers. Here we will list some of the most prominent rabbis, focusing on those who directlyinfluenced the development of halachic tradition for their respectivecommunities.

Rabbeinu Gershom Meor Hagolah (Ashkenaz,960-1040): Known as the light ofthe exile, the first prominent rabbi in Ashkenaz, he is well known for hisenactments, including bans on reading other peoples mail and polygamy.

Rif (Sepharad, 1013-1103): A native of Fez, Morocco, Rabbi Yitzchak Alfasisummarized the entire Talmud, highlighting salient points and resolvingundecided issues.

Rashi(Ashkenaz, 1040-1105): Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki was the foremost commentator on theTorah and Talmud and the leader of the Jewish community in Alsace-Lorraine.

Rabbenu Tam (Ashkenaz, 1100-1171): A grandson of Rashi, RabbiYaakov Tam was the most prominent of a group of scholars who wrote the Tosafot(Additions), commentaries to the Talmud. Rabbeinu Tam narrowly escaped deathat the hands of the crusaders. Many of his peers were sadly not so lucky.

Rambam (Sepharad, 1135-1204)Born in Spain and perhaps the most influential teacher of Torah in the pastthousand years, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (also known as Rambam or Maimonides) ofEgypt wrote extensively on Jewish law, medicine, philosophy and Jewish beliefs,mostly in Arabic.

Rosh (1250-1327) Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel was born in Germany and flourished inSpain. He drew from both the Ashkenazic and Sepharadic traditions in hishalachic commentary on Talmud.

Tur (1275-1349): The son of the Rosh, Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher used theteachings of his father, Rambam, and Rif to determine the rulings in his magnumopus, Arba Turim (Four Towers), which established the template upon which theCode of Jewish Law is based.

Mahril (Ashkenaz, 1360-1427): Longtime rabbi in his hometown of Mainz,Germany, Rabbi Yaakov Moelin wrote many responsa, which establish the customsof Ashkenazic Jewry, especially in matters relating to prayer and synagogueprocedure.

Beit Yosef (Sepharad, 1488-1575): Rabbi Joseph Caro is the author of the Code of Jewish Law. Born inToledo just before the Spanish expulsion, he settled in Safed, Israel. Anaccomplished Kabbalist, he was considered by Sephardic Jewry to be the ultimateauthority in halachah.

Rama (Ashkenaz, 1525-1573): The rabbi of Cracow, Rabbi Moshe Isserles wrote glosses on the Code ofJewish Law, adding in rulings of the great Ashkenazic teachers, allowing thesingle, amalgamated text to be used in the entire Jewish community.

Baal Shem Tov (Ashkenaz,1698-1760) Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer founded the Chasidic movement, whichtaught that Gd is to be accessed through sincerity, joy and love. Histeachings, and those of his successors, have spread to both Ashkenazic andSepharadic communities, breathing vitality into Jewish life everywhere.

Of course, people rarely fit into the boxes we try to fitthem into, and many cultures that are mistakenly (and conveniently) placedunder the rubric of Sepharad are actually not Sepharadic at all.

A Yemenite Jew blows shofar (circa 1930s).

A case in point would be the Yemenite Jews, whose uniqueJewish tradition is even more ancient and did not come by way of Spain. Asimilar argument could be made for Persian Jews, who speak Judeo-Farsi andtrace their lineage to the Babylonian exiles.

The Jews of Italy and Greece once had thriving cultures oftheir own, with customs and languages that were uniquely theirs. Today, otherthan some small pockets, their traditions have almost disappeared (mostpractitioners were killed by the Nazis), having been supplanted by Ashkenaziand Sepharadi Jews who now live in these Mediterranean countries.

There were also once large numbers of Mustarabim, Jewsnative to Arabic lands. In time, they were overshadowed by and merged into theSephardic majority.

From the very start, our people were divided into 12 tribes.After the death of King Solomon, this was divided into Judea inthe south and Israel in the north. The northern kingdom (which comprised of 10tribes) waseventuallyexiled and lost to history.

During the Second Temple era, the rabbis were grouped intothe Houses of Hilleland Shamai. Where the students of Hillel were lenient, the studentsof Shamai were stringent. The law was almost always decided in accordance withthe teachings of the House of Hillel.

Following the destruction of the Holy Temple, two distinctacademies developed: one in the Land of Israel and the other in Babylon. Thetraditions of each were preserved in two Talmuds, the Jerusalem Talmud and theBabylonian Talmud.

In those days, there were some communities that werefaithful to the directives of the scholars in the Holy Land and others who wereinfluenced by the sages of Babylon.

Not unlike the Sephardim and Ashkenazim, these groups didhave differences in rite and custom, but the fundamentals of Judaism were thesame.

As the Jews in the Holy Land suffered under Christianrulership and their communal structure crumbled while the Babylonian academiescontinued to flourish, almost all Jewish communities gradually adapted theBabylonian traditions, which are now universally accepted.

The two major centers of Ashkenaz and Sepharad developedprimarily after the center of Jewish life crossed over the continental dividedfrom Asia to Europe around the turn of the second millennium. This happened onthe heels of the diminishment of the Geonic leadership in Babylon, which hadlong been the primary center of Jewish learning.

A boy wearing Sephardi tefillin reading from an Ashkenazi Torah.

Here is a fascinating (and somewhat confusing) aspect of theAshkenaz-Sepharad cross-pollination. The traditional liturgy of AshkenazicJewry is known as Nusach Ashkenaz (Ashkenazic Rite). With the rise of theChasidic movement, many began to incorporate various elements of the Sephardicrite into their prayers, since the Sephardic tradition was favored by theKabbalists and more in tune with the Kabbalistic meditations behind theprayers. This new Chasidic hybrid came to be known as Nusach Sepharad (orNusach Arizal, since it conformed to the meditations of the Arizal).

Thus, a Nusach Sepharad synagogue is most likely populatedby Ashkenazi Chassidim, and Sepharadim prefer to refer to their rites as EidotHamizrach or Sepharadi (with the added i) just to keep things clear.

This is just one example of how Ashkenaz and Sepharad arenot two distinct streams but two pillars upon which Judaism is firmlyensconced, rooted in tradition and anchored in dedication.

The distinctive garb of the Jerusalmite Chasidim includes elements of both Ashkenazi and Sepharadic traditions, which existed side by side in the Holy Land for centuries.

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Ashkenazim and Sephardim – Jewish History

A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the …

Posted By on August 8, 2018

Ward Churchill has achieved an unparalleled reputation as a scholar-activist and analyst of indigenous issues in North America. Here, he explores the history of holocaust and denial in this hemisphere, beginning with the arrival of Columbus and continuing on into the present.

He frames the matter by examining both “revisionist” denial of the nazi-perpatrated Holocaust and the opposing claim of its exclusive “uniqueness,” using the full scope of what happened in Europe as a backdrop against which to demonstrate that genocide is precisely what has been-and still is-carried out against the American Indians.

Churchill lays bare the means by which many of these realities have remained hidden, how public understanding of this most monstrous of crimes has been subverted not only by its perpetrators and their beneficiaries but by the institutions and individuals who perceive advantages in the confusion. In particular, he outlines the reasons underlying the United States’s 40-year refusal to ratify the Genocide Convention, as well as the implications of the attempt to exempt itself from compliance when it finally offered its “endorsement.”

In conclusion, Churchill proposes a more adequate and coherent definition of the crime as a basis for identifying, punishing, and preventing genocidal practices, wherever and whenever they occur.

“Ward Churchill opens the X-Files of American history to examine the phenomenon of genocide in eight essays. . .” Susan A. Miller, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Churchill relates the history of genocide and the struggle for a definition of the term sufficiently accurate and comprehensive, to prevent the watering down of the concept, and to cut through the misleading rhetoric which now obfuscates debate, thereby permitting this and other genocides to continue. . .” A. Clare Brandabur, Purdue University

“Churchill paints the whole picture here from Columbus onwards, the major and significant struggles between an ignorant but brutal Conquistadores and the all-too-vulnerable American Tribes are analysed in a context of deliberate genocide. In terms of effectiveness, it surpasses the holocaust delivered upon European Jewry by the Nazi’s.” Schnews.org.uk

Ward Churchill (enrolled Keetoowah Cherokee) is Professor of American Indian Studies with the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. A member of the American Indian Movement since 1972, he has been a leader of the Colorado chapter for the past fifteen years. Among his previous books have been Fantasies of a Master Race, Struggle for the Land, Since Predator Came, and From a Native Son.

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A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the …

Eisenhower, on Holocaust Denial – Loren Collins

Posted By on August 8, 2018

Another day, recipe pfizer and another questionable quotation drops in my lap. And this time its offered as a compliment to the attributed author, rehabilitation and to a much more praiseworthy author at that:

Get it all on record now get the films get the witnesses because somewhere down the track of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, medications on future Holocaust denial

Still, I had to raise an eyebrow to this. It seems a little too colloquial, a little too punchy, to have come from the pen of one of our greatest WWII heroes. The blog I found the quote cited Wikipedia as its source, and Wikipedia citedDominican Today. And here I was expecting maybe, oh, a book about Eisenhower, and not a foreign newspaper article.

Plus, as is the warning sign of many a spurious quotation, even Wikipedias source doesnt offer up when Eisenhower supposedly said this. In fact, Dominican Today hedges its own bets by prefacing the quote by saying Eisenhower said in words to this effect Its all but confessing its a paraphrase, and not an actual quote.

The quote doesnt turn up in a single book indexed on Amazon or Google Book Search, so it might still be early enough to nip it in the bud. Some quick web searches fail to turn up any uses of the quotation prior to December 2007, with wider citation beginning in early 2008. Not a good sign for a supposed author who died in 1969. The earliest use Ive seen is in Oregon Magazine on or just before December 1, 2007. And even it uses the paraphrase-hinting words to this effect language.

So the literal quote is bad. But did Eisenhower say something to that effect? As luck would have it, he did. As related on page 223 of Dear General: Eisenhowers Wartime Letters to Marshall, (available on Google Books) Eisenhower wrote:

The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit [to Gotha] deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda.

Similar sentiments, but not quite as soundbite friendly. Hopefully by tackling the bad quote this early it wont make it into actual books, which makes it that much harder to kill. Which would be a pity, because the real quote paints a much richer picture of Eisenhowers true distress and concern for posterity.

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Eisenhower, on Holocaust Denial – Loren Collins

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots …

Posted By on August 7, 2018

“A remarkable tale.”–“Kirkus Reviews”

One of “O” magazine’s “10 Titles to Pick Up Now”

“Unorthodox is a fascinating book . . . Feldman’s voice resonates throughout.”–“The Jewish Daily Forward”

“Deborah Feldman was raised in an insular, oppressive world where she was taught that, as a woman, she wasn’t capable of independent thought. But she found the pluck and determination needed to make the break from that world and has written a brave, riveting account of her journey. “Unorthodox “is harrowing, yet triumphant.”–Jeannette Walls, #1 bestselling author of “The Glass Castle” and “Half Broke Horses”

“Feldman gives us special insight into a closed and repressive world. . . . Her memoir is fresh and tart and utterly absorbing.”–“Library Journal”

“An unprecedented view into a Hasidic community that few outsiders ever experience. . . . “Unorthodox” reminds us that there are religious communities in the United States that restrict young women to marriage and motherhood. These women are expected to be obedient to their community and religion, without question or complaint, no matter the price.”–“Minneapolis Star-Tribune”

“[Feldman’s] no-holds-barred memoir bookstores on February 14th. And it’s not exactly a Valentine to the insular world of shtreimels, sheitels and shtiebels. Instead, [“Unorthodox”] describes an oppressive community in which secular education is minimal, outsiders are feared and disdained, English-language books are forbidden, mental illness is left untreated, abuse and other crimes go unreported . . . a surprisingly moving, well-written and vivid coming-of-age tale.”–“The Jewish Week”

“[Feldman’s] matter-of-fact style masks some penetrating insights.””–The New York Times”

“Nicely written . . . [An] engaging and at times gripping insight into Brooklyn’s Hasidic community.”–“Publishers Weekly”

“”Unorthodoz” is painfully good. . . .Unlike so many other authors who have left Orthodoxy and written about it, [Feldman’s] heart is not hardened by hatred, and her spirit is wounded but intact. . . . She is a sensitive and talented writer.”–JewishJournal.com

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Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots …

Zionism | Encyclopedia.com

Posted By on August 5, 2018

History

Anti-Zionism and non-Zionism

Achievements and prospects

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Zionism may be summarily defined as the Jewish nationalist movement whose endeavors to solve the Jewish problem led to the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel.

The aims of Zionism were those of many nationalist liberation movements: to revive a national language (Hebrew or Yiddish) and culture; to repossess and develop the resources of the national territory; and to achieve sovereignty for a national state. But the nation to be liberated lived in exile from its ancestral home, with its members scattered all over the globe. Accordingly, Zionist objectives also included removing Jews from the countries of their dispersion and colonizing them in Zion, the ancient homeland.

Upon the successful execution of its program, Zionism anticipated that anti-Semitism, rooted according to Zionist theory in Jewish homelessness, would disappear. The Jews remaining in the Diaspora would be reduced to a number susceptible of assimilation (Herzl [1894-1904] 1955, pp. 241-242). Another theory held that a free Jewish community in Zion, not dominated by the milieu of the Gentile majority, would unfold the full potentialities of the Jewish historic individuality. It would produce a national cultural revival and advanced social institutions of universal significance, whose influence would enable Diaspora Jewries to sustain their collective existence even under modern conditions of equal citizenship and acculturation tending to dissolve their identity.

Thus, like other national liberation movements, Zionism developed a rationale that was Utopian, or even messianic, in tone. But its strategic situation also dictated a tactical approach of pragmatic reasonableness.

Palestine in the nineteenth century was neither controlled nor in any large measure occupied by Jews. Zionism could not hope to negotiate its aims unless it defined them in a way compatible with the interests of the suzerain power, Turkey, and other powers concerned with the Eastern Question. Hence, at the first Zionist Congress in Basle, 1897, Theodor Herzl, 1860-1904, obtained a resolution demanding not a Jewish state but an oeffentlich-rechtlich gesicherte Heimstaette a term subsequently translated in the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, by the vague expression national home.

The Zionist position in the Jewish community was equally weak. Unlike other nationalist liberation movements, which could appeal to massive and powerful popular resentments focused on a single, concrete foreign oppressor so that all ideological opposition was often swept out of the field, Zionism was only one of many rival Jewish ideologies (Halpern 1961, pp. 22-23). Moreover, it was divided by a wide diversity of internal factions. The objectives it could agree on had to be compromises, capable of uniting rival Zionist parties on a common denominator and attracting essential support from the non-Zionists in the Jewish community. Hence, the broad formulas of the 1897 program and of the statute of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, formed in 1929.

The idea that the Jewish position in the Gentile world presented a problem to be rationally solved, one of the basic Zionist principles, first became current in the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. A Jewish movement to achieve this solution, beginning in western Europe in the late eighteenth century, produced campaigns for enlightenment and general humane culture among Jews; for their civic emancipation; and eventually for religious reform, discarding many traditional practices and beliefs. In Russia, the pogroms and repressive laws of the 1880s thoroughly disillusioned some Jewish intellectuals who until then had favored reforms similar to those advocated by their western European counterparts. They turned in revulsion and humiliation against the Western principle of accommodating to a general humanism and insisted that the Jews themselves, and not benevolent Gentiles, must actively and militantly solve their own problemand solve it by returning to their own sources. These new Lovers of Zion (Hovevei-Zion) dedicated themselves not to the aim of emancipation but to the counterposed aim of auto-emancipation, a slogan provided by the title of an 1882 brochure written by Leo Pinsker, 1821-1891, a physician who in 1884 became the chosen leader of the movement.

In spite of ideological opposition, the Hovevei-Zion were compelled to cooperate with Western Jews. Since the 1840s the emancipated and enlightened Western Jewish communityincluding many who no longer believed in redemption in Zion had introduced rational objectives and methods into the traditional support extended by the Diaspora to pious Jews in Palestine. At first, outstanding individuals like the British Sir Moses Montefiore, 1784-1885, and, since 1860, a major French-led organization, the Alliance Isralite Universelle, had sought to obtain political and legal security for the Jewish settlement, to provide vocational training and secular culture, and to place Jews on farm-holdings, instead of maintaining a community in Palestine almost exclusively devoted to prayer, study, and penance (Sokolow 1919, vol. 1, pp. 115-120, 176-183). Dr. Pinsker, like Theodor Herzl after him, found it natural to appeal to such Jewish benefactors for support in their projected work in Palestine, even though it was conceived in a different spirit. The Hovevei-Zion, based on a poor membership and not permitted to work freely under Russian law, were rebuffed in their attempt to obtain political concessions from the Sublime Porte for colonization and checked in their spontaneous immigration to Palestine by legal and administrative obstacles swiftly set up against European Jews by the Turks. They were driven back on slow, more or less surreptitious methods of colonization and had to rely for political and financial support on Western philanthropists, notably Baron Edmond de Rothschild, 1845-1934. The consequence was the emergence of a faction in the movement, led by the writer Ahad Haam, 1856-1927, which severely criticized Rothschild paternalism and, above all, the settlers dependency in all those sphereseconomic, cultural, communal where the Zionist ideal had hoped to build a nucleus of national independence in Palestine.

The positive doctrine of this group centered on the desire of disillusioned eastern European intellectuals to recapture traditional attitudes and cultural motifs that Western modernists had abandoned. Against the Reform thesis that the Jewish dispersion was a divine mission, not a penance, they declared that the exile of the Jews was a fact. Against the liberal notion of civic emancipation as the Messianic redemption of the Jews, they reasserted the restoration to Zion as the solution of the Jewish problem. As a result the young Zionist intellectuals were welcomed back into the fold by many traditionalistsand the new Zionist movement was constituted as much by the latter as by the former.

The seeds of difference were inherent in this union. Traditionalist Jews who became Hovevei-Zion soon began to demand that the prodigal sons make their return complete by submitting fully to the yoke of tradition. The new Zionists, although penitents, rather like the Russian Slavophile radicals who were their contemporaries, were not ready to abandon modernistic and rational standards because of their rebellion against Western values. They saw their Jewish situation not as a divinely decreed election and a penance to be borne but as a social historical problem that urgently required a rational solution. They became lovers of Zion, of the Hebrew language, and of the tradition but wished to free all of these values from the dead hand of sacramentalism. In consequence, the Hovevei-Zion movement in Russia developed traditionalist and modernist factions. The former re-emerged, at a later date, as a distinct party called the Mizrachi in the World Zionist Organization created by Theodor Herzl. The modernist school worked toward the ends of a cultural Zionism, seeking a secular revival of the Hebrew language and culture and of an active national will and consensus. While cultural Zionism did not continue as an organized faction after the Hovevei-Zion were absorbed by the World Zionist Organization, it was a pervasive influence thereafter in the movement, especially in the practical Zionist faction.

Theodor Herzl entered the Zionist movement as a sharp critic of colonization in Palestine, as conducted by Baron de Rothschild and the Hovevei Zion together. He developed in his 1896 booklet Der Judenstaat, and in his conduct of the World Zionist Organization from 1897 to his death in 1904, the doctrine of political Zionism. As conceived by him, and his successors and supporters Max Nordau, 1849-1923, and David Wolffsohn, 1856-1914, and, in a later generation, the self-styled Herzlian Zionists led by Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1880-1940, the Zionist strategy must concentrate on achieving adequate political conditions for its nationalist aim before beginning other subsidiary activities, such as colonization. An opposing faction, generally called the practical Zionists and led after World War i by Chaim Weizmann, 1874-1952, insisted that other nationalist aims, such as the cultural revival and continuing resettlement in Palestine, must be pursued simultaneously with the Zionist diplomatic campaign. Indeed, achievement of the nationalist political goals, they felt, would be most effectively advanced by building up the Jewish settlement in Palestine and thus adding the rights of occupation to the rights of historic connection and present Diaspora needs to bolster the Zionist claim.

Until the death of Herzl in 1904, the views of political Zionism prevailed. Herzl also maintained an entente with the religious Zionists, restricting at the congress sessions discussion of projects to revive a secular Hebraic culture because of their objection. The failure of Herzls diplomatic campaign for a charter to resettle Zion frustrated the movement; and his one major successthe British proposals in 1903 to resettle Jews not in Palestine or its environs but in east Africasplit it. After the definitive rejection of this proposal, some Zionists, led by Israel Zangwill, 1864-1926, left the organization to form their own Jewish Territorialist Organization. Within the Zionist organization the practical Zionists grew increasingly strong, until they took over the leadership fully in 1911. The new policy that was initiated strengthened the tendency, already marked since 1908, to pursue the colonization of Palestine under existing political conditions, setting aside the quest for a charter (Boehm 1935-1937).

It also introduced new stress on the nationalist cultural revival. As a side effect, some religious Zionists left the congress and joined with earlier anti-Zionists in Orthodox Jewry to form a new ultra-Orthodox world organization, Agudat Israel. The Mizrachi who remained Zionists developed a set of minimum demands, requiring respect for tradition in general Zionist facilities and support for autonomous religious cultural activities by Mizrachi paralleling any general cultural activity. Granted this, they proposed to fight for acceptance of Jewish tradition in Orthodox interpretation as binding on all Zionists and, ultimately, as constitutional in the Jewish state.

At the outbreak of World War i, any uniform policy of an international organization divided between the warring nations became virtually impossible. Leading Zionists in the German headquarters of the organization and in England pursued Zionist diplomacy independently in a form consonant with the war aims of their respective countries. Major responsibility was vested in new Zionist leaders residing in neutral countries, notably Louis D. Brandeis, 1856-1941. Toward the end of the war the practical Zionist Chaim Weizmann, aided by Nahum Sokolow, 1859-1936, secured from Britain the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, and parallel statements from Britains allies (Stein 1961). This declaration of sympathy for Zionist aspirations, with its pledge to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, was embodied in the San Remo agreement of April 26, 1920, assigning Palestine as a mandate territory to Britain, and also in the mandate instrument approved by the Council of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922.

The Balfour Declaration and the mandate represented in form the charter which Herzls diplomacy had sought in vain, but in practice it did not make possible the orderly, relatively rapid mass transfer of Jews to Palestine that Herzl had envisaged. Consequently, Herzlian Zionists like Max Nordau and Vladimir Jabotinsky regarded the mandate instrument as inadequate for Zionist purposes and called for political action to obtain more precise commitments toward the ultimate creation of a Jewish state. Nordau demanded in 1920 the immediate transfer to Palestine of enough Jewish immigrants to form a Jewish majority.

A diametrically opposed view was pressed in 1920 by Justice Brandeis. He regarded the diplomatic phase of Zionist history as closed with the San Remo treaty. The world Zionist organization should resolve itself into a federation of philanthropic societies, each with autonomy in its own country, and a central executive agency devoted chiefly to practical colonization. The latter body should be made up not of political leaders but of technicians and administrators, not necessarily committed to the whole Zionist doctrine but ready to work under the conditions laid down in the mandate for developing the Jewish national home.

Chaim Weizmann, who succeeded in winning control of the movement, followed a line which, in the Zionist congress of 1907, he had defined as synthetic (Weizmann 1949, p. 157). He accepted the existing legal framework of the mandate and pursued practical work under its terms. However, far from allowing the political functions of the world Zionist organization to lapse, he developed and tightened them in the running battle with the mandatary over the precise meaning of the mandate instrument. The co-option of experts and enlistment of supporters from among non-Zionist Jews, suggested by Brandeis, was carried out by Weizmann through the Jewish Agency for Palestine, formed in 1929 in agreement with such men as Louis Marshall, 1856-1929, and Felix Warburg, 1871-1937. Weizmanns immigration and colonization policy was one of gradualism not merely because Winston Churchill in a 1922 white paper had imposed upon Jewish labor immigration into Palestine the limit of economic absorptive capacity but also because such an approach was in accord with his own beliefs, as a disciple of the prudent Ahad Haam.

After an initial period of opposition, the labor Zionist factions became Weizmanns reliable and consistent allies in this strategy and finally the dominant force in the coalition. They concentrated on what they regarded as the primary, critical task both of Zionist and Jewish socialist strategy: to create in Zion a Jewish farmer-worker class and thus eliminate the fundamental cause of the dependency of the Jewish people in the Diasporatheir lopsided, unproductive occupational distribution.

Although firmly united by a strong workers federation with unusually wide powers and functions, labor Zionist factions differed on numerous issues and were organized and acted independently. Most prominent politically were the three major federations of collective settlements or kibbutzim (communes), which had the greatest immediate influence on labor immigrants. They differed not only in their plans of village organization but also in their attitudes toward the second and third socialist internationals, the proper Zionist policies vis-a-vis the Arabs, and the definition of the ultimate Zionist aim.

The question of the final political status of Palestine became increasingly acute. Arab riots of increasing violence and magnitude broke out in 1920, 1921, and 1929, culminating in the outright revolt of 1936-1939. Owing also to mounting pressure from the emerging Rome-Berlin Axis, Britain sought to gain Arab support, or at least mitigate Arab hostility, by an increasingly anti-Zionist interpretation of its obligations as mandatary. A White Paper in 1939 proposed to freeze the Jewish community at the one-third proportion of the Palestine population which it had virtually reached; and in the following year land regulations banned or rigorously restricted Jewish land purchase in all but a tiny part of Palestine. At this time Nazi oppression had made the Jewish refugee problem unbearably acute and the omens of the deliberate extermination of European Jewry were becoming manifest.

The pressure to redefine Zionist policy became overwhelming. Some left wing and pacifist Zionists favored a binational Arab-Jewish state, with a provisional limit of 40 per cent of Jews in the population and additional immigration to be permitted by majority decision. Jabotinskys Revisionist group wanted a militant Zionist policy demanding a Jewish majority in the whole mandate territory, including Transjordan, which had been excluded from the Jewish national home area by Churchills 1922 White Paper. The Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern group arose as more or less autonomous Revisionist paramilitary formations, and the latter, even during the war against the Axis, demanded an immediate Jewish uprising against the British. Non-Zionists associated with the Jewish Agency proposed to restore the original criterion of economic absorptive capacity as the sole principle governing Jewish immigration. The dominant group among Zionists, headed by the labor leader David Ben-Gurion, opposed an outright Jewish revolt against the mandate itself, but it undertook active resistance to the restrictions on Jewish immigration. Opposing both binationalism and a demand for a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan, as well as mere restoration of the status quo ante the 1939 White Paper, it was prepared to consider solving the Palestine problem by partition.

The world war was victoriously concluded and a Labour government came to power in Britain, but the 1939 White Paper policy was not rescinded. The limited resistance of the major Zionist paramilitary force, the Jewish Agency-controlled Haganah, escalated into a phase of attacks on government installations and, for a period, was combined in a joint assault with the two Revisionist-oriented bands. British repressive measures, directed both at the armed Zionist resistance and the refugee ships that sought to run the British blockade, raised violence to such a pitch that recourse to outside arbiters was essential. Beginning with an attempt to resolve the issue by joint action with the United States, through an Anglo-American Inquiry Committee in 1946, England was forced to refer the Palestine problem to the United Nations.

A United Nations Special Committee on Palestine turned in a majority proposal for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with a UN-supervised economic union between them and with UN administration of an internationalized corpus separatum including Jerusalem and Bethlehem. With certain revisions this proposal was passed by the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947. Accepted by the Jews of Palestine, it was rejected by the Arabs and immediately opposed with violence. The British refused to aid the implementation of the UN resolution in any way and made haste to leave the country. The fighting, restricted in the final months of the mandate to areas no longer garrisoned by British troops or essential to their departure, extended to the whole land after the British withdrawal on May 15, 1948, and, with the invasion by regular Arab armies from across four frontiers, turned into a full-scale war. UN action availed only to interrupt the hostilities with ill-observed truces, until the growing Jewish strength forced the Arab states to enter into armistice negotiations.

Thus the state of Israel, proclaimed on May 14, 1948, as the British departed and immediately recognized by the United States and the Soviet Union, maintained its integrity in war and secured its present boundaries under armistice agreements. In this way and to this degree were the political aspirations of Zionism realized.

The Zionist idea had ideological opponents in the Jewish community even before it crystallized in an organized movement and even after it culminated in the creation of Israel. But the anti-Zionist groups were always opposed to one another in many crucial attitudes where one or another such group found itself in agreement with the Zionists. This led to parallel efforts toward similar goals or to cooperation in a common task between Zionists and some of their ideological foes. Those anti-Zionists who shared in the major practical Zionist activities in Palestine identified themselves (at least for the duration of that effort) as non-Zionists (Halpern 1961, chapters 3-7).

Opposition to the idea of nationalism as a solution to the Jewish problem dominated Western Jewry for a century before Zionism arose. It was argued that only illiberal enemies of freedom and equality still believed that Jews were a nation or that Jews hoped to see a Davidic kingdom restored in Zion. On the other hand, long before Zionism, Western Jewish organizations had devoted themselves to what became characteristic Zionist concerns: aid to Jewish emigration from eastern Europe and other trouble spots, general and vocational education, and support of the growing Jewish community in Palestine. Cooperation in such projects began in the 1880s, after the rise of Zionism, with the non-Zionist sponsors holding the main responsibility and control; but the position was reversed after the mandate became effective. Alternating with long periods of cooperation were episodes of ideological conflictin 1897, from 1914 to 1917, and intermittently from 1937 to 1947when major political issues arose, evoking sharper definitions of Zionist demands and, in reaction, more elaborate defenses of anti-Zionist views by erstwhile non-Zionists, among others.

Only a minor group of privileged Jews, relatively detached from the main community, represented the type of Western anti-Zionist in eastern Europe. Traditionalist Jews, who dominated the communal consensus until late in the nineteenth century, continuously supported the settlement of some Jews in Palestine as a religious duty; but, long before Zionism, they considered sacrilegious and pseudomessianic any resettlement of Palestine in a deliberate plan to hasten the end of the Exilelet alone a rational secular design to solve the Jewish problem. In 1911 traditionalist anti-Zionism achieved a modern form of organization through the founding of Agudat Israel.

Socialist, radical anti-Zionism arose as a significant force in eastern Europe more or less simultaneously with Zionism. It condemned the plan to solve the Jewish problem by immigration to Palestine as desertion from the barricades where the battle to solve the whole social problem, and the Jewish problem as part of it, would be fought eastern Europe. In 1897, the year the World Zionist Organization was founded, the Bund (General Jewish Workers Union in Poland and Lithuania) was established.

Both radical anti-Zionism and traditional eastern European anti-Zionism were thus primarily opposed to the very aspect of Zionism which made cooperation in western Europe possible: the Zionist practical endeavors in Palestine. On the other hand, they shared in general the Zionist view that Jews were not a mere denomination but an ethnic, cultural group in Europe. Accordingly, eastern European Zionist and anti-Zionist Jewish organizations worked on parallel lines to promote Jewish languages and culture, each in its favored mode, and occasionally joined in common struggle for the political prerequisites to all their aims (Vlavianos & Gross 1954).

In the years following World War i, opportunities open to Jewish migrants were sharply reduced by the American immigration acts, while nationalist and anti-Semitic pressures against the Jews reached unprecedented heights of ferocity. Pales tine became the pre-eminent refuge legally assigned and, until 1939, open with the least onerous restrictions for Jews. The extensive sympathy this won for the national home project from Jews of widely different ideologies was converted by the catastrophes of the war period into organized, institutional support of the community as a whole (Halperin 1961).

These circumstances made the major prewar anti-Zionist organizations moderate the substance and tone of their opposition. The Bunds conception of Jews as a national cultural entity had focused primarily on Poland and Lithuania, and the destruction of the bulk of eastern European Jewry destroyed basic assumptions of their ideology. The Bund survives as a minor group devoted to Yiddish culture throughout world Jewry; and it accepts Israel, while criticizing some of its policies from an internationalist, socialist point of view. The main body of Agudat Israel gave up its opposition in principle to the creation of a Jewish state during World War II. Like Mizrachi, it now works within Israels political system, trying to bring it fully under traditional religious law.

Two small organizations, the ultra-Orthodox Natorei Karta (wardens of the city) of Jerusalem and the American Council for Judaism, Inc., became prominent during and since World War II because of their militant, irreconcilable anti-Zionism. The Natorei Karta, while living in Israel, refuse on religious grounds to recognize the authority of the state. The American Council for Judaism, Inc., alleges that Israel in conjunction with the World Zionist Organization seeks, by constituting a form of political allegiance for all Jews, to confuse the sharp line of distinction which, they argue, separates Jewish religious adherence from any ethnic bond. Both organizations stand outside the Jewish consensus and in defiance of it. Within the consensus, the Zionist achievement of a Jewish state has blurred the differences between ideological Zionism and non-Zionism, since the organized Jewish community as a whole, without reference to these labels, extends moral and material support to Israel.

Israel is not only the specific realization of Zionist political aims, but its culture, economy, and social structure bear clear traces of their origins in the ideologies of Zionist factions. The revival of the Hebrew language, the most generally supported aim of Zionism, owes a particular debt to the school of cultural Zionists. Israels labor settlements, its producers cooperatives, and its broad and powerful labor federation are an outgrowth of labor Zionism. The Mizrachi movement has a dominant influence over the religious courts and chief rabbinate, which act in the tradition of religious Zionism.

The creation of the Jewish state, a triumph of the policy of the World Zionist Organization, relieved the organization of some of its major functions, but Zionist aims are such that the creation of a state does not completely fulfill them. If all Jews who cannot or would not live in Diaspora countries are to be brought to Zionas Zionist doctrine requiresthe state itself must be a means to this end. This Zionist task is shared by Diaspora Jews through their contributions to the Jewish Agency and membership in the World Zionist Organization, organizations that still play a major role in immigrant resettlement and land reclamation in Israel.

Another continuing responsibility is based on the Zionist prediction that the Jewish problem would be solved through the return to Zion. The Zionist movement feels a particular responsibility to stimulate or sponsor educational activities by which Diaspora Jewish communities can share the values created by the revived Hebrew culture in Israel. Thus, Jewish nationalism remains, in a restricted sphere of activities, a continuing organized force in the Diaspora after the rise of the state of Israel.

Ben Halpern

[See alsoanti-semitism; Judaism; Nationalism; near eastern society, article onisrael; social movements.]

Boehm, Adolf 1935-1937 Die Zionistische Bewegung. 2 vols. Berlin: Jdischer Verlag.

Brandeis, Louis D. 1942 Brandeis on Zionism: A Collection of Addresses and Statements. Washington: Zionist Organization of America.

Cohen, Israel (1945) 1946 The Zionist Movement. Edited and revised, with a supplementary chapter on Zionism in the United States, by Bernard G. Richards. New York: Zionist Organization of America.

Esco Foundation FOR PALESTINE, Inc. 1947 Palestine: A Study of Jewish, Arab and British Policies. 2 vols. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

Halperin, Samuel 1961 The Political World of American Zionism. Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press.

Halpern, Ben 1961 The Idea of the Jewish State. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Hertzberg, Arthur (editor) (1959) 1964 The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader. Cleveland: World.

Herzl, Theodor (1894-1904) 1955 Theodor Herzl: A Portrait for This Age. Edited with an introduction by Ludwig Lewisohn and a preface by David Ben-Gurion. Cleveland: World. A selection of Herzls writings.

Herzl, Theodor (1895-1904) 1960 The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl. 5 vols. New York: Herzl Press. First published in German. The English edition con tains material left out of the original German collection.

Nordau, Max 1941 Max Nordau to His People. New York: Scopus.

Pinsker, Leo S. (1882-1886) 1944 Road to Freedom: Writings and Addresses. With an introduction by B. Netanyahu. New York: Scopus. First published in German.

Sokolow, Nahom 1919 History of Zionism: 1600-1918. 2 vols. London: Longmans.

Stein, Leonard J. 1961 The Balfour Declaration. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Vlavianos, Basil J.; and Gross, Feliks (editors) 1954 Struggle for Tomorrow: Modern Political Ideologies of the Jewish People. New York: Arts.

Weizmann, Chaim 1949 Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann. New York: Harper.

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