Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Recommendation: AHAD HA'AM - Selected Essays

Photos: Miriam Woelke


It doesn't always have to be Theodore Herzl although he may be the most famous Zionist. Despite his long beard, Herzl was not a religious but secular Jew and his plan was the foundation of a secular State of Israel. He also intended to introduce the German language as the country's first language. This would be great for me but too late. German is my mother - tongue but I have already learned Hebrew for many years.

I am not too much into Herzl but very much prefer another Zionist called "Ahad Ha'Am" (Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg, 1856 - 1927). Last year, I visited his grave in Tel Aviv. 

Asher Ginsberg came from a frum family, went somehow off - the - derech but, in his thoughts, never totally forgot about religion. His goal was a Jewish state with Hebrew as first language and Judaism should play an important role. The Jews should live their own Jewish identity and not just found another country like anyone else in the world. The Ahad Ha'Am stressed Jewish values and has left a vast literature. Today I bought some of his essays but there is actually an entire Ahad Ha'Am library in Tel Aviv. He is not an easy subject and writing about him means tremendous research. However, little by little, I will get there.

Ahad Ha'Am Street in Jerusalem

Photo: Miriam Woelke

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