Judah L. Magnes: An American Jewish Nonconformist

Daniel P. Kotzin, Syracuse Univ., $49.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-8156-3216-0
Judah Magnes (1877-1948), a founder and first chancellor of Jerusalem's Hebrew University, was slowly drawn to Zionism as a new and different expression of Jewish identity during his college years at Cincinnati's Hebrew Union College, the center of 19th century American Reform Judaism. His stint as an associate rabbi at New York City's prestigious Temple Emanu-El brought him into close contact such trustees as banker Felix Warburg whose money would later enable Magnes to wrest control of Hebrew University from Chaim Weizmann and the World Zionist Organization. Magnes's pacifism during WWI cost him his distinguished position in American Jewish politics. In 1922 he arrived with his family in Palestine where he became immersed in creating a university that would encourage Jews to be Zionists and at the same time transcend nationalism; he publicly advocated for a culturally and politically bi-national Palestine. While well-written and rich with specifics, professor Kotzin's book (an expansion of his doctoral dissertation) is too specialized for a general audience but will be much appreciated by scholars of modern Israeli and American Jewish history. Photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 06/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-8156-5109-3
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