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The Founders:
The Heroic Leaders and Great Debates that Launched the Jewish State

In this section, we will focus on the founding figures and dramatic disagreements that shaped the Zionist movement. Through stories, speeches, essays, and primary texts recreating the early Zionist congresses, we will try to make sense of the competing strategies for re-establishing Jewish life in the land of Israel. Was Zionism meant to save the Jews from physical destruction or to renew the Jewish spirit? What was the relationship between Zionism and Judaism? Did Zionism demand a “new Jew” or give life to ancient Jewish longings? By studying figures such as Moses Hess, Theodore Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, Max Nordau, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and Haim Nachman Bialik, we will probe how different views of Zionism shape the past, present, and future of the Jewish State.

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