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Zionism Now and Then: Max Nordau’s Call to Action

Date: Thursday, August 19 | 7:00–8:30 PM EDT

In this session we will read Max Nordau’s address to the First Zionist Congress (1897). The speech, delivered on the eve of Jewish national revival, is a seminal statement on the condition of European Jewry and a compelling political call to action. Yet it also speaks across the ages, touching on one of the deepest and most enduring problems of politics: the tension between universalism and particularism. In recent years that tension has resurfaced in the politics of the West, as social movements on the left and right advocating on behalf of identity groups have sought to challenge a fraying liberal consensus. The premise of this session is that Nordau’s speech continues to hold relevance for Jews in Israel and the diaspora more than a century after it was given.

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