Cite: Shanes, Ahron Marcus: Portrait of a Zionist Hasid

Shanes, Joshua. “Ahron Marcus: Portrait of a Zionist Hasid.” Jewish Social Studies 16.3 (2010): 116-160.





Ahron Marcus (1843-1916), a committed Hasid and an active player in the early Zionist movement until his withdrawal in late 1900, developed a form of Jewish identity and politics that combined his Hasidic piety with deep adoration for Theodor Herzl and political Zionism, precisely at the moment that Orthodoxy was closing its ranks against the Zionist movement. This article gathers a wide range of sources on Marcus, particularly his Zionist-supported newspaper and nearly two dozen surviving letters between Marcus and Herzl, to establish the history and development of this Zionist and to consider its implications for the history of Zionism and political Orthodoxy. I argue that Marcus’s attempt to link political Zionism with Hasidic Orthodoxy both theologically and politically—by uniting the Zionist Organization with major Hasidic leaders while remaining within traditional society—was an intriguing exploration of Jewish identity beyond the existing typologies of eastern European Jewry.

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