New Article: Goldstein, The Beginnings of Ḥibbat Ẓion

Goldstein, Yossi. “The Beginnings of Ḥibbat Ẓion: A Different Perspective.” AJS Review 40.1 (2016): 33-55.





In the spring of 1881, Jewish communities within the Pale of Settlement in Russia and Romania witnessed the creation of the Jewish nationalist groups, regional associations, and other core organizations that would subsequently evolve into the movement that came to be known as Ḥovevei Ẓion (lovers of Zion), or Ḥibbat Ẓion.

Although antisemitism played an important role in stimulating the emergence of Ḥibbat Ẓion, the movement’s establishment must be understood as having been shaped by two concurrent processes. One was the conclusion of Jewish emancipation in central and western Europe, which brought central figures in the national movement, such as Leon Pinsker, to the decisive conclusion that the Jews could only be truly emancipated in an independent Jewish state. The second stemmed from the poor socioeconomic conditions faced by Jews of the time, particularly in eastern Europe. The demographic growth experienced by the Jews of eastern Europe, which reached a high point during the last few decades of the nineteenth century, required a dramatic socioeconomic solution that was nowhere to be found. Proponents of the Jewish nationalist movement argued that the establishment of a Jewish state would also help relieve the Jews’ social and economic plight.




Cite: Shumsky, Leon Pinsker and ‘Autoemancipation!’

Shumsky, Dimitry. “Leon Pinsker and ‘Autoemancipation!’: A Reevaluation.” Jewish Social Studies 18.1 (2011): 33-62.





Using recently uncovered writings by Leon Pinsker, the proto-Zionist thinker, the current article challenges the generally accepted understanding of Pinsker’s intellectual development as moving “from assimilation to nationalism.” In particular, the article reevaluates the idea that in his pamphlet “Autoemancipation!” Pinsker proposed territorial nationalism as an ideological substitute for Jewish civic emancipation in the Diaspora, particularly in the Russian empire. Rather, Pinsker held that the establishment of a national Jewish territory would, by its very existence, pave the way for the enhanced emancipation of those Jews who continued to live outside the territorial homeland.

CFP: The 200th Anniversary of the Prussian Emancipation Edict for the Jews

Citizenship, Equality and Civil Society:

The 200th Anniversary of the Prussian Emancipation Edict for the Jews – 1812

International Conference, March 4th-6th, 2013 Jerusalem and Tel Aviv


This year, we will be commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Prussian Emancipation Edict for the Jews, in which civil rights were granted to the Jews of Prussia. Beyond its immediate effect on German Jewry, the Edict generated vigorous discussions over the fundamental principles of citizenship, the concept of civil society, and the status of minorities within society and the state. In contrast to the French Revolution, the Edict didn’t utterly transform the legal status of the Jews: they were not granted full and equal civil rights, and many of the rights that were granted were revoked soon after the Vienna Congress in 1815. Nevertheless, this historical moment confronted the ideas of the Enlightenment, the Haskala, Romanticism, and the emerging national discourse with concrete social policy in relation to minorities. In this confrontation, the question of the state’s relation to Jews served as a test case for more general and comprehensive questions about civil society.


This date provides an opportunity to examine the concepts of citizenship, civil society, and the relations between majority and minority groups as they developed in Germany and Israel. The contemporary debates over legal acts aimed at minorities, as well as the events of the previous summer in Israel, highlight the relevance of these issues to our present-day civil life.


Organizers: The conference is organized by the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem, the Minerva Center for Humanities at Tel Aviv University, the Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center at Hebrew University and the Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden in Hamburg. The conference will take place in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.


The conference program:


Opening event for the general public with keynote speakers (in Hebrew).

One day is dedicated to historical issues, focusing on the concepts of citizenship, “civil society”, and relations between majority and minorities in the context of German Jewry. This day will take place in Jerusalem (in English).

One day is dedicated to discussions of the issues raised by the historical investigation on the previous day, in the Israeli contemporary context, with an emphasis on issues of civil society and minorities’ rights in Israel. This day will take place in Tel Aviv (in Hebrew).


According to this program, we invite scholars to present papers dealing with the following issues:

•             Historical aspects of the Prussian Edict for the Jews

•             The question of Jews and citizenship in the 19th and early 20th centuries in Germany

•             Questions of citizenship and civil society in the Israeli context

•             Minorities’ rights and political representation in Israel 


Please submit your paper proposal as follows:

• Contact information: name, email, and academic affiliation of the applicant • Up to 250-words abstract with the title of the paper • A 100-word biographical statement, in narrative form (one paragraph) All files should be sent in English in WORD files only.


Proposals should be sent by September 16th, 2012 to: