Cite: Segev, Abba Hillel Silver’s Role in American Zionism

Segev, Zohar. “Universalism, Ethnic Identity and Divided Nationality: Abba Hillel Silver’s Role in American Zionism.” Journal of Jewish Studies 63.1 (2012): 105-126.





Among the most significant events in American Zionism between 1938 and 1948 was the rise of Abba Hillel Silver to the leadership of American Jewry in the late 1940s. A close reading shows that throughout his public career in general, and in relation to the establishment of Israel in particular, Silver sought, in theory and in practice, to enlarge the concept of Israeli sovereignty on one hand and to create a theoretical and practical basis for the continued ethnic-national existence of the Jews in the United States on the other. He tried to minimize as far as possible any injury to the status of Jews as American citizens because of their Zionist activity. Silver regarded Jewish national existence in the Diaspora in a most favourable light, maintaining that it could and must continue alongside Israel.