The Days of Awe, or High Holidays, constitute one of two beginnings in the Hebrew calendar. The second beginning of the year is marked in the spring at Passover, Holiday of Freedom.
All the Jewish festivals are tied up with one another as commemorating Creation, a cosmic event from which all life in the universe originated, and as commemorating the Exodus, an event of national significance to the Jewish people in particular. But it can be argued that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur represent more the cosmic aspect of traditional Jewish existence, while Passover, Shavuot and, to an extent, Sukkot represent more the national particular aspect.
A few months ago I submitted my doctoral thesis to Haifa University. The dissertation examines the theoretical sources of the concept of the ‘Greater Land of Israel’ in the worldview of Yitzchak Tabenkin and the United Kibbutz Movement, as well as his influence on the political struggles in the country from the time of the Yishuv until the Yom Kippur War. Under Tabenkin’s leadership, the United Kibbutz Movement adhered to the principle of settling the ‘whole Land of Israel,’ as opposed to the majority of the Labor Movement under Ben Gurion, which favored partitioning the land.
The great strength of any national movement, Zionism included, is founded on its social justification and is based to a large extent upon foundations built in the past.[note] Shmuel Almog, “The Historical Dimension of Jewish Nationalism,”Zion, 53, 4 (1986), pp.405-421.[/note] Zionism chose to establish itself upon fundamentals that were familiar to its supporters and with which they identified; the same principles would also be respected by the free world. On this basis did the Zionist leaders present themselves and their movement, taking care to differentiate Zionists from “the others.” [note] Ibid., p. 417.[/note]
After celebrating Pessch and our exodus from Egypt, come the days of fear and trepidation: Holocaust Remembrance day, Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers, Independence Day and Jerusalem Day; the new commemorative days, engraved in the book of chronicles of our time, days of testimony on the destruction of our people and its revival in Zion.
The issue of the Jewish stance towards the non-Jew recently came to the fore as a result of a rabbinic appeal to refrain from renting homes to non-Jews. The viewpoint expressed in that document can be called religious, on the one hand, and ethnic-nationalist on the other. It is not my intention here to debate this viewpoint, (though I personally reject out of hand the fanaticism manifest in the appeal), but rather to claim that the best of modern Jewish Thought, both Zionist and non-Zionist, takes an entirely different approach to the non-Jew, even though it too is generally founded on a religious and/or ethnic-nationalist basis.
Ever since 1967 Israeli society has been preoccupied with the question of the quintessential meaning of the Western Wall. For over forty years since the Six Day War, many dilemmas and struggles centering on this holy place have surfaced.
Jews throughout the world who became ardent Zionists during the 19th and 20th centuries relate the same personal testimony heard time and again in different voices: Zionism was, for them, first and foremost, a personal, existential redemption, a one-time opportunity to endow their lives with meaning. In leaving their homes in the country of their birth, they were not making a sacrifice, but rather reclaiming their souls from assimilation, emptiness, decadence and alienation.
The amiable short stories and plays penned by Herzl reveal another side of the man, very separate from the political person whose views are better known. This is especially true when it comes to Herzl’s stand on gender issues[note]In so doing, I echo both Avineri’s journey into Herzl’s diaries as the arena for Herzl’s most inner thoughts and revelations, and Stanislawski’s analysis of Herzl’s literature as the haven for his psychological complexity.
The word “Covenant” ( Brit) appears in over 200 places in the Tanach. It is used to describe a relationship between God and human beings as well as to indicate political alliance or cooperation between people or nations. Today the word generally refers to the special relationship between God and the Jewish people.
The notion of strengthening the visual and symbolic connection between we stern (geographically and culturally speaking) Jerusalem and the Old City was rekindled only after the Six Day War. It seems that this involves a process that is enormously complex, and which to this day has not yet been fully developed.