Ze’ev Jawitz (1847–1924) was one of the foremost intellectuals of the First Aliyah and a leader of the religious faction within the Hibbat Zion movement and the Zionist Organization. During his life he experienced the transition from living in the Diaspora to settling in the homeland, and he faced complex problems along with rare opportunities.
The Life and Thought of Ze’ev Jawitz: “To Cultivate a Hebrew Culture” is based on rich archival material, most of which has never been published. It moves along two axes: historically, it follows Jawitz’s life through the places where he lived: Jerusalem, Russia, Germany and England, and intellectually, it analyzes Jawitz’s literary and philosophical work against the backdrop of his time.
Asaf Yedidya is senior lecturer in Jewish history at Ariel University and Efrata College.
Chapter One: Roots and Beginnings
Chapter Two: 1882: A Turning Point
Chapter Three: The Land of Israel
Chapter Four: Jerusalem
Chapter Five: The History of Israel
Chapter Six: Vilna
Chapter Seven: Vision
Chapter Eight: Germany
Chapter Nine: England
Ze’ev Jawitz belongs to the pantheon of Jewish historians of the last century and has deserved an academic biography worthy of his stature. But as his approach to the organic development of Hebrew culture was too Orthodox for the non-religious; and the Orthodox considered his educational positions too innovative, it had to wait for a scholar working at the interstices of modern Judaism’s developments, who also had cosmopolitan interests. Asaf Yedidya, having established an international reputation in the fields of Orthodoxy and Wissenschaft and religious Zionism, is such a scholar. He has produced the long-awaited archive-based, comprehensive study, which follows Jawitz’s ideology-centered life-serving as a crucible for Orthodox-Zionist intellectual currents of his day.
A wonderful and timely tribute to one of the neglected and controversial historians who was popular and influential in early 20th Century, especially among the Zionist Orthodox. Dr. Asaf Yedidya should be thanked for bringing Ze`ev Jawitz back into the complex and fascinating story of modern Jewish Historiography.
The values of modernity challenged Jews across Europe. This deeply researched and deeply sympathetic biography of a singular Orthodox Eastern European intellectual and one of the founders of the Mizrachi Faction within the early Zionist movement is a fascinating contribution to understanding the multiple forms this wrenching transformation took.