May 3 The Center for Jewish History Presents “‘Crackpot or Visionary’: Israel Zangwill, Isaac Steinberg, and the Jewish Territorialist Movement”
After leaving the Zionist Movement in 1905 following the so-called Uganda Controversy, the Jewish Territorialists sought to create settlements for Jews outside both Europe and Palestine. They explored possibilities from Angola to Australia and Tasmania, and from Madagascar to French and British Guiana and Suriname. At the head of the movement stood several prominent Jewish figures. Their biographies shed light on the multi-faceted nature of Jewish politics both before and after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948: for several decades, Zionism was not the only flavor on the menu for those looking to create a Jewish political future. Anglo-Jewish writer Israel Zangwill (1864-1926), author of classics such as Children of the Ghetto and The Melting Pot, was the first leader of the movement. He was followed as of the late 1930s by Russian émigré politician Isaac N. Steinberg (1888-1957), who had briefly served as Commissar of Justice under Lenin in 1917. There hardly could have been two more different men than the English gentleman Zangwill and the Russian socialist-revolutionary Steinberg, but both did share an almost literary-inspired idealism, infused with Jewish traditional and universalist elements.
In this talk, Dr. Laura Almagor, a Prins Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Jewish History, will touch upon the colorful life stories of the central Territorialist leaders, as a gateway to exploring the history of the Territorialist movement and its many—nowadays seemingly fantastical—pursuits.
Co-sponsored by YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
Tickets are free; reservations are recommended: