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Aspirations and Achievements

Aspirations and Achievements
The Mizrahi in interwar Poland
Asaf Kaniel

In the period between the two World Wars, the Mizrahi Movement in Poland stood before a great challenge which presented a promise as well. The conservative nature of the Jewish Polish community and its nationalistic tendency fostered natural sympathy for Zionism in general and the Mizrahi in particular. At the beginning of this period the movement aspired to be the leading force in the orthodox society and in the Zionist movement. Its aim was to bring about massive immigration of orthodox Jews who would have a strong influence on the developing yishuv in Eretz Israel. It strived also to play a major role in the Jewish communities in Poland by spreading its educational and social message, which called for the preservation of tradition whilst dealing creatively with the challenges of modern life. This book examines the optimistic aspirations of the movement and reveals the gap between its hopes and its actual achievements, taking into account all the factors that influenced it, from internal matters regarding the management of its institutions to external conditions such as the disintegration of traditional society, the opposition of the orthodoxy to Zionism, the options for absorption in Eretz-Israel, and the policy of the Polish authorities to Jews. The book paints a living portrait of Mizrahi and its sister movement, who found themselves on a social and philosophical crossroads where they had to deal with modernization and acculturation on the one hand and conservatism on the other. They had to find their way between secular Zionists and the anti-Zionist orthodoxy. In this context the question of the role of Mizrahi is examined: was it a leading force in creating social changes or was its nature determined by these changes? The book uncovers the movement's human side – its surprising variedness, and its cultural, religious and social characteristics.

Danacode:   110-20169 ISBN:  978-965-226-379-7 Language:   Hebrew Pages:   376 Weight:   1000 gr Publication Date:   05/2011 Publisher:   Bar-Ilan University Press

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