“If the Jews wish to become a nation of 'Jewish Culture,'' Eliezer Ben-Yehuda wrote in 1904, ''they must first become truly a nation.''
Throughout the subsequent decade, Ben-Yehuda and other Zionist activists in Palestine attempted to transform a small, divided, economically depressed, and demographically declining Yishuv into the foundation of a modern nation.
The new “Hebrew” culture they sought to create encompassed everything from the way Yishuv Zionists dressed, the art they created and the literature they read, to the holidays they celebrated, the language they spoke and the accent with which they spoke it. Politics, economics and even medicine were mobilized to become dynamic parts of a new Jewish identity.
Join us as Professor Saposnik sheds new light on this transformation... the origins of Israel and Israeli culture.
Professor Arieh Saposnik is Associate Professor at the Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev. Before coming to BGU, Saposnik held the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Israel Studies at UCLA, where he was also the founding director of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.
Saposnik is a historian of Zionism and Jewish nationalism, interested, in the broader context, in the construction of national cultures and identities in the modern world. He is the author of Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine, published by Oxford University Press. In his current research, Saposnik is working on imagery and symbolism of the sacred in the making of Jewish nationalism, and in Zionism and Israeli culture in particular. He is also studying competing notions of the link between Jews and territory in the modern world.
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