Becoming Hebrew

Becoming Hebrew : The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine

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'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, he and other Zionist activists in Palestine-with the help of others elsewhere-attempted to transform what they perceived to be a dispersed and divided mass into the seeds of a modern nation. In this book, Arieh Bruce Saposnik tells the story of how they did it. While there has been a great deal of study of Zionist ideas of this period, Saposnik turns his focus elsewhere, showing how thee ideas were put into practice by Zionist activists in Palestine. The period from 1903-1914, he argues, was critical to the building of the infrastructure of national culture. Moreover, he shows, these activists did not attempt to build a traditional Jewish culture in a new place, but sought to effect a dramatic revolution in all aspects of Jewish life-a revolution with a complex relationship to traditional Jewish discourses, practices, and liturgy. Their view of 'culture' was expansive, involving all aspects of life, and both high culture and popular culture. Their revolution changed everything from the way they dressed to the art they created, from the holidays they celebrated to the language they spoke and the accent with which they spoke it. It also included politics, economics, medicine, and much more. Saposnik attempts to recapture this comprehensive view of culture and to show how images and ideas were translated into concrete cultural institutions, new art, rituals, language, and more.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 154 x 238 x 28mm | 621.42g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195331214
  • 9780195331219
  • 2,004,035

About Arieh B. Saposnik

Arieh Bruce Saposnik is Assistant Professor of Hebrew, School of International Letters and Cultures and Jess Schwartz Assistant Professor of Hebrew Culture, Program in Jewish Studies, Arizona State Universityshow more

Review quote

A provocative account of the formative years of Zionist national myth-making in early twentieth-century Palestine . . . Sapposnik makes an outstanding contribution to our historical understanding of early Zionist cultural production in Palestine, and he will inspire many to pick up where he has left off and further explore the foundational moments of Zionist culture and nationalism in Palestine. * American Historical Review *show more

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