Judah L. Magnes: An American Jewish Nonconformist

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Judah Magnes (1877-1948), a founder and first chancellor of Jerusalem's Hebrew University, was slowly drawn to Zionism as a new and different expression of Jewish identity during his college years at Cincinnati's Hebrew Union College, the center of 19th century American Reform Judaism. His stint as an associate rabbi at New York City's prestigious Temple Emanu-El brought him into close contact such trustees as banker Felix Warburg whose money would later enable Magnes to wrest control of Hebrew University from Chaim Weizmann and the World Zionist Organization. Magnes's pacifism during WWI cost him his distinguished position in American Jewish politics. In 1922 he arrived with his family in Palestine where he became immersed in creating a university that would encourage Jews to be Zionists and at the same time transcend nationalism; he publicly advocated for a culturally and politically bi-national Palestine. While well-written and rich with specifics, professor Kotzin's book (an expansion of his doctoral dissertation) is too specialized for a general audience but will be much appreciated by scholars of modern Israeli and American Jewish history. Photos.
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"A concise, readable and evenhanded survey of Magnes's life and ideas that is a must-read for anyone committed to understanding American Jewish life and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Kotzin tells the story of how Magnes brought American ideals to Palestine and how his unique conception of Zionism shaped Jewish public life in Palestine, influencing both the development of the Hebrew University and Zionist policy toward Arabs.
The Buffalo Jewish Review
“Judah Magnes is largely a forgotten figure despite his major role in the establishment of Hebrew University. He should also be remembered for helping to change the attitude towards Zionism among Reform Jews. Author Kotzin deserves our gratitude for telling the story of Magnes’s contributions.”
The Jewish Week
Reveals the full story of Magnes’s diverse career. An American reform rabbi who advocated for change back to a more traditional outlook, he served at Congregation Emanu-El in Manhattan and, after disagreements with his congregation over his views, at the conservative Congregation B’nai Jeshurun. He helped found and served as first chancellor of Hebrew University. In the 1930s and 40s, he was a leading advocate for a binational plan for Palestine.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815632160
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2010
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

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