Lost Love: The Untold Story of Henrietta Szold: Journal and Letters

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Henrietta Szold was a brilliant Jewish scholar who became a voice for the Zionist movement. She is best known as the founder of Hadassah, today the largest Jewish organization in the world. Yet in her earlier years, when she was editor of The Jewish Publication Society, she fell in love with the respected scholar Louis Ginzberg with whom she collaborated on a multitude of projects.

This book tells the story of Szold's lost love in her own words through a previously unpublished ...

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Overview

Henrietta Szold was a brilliant Jewish scholar who became a voice for the Zionist movement. She is best known as the founder of Hadassah, today the largest Jewish organization in the world. Yet in her earlier years, when she was editor of The Jewish Publication Society, she fell in love with the respected scholar Louis Ginzberg with whom she collaborated on a multitude of projects.

This book tells the story of Szold's lost love in her own words through a previously unpublished private journal that expresses longings and passions Szold kept secret from the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Szold (1860-1945) and Ginzberg (1873-1953) were two of the great figures of American Jewish life. Szold was one of the founders of Hadassah and Youth Aliyah, while Ginzberg was a professor of Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Szold's unrequited love for Ginzberg is revealed here in her diary writings and letters she exchanged with Ginzberg. Editor Shargel (Joseph and Miriam Ratner Ctr. for the Study of Conservative Judaism) has done a good job in introducing and editing the selections. A strange affair, the relationship was a story of knowledge, misunderstanding, and selfishness set in turn-of-the-century New York City. This book reveals with wonder a world and a people long gone. Their desires, hates, and concerns have been silenced, but the story redeems with love their poignant human existence. Recommended for Jewish studies collections.Gene Shaw, NYPL
Kirkus Reviews
A remarkable look into the private sorrow of a public woman in what she called the "dark chronicle of a broken heart."

It is a story with all the elements of a great melodrama: the spurned love of an older woman for a younger man who appears to court her, then suddenly becomes engaged to a much younger woman; gossip and scandal in a closed social milieu; and a final, shocking revelation about the man in question, a scholar and leader in the community. It is the true story of Henrietta Szold, the American Jewish Zionist who founded the women's organization Hadassah, and Dr. Lous Ginzberg, one of the first faculty members of the Jewish Theological Seminary, in the early years of this century. And as related here in Szold's own journal, written after the events in an attempt to "prove to myself that I was not a fool . . . that I may again respect myself," it becomes a powerful expression of passion aroused and thwarted late in a woman's life (Szold was in her 40s at the time, he was 13 years younger)—a woman previously dedicated to professional activity and intellectual pursuits. Having met Ginzberg at the seminary, Szold translated the lectures of the German-speaking scholar and ultimately, through her job with the Jewish Publication Society, became the editor and a translator on his classic work, Legends of the Jews. They took long walks in the park, he was an almost daily visitor at her home, and Szold was convinced he returned her love, until the fall of 1908, when Ginzberg returned from Europe to announce his engagement to a 21-year-old woman. This private journal records all the fluctuations in Szold's heart and mind as she tries to come to terms with the devastating loss.

Shargel does a service in presenting this moving document, which turns the frozen image of an iconic figure in American Jewish history into a the full-blooded portrait of, as Szold described herself, a "woman with a great capacity for love."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780827606296
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication date: 3/1/1997
  • Pages: 370
  • Product dimensions: 6.23 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
The Exceptional Friendship of Henrietta Szold and Louis Ginzberg 3
Meditation on Lost Love 31
Editor's Note: Sources and Structure 33
Awakening Love, 1903-1906 35
Critical Years, 1906-1908 61
Reconsiderations: "Dark Chronicle of a Broken Heart" 197
Epilogue 313
Writing a Life Before Living It 315
Abbreviations 339
Glossary of Proper Names 341
Notes 345
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