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The life of Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) was as puzzling as it was brief. How did this cosmopolitan and assimilated European Jew become the leader of the Zionist movement? How could he be both an artist and a statesman, a rationalist and an aesthete, a stern moralist yet possessed of deep, and at times dark, passions? And why did scores of thousands of Jews, many of them from traditional backgrounds, embrace Herzl as their leader?
Acclaimed historian Derek Penslar shows that Herzl’s path to Zionism had as much to do with personal crises as it did with antisemitism.
Derek Penslar is the William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University, and was previously the Samuel Zacks Professor of European Jewish history at the University of Toronto. He is a historian of modern European Jewry, Zionism, and the state of Israel.
Trudy Gold is director of Holocaust Studies at JW3 and former chief executive of the LJCC. She is the editor in chief of Understanding the Holocaust.
Sponsored by Yachad.