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Religious-Zionism IV: The United States

(3,316 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Dov
1Much has been written about the significant influence of American Jewry on the Zionist movement. This influence is also evident in religious-Zionism, at both the ideological and practical levels. Adherence to the religious-Zionist idea, together with the special and liberal features of American Jewry, generated a special kind of religious-Zionism that also affected the movement in the land of Israel. The problems confronting religious-Zionism in the United States were new and largely unique, su…

Astrology and Magic in Medieval Jewish Thought

(5,437 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Dov
Astral magic was a type of sorcery popular among Jewish intellectuals beginning in the early twelfth century. Its basic idea was that humans are capable of harnessing the celestial bodies for their use and benefit. The stars and the constellations produce a constant stream of influence or emanation, known as spirituality ( ruhaniyyat in the original Arabic), and they are a source of powerful forces. The nature of the emanation and the qualities of the forces depend on the heavenly bodies from which they derive and on their location in the heavens…

Israel, Land of, in Medieval and Renaissance Judaism

(8,124 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Dov
Treatments of the land of Israel in medieval Jewish thought address a number of central issues: (1) the scientific status (in the medieval sense of the term) of the country, mainly in terms of climatology and astrology; (2) the conceptual and metaphysical status of the country; (3) the relationship of the country to the religious commandments; and (4) the messianic significance of the country. Some thinkers, like Judah Halevi and Abraham ibn Ezra, discussed all these issues; others considered on…

Religious Zionism I: The Formative Years

(5,379 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Dov
1When Isaac Jacob Reines and other founders of the Mizrahi (an acronym for Merkaz Ruhani [spiritual center]) joined the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in 1902 it was the first time a religious faction was represented at a secular, political Jewish organization. Whereas in the Hibbat Zion movement, religionists and secularists had engaged in a mutual struggle without adopting a political identity, religious Jews in the Mizrahi defined themselves as a political body within a secular framework. Reines was conscious of having taken an innovative, fateful step, the conse…

Religious Zionism II: The Inter-War Years. From World War to the National Home

(13,280 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Dov
1Founding the Chief Rabbinate. Events in the late 1910s and early 1920s changed religious-Zionism. Some of these events were mainly of symbolic importance, although they were also politically and pragmatically significant, such as the founding of the Chief Rabbinate and the rise and fall of the Degel Yerushalayim movement. Some would later prove crucial to the character and the future of the Mizrahi to the point of changing its ideological course, such as the founding of Ha-Poʿel ha-Mizrahi. World War: The Dawn of a New Era? World War I resulted in a new situation concerning the …

Religious Zionism III: Since 1948

(8,459 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Dov
1The First Years of Israel: Hopes and Disappointments The study of religious-Zionism during the period of Israel's creation and its first years reveals the complex and intricate status of the movement in the process of national revival. On the one hand, this is a heroic chapter: religious-Zionism participated in the birth of the State and realized its hopes. Accordingly, the messianic interpretation of this event soared to new heights. On the other hand, the movement confronted the institutionalization …