Ideas for Today

Ahad Ha’am & Cultural-Secular Judaism

Every form of secular Zionist identity today owes some of its foundational ideology to Ahad Ha'am (Asher Zvi Ginsberg).
Regev Ben-David teaches in and directs adult Jewish learning programs, mostly with Beit Midrash Israeli – Ein Prat. Regev is an independent researcher in the fields of Religion & State in Israel, contemporary Jewish identities, and Israel-Diaspora relations. He also took part, as an entrepreneur and activist, in several projects related to Jewish culture, including Limmud Jerusalem and YOM: Workshop for Pluralism in Judaism & State. Regev obtained his MA in Political Science from Bar-Ilan

Every form of secular Zionist identity today owes some of its foundational ideology to Ahad Ha’am (Asher Zvi Ginsberg). In paving the way for this spectrum of views and identities, Ahad Ha’am simultaneously debated Orthodox and assimilationist Jews, political and practical Zionism, and conservative and heterodox ideologies. In this session we will examine Ahad Ha’am’s dual argument: the legitimacy of non-religious Jewish identity and the need to maintain a traditional, cultural, and interpretational approach to Jewish tradition.

In this three-part series, Essential Texts of Zionist Thought and Modern Jewish Identity, Regev Ben-David explores the ideas of three highly influential Zionist thinkers of the early 20th century: Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, and Rav Kook. Together, we will examine their views on what it means to be a Jew in the modern world and the impact of their philosophies on the discourse about Jewish identity today.

This program is part of Ideas for Today, curated courses by Hartman Institute scholars on the big Jewish ideas we need to think better and do better.

Other classes in the series:

  • Herzl—Between Theodor & Benjamin Ze’ev
  • Rabbi Kook & The Religious-Zionist Aspiration

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