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Diaspora

Birth of Yiddish historian Chava Turniansky

July 21, 1937

"Yiddish is a language rich in humor, depth and expression.” - Historian Chava Turniansky

Esther: Bible

The heroine of the book named for her, Esther is a young Jewish woman living in exile in the Persian [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:308]diaspora[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], who through her youth and beauty becomes queen of the Persian Empire, and then by her wits and courage saves the Jewish people from destruction. The message of the Book of Esther, a work of historical fiction written in the diaspora in the late Persian—early Hellenistic period (fourth century b.c.e.), gives encouragement to the exiled Jews that they, although powerless in the Persian Empire, can, by their resourcefulness and talents, not only survive but prosper, as does Esther.

Rahel Katznelson

A thinker and teacher, Rahel Katznelson was one of the early activists in the Labor Movement and Mo’ezet ha-Po’alot in the Yishuv and Israel.

Hasidic Women in the United States

Hasidic women represent a unique face of American Judaism. As Hasidim—ultra-Orthodox Jews belonging to sectarian communities, worshiping and working as followers of specific rebbes—they are set apart from assimilated, mainstream American Jews. But as women in a subculture primarily defined by male religious studies, rituals, and legal obligations, they are also set apart from Hasidic men, whose recognizable styles of dress and yeshiva ingatherings have long presented a masculine standard for outsiders’ understanding of Hasidism.

Hadassah: Yishuv to the Present Day

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA) (hereafter: Hadassah) has a lengthy history of activity in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:432]Yishuv[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] and Israel, going back to 1913, about a year after it was founded in New York, and continuing to this day, with the exception of a short period during World War I. This activity, outstanding in its scope, continuity, stability and diversity, encompasses efforts in the sphere of health and medical services, and in the welfare of children and youth through support of Youth [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:293]Aliyah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], vocational education, vocational training and more.

Habsburg Monarchy: Nineteenth to Twentieth Centuries

The experience of Jewish women under the Habsburg Monarchy differed greatly according to the part of this large and extremely diverse country in which they lived. The Habsburg Monarchy was a dynastic state, whose territory had been acquired over many centuries and whose inhabitants spoke a wide array of languages, practiced many different religions, and constructed many different ethnic, national and cultural identities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Bracha Habas

Editor, writer and one of the first few women journalists in [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:309]Erez Israel[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], Bracha Habas was born in Alytus, a town in the district of Vilna (Lithuania) on January 20, 1900, to a wealthy and cultured family of merchants who were actively involved in communal life. (The family name is the acronym of Hakham Binyamin Sefardi or Hakham Beit Sefer [School].) Her grandfather, Rabbi Simha Zissel, the scion of a rabbinic family in Vilna (that of the Yesod, Yehudah ben Eliezer; Yesod is an acronym for Yehudah safra ve-[jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:307]dayyan[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], “Yehudah scribe and judge,” d. 1762), was the first member of the family to turn to trade, opening a large general store that became a center of life in the township. On the other hand, her father, Rabbi Israel, successfully combined business with study: ordained in the yeshivas of Volozhin and Slobodka, he turned to business as a leather merchant only after marriage; nevertheless he continued to teach and to lecture on [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary]-related subjects and, on joining the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:330]Hibbat Zion[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (Lovers of Zion) movement, was extremely active in converting people to the Zionist ideal and the study of Hebrew. He established a branch of Safah Berurah (“Plain Language,” a society founded in Jerusalem in 1889) in his hometown, was among the founders of the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:363]Mizrahi[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] movement in 1902 and, once in Erez Israel, edited a non-partisan religious Zionist journal, Ha-Yesod (1931). Habas’s mother, Nehama Devorah, daughter of Rabbi Nahman Schlesinger (a descendant of Rabbi Eliyahu, the Vilna [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:311]Gaon[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], 1720–1797), was also highly educated. Her father taught her Bible and she was fluent in both spoken and written Hebrew (an exceptional phenomenon among women born in the 1870s).

Michal Govrin

The equally powerful Zionist legacy of her father’s family adds a crucial dimension to the evolution of Govrin’s literary work. The story of his family’s immigration from the Ukraine to Palestine in the 1920s brings together Zionist ideological variants as represented by four generations. In her essay, The Case of Jewish Biography (2001), Govrin traces the story of her paternal great-grandfather, Izik Hajes (1856–1937), who mourned the destruction of the Temple and “carried his mystical messianic longings” to Jerusalem, where he settled in the hasidic neighborhood of Me’ah She’arim. Her grandfather, Mordecai Globman (1874–1943), was strictly orthodox; yet he supported the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:325]Haskalah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (Jewish secular enlightenment) and joined [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:331]Hovevei Zion[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (Lovers of Zion), the proto-Zionist movement which founded the first Jewish colonies in Ottoman-ruled Palestine. The writer’s father, Pinchas Govrin, was born in Shpilov in the Ukraine in 1904, emigrated to Palestine in 1921 and was among the founders of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:342]Kibbutz[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] Tel Yosef in 1921. He died in 1995. His brothers and the next generation adhered to the Zionist socialist platform of the Po’alei Zion, a Zionist workers’ movement, and came to Palestine as pioneers to establish [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:342]kibbutzim[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] and drain the swamps.

Children's Literature in Hebrew

All of these aspects are clearly reflected in the developmental patterns of Hebrew children’s literature at the end of the eighteenth century; likewise, the ways in which this literature became established serve to illustrate the factors that led to the institutionalization of children’s literature in Europe in general.

Strangeness and Home, Rock and Water

On Tuesday evening, I attended a reading (co-sponsored by the Jewish Women’s Archive) by scholar/writer/activist Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz from her new book The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism. There’s a lot in this book—too much to discuss in one blog entry. In sum, it examines historical and contemporary views on Jews and whiteness and the complexities of African/Jewish relations.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Diaspora." (Viewed on September 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/diaspora>.

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