Page 82 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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Jewish history in terms of dialectical materialism, he also de­
veloped a theory of the organic unity of socialism and proletarian
nationalism. The abnormal economic plight of the Jewish pro­
letariat, he reasoned, could be remedied only in a land of its
Highly theoretical and dogmatic as Borochov’s formulations
were, they were extremely appealing to Jewish socialists of his
day and made socialist Zionism intellectually acceptable to them.
Borochov gradually veered away from exclusive reliance on
Marxist terminology to a more idealistic and outspokenly na­
tionalistic approach to Jewish problems. In contrast to Syrkin,
he was a devotee of Yiddish and an outstanding Yiddish philolo­
gist, linguist and literary historian.
Chaim Greenberg (1889-1953), a leading Zionist thinker,
editor and publicist, played a major role in reshaping attitudes
to Zionism and Jewish education and culture the world over
in light of the Holocaust, the establishment of Israel, and the
erosion of Jewish identity in the Western Diaspora. He inter­
preted Judaism as a dynamic, evolutionary process responsive
to the national will of the Jewish people.
Greenberg depicted both the natural gravitation of Jewry to
“universal content” and its simultaneous desire to preserve its
“national form” in positive terms. T he task of Zionism, as he
saw it, was to preserve Jewish individuality which was threatened
by the dissolution of the traditional ghetto. The latter, despite
its negative manifestations, was not without positive influence
and effect. The time had come to cease disparaging the historic
According to Greenberg, the fundamental objective of Jewish
education throughout the world was the dissemination of “He­
braism,” conceived as a viable, experimenting, self-renewing
civilization. Greenberg frowned upon the narrow linguistic de­
finition of Jewish education and culture. A staunch defender
of both Hebrew and Yiddish, he saw the need to disseminate
Jewishness in other languages as well.
Greenberg was also cognizant of the religious dimension of
human culture. He advocated deepening religio-ethical experi­
ence and appreciation of the religious aspects of existence as an
antidote to the alienating and desensitizing effects of modern
industrial society.