Page 138 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

Basic HTML Version

critical of the historic Kattowitz Conference of 1884 and its
chairman, Leon Pinsker, and he felt that an opportunity had been
missed in failing to convene the meeting in Constantinople.
In Odessa, Deinard was one of the founding members of the
Zerubavel society, one of the Hovevei Zion groups in the city.
When he came to America, he continued these activities. His
short-lived Hebrew periodical
was one of the first vehi­
cles to propagate the Hovevei Zion ideal in America; in it he
urged the Jews to engage in agriculture. In the 1890s Hovevei
Zion societies were organized around the idea of buying land in
Palestine for future settlement. Deinard was one of the leaders of
the Shavei Zion No. 2 Society. There was a proliferation of such
groups, each vying for leadership and engaging in slanderous
attacks upon each other.
He was greatly stirred by Theodor Herzl, the founder of politi­
cal Zionism. From San Francisco, he sent a telegram of blessings
to the first Zionist Congress meeting in Basle, in 1897. In Septem­
ber, 1902, he wrote to Mayer Sulzberger that he was tryng to
bring the Zionist Congress to America that following summer.
In 1913, Deinard bought a large piece of property near Ram-
leh, in Palestine. He built a house which accommodated his many
books and ceremonial objects and intended to establish a Jewish
settlement in the area. During the course of the First World War,
the property was vandalized by Turkish soldiers. Upon his return
to America in 1916, he wrote a book
(Pahadu B ’Zion Hataim,
which criticized the Zionist movement in Palestine and in
America. Whereas he praised the philanthropic generosity of
American Jewry during the war, he was disappointed by how few
“true” Zionists made aliyah. He opposed what he considered to be
the radical elements among the Jews living in Palestine. He also
criticized the disbursement of funds in Palestine. His attacks on
Zionist affairs both in Palestine and in America as found in
Pahadu B ’Zion Hataim
came to the attention of the Executive
Committee of the Federation of American Zionists and mention
was made of the “libelous character of the statements.”
While Deinard was in Palestine, the controversy over the lan­
guage of instruction in the Technion was in full force. The ques­
tion was whether Hebrew or German should be used. Though
Deinard was an established Hebrew writer, he did not concede
the need to modernize Hebrew. On several occasions he criticized
Eliezer ben Yehuda’s pioneering efforts. He preferred the older