Осень

Осень

пятница, 1 сентября 2017 г.

120 years later: 3 days in Basel that changed the course of the Jewish nation

ByGOL KALEV

 August 30, 2017 13:17

 The journey that was embarked on in the First Zionist Congress was the beginning of a Jewish transformation.

In late August 1897, some 200 Jews from 17 countries arrived in Basel, Switzerland.

Dressed in festive formal attire, the delegates entered the municipal casino concert hall, which was decorated with blue and white flags for the occasion. They heard three knocks of the gavel that launched the Congress and then watched Dr. Karpel Lippe, the oldest delegate, make his way up the stage. He covered his head, and to the tears of the delegates, recited the sheheheyanu blessing, thanking God for bringing the Jews to this time.

In late August 1897, some 200 Jews from 17 countries arrived in Basel, Switzerland.

Dressed in festive formal attire, the delegates entered the municipal casino concert hall, which was decorated with blue and white flags for the occasion. They heard three knocks of the gavel that launched the Congress and then watched Dr. Karpel Lippe, the oldest delegate, make his way up the stage. He covered his head, and to the tears of the delegates, recited the sheheheyanu blessing, thanking God for bringing the Jews to this time.

It is that abstraction, that ideology, that Herzl founded in Basel and which continues to serve as the bedrock of the Jewish state.

Herzl outlined such a vision in his opening speech. One of the delegates, Mordecai Ben-Ami, described the reaction: “For a few moments, the hall shook from the shouts of joy, the applause, the cheers and the feet-stomping. It felt as if the great dream of our nation, of 2,000 years, was now solved, and in front us stood Mashiach Ben-David.”

Right after the speech, the intense work began, turning the will of the people into actions: deliberations on national aspects, economic aspects, analysis of the conditions in the Land of Israel, reports of the state of the Jews in various communities, discussions about the revival of the Hebrew language, of Hebrew literature.