Remembering each and every person who was lost, may their memory be a blessing.
Dedicated by Mina and Suzanne Goodman

Day 57

The Beginnings of Zionism

Dedicated and with thanks, to those whose devotion and sacrifice has given the Jewish people their homeland. Gaby and Howard, Lucy and Joshua Morris.

Based on extracts from Israel: A History Ideology, politics, diplomacy, and war each have their place in this narrative, as do the stories of many individuals – some famous, others not – who contributed to the building of the State. The original pioneers came mostly from the Russian Empire, but they were supported by Jews from across the Jewish world. Since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE, the dispersed Jews prayed for a return to Zion. “Next year in Jerusalem” was the hope expressed at the end of every Passover meal. However, for two millennia that dream seemed a fantasy, and Zion, which had been under almost continuous Muslim rule since the seventh century, and under Ottoman rule since 1516, was possible only for a few. In addition, the perils of the journey could be severe. Of 1,500 Jews who travelled from Eastern Europe to Palestine in 1700, as many as 500 died on the way. Nevertheless, the imperative to return never died. In 1777, more than 300 Chassidic Jewish families made the journey from Poland and in 1812, some 400 followers of the Vilna Gaon journeyed from Lithuania. Such that by the middle of the 19th century, about 10,000 Jews lived in Palestine, mostly in Jerusalem with a few hundred in Jaffa, Safed, and Tiberias. There was also a small community in the town of Peki’in which had a tradition of continuous Jewish settlement since Roman times.


Sir Martin Gilbert

Sir Martin Gilbert is Winston Churchill’s official biographer, and
a leading historian of the Holocaust and of Israel. He is the author
of 88 books. He is an Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford.

Fact of the Day

Upon admission, some camps tattooed prisoners with a prisoner ID. Those fit for work were dispatched for 12 to 14-hour shifts. Before and after work shifts, there were roll calls that could sometimes last for hours, with prisoners regularly dying of exposure

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Today's Video

A scene from the movie “Cast a Giant Shadow”

70 Days for 70 Years is a project of The United Synagogue