This month the Humanistic Judaism Study Group will discuss the ideas raised by Theodor Herzl. Theodor Herzl was a well-educated, assimilated Jew from Vienna who was fulfilling his dream to be a writer. His newspaper, the Neu Freie Presse, sent him to France as its correspondent. It was covering the Dreyfus affair that Herzl thought deeply about antisemitism and developed his Zionist ideas. Are his ideas relevant to us today?
“I believe I understand Anti-Semitism, which is really a highly complex movement….I believe that I can see what elements there are in it of vulgar sport, of common trade jealousy, of inherited prejudice, of religious intolerance, and also of pretended self-defense.”
“The creation of a new State is neither ridiculous nor impossible.”
“Shall we end by having a theocracy? No, indeed. Faith unites us, knowledge gives us freedom. We shall therefore prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood.”