“In Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it.”
For 2000 years Jews had yearned for home. Every Pesach Seder, every Yom Kippur service had ended on the poignant note, sung with joy, sung with pathos and perhaps with a question mark at its end, “Leshanah haba’ah biyrushalayim” Next year in Jerusalem?
Although a Jewish presence had never left the land of Israel, it was often tenuous and fragile; and very few had hope of it being transformed into a modern State before the advent of a messianic age, for those who believed in one.
Yet, in eight brief years, one man dedicated every ounce of his energies, talents, networks, family, wealth and health to establishing a modern, Jewish State.
His contemporaries differed radically in their evaluation of him. Some felt he was a religious rebel, others felt he was simply sane. Only a small portion of the Jewish people felt that he was a visionary, leading the beginning of an international revolution in Jewish affairs. History and providence have had their say.
This year, the 120th anniversary of the first World Zionist Congress, and the 100th anniversary of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, join the Academy and Rabbi Ramon Widmonte for a two-part voyage into the life, writings, visions and impact of Dr Theodor Herzl.
Because, one person can actually make the difference!