Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader
Chair: Trudy Gold
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The life of Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) was as puzzling as it was brief. How did this cosmopolitan and assimilated European Jew become the leader of the Zionist movement? How could he be both an artist and a statesman, a rationalist and an aesthete, a stern moralist yet possessed of deep, and at times dark, passions? And why did scores of thousands of Jews, many of them from traditional backgrounds, embrace Herzl as their leader? Acclaimed historian Derek Penslar shows that Herzl’s path to Zionism had as mu to do with personal crises as it did with antisemitism.
Derek Penslar is Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies at Oxford. A native of California, he taught at the Universities of Indiana and Toronto, as well as Harvard and Columbia, before coming to Oxford in 2012. His books include Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Trudy Gold is director of Holocaust Studies at JW3 and former chief executive of the LJCC. She is the editor in chief of Understanding the Holocaust.