Jewish Socialists in the United States: The Cahan Debate, 1925-1926

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Sussex Academic Press, Jan 1, 1998 - History - 259 pages
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In 1925 Abe (Abraham) Cahan, the strong and influential editor of the most important Jewish newspaper, Forward, and an outstanding leader of the Jewish Labor movement in the United States, visited Palestine in order to come to terms with the problem of Jewish mass migration from East Europe. During and following his trip Cahan published his impressions about the Jewish National Home. His publications stirred a public debate, which lasted almost a year, between the supporters and "Bundist” antagonists to Palestine. ... A lmost all major leaders in the Jewish labour movement participated in this debate, including Rogoff, Litvak, Panken, Pine, Charny-Vladek, Zivion and Morris Hillquit, one of the major leaders of the SP (the American Socialist Party). A major stronghold of the anti-Zionist Bund movement was, besides eastern Europe, in the United States. The perception of Jewish immigrants was that Palestine would not solve the problems and needs of the Jewish masses. The idea of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine was considered an illusion.

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About the author (1998)

Born in Russia in 1860 and trained as a teacher, Abraham Cahan emigrated to New York City in 1882. He documented the immigrant experience in Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto (1896) and examined the immigrant's struggle for the American dream of success in The Rise of David Levinsky (1917). His work was recognized and praised for its realism by William Dean Howells. In addition to producing a number of short story collections, he worked as a journalist and founded and edited the Yiddish newspaper Forverts (Jewish Daily Forward). His influence in the Jewish American cultural community has been extensive. Cahan was a committed socialist who fought strongly against communism.

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