We live in a modern Jewish world. The world that existed before modernity was a very different kind of a world, organized in a totally different way, based on different premises. In this chapter we are going to try and survey the changes in the Jewish world and the reasons for those changes.
Zionism has changed the face of Judaism and the course of Jewish history. Was the development of Zionism a revolution – a break with all Jewish ideology that went before it, the birth of a new Jew as master of his own destiny? Or, was it a realization of the unbroken loyalty the Jewish people held for their ancestral land? Was it a Jewish manifestation of nineteenth century state nationalism or a yearning for socialist utopia? Or maybe it was just another way to survive? Its origins, like Zionism itself, are complex and varied. In this lesson we will study the different ingredients and personalities that gave rise to modern Zionism and ask ourselves: did Zionism/the State of Israel provide the solutions to the problems its originators envisioned.