The influence of Abba Hillel Silver's diaspora Zionism on his decision not to immigrate to Israel

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1 Scopus citations


The option of aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) poses a continuous challenge to any attempt to forge a diasporic version of Zionist ideology. This challenge grew twofold during the years immediately preceding and following the founding of the State of Israel. The article examines this challenge through the lens of Abba Hillel Silver, the leader of American Jewry during the period in question. While the Israeli leadership saw aliyah as a litmus test, indicating the degree to which Zionist leaders abroad were committed to the cause, for Silver the question was not one of dual loyalties between competing American and Israeli citizenships but a dilemma of inner American-Jewish identity. It is through this American-Jewish perspective that Silver's grappling with both the option of his own aliyah, and the importance of aliyah per se in American Zionism should be seen. An analysis of his views on the matter may illumine the evolving relations between diasporic transnationalism and homeland nationalism during the critical years when the homeland gains independence and sovereignty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-233
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Israeli History
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2012


  • Abba Hillel Silver
  • American Jewish identity
  • American Zionism
  • aliyah

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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