Who is a Yid? Reading the journal Der Yid beyond the Hebraist–Yiddishist binary

Roni Masel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The journal Der Yid was the first Yiddish periodical officially tied to a Zionist body. This article follows the shared genealogy of early Zionism and diasporic nationalism as expressed in Der Yid, and offers a revision to common notions on Yiddish cultural and political revival around the turn of the twentieth century. In contrast with a tendency to highlight a sharp divide between these movements, this article emphasizes the points of intimacy and convergence between the ostensibly opposing ideological and lingual choices of Hebraism-Zionism and Yiddishism-diasporism. More specifically, it analyses a controversy between Yiddishists and Hebraists, particularly Ahad Ha`am, generated by the very title of the journal during its first year of publication: Who is Der Yid–the Jew? Who is the ultimate imagined national readership and national collective of a Yiddish-language journal? By probing the populist, sentimentalist discourse that the journal produced, this article argues for a renewed evaluation of the presumably dichotomous constructions of Hebrew versus Yiddish, or Zionism versus diasporic nationalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-383
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Modern Jewish Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ahad Ha`am
  • Jewish nationalism
  • Zionism
  • affect
  • diaspora
  • language politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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