"Now, at last, Daniel Kotzin presents us with a comprehensive biography of Magnes, the fruits of many years of dedicated research. . . . He shows how Magnes sought to realize his American values through his work in Jerusalem, and how he championed democracy, humanistic values, and Jewish-Arab binationalism. To read this biography is to see Magnes in a new light: as a man ahead of his time whose life and ideals can still inspire Jews in our time."—Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History
"Magnes’s brilliance, provocative personality, and controversial views—he even reconstructed Zionism into a universalism which championed ‘the eternal right of every minority’—have daunted lesser scholars. Daniel Kotzin’s deeply researched, erudite, and eloquent biography brings Magnes, the maverick, to life."—Pamela S. Nadell, author of Women Who Would Be Rabbis
"Reveals the full story of Magnes’s diverse career. An American reform rabbi who advocated for change back to a more traditional outlook, he served at Congregation Emanu-El in Manhattan and, after disagreements with his congregation over his views, at the conservative Congregation B’nai Jeshurun. He helped found and served as first chancellor of Hebrew University. In the 1930s and ‘40s, he was a leading advocate for a binational plan for Palestine."—Jewish Week
Judah L. Magnes (1877-1948) was an American Reform rabbi, Jewish community leader, and active pacifist during World War I. In the 1920s he moved to British Mandatory Palestine, where he helped found and served as first chancellor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Later, in the 1930s and 1940s, he emerged as the leading advocate for the binational plan for Palestine. In these varied roles, he actively participated in the major transformations in American Jewish life and the Zionist movement during the first half of the twentieth century.
Kotzin tells the story of how Magnes, immersed in American Jewish life, Zionism, and Jewish life in Mandatory Palestine, rebelled against the dominant strains of all three. His tireless efforts ensured that Jewish public life was vibrant and diverse, and not controlled by any one faction within Jewry. Magnes brought American ideals to Palestine, and his unique conception of Zionism shaped Jewish public life in Palestine, influencing both the development of the Hebrew University and Zionist policy toward Arabs.
Daniel P. Kotzin is assistant professor in the Social Science Department at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research.
Series: Modern Jewish History
7 x 10, 498 pages, 13 black and white illustrations