Upheavals of the modern period have dramatically changed the traditional pattern of the rescue of Jews by Jews. Whereas until the mid-nineteenth century rescue was carried out by community leaders in accordance with the religiously rooted injunction for the redemption of captives, in the modern period largely secular international Jewish organizations and the State of Israel have emerged as the primary instruments of expressing Jewish national solidarity. The campaigns to restore the exodus from the Soviet Union and to rescue Ethiopian Jews through Operation Moses are the most recent expressions of the imperative to save threatened Jewish communities and reconstitute them elsewhere. The dynamics and achievements of organized rescue in the modern period are critically assessed in this volume, which includes 18 interpretive essays and case studies by leading European, American and Israeli scholars.
Organizing Rescue is divided into four sections. The introductory essays examine the roots of Jewish solidarity in Jewish law, and trace the transformation of rescue activity from a religious to a largely secular undertaking. The three sections that follow group selected case studies chronologically. Part I, from the Damascus Affair to the First World War (1840-1914), deals with new patterns of response to the persecution of Jews in Europe, Asia and Africa under the impact of emancipation, nationalism and antisemitism. Part II, World Wars and the Shadow of the Holocaust (1914-1948), deals with the transitional period that brought hope and bitter disillusion to Jews in Europe and the Middle East. Part III, The Contemporary Period (1948 to the present), examines the different manifestations of Jewish national solidarity that developed in response to the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel.
These studies illuminate and evaluate the efforts of Jews to defend and preserve communities separated by vast distances and diverse cultural and political systems. By placing these studies in an integrated historical and comparative framework, Organizing Rescue provides a timely and unique perspective for understanding national Jewish solidarity in the modern period.
Introductions 1. Organizing the Rescue of Jews in the Modern Period Selwyn Ilan Troen 2. The Redemption of Captives in Halakhic Tradition: Problems and Policy Ya’akov Blidstein Part 1: From the Damascus Affair to the First World War 3. The Crisis as a Factor in Modern Jewish Politics, 1840 and 1881-1882 Jonathan Frankel 4. Ethnicity and Jewish Solidarity in Nineteenth-Century France Phyllis Cohen Albert 5. The Alliance Israélite Universelle and French Jewish Leadership vis-à-vis North African Jewry, 1860-1914 Simon Schwarzfuchs 6. The Kovno Circle of Rabbi Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: Organizing Western Public Opinion over Pogroms in the 1880s Israel Oppenheim 7. German Jews and the Jewish Emigration from Russia Moshe Zimmermann Part 2: World Wars and the Shadow of the Holocaust 8. Dr. Nahum Goldmann and the Policy of International Jewish Organizations Monty N. Penkower 9. Rescue and the Secular Perception: American Jewry and the Holocaust Henry L. Feingold 10. German Jewish Refugees in Palestine: The Early Years, 1932-1939 Jehuda Reinharz 11. The Emotional Elements in Ben-Gurion’s Relation to the Diaspora during the Holocaust Tuvia Friling 12. Activity of the Yishuv on Behalf of Iraqi Jewry, 1914-1948 Daphne Tsimhoni 13. The American Joint Distribution Committee and Polish Jewry 1944-1949 Yosef Litvak Part 3: The Contemporary Period 14. Jewish Solidarity and ‘Refuge Zionism’: The Case of B’nai B’rith Allon Gal 15. Diplomacy without Sovereignty: The World Jewish Congress Rescue Activities Avi Beker 16. Jewish Solidarity in the Integration of North African Jews in France Doris Bensimon 17. Israeli Activity on Behalf of Soviet Jewry Benjamin Pinkus 18. Jewish Solidarity and the Jews of Ethiopia Ephraim Isaac