A community of communities

Israel Program: Balfour Declaration & Impact on American Jews

Israel Programming: The Balfour Declaration

with Dr. Reena Friedman & Rabbi Robert Tabak

Sundays at 10 AM - December 3 & 10

$40/GJC members, $55/non members

November 2, 2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of Britain’s Balfour Declaration, which stated that “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and would use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.” The Declaration marked a key turning point in modern Jewish history. Though the Zionist movement had begun decades earlier, its goals had now been recognized by a major power. Many Jews around the world were elated, while others expressed vocal opposition to political Zionism. In the United States as well, the Declaration had a major impact and generated a range of responses, including public celebrations, increased support for Zionist organizations, recruitment of young men for service in the Jewish Legion, and the strengthening of anti-Zionist opinion. This two-part series will explore American Jews’ responses to the Balfour Declaration, with a particular focus on reaction in the Philadelphia Jewish community. Through primary source documents and photos of the time, we will capture the drama of this historical moment, and discuss its contemporary significance.

Session 1: The Balfour Declaration & American Jews: Reaction & Responses

Session 2: The Balfour Declaration in Philadelphia: Hope & Rejection

Dr. Reena Sigman Friedman is Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, as well as Adjunct Professor in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program at Gratz College. She is the author of These Are Our Children: Jewish Orphanages in the United States, 1880-1925, several encyclopedia entries and numerous scholarly articles. She is a member of the NMAJH Education Committee. Dr. Friedman lectures widely on topics relating to various aspects of American Jewish History.

Rabbi Robert Tabak, PhD, wrote his dissertation (Temple University) on Philadelphia Jews between 1919-1945. He has lectured and written on Philadelphia Jewish history, and revised the article on Philadelphia for the 2007 second edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, has served as a hospital chaplain at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and taught at St. Joseph’s University and Cabrini University. He is a member of Minyan Dorshei Derekh.