Nahum Sokolow

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Nahum Sokolow

Nahum Sokolow (Nahum ben Joseph Samuel Sokolow, Hebrew: נחום ט' סוקולובNachum ben Yoseph Shmuel Soqolov, Yiddish: סאָקאָלאָוו, 10 January 1859 – 17 May 1936) was a Zionist leader, author, translator, and a pioneer of Hebrew journalism.

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Chairman of the National Committee, addresses the Zionist General Council Meeting in Jerusalem. From right to left: I. Rupaisen, Ben-Zion Mossinson, H. Farbstein, Nahum Sokolow, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Yosef Sprinzak, I. L. Goldberg, Shmaryahu Levin, Eliezer Kaplan (1935)

Biography[edit]

Born to a rabbinic family in Wyszogród, Poland (then Russian Empire), Sokolow began writing for the local Hebrew newspaper, HaTzefirah, when he was seventeen years old. He quickly won himself a huge following that crossed the boundaries of political and religious affiliation among Polish Jews, from secular intellectuals to anti-Zionist Haredim, and eventually had his own regular column. He eventually became the newspaper's senior editor and a co-owner.

He died in London in 1936.

Literary career[edit]

Sokolow was a prolific author and translator. His works include a three-volume history of Baruch Spinoza and his times, and various other biographies. He was the first to translate Theodor Herzl's utopian novel Altneuland into Hebrew, giving it the name Tel Aviv (literally, "An Ancient Hill of Spring"). In 1909, the name was adopted for the first modern Hebrew-speaking city: Tel Aviv.

Zionist activism[edit]

Nahum Sokolow, 1929

In 1906 Sokolow was asked to become the secretary general of the World Zionist Congress. In the ensuing years, he crisscrossed Europe and North America to promote the Zionist cause. During World War I, he lived in London, where he was a leading advocate for the Balfour Declaration of 1917, in which the British government declared its support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In 1931 he was elected President of the World Zionist Congress, and served in that capacity until 1935, when he was succeeded by Chaim Weizmann. He also served as President of the Jewish Agency for Palestine between 1931 and 1933 and was succeeded by Arthur Ruppin.

Sokolov came to Rome to gain support for the plan of a Jewish state in Palestine, where he spoke to Monsignor Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII. That Pope Benedict XV had vehemently condemned anti-semitism a year before was seen as a good omen.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Kibbutz Sde Nahum is named for him.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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