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Judah Leib "Leon" Pinsker

(1821 - 1891)


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Doctor and a founder and leader of the Hibbat Zion movement. Author of Auto-Emancipation. Born in Russian Poland in 1821. He inherited a strong sense of Jewish identity from his father, a Hebrew teacher and researcher. Pinsker firmly believed that the Jewish problem could be resolved if the Jews attained equal rights, but with the outbreak of anti-Jewish riots against Russian Jews in 1881, his views changed radically. He made a thorough study of Jews and Judaism, and in 1882 he anonymously published a rallying cry to Russian Jews ­ his German language pamphlet Autoemancipation, in which he urged the Jewish people to strive for independence, national consciousness and a return to independent territorialism.

Pinsker died in Russia in 1891 and his remains were brought to Eretz-Israel in 1934 and reburied in Nicanor's Cave next to Mount Scopus. The yishuv of Nahalat Yehudah near Rishon Le­zion is named after him, as well as streets in several towns in Israel.


Sources: The Jewish Agency for Israel and The World Zionist Organization

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