Ahad Ha’am Figurine
Ahad Ha’am (1856-1927) | Author and intellectual, among the first Zionist thinkers and the founder of cultural Zionism. Born Asher Zvi (Hirsch) Ginsberg in Skvyra, Ukraine to a Hassidic family, raised in Odessa. Studied Talmud, philosophy, sciences, and languages as an autodidact. He was among the leaders of the Hibbat Zion movement, participated in the Katowice Conference and founded the journal Ha-Shiloach, which served as an intellectual platform for a discussion of Zionist thought and Jewish culture. His seminal essay, This is Not the Way!, which he signed for the first time as “Ahad Ha’am”, described Judaism as a national-cultural identity with an affinity to tradition. He viewed Eretz Israel as a solution to the Jewish spiritual and cultural problem, rather than a safe haven, and reasoned that Jews should not make Aliyah before a national-spiritual center was established, built upon cultural and moral foundations. Ahad Ha’am founded the secret order ‘Bnei Moshe’ for spiritual training, was active in founding the Technion, promoted the Hebrew language, and helped obtain the Balfour Declaration. He immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1922 and lived in Tel Aviv, on the street named after him during his lifetime.