Nadine L. Monn

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. David McQuilkin

Degree Award Date

Spring 2000


Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Theodor Herzl, Concepts of Zionism, 1850-1918


History of Religions of Western Origin | Jewish Studies


For my honor's project, I will compare Ashkenazi and Sephardic concepts of Zionism until the end of World War I, beginning in mid-nineteenth century and ending in 1918 with the war's end and the Balfour Declaration (1917). This would entail researching these populations in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and the United States, in order to gain a perspective on what each group's position was, and how the war affected and/ or changed their positions.

While it is a given that there will be similarities in the views of these two communities of the Jewish faith, I am more interested in comparing and contrasting the differences between them. What should a Jewish state have included? -What would have been the role of a Jewish state for its people in that time period? What would have been the role and/or purpose of a Jewish state within a world community? The differences in the Ashkenazi and Sephardic cultures will be the factor that defines their differing concepts towards Zionism.

I will be concentrating the project and my explorations on Theodor Herzl's concept of Zionism: that assimilation is a best case scenario, but impossible to achieve in light of Jewish persecutions. It was his work that pushed the formation of a political movement to found a Jewish state in Palestine, most notably with the creation of the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. But, I will not fail to include other possible options to the Jewish problem as presented by the Jews themselves.