(1085-1142). Hebrew poet of the Middle Ages. Born in Spain when it was under Christian rule, he went to study at the academy of Isaac Al-Fasi in Lucena, near Cordova, in Moslem Spain. Having acquired an extensive knowledge of the Talmud, philosophy, Arabic literature, and medicine, he returned to his native town to be a practicing physician. In his youth, Judah’s joy of life was expressed in the poems he composed on love and the beauty of nature. Few Hebrew poems can rival the gracefulness, style, brilliance of expression, and tenderness found in the best of his poetry. His religious poems, on the other hand, are radiant with nobility of spirit and longing for the living God.

But he reserved his deepest passion and burning love for Zion; only in the land of Israel’s glorious past could the poet find peace and fulfillment. Judah realized his dream. He set out first by boat to Egypt, then to Palestine. This trip enriched Hebrew literature with ardent and powerful songs of the sea. Legend has it that when Judah reached the ruins of the Temple and he knelt at the Wailing Wall, an Arab horseman trampled him to death.

Many of Judah’s poems became part of the Jewish prayer book. His philosophic work The Kuzari greatly influenced Jewish thinking, attempting to prove the Jewish religion superior to the contemporary philosophic systems. Unlike Jewish philosophers before him, Judah Ha-Levi did not find it necessary to reconcile the Jewish religion with philosophic thought. For him, Jewish tradition needs no confirmation by reason; ethical perfection is best attained by religious observance. The Kuzari was written in the form of a discussion at the court of the king of the Khazars among representatives of the three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The king is finally convinced of the superiority of the Jewish religion. The Kuzari also stresses the intimate bond between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, expressing the thought that “Jerusalem will be built when the children of Israel strongly desire it.”


Literally, he who brings out. Referring to God’s bringing bread from the earth, this blessing is said before every meal.


Literally, working youth. A youth organization affiliated with the Histadrut, founded in 1924. Its members study handicrafts or prepare for agricultural settlement. It has branches through Israel, including the Arab and Druze sectors.


Literally, Zionist Youth. It started as a pioneering youth organization in Eastern Europe. Most of its members perished during the Holocaust. After the war it flourished in Latin America and western Europe. It has seven kibbutzim and five youth villages in Israel.


Literally, the young guard. Left-wing Zionist youth organization, first started in Poland in 1913. It became a major founder of kibbutzim in Israel and became prominent in Europe before the war. For a time it came under the influence of Marxism, which it eventually disavowed. It advocated close cooperation between Jews and Arabs. It was a major force in the founding of Israel, the Palmach, and the Haganah.

HABAKKUK (c. 630 B.C.E.).

Eighth of the twelve minor prophets. In the first chapter of his book, Habakkuk foresees the Chaldean invasion of Judea. In the second, he cries out against injustice; the third and final chapter is a striking poetic prayer.


Literally, stage. Renowned Hebrew theater in Israel, founded by a group of enthusiastic young artists in Moscow in 1918. In 1928, the Habimah made its permanent home in Palestine. Its repertoire has since grown to more than 100 plays. Its artistry has been acclaimed repeatedly during its several tours of Europe and in its visits to the U.S. It is now Israel’s national theater.


Middle Eastern desert tribes mentioned in 15th century B.C.E. documents found in Egypt. Some scholars believe they might be the ancient Hebrews.


World organization of Zionist youth. In the U.S. it resulted from a reorganization of Poale Zion (See Labor Zionism) in 1935.


The largest Zionist organization in the world, with more than 300,000 members in 1,500 chapters and groups in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It supports health and educational projects in Israel, including Hadassah  Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, youth resettlement programs, the Hadassah College of Technology, and the Hadassah Career Counseling Institute. Through its Young Judea movement with its network of clubs, summer camps, and Israel programs, Hadassah seeks to ensure a strong Zionist and Jewish commitment among American youth. It also mobilizes support for its medical work through Hadassah International, an organization of friends of the Medical Center in more than 30 countries around the world.

When Hadassah’s two American-trained nurses arrived in Palestine in 1913, the country was suffering from a high infant mortality rate, trachoma (a dreaded eye disease), malaria, and other diseases. The first project set up by the two nurses was a small welfare station in Jerusalem for maternity care and treatment of trachoma. In 1916, during World War I, Hadassah was chosen to provide a medical unit for Palestine. In 1918, the unit established a permanent hospital in Tiberias, took over the old Rothschild Hospital in Jerusalem and opened the first nurses training school in the country. The first infant welfare station was opened in 1921.

From these modest beginnings, Hadassah expanded its work, covering Palestine, now Israel, with a network of medical services and a variety of agricultural and vocational education programs. Through the Jewish National Fund, Hadassah has participated in the reclamation of thousands of acres of wastelands and in afforestation. Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadasssah, was the guiding spirit of Youth Aliyah from its inception in 1934 until her death in 1945. Hadassah is the largest organizational contributor to Youth Aliyah and has helped resettle more than 275,000 youngsters from some 80 nations.

Hadassah’s Medical Work. The Hadassah Medical Organization practices the principle of equality of treatment of patients regardless of race, faith, or ability to pay. Hadassah’s medical and health services are now consolidated into three facilities in Jerusalem: the 700-bed Medical Center at Ein Karem, the 300-bed community hospital on Mount Scopus, and a community health center at Kiryat HaYovel. Half a million patients are cared for annually in these institutions, and a full range of health disciplines is covered in Hadassah’s 105 medical, surgical, and health departments.

Also on the Ein Karem campus are the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School; the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, cofounded with Alpha Omega; the Hebrew University_Hadassah School of Occupational Therapy, the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine; and the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing. The Moshe Sharett Institute of Oncology provides advanced treatment for people with cancer. Inside the hospital’s Abbell Synagogue are magnificent stained-glass windows created for Hadassah by the artist Marc Chagall.

The Hadassah Medical Organization is renowned for its pacesetting work in teaching, healing, and research, setting standards in Israel for health care and medical education. The Medical Center houses the country’s first trauma unit and is the designated center for bone marrow transplantation. Twelve percent of the Medical Center’s work force is newly arrived Russian immigrants, most of whom have been retrained under Hadassah auspices.

For many years Hadassah has outreached to developing countries in Africa. Hadassah ophthalmologists have carried out thousands of eye operations in 11 different African countries. Together with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Hadassah established a hospital in Zaire. Hadassah physicians have assisted in establishing bone marrow facilities in the Far East and South America.

Hadassah’s Education and Child Rescue Programs. Hadassah early on recognized the need to provide quality vocational education and job training for the young people of Palestine. In 1942, it established the Seligsberg Vocational High School for Girls in Jerusalem. Two years later, the Brandeis Vocational Center for Boys opened. The high academic standards and creative approaches in these schools became the model for vocational programs in Israel. In 1969, the schools were merged into a coed high school integrating technical studies with academics. Recently, Hadassah transferred the school to the city of Jerusalem.

In 1970, Hadassah founded the first two-year college in Israel with the goal of providing professional and technological training in an academic setting that would allow students to compete in careers that promised jobs and a stable future. Today, the college offers courses in such highly technical fields as computer science, x-ray and imaging technology, printing, laboratory medicine, industrial design, and television professions.

Each year, more than 35,000 clients use Hadassah’s Career Counseling Institute, established in 1944, for its testing, counseling, and evaluation services.

Hadassah is co-owner with Youth Aliyah of Hadassah-Neurim, a residential village for Israeli teenagers, and sponsors day centers where troubled youngsters can receive technical training that will enable them to become useful and productive citizens. Special funds made available by have helped Youth Aliyah educate and absorb Ethiopian youth.

Hadassah in the United States. From Hadassah’s inception, its Jewish education program has been basic to its work. Through study groups, classes, and quality educational materials produced by Hadassah, members examine such topics as Zionism, Judaism, Jewish history and culture, Hebrew language and literature, and women’s issues. The monthly Hadassah Magazine features prize-winning articles on Hadassah’s work and on Jewish life in Israel and the rest of the world. Through its Zionist Affairs program, Hadassah serves as a resource center, educating members on issues that directly concern Israel and its relations with the U.S. Hadassah also works actively on the American scene as an advocate for democratic principles and as a force for freedom and equal rights.

Through its peer-led Zionist youth movement, Hadassah has helped thousands of young Americans become committed Jews and ardent Zionists. Cultural programs, sports and recreational activities, traditional religious observances, and summer and year-long Israel experiences instill in Young Judeans a lasting identification with Judaism and Zionism.


The largest women’s Zionist organization in Canada, was formed in 1919 by women and subsequently became a Federation of World Wizo. Its 320 chapters in 65 centers across Canada with a membership of 17,000, carrying on fundraising and educational activities. In Israel it supports 14 nurseries, two kindergartens, two youth clubs and the Haifa Community College, four women’s clubs, and two large schools: the Children’s and Youth Village at Hadassim and the Agricultural Secondary School and Village at Nahalal, which have graduated thousands of students to become productive citizens of Israel. As sole agency for Youth Aliyah in Canada, it supports and maintains the Acco Educational and Vocational Youth Village, the Magdiel Comprehensive Secondary School and Youth Village, the Nathanya Day Center, the Child Guidance and Hadassah-WIZO Canada Research Institute in Jerusalem, and the Abe and Sophie Bronfman School in Nehalim.

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO has given study centers and other facilities to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has assisted the Asaf Harofe Hospital in many phases of its development.

Hadassah-WIZO of Canada also has planted three forests in Israel through the Jewish National Fund.


From Hebrew, meaning conclusion. The section from the Prophets recited at the conclusion of the reading from the Torah, or Five Books of Moses, on the Sabbath, holidays, and during afternoon services on fast days. Each portion of the Torah has a specific Haftorah of its own; there is some connection, however remote, between the Torah reading and the Haftarah. Some Sabbath days are named after the Haftarah reading, such as Shabbat Hazon (Sabbath of Vision), when the first chapter of Isaiah, which begins with the words “The vision,” is read.

The Talmud says that the practice of Haftarah readings on the Sabbath goes back to the 1st century C.E. The early Tannaim gradually arranged for the addition of a specific Haftarah for each portion of the Torah.


Defense force of Jews in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel. In 1920, in the early days of the British mandatory regime in Palestine, the Arabs attacked the small Jewish settlement of Tel-Hai, near the Syrian border. A few defenders, headed by Joseph Trumpeldor, held Tel-Hai but fell in its defense. The Arabs intensified their attacks. The bloody outbreaks in Jerusalem on Passover 1920 and those in Tel Aviv in May 1921, convinced Jews that they could not depend on the British Army for protection, but that they must organize for self-defense. Thus, despite a British ban on Jewish arms, the secret Haganah (Army of Defense) was formed during the 1920’s.

In 1929, an attempt was made, under the leadership of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haij Amin el Husseini, to undermine the Yishuv, the Jewish community of Palestine. The Arabs massacred more than 50 yeshiva students in the Arab town of Hebron, and killed a number of Jews in old Jerusalem and Safed, all of them unarmed and defenseless. Their attacks on new settlements, however, were repelled by the Haganah.

The Arabs repeated their efforts to destroy the Yishuv in 1936. For 32 months, Arab bands harassed Jewish settlements. They caused considerable damage to property and took 500 lives. These repeated widespread Arab attacks hastened the formation of a large and powerful Jewish fighting force. First, units of Jewish special police were organized, and later Special Night Squads (SNS) were trained and led by the colorful British officer Orde Wingate. A master tactician, a Bible scholar, and an ally of the Jews, he developed commando methods to defeat the Arab bands. These SNS groups served as a training unit for the famous Palmach, the Jewish striking force.

On the eve of World War II, the Haganah forces numbered close to 15,000 men. The Yishuv was ready to make its contribution to the victory over the Nazis. Out of a total population of 500,000, 36,000 men and women registered for military and auxiliary services. Palestinian Jews joined all branches of military service and gained valuable experience as sailors, pilots, gunners, and draughtsmen. A Jewish Death Battalion of Commandos took part in the Abyssinian campaigns against the Italian invaders. Some units rendered outstanding service to the British Eighth Army that drove the Nazis out of North Africa.

All in all, close to 30,000 Palestinian Jews served in the Allied armed forces. On September 18, 1944, a Jewish Brigade was formed. Units of the Brigade participated in the campaigns in Italy. When the war ended, and before the Brigade was demobilized, it came to the aid of survivors of the Holocaust, strengthening their determination to reach the shores of the Jewish homeland.

The doors of Palestine were closed to Jewish immigrants by the British, who sought to appease the Arabs. The task of organizing the illegal entry of Jews into Palestine fell to the Haganah. After the war, it established an “illegal” underground immigration system through which Jews from all over Europe streamed to Palestine. A number of ships carrying Jewish immigrants to Palestine were intercepted and bitter fights ensued.

The issue of free immigration became the central point of the struggle between the British Administration and Palestinian Jews. The British concentrated a force of 100,000 in the area to “pacify” the Jews. Searches for hidden arms were carried on day and night. Haganah leaders were arrested and sent to detention camps, but the Jewish resistance movement continued to grow.

After the partition of Palestine by the UN decision of November 29, 1947, the Arabs embarked on an all-out campaign to destroy the Yishuv. The armies of seven Arab states invaded Palestine. Overnight, the Haganah was transformed into the Israel Defense Forces and held the invading Arab armies at bay. Despite meager equipment and arms, the Israeli artillery, air force, and navy gave an excellent account of themselves and secured the present borders of the Jewish state.


When Sarah appeared to be barren, she gave Abraham her maid Hagar, who bore him Ishmael. Hagar was sent away by divine decree. Her son became the progenitor of the Arab people.


From Hebrew, meaning narration. The book containing the Passover Seder service. Written in Hebrew with some passages in Aramaic, the Haggadah tells the story of the exodus from Egypt. The original Seder probably consisted of the eating of the Paschal lamb, followed by an informal narration of the Passover story by the head of the house. During the period of the Second Temple, when daily and Sabbath prayers were assuming a standard form, there was a need for a uniform way of fulfilling the commandment of “telling” the Passover story. The first suggestions for the planning of the Seder service appear in the Talmud, where such parts of the present-day Haggadah as the Four Cups of wine and the Four Sons are mentioned. By 200 C.E., the Haggadah had a fairly fixed form; as time went on, additional material such as psalms were added. The Passover service became so long that sometime during the Middle Ages it was divided into two parts. The first part, including the Four Questions, narration of the exodus, and explanations of symbols, was recited before the meal. The second part consisted of the Grace, psalms, and songs after the meal. To make sure everyone understood the Haggadah, it was translated into many languages and often illustrated with biblical scenes and pictures of the Seder service. Many editions of the Haggadah have been written and printed throughout the world. The earliest manuscript available is from the 13th century; the earliest extant printed Haggadah carries the date 1505.


One of the minor prophets in the Bible. He encouraged Zerubbabel, governor of Judea after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile, and urged the rebuilding of the Temple. Haggai’s prophecy that the Second Temple would be more beautiful than the first was fulfilled.


See Bible.

HAI GAON (939-1038).

Head of the academy of Pumbeditha, Babylonia, Hai Gaon was the foremost authority of Talmudic law in his time. He was the last of the Geonim in Babylonia. In addition to his vast knowledge of Jewish law, he was familiar with Greek philosophy and Arabic literature and wrote poems and commentaries on the Bible.


Israel’s principal port, situated where the mountains meet the sea. Metropolitan Haifa has a population of 475,000. The city extends over the foot, slopes, and crest of Mount Carmel. Greater Haifa also includes Haifa Bay between the Kishon and Naaman rivers, with its oil refineries and heavy industries, as well as a chain of suburbs and villages. The lower city, fringing the harbor, is the mercantile center. Hadar Hacarmel is the residential and shopping section, interspersed with parks and gardens. Mount Carmel with its splendid forests, terraces of Persian gardens, and white villas commands a matchless view of the city, the sea, and the broad sweep of the bay, with snow-capped Mount Hermon in the hazy distance.

Haifa is not mentioned in the Bible, and is referred to only casually in the Talmud as a fishing village. Herzl called it the “city of the future” when it was still a small town of twisted streets. Until recent times it was cast in the shade by its rival Acre.

Its first Jewish community consisted of Moroccan and Algerian Jews who settled there in 1833. Once, it was linked with Damascus by the Hedjaz railway, and later to Cairo. Haifa’s growth has been phenomenal, spurred by the construction of the deep sea harbor by the British mandatory government. When the British departed in 1948, the Jewish population took over the city, which has become the metropolis of northern Israel.

The city of Haifa has two institutions of higher learning, the Technion and the University of Haifa.


Several Spanish Jewish families settled in Haiti in the 16th century. They were driven out when the French, who did not favor Jewish colonists, took the island from the Spanish in 1683. Because the predominantly Black republic of Haiti does not favor white immigration, few Jews have settled here, however, a number arrived during World War II. Currently, there are 100 Jews out of a population of about 6 million. All are engaged in commerce. There is no organized Jewish community in this island republic.


Term applied to Jewish law as interpreted by the masters of the Talmud and later authorities. The legal framework of Jewish tradition, especially the Mishnah and rabbinic laws, is known as Halacha, as distinguished from the legendary and narrative portions of the Talmud, called Aggadah.


Literally, encircling. During the Sukkot festival, culminating with Simchat Torah, people march around with the scroll of Torah carrying a lulav and an etrog, reminiscent of the procession around the altar in the time of the Temple.

Braided egg bread for the Friday night Sabbath meal, symbolic of the bread offering in the Temple.


Literally, hymns of praise. Consists of Psalms 113-118, which were sung by the Levites in the Temple in Jerusalem on Sukkot, Passover, Shavuot, and later Hanukkah. Hallel became part of the synagogue morning service for those days and New Moons. During the chanting of Hallel on Sukkot the lulav, or palm branch, is waved. Some congregations recite Hallel on Passover after the evening service, and it is also part of the Seder, or Passover service. (See also Prayer.)

HALPERN, ROSE (1895-1978).

American Zionist leader. She headed Hadassah (1932-34, 1947-52) and became head of the American division of the World Jewish Congress in 1969.


Literally, distribution. A system for the support of Jews in Palestine with funds raised abroad. The tradition of subsidizing Palestinian Jews goes back to Talmudic times when higher institutions of Jewish learning received such support. Systematic halukah began in 1600, when fairly large numbers of Jews settled in the Holy Cities of Jerusalem, Safed, Hebron, and Tiberias to pray for the coming of the Messiah. Lacking means of support, they sent messengers, or meshulahim, to raise money in the Diaspora. During the 19th century halukah contributions came from the entire Jewish world. When the Zionist movement replaced Messianic longings with the ideal of self-help, halukah fell into disrepute. It still exists, but its scope has been reduced to a minimum.


Literally, pioneers. The term came into widespread use after World War I, when Joseph Trumpeldor helped found the Hechalutz movement in Russia. Inspired by the ideal of rebuilding Palestine as a Jewish homeland, Halutzim came from coun_tries ravaged by war and revolutions. To reach their goal, Russian Halutzim traveled dangerous roads over the Balkan lands and Caucasian mountains. Halutzim made up the bulk of the Third Aliyah, or immigration, to Palestine from 1918 to 1924. They undertook the most difficult tasks, building roads, draining swamps, and establishing colonies.

The first World Conference of the Hechalutz movement took place in Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia, in 1921. The movement established hakhsharot, or training farms, in many countries, particularly in Poland and other East European nations. The farms prepared the young Halutzim for agricultural life in Palestine, learning Hebrew and receiving a deeper knowledge of their people’s history. Before World War II, Hechalutz members numbered in the tens of thousands. At the present time, Hechalutz organizations exist in North and Latin America, North and South Africa, and several European countries.


Literally, warm or hot. Second son of Noah, whose descendants are described in Gen. 10:6-20 as inhabiting the southernmost regions of the earth.


See Purim.


See Passover.


American industrialist and art collector. He had business deals with Soviet Russia and became the owner of Occidental Petroleum Company, the world’s largest privately-owned oil company. An art museum in Los Angeles is named after him.

See Music.


Mother of the prophet Samuel, Hannah is famous for her story of barrenness and miraculous birth, which is recited on Rosh Hashanah.


The Feast of Dedication and Lights, which falls on the 25th of Kislev and lasts for eight days. It marks the rededication of the Temple by Judah Maccabee in 165 B.C.E. after his victory over the Syrians who had defiled the sanctuary. Tradition relates that Judah could find only a single cruse of oil which had not been contaminated by the enemy. Although it contained only enough oil to light the menorah for one day, a miracle took place, and it burned for eight. Therefore, candles are lit throughout the holiday, one on the eve of the first day, two on the eve of the second, and so forth, until eight are kindled on the last evening.

A feast of liberation symbolizing the victory of the few over the many and of the weak over the strong, Hanukkah is one of the most joyful Jewish holidays. Gifts are given to children at candle-lighting time, and it is customary to play with a small top, or the dreidel, inscribed with the Hebrew letters N, G, H, and S. These stand for the words, Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, meaning, “A great miracle happened there.”

In the synagogue, the Torah is read every day of Hanukkah, and Hallel, or Hymns of Praise, consisting of Psalms 113-118, is chanted. One of the hymns sung after the candles are lit is Maoz Zur (Rock of Ages). The prayer of Al Ha-Nissim (For the Miracles), which recounts the story of Hanukkah, is added to the Eighteen Benedictions and the usual order of Grace after meals.

The story of Hanukkah, which tells of the evil decrees of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Jews and the triumph of the Maccabees over their enemies, is related in the Book of the Maccabees of the Apocrypha. The second book contains the story of Hannah and her seven children who refused to bow before an idol and suffered a martyr’s death at the hands of Antiochus’ henchmen.

HARBY, ISAAC (1788-1828).

Critic, playwright, precursor of Reform Judaism. Born in Charleston, S.C., Harby received a thorough classical education, studied law, and became a journalist. His critical essays and dramatic plays brought him considerable reputation. In 1824, he organized the Reform Society of Israelites, which sought to make changes in the traditional synagogue service. This organization lasted less than a decade; but it pointed the way to the later Reform movement in American Judaism.


See Stage and Screen.


See Spain.


Literally, the watchman. From the beginning of modern Jewish settlement in Palestine in 1882, the settlers were exposed to attacks by their Arab neighbors. They resisted vigorously, and the Arabs soon realized that they faced a new type of Jew. Unlike their predecessors who had come to Palestine only to pray and die, the new settlers refused to be intimidated by physical threats. Some of these early heroic defenders became legends. They often fought the Arab marauders single-handed. At the same time they learned Arabic, studied Arab ways of thinking and living, and succeeded in establishing friendly relations with their Arab neighbors.

The first organized self-defense group was established in Palestine in 1907. The valor of this group of watchmen, which called itself Hashomer, soon became famous throughout Palestine. Galloping on their thoroughbred horses along the narrow paths of the Galilee mountains and valleys, the Shomrim were romantic figures. They paid a heavy price for their daring. Many of them fell fighting off armed marauders. They were also among the first to establish frontier settlements in Palestine; K’far Giladi in the north was an outstanding example.


Religious movement which began in the 18th century. At that time, life for the masses of Jews in the Ukraine and southern Europe was bitter and difficult. Jewish communities were destroyed or annihilated by the Cossack and peasant uprisings, and most Jews lived in stark poverty. Economically helpless, they were unable to acquire much learning. The scholarly rabbis and community leaders looked down upon the illiterate and semi-literate masses who spent their lives in poverty and ignorance.

To the common people who craved spiritual uplift, the personality and teachings of Israel Baal Shem Tov offered hope and dignity. The “Baal Shem” (ca. 1700-1760), founder of the Hasidic movement, placed prayer and faith on an equal level with scholarship and knowledge of the Law. Hasidism, therefore, appealed greatly to these “forgotten” Jews, for they no longer had to feel inferior to the scholar. Even the ignorant person, the Baal Shem taught, could find grace in the eyes of God if he prayed with purity of heart, devotion, and enthusiasm. Hasidism also introduced the idea of serving God with joy and happiness. It was opposed to excessive mourning and fasting as weakening to both the body and the soul.

The Hasidic movement encouraged a close bond among its followers. Mutual trust and companionship fostered a spirit of brotherhood. In the center of the closely knit group stood the tzaddik, or righteous man, the spiritual leader of the community who had reached a close union with God. He served as an intermediary between the Heavenly Power and man. His disciples’ admiration for the tzaddik and the faith in his powers were boundless. The Hasidism believed that through prayers the tzaddik could alter the decrees of God and even perform miracles. The position and ability of the tzaddik were believed to be hereditary. This trust and loyalty in the leader was at times carried to excess, and obscured the true meaning of Hasidism.

The Hasidic movement spread rapidly through the Ukraine, Poland, Galicia, and penetrated even the fortress of Jewish scholarship, Lithuania. The stress on prayer by the new popular movement; its lesser emphasis on Talmudic study; the creation of separate houses of prayer with some changes in liturgy; the extreme reliance on the tzaddik; and the inspired singing and dancing which was new to traditional services of the time: all of these deviations aroused bitter opposition from the Mitnagdim, the opponents of Hasidism. The opposition to the movement spread to many communities. Rabbis and leaders were alarmed at the rapid growth of Hasidism. The memory of the tragic Sabbatai Zevi affair contributed to the rabbis’ fear that Hasidism might cause a rift in Judaism. The greatest rabbinical authority of the 18th century, the Gaon Elijah of Vilna, shared this distrust of Hasidism. In a letter to all Jewish communities in Lithuania, he urged an all-out campaign against the Hasidic movement. This internal conflict at times took on ugly forms; false accusations were made to the governmental authorities, opponents were excommunicated, and physical violence was not uncommon.

Yet all these persecutions did not stop the advance of Hasidism. Opposing rabbis and leaders finally realized that the new movement did not represent a threat to Jewish unity. Hasidism, on the other hand, recognized the value of the study of the law, while retaining its own character and appeal to the Jewish masses. In fact, Hasidism today is associated with extreme Orthodoxy, and its followers often wear distinct garb and oppose secular studies.

After the death of the Baal Shem Tov, the movement was led by his disciple, Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezhirich (1710-1772), also known as the great Maggid, or preacher. His “court” at the small town of Mezhirich became the center for the movement. Thousands of Jews flocked there to benefit from his wisdom and learning. His position as a scholar, preacher, and mystic contributed greatly toward the popular spread of Hasidism: eventually, it came to influence scholars as well.

Numerous disciples of Ber of Mezhirich established themselves as tzaddikim in their own right. They settled in various towns where they gained followers and influenced large numbers. Each one of them left an individual mark on Hasidism. Prominent among the famous Hasidic rabbis was Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev (1740-1809). His love for the individual was the predominant facet in his personality. In moving prayers, he appealed to God to put an end to the suffering of the Jewish people. His devotion to simple people and his kindness and understanding for the weaknesses of human nature became the subjects of numerous legends.

Another great disciple of Dov Ber of Mezhirich was Shneour Zalman (1748-1812), known as the Rabbi of Ladi. He introduced to Hasidism a more rational concept of Judaism, based on a profound knowledge of the Talmud and the Kabbalah, or teachings of Jewish mysticism. In the Tanya, Shneour Zalman formulated the three bases of his form of Hasidism: Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge (Chabad). Shneour Zalman emphasized scholarship as one of the pillars of Hasidism. He was among those falsely denounced for plotting against the Russian government. He was imprisoned and not released until his innocence had been clearly established. The branch of Hasidism begun by Shneour Zalman eventually became known as the Chabad or Lubavitch movement. (See Shneerson.)

One of the most original and creative Hasidic teachers was Nachman of Bratzlav, the grandson of the Baal Shem. Close to nature and poetic, he preached the doctrine of simple and direct faith. For a short time he lived in Palestine and for the remainder of his life cherished a burning love for Zion. Nachman was a master of parable and fairytales in which he displayed a rich imagination and a deep morality.

Hasidism branched out in different directions and assumed various forms. The movement produced great teachers who enriched Jewish values and exerted great influence on the spiritual life of Jews for 200 years. Pinkhas of Koretz, Elimelekh of Lizhensk, Jacob Yitzhak of Lublin (“The Seer”), Mendel of Kotzk, and many others were leaders who extended the influence and scope of Hasidism. To this day, Hasidism remains a vital force among Jews around the world. Many Hasidic rebbes who survived the Holocaust resettled in the U.S. and Israel and established new communities. In modern times, Hasidism has served as a source of inspiration for such non-Hasidic literary masters as Peretz, Berditchevsky, Asch, and Agnon. Jewish culture as a whole owes a great debt to the movement. Almost every form of artistic expression


See Maccabees.


Literally, The Hope. The national anthem of Israel. Written in 1878 by the poet Naphtali Herz Imber and set to music by Samuel Cohen, it was adopted as the Zionist national anthem early in the 20th century. Since then, it has been accepted by Jews throughout the world. Ha-Tikvah expresses the eternal hope of Israel to live as a free nation in the land of Zion. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, Ha-Tikvah, with a slight change of the wording in its last two lines, became the national anthem.

. See Sabbath.


Literally, fellowship. Small groups of Jews who meet for study and fellowship, begun after the destruction of the Second Temple in the 1st century C.E. In the U.S. in the late 1960’s, because of their discontent with organized Jewish life and the alienation of individuals and families in society, Jews inside and outside the organized community formed such groups to revitalize the Jewish experience. Some of those Havurot have endured as a new expression of the grassroots American Jewish experience.


. Fiftieth state of the U.S., admitted on August 21, 1959, there were about 7,000 Jews in Hawaii, most of them in Honolulu, comprising less than one percent of the general population. The majority came to the Islands during the past 20 years. Community life centers around Temple Emanu-El which conducts a religious school and adult education courses.


Originally, at the time of the Talmud, the hazan was a caretaker of the synagogue and a functionary at the religious ceremonials. Today, the term hazan, or cantor, is applied to one who chants the religious services at temple and synagogue.

Modern cantonal music had its origin in the work of the Jewish Italian rabbi and composer, Salomon Rossi. Salomon Sulzer, Louis Lewandowsky, and many other hazanim in the 19th century helped develop the cantonal music used extensively in the synagogue to this day. Among the great cantors of our time, Rosenblatt, Kusevitsky, and Oysher stand out.

HAZAZ, CHAIM (1898-1973).

One of the great masters of Hebrew prose. He won early recognition with his portrayal of life in a Jewish small town during the Russian revolution and civil war of 1917. His range of writing embraces Jewish life in many countries and generations. One of his penetrating satirical novels on the life of Yemenite Jewry has been translated into English and published as Mori Said. Born in Ukraine, he settled in Palestine in 1931.


Fortress on a hill in northeastern Galilee; site of one of the major archeological discoveries of our time (See Yadin). It revealed several ancient civilizations, inspiring James Michener’s The Source, a historical novel about Jews and Israel.


In the Hebrew Bible there is little mention of life after death. Basically, life in ancient Israel was here and now, and posterity simply meant the perpetuation of life through one’s descendants. In the story of creation, life begins in the Garden of Eden, or paradise, which lasts for only one generation (See Adam and Eve). Later, we find allusions to a netherworld called Sheol, where one goes after death, but it is never explained in any detail.

It is not until the post-biblical period that new beliefs in life after death and in reward and punishment in the next life begin to emerge. These new beliefs coincided with similar ideas in Christianity, the new religion of that time to which those beliefs were central. But even in Talmudic literature the ideas about heaven and hell remain vague, more allegorical than dogmatic. In Hebrew “heaven” is referred to as Gan Eden, or Garden of Eden, and “hell” is gehinom, the name of a valley outside Jerusalem where the scapegoat was sacrificed on Yom Kippur. In one Talmudic story, heaven is described as the place where the righteous people sit in a circle with crowns on their heads and learn divine wisdom directly from God.

In the Middle Ages, a time of supernatural belief and superstition, the idea of heaven and hell became well established and quite vivid, and many Jews lived in fear of hell and deep hope for heaven. In modern times, however, Reform Jews choose to believe in the immortality of the soul, while the Orthodox continue to believe in heaven and hell. Conservative Judaism leaves this belief to the individual.

A belief related to heaven and hell is the resurrection of the dead, one of Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles of the Jewish faith. Yet even Maimonides vacillates when he discusses this belief. Another related idea is the transmigration of souls, which appears in the Kabbalah as gilgul neshamot.

Regardless, however, of individuals’ belief in heaven and hell, the focus of Judaism has always been on life here and now, the time during which one must live a worthy life.


Hebrew belongs to the northern group of Semitic languages, which also includes Aramaic, Assyrian, Arabic, and Syriac. Most of the ancient peoples in the lands adjoining Palestine—the Moabites, Amorites, and Edomites—seem to have spoken a common language.
The ancient Ugaritic tablets dating back to the 14th century B.C.E. and found in the city of Ugarit in Northern Syria, and the Moabite Stone of King Mesha from 9th century B.C.E. are both written in Hebrew or in a closely related dialect. Although Hebrew under­went many modifications in the course of genera­tions, it has retained its ancient structure and character. It is basically the same language today as 3,500 years ago in the days of the Patriarchs. The rich literature of the Bible has preserved for us some of the ancient forms of the language as well as its basic characteristics.

The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters, all consonants. Vowel signs were invented much later for easier reading and are placed under and above the consonants. However, even in ancient times, some letters, such as Aleph, He, Vav, and Yod, served the purpose of vowels. All the parts of speech and word forms are based on a root, generally con­sisting of three letters. This root is expanded by means of prefixes and suffixes, as well as by changes in sound or vocalization. A verb may be used in several and sometimes all of the seven conjugations, giving the language flexibility.

Biblical Hebrew is distinguished by its simplicity and directness. It is vivid and expressive, lending itself beautifully to the poetic form. At the same time, it has few abstract forms, adjectives, and adverbs.

During the Babylonian Exile (586 B.C.E.) the development of Hebrew was marked by the ever­-increasing influence of the Aramaic language on Hebrew grammar and vocabulary. During the period of the Second Temple, Mishnaic Hebrew came into being. The language of the Mishnah essentially follows the rules of biblical Hebrew, but it is enriched with new words and grammatical forms. Greek and Latin terms were assimilated and given Hebraic form. The language became more descriptive and now better equipped to express ideas, both practical and abstract.

Although Hebrew was rarely used again as an everyday language until the growth of modern Zionism in the 19th century, it continued as the language of prayer and literature. Jews at all times displayed love and affection for Hebrew as their holy tongue, in which the Bible was written and the Law proclaimed. It was a reminder of the days of their independence and glory. Throughout the ages, poets, scholars, philosophers, gram­marians, and translators all contributed to the development of Hebrew. In the Middle Ages, Hebrew was influenced by Arabic. The scientific works translated into Hebrew from the Arabic enriched the Hebrew vocabulary and increased its power to express new ideas.

A revival of the Hebrew literature and language took place in the 19th century. This revival was marked in the beginning by a return to biblical Hebrew. But in the course of time, it was recognized that classical Hebrew re­quired expansion and modification if it was to be used as a modern tongue. It became necessary to coin new words and expressions and to adapt old ones for modern needs.
In the 1880’s, Eliezer Ben Yehudah pioneered in the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language. His example was taken up enthusiastically by many followers. Hebrew-speaking groups were formed throughout the world. A mass of technical and scientific terms in all fields of human endeavor were created. The ancient tongue has displayed remarkable adaptability to modern needs. Today, Hebrew keeps pace with the steady progress of science and technology. It is the living language of the State of Israel.


Hebrew literature from the biblical days to the present embraces a period of approximately 3,500 years. The Bible, the cornerstone of the Jewish religion, law, and ethics, has been the source of inspiration for Hebrew literary activity throughout Jewish history. The monumental works of the Talmud and Midrashic literature are essentially interpretations of and commentaries on the Bible, or writings stimulated by it.

The books of the Bible were not the only spiritual and literary treasures of this early period in Jewish history. The Bible itself mentions the Book of Wars of the Lord, The Book of the Righteous, and the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah and Israel, all of which have been lost in antiquity. It is likely that many more such epic works have similarly disappeared.

The period following the return of the Jews from Babylonia (538 B.C.E.) and the reestablishment of the Jewish commonwealth witnessed the revival of Hebrew literary activity. Many works followed the pattern and character of the Bible. Because they were of a later period, these works were not deemed worthy to be included among the sacred books of the Bible. Most of the Apocrypha, as these books are called, were written in Hebrew and represent a link between the Bible and the subsequent Midrashic literature. Parts of the original Hebrew text of one of the Apocryphal Wisdom books, Ben Sira, have recently been recovered. Other Apocrypha have come down to us in their Greek, Latin and Syriac translations. Of great historical and literary value are the recently found Dead Sea Scrolls


Reform rabbinical seminary founded in Cincinnati in 1875 by Isaac Mayer Wise. After two earlier failures, Wise succeeded in starting the school under the auspices of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations which he helped establish in 1873. Meeting first in the basement of Rabbi Wise’s Temple Bnei Jeshurun, the school graduated four rabbis in its first class in 1883. Since its founding the school has ordained more than 1,879 Reform rabbis, of which 72 are women.

Merged in 1950 with the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, the school, now known as HUC-JIR, has four campuses: one in Cincinnati which includes the American Jewish Archives; another in New York which includes the Jewish Institute of Religion building; a third in Los Angeles, and a fourth in Jerusalem. The New York and Los Angeles campuses include schools for the training of cantors and religious teachers; in addition, the Los Angeles campus has a training school for pro_fessional workers in American Jewish community agencies. In 1996, Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman became president of HUC, replacing Dr. Alfred Gottschalk. He was succeeded by Rabbi David Ellenson, current President.


Its six Faculties


Fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; numerically, five.

HEIFETZ, JASCHA (1901-1987).

Violin virtuoso. A child prodigy, Heifetz entered the Royal Society of Music in Vilna, Russia, before he was four. His first concert was held two years later; by the age of nine he was appearing with the great orchestras of Europe. Enthusiastic response to his New York debut in 1917 led him to settle in the U.S. Although Heifetz’s technique was perfected before he was 18, his career showed con_tinuous musical development. His own experiments in composition are believed to have contributed to this development. Heifetz is considered one of the most brilliant violinists of the concert stage.

HEINE, HEINRICH (1797-1856).

One of the greatest German poets. The French Revolution, which started eight years before Heine’s birth, shook the ghettos of Germany, influenced Heine and made him a poet of liberty. Sent to Goettingen to study law, he obtained his degree only after baptism, because the University of Goettingen did not grant degrees to Jews. Bitterness entered Heine’s soul and made his pen razor-sharp. He never practiced law, instead traveled and wrote his exquisite Harzreise (The Harz Journey) in 1826. Heine’s brilliant political satires attacked tyranny in high places. A pamphlet against the German nobility made him a fugitive. He settled in Paris where he lived and wrote until his death. He spent the last ten years of his life on his “mattress-grave,” suffering from a crippling disease.

Heine’s lyrical poems are masterpieces of world literature. Even the Nazis who burned his books could not erase the love of these poems from the people. Since the Germans persisted in singing Die Lorelei, it was reprinted without the author’s name. Heine’s baptism was never more than expedient. He called it “the admission ticket to European civilization.” His work is full of references, sometimes tender, sometimes ironic, to his Jewishness and to Judaism. Heine’s Jewish sensitivity emerges as tense drama in the unfinished novel Rabbi of Bacharach; it flashes with superb irony in the play Almansor, whose Moslem character disguises Jewish themes. Heine’s Hebrew Melodies contain some of the best Jewish poems ever written outside the Hebrew language.


See Heaven and Hell.


Greek civilization of antiquity. It was Alexander the Great‘s policy to introduce the Hellenistic culture in the vanquished countries of the Near East. Adopting elements of Near Eastern cultures, Hellenism lost much of its pure Greek spirit. However, it held a great attraction for the conquered people, who were fascinated by the Greek language, arts and science, and the Hellenist cult of body perfection. Of the Near East cultures only Judaism opposed Hellenism. The Greek belief in many gods and Hellenistic sensuality conflicted with Jewish monotheism and strict morality. The struggle between Hebraism and Hellenism came to a head in the Maccabean rebellion. Hebraism was victorious, the Judeans regained their independence, and the spread of Hellenism was checked in Judea.

The large Jewish communities in the Hellenistic kingdoms in Asia, particularly Alexandria and Antioch, were deeply influenced by Hellenism. They became largely Greek-speaking, and the Bible was translated into Greek and called the Sep_tuagint for their use. A Greco-Jewish philosophy developed; the interpretation of the Bible by Philo of Alexandria is outstanding. Traces of Greek influence remain in some of the Jewish Wisdom literature of this period, such as Apocrypha, and in such words as synagogue, sanhedrin, and parnas which passed into the language spoken by Jews.

HELLER, JOSEPH (1923-1999).

American novelist. Best known for his satire Catch 22, Heller draws on his Jewish background in other satirical novels such as Good As Gold and in his memoirs.


See Prague.

HELLMAN, LILLIAN (1905-1984).

American playwright. Known for plays like The Children’s Hour, she was involved in the dramatization of the Diary of Anne Frank.


In the Bible this term applied to that which is accursed, put under a ban, and therefore not fit for use. Later, it came to mean excommunication or expulsion from the community. The person upon whom the herem was pronounced was alienated from all social and trade relations with other Jews. In extreme cases the offender was denied such basic Jewish rights as marriage into a Jewish family, circumcision for his children, or even a Jewish burial. However, the religious authorities resorted to such extreme measures only when they felt that the future of Judaism was at stake. Such was the case in the 17th century, for example, when the herem was pronounced on the followers of the false messiah, Sabattai Zevi.

During and after the Middle Ages the herem was used extensively by religious authorities to ensure obedience to their religious decisions. The most celebrated herem was introduced by Rabbenu Gershom and forbade Jews under penalty of excommunication from taking more than one wife in marriage, or divorcing a woman against her will.

In later centuries the powerful weapon of the herem was wielded more capriciously.

HEROD THE GREAT (ca. 73-4 B.C.E.).

King of Judea. Son of Antipater and grandson of Antipas, rulers of Edom. Antipater was the friend and advisor of Hyrcanus II. When the Romans conquered Palestine, Antipater was appointed to an important political post. As a result of his influence, his son Herod became governor of Galilee. Herod married Mariamne, granddaughter of Hyrcanus, in order to be related to the Hasmonean family. He was friendly with the Romans and won their favor by his loyalty. In the year 40 B.C.E., the Roman Senate crowned him king of Judea. The Jews hated Herod not only because he was an Edomite and a friend of their Roman enemies but because he did not respect their religion. He waged war against Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus of the house of the Hasmonean dynasty who demanded the throne of Judea for himself. In this battle (37 B.C.E.) Herod captured Jerusalem, put Antigonus to death, and destroyed the Hasmonean house. He showed no mercy even for his own wife and children whom he ordered killed some years later.

Herod deprived the Sanhedrin of its executive powers, but allowed it to function in religious matters. With the Romans’ permission, he extended the borders of Palestine from Damascus to Egypt, developed foreign trade, and built Samaria and Caesarea. He won fame for rebuilding the Temple (20-19 B.C.E.), which he decorated lavishly. He had beautiful buildings constructed in Jerusalem, too. Nevertheless, the people’s hatred of the tyrant was not lessened by these acts. Legend has it that, feeling death at hand, he commanded his men to execute a number of Jewish leaders the day he died, in order to lessen the popular joy at his passing. This final act of cruelty, however, was not carried out.

HERTZ, HEINRICH (1857-1894).

German physicist; pupil of the German scholar Helmholtz. He became world-famous through his experiments on the propagation of electrical waves. These experiments proved the electromagnetic theory of light that had been developed in 1865 by the British physicist Maxwell. Hertz’s work paved the way for the era of electronics, culminating in the discovery of wireless telegraphy, radio, and television.


Chief Rabbi of the British Empire from 1913 to his death. Hertz was one of the leaders of the Mizrachi Organization in England. He assisted in obtaining the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which proclaimed Palestine as a Jewish homeland. During World War II he worked untiringly to save Jews from death in Nazi-occupied lands. Of his written works, the best known are The Book of Jewish Thoughts, a translation and commentary on the Torah, and a translation and commentary on the prayer book.

HERTZBERG, ARTHUR (1921-2006).

American rabbi and leader. Known for his book The Zionist Idea, he headed the American Jewish Congress from 1972 to 1978.


Founder of modern political Zionism. Born in Budapest to an affluent intellectual Jewish family, he was educated at the University of Vienna, admitted to the bar in 1884, and shortly afterward turned to writing. He became a journalist and playwright, particularly famous for his feuilletons, a special type of literary column. In 1891, Herzl became the Paris correspondent of the Neue Freie Presse, the leading liberal newspaper of that day. All his life, he had faced the antisemitism of fellow students and professors. At first he advocated assimilation. But later in Paris he tried to counteract this hatred by writing a play on antisemitism, The New Ghetto. But then the Dreyfus Case occurred, shocking Herzl and changing the whole course of his life. As a newspaper correspondent, Herzl attended the trial and discovered that it was not Dreyfus the army captain, but Dreyfus the Jew who was on trial. Deeply shaken, Herzl took action. He proposed a solution to the problem of antisemitism: the creation of a Jewish State. He started to write down his ideas as he tried to put them into action. While writing Judenstaat (The Jewish State), he began to search for financial support and leadership. Herzl first approached the philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch who dismissed the idea as “fantastic.” Herzl then wrote to Albert Rothschild of Vienna and got no reply at all. The paper he reported for, the Neue Freie Presse, refused to print any articles about a Jewish state. In 1895, it looked as though Herzl’s ideas would never take hold, but then Max Nordau, the Paris physician who was famous as a writer and social philosopher, encouraged him to continue with his cause.

In 1896, Herzl’s Judenstaat was published. Popular response grew, and in January 1897, Herzl issued a call for a Zionist congress. The first Zionist Congress met in Basle, Switzerland, on August 27, 1897. The congress was attended by 204 delegates from 17 countries. Herzl, a magnetic figure, stood before them and declared that “Zionism was the Jewish people on the march.” He reported his efforts to get European nations’ approval and assistance for the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine by obtaining a “charter” from Turkey. He won over the Duke of Baden, uncle of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He went to Constantinople and negotiated with important Turkish ministers, and he was received by King Ferdinand of Bulgaria. In London, he won over the Jewish masses and interested the writer Israel Zangwill. Finally, to provide a forum which would serve as the voice of Zionism, he founded with his own funds the journal Die Welt. During three days of deliberation, the first Zionist Congress created the World Zionist Organization and formulated the Basle Program, stating that “Zionism aims to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.” For this purpose the Congress decided to obtain the necessary backing of various governments as a legal foundation for the Jewish homeland. Herzl was elected president of the World Zionist Organization. The next, and last, seven years of his life were years of feverish work. At the next five Zionist Congresses (1898-1903), over which he presided, the policies and institutions of the movement were hammered out. The Jewish Colonial Trust (the Zionist banking arm) and the Jewish National Fund (its land purchasing agency) were established. Herzl conducted diplomatic negotiations and was received by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, by Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey, and by British statesmen. In the midst of it all, he wrote the novel Altneuland, a Utopian vision of the Zionist state. To obtain a promise of diplomatic support in Turkey, Herzl traveled to Russia where he was received by two key members of the Government, Minister of the Interior Vyacheslav von Plehve and Finance Minister Sergei Witte. Traveling through Russia, Herzl saw the dreadful suffering of Russian Jews, who were subjected to periodic pogroms. He was so deeply affected that he decided to accept the British offer of Uganda in East Africa as a temporary asylum for Russian Jewry. In August 1903, Herzl presided over a Zionist Congress for the last time. This time 592 delegates attended, and the democratic temper was clearly demonstrated. The Uganda project was rejected after painful sessions. The delegates wanted the Land of Israel or nothing, and the Zionist movement seemed badly split. Herzl continued working for a “charter” for Palestine. In January 1904, he was received by King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III, who responded favorably. Pope Pius X, however, gave Herzl a clear “no.” In April 1904, Herzl met with Zionist executives and made every effort to unify the movement. Worn out, his heart failing, he attended some of the sessions with an ice pack under his frock coat. On July 3, 1904, he died, but the work he had begun carried on. Fifty years after the first Zionist Congress, the State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948. Over a year later, Theodor Herzl’s remains were flown from Vienna to Israel. The author of the Jewish State was laid to rest on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on August 17, 1949.

Israeli soldier and statesman. Born in Belfast, Ireland, the son of Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog, he immigrated to Palestine in 1935 and obtained a thorough schooling in religious and secular studies. In 1939, he enlisted in the British army and participated in the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945. He returned to Palestine in 1947 and rejoined the Haganah. Upon formation of the Israel Defense Forces in 1948, Herzog served as chief of military intelligence until 1950 and as defense attach


American Jewish religious philosopher. He is considered a neo-hasidist. In eloquent and inspiring language, his writings about the Sabbath, the prophets, and man and God had a deep effect on his generation. During the 1960’s he was active in the civil rights movement and later in the struggle for Soviet Jewry.

HESS, MOSES (1812-1875).

Political leader, writer, and forerunner of modern Zionism. He was born in Bonn, Germany, and died in Paris. As a youth he was attracted to the study of philosophy and later participated in the Socialist movement with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Then he turned to Ferdinand Lassalle, founder of the German Socialist Democratic Party, and became active in the workers’ movement. After the failure of the 1848 Revolution in Germany, Hess settled in Paris, where he began to study the problem of the Jewish people and to think about its destiny. In 1962, he published a small book titled Rome and Jerusalem in which he wrote that Jewish national consciousness could not be erased, as the German Jewish Reform movement attempted. Humankind is a family of many nations, and small peoples have the right to an equal place in it. Every cultural group has something to contribute to world civilization, he said, and Jewish people, too, have much to contribute. The only solution to the Jewish question is the settlement of Palestine, under the protection of some European power. His ideas in Rome and Jerusalem came to be a basic part of Zionist thinking, and for them Moses Hess is remembered.


Eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; numerically, eight.


A group of Jews that performs the traditional preparations for burial of the dead.


See United Hias Service.


See Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.


See Kohen.


(ca. 1st century B.C.E.). Talmudic authority. Born in Babylonia, he came to Palestine to study Law. His fame as a brilliant scholar grew, and he became the leader of the Pharisees and head of the liberal school of interpretation of the Jewish law. Many legends are told about Hillel’s devotion to learning, simplicity, and modesty. In his youth, he was a laborer, spending a large portion of his earnings on his tuition. Once, when he lacked the price of admission to the house of study, he climbed onto the roof and through the skylight listened to the discussions of the rabbis. He became so absorbed that he did not mind the snow that covered him almost completely. Half-frozen, he was finally noticed by the scholars inside, taken down, and revived.

In his interpretation of the law, Hillel’s first consideration was the welfare of the people. He established regulations which were aimed at reconciling the ancient law with new conditions. One of these, the “prosbul,” made it possible for the poor to borrow money at the approach of the seventh, or sabbatical, year when people were reluctant to lend money, since all debts were canceled during that year.

There is a tradition that Hillel was a descendant of the House of David. His saintliness and scholarship earned him the love and respect of his countrymen. King Herod appointed him head of the Sanhedrin. He remained the spiritual leader of the Jews for a period of 40 years. His utterances reveal his nobility of character. His love of peace was great. He said, “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving thy fellow creatures, and drawing them close to the Torah.” His tolerance is illustrated by the story of the heathen who asked Hillel to teach him all of the principles of Judaism while he stood on one foot. Hillel replied, “Do not unto your neighbor what you would not have him do unto you. This is the whole law; the rest is commentary.” As contrasted with his great opponent Shammai, Hillel stands out as the liberal interpreter of Jewish law.


Formerly B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation. A network of cultural, religious, and social centers for Jewish college youth. The first Hillel Foundation was set up at the University of Illinois in 1924 to make Jewish life and culture vital and meaningful to col­lege students. Taken up as a national project by B’nai B’rith in 1925, the Foundation, now, main­tains 120 foundations and affiliates on more than 300 campuses in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe (including Russia), Israel, and Australia. In addi­tion, it has professorships of Judaic studies in American universities. Hillel campus programs include cultural, religious, fellowship, community service, personal guidance, and interfaith activities. To stimulate discussion and understanding of Jewish life and thought, the foundation published a series of Hillel Little Books. What is the Jewish Heritage, by Ludwig Lewisohn, was the first.


See B’nai B’rith.

Financier and philanthropist. From a titled and wealthy family, he became one of the richest men in Europe by investing his inheritance in railroads, banking, and other industries. When his plan to improve the deplorable condition of Russian Jews failed to receive the Czar’s approval, he formed the Jewish Colonization Association in order to resettle Jews in various parts of the world and to establish colonies in North and South America, particularly Argentina. Hirsch believed that the condition of Jews could be greatly improved if they were to become farmers and industrial workers in less densely populated areas of the world. To this end, he established agriculture and industrial schools in both Europe and the New World. Baron de Hirsch gave millions of dollars to charitable causes of all sorts. In 1887, his only son died. “I have lost my son but not my heir,” he said. “Humanity is my heir.”


German rabbi and champion of neo-Orthodoxy. Hirsch was vehemently opposed to the Reform movement and advocated the separation of his followers from any community where Reform Judaism had gained the upper hand. Due to his initiative, the German Parliament in 1876 legalized the secession of Orthodox Jews from the Jewish community. In 1836, Hirsch published an uncompromising defense of the institutions and laws of Judaism and a statement of his theories on neo-Orthodoxy. In opposition to the German Reform movement, Hirsch maintained that the acceptance of biblical and Talmudic authority was necessary to a true understanding of Judaism. He felt Judaism needed a reinterpretation and spiritualization of the traditional laws and practices to give them deeper meaning and significance in the modern world. Hirsch founded a day school which combined a thorough Jewish education with modern secular training. He published Horeb, a book on the religious duties of the Jewish people in exile, and voluminous commentaries on the Pentateuch and the Book of Psalms. A commentary on the Jewish prayer book, based on his writings, was published after his death.


General Federation of Jewish Labor in Israel. Founded in 1920 by representatives of 4,500 Jewish workers in Palestine, the Histadrut has become the most powerful non-governmental organization in Israel, an institution unique in the history of labor movements. David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, and Joseph Sprinzak were among the early founders and leaders of the organization. By 1993, the Histadrut membership was about 1.8 million. Each member pays dues to the federation and receives in return full medical coverage through Kupat Holim, or the Workers’ Sick Fund, old age and disability benefits, and the right to participate in all its cultural and social activities and elections. On joining the Histadrut, the worker automatically becomes a member of the General Cooperative Association of Israel, founded by the Histadrut to facilitate the growth of new industries. Most of Israel’s consumers’ and producers’ cooperatives belong to it. About 25% of Israel’s GNP is attributed to Histadrut owned and centrally-managed enterprises. Most workers also belong to one of 35 trade and industrial unions affiliated with the Histadrut. These unions include both skilled and unskilled laborers, as well as professional, academic, and clerical workers. Through coordination of bargaining policy, the Histadrut has striven to maintain uniform standards throughout Israel. Nationally, the Histadrut has been active in preparing labor legislation for consideration by the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. The Histadrut also maintains local labor councils in towns and villages; a Working Women’s Council; a Working Youth Organization; an Agricultural Workers’ Center; and Shikun Ovdim, which builds low-cost homes for workers and their families. Its cultural activities has included publication of two daily newspapers, Daver and Omer, the latter a publication for newcomers; Ohel, a full-scale repertory theater; Hapoel, a national sports organization; a publishing house; vocational and general schools for both children and adults; libraries; and a department for the organization of lectures, concerts, and discussion groups. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Histadrut has accepted Israel’s Arabs for membership in its unions; the Israel Labor League, an all-Arab union, is a Histadrut affiliate. To facilitate the integration of Arabs into the economic and cultural life of Israel, the Histadrut maintains a special Arab Department.


American organization of Hebraists, founded in New York in 1916 to promote the Hebrew language. It publishes Hadoar, the only Hebrew-language weekly outside Israel.