Monday, December 26, 2011

Street people

On Thurs mornings at AACI-Netanya we have had a series of lectures on "Street People," people who have streets named after them in Israel, but whose story is relatively unknown to most people who use their streets. This idea was based on a book with the same name published by Helga Dudman in the 1970s. Here is a summary of the people who were presented and the presenters who each did a great job in researching their subject's history and telling their story.

Meir Dizengoff (1861-1936): First Mayor of Tel Aviv; presented by Jack Cohen and described in a blog on 17/11/2011

Golda Meir (1898-1978): Presented by Yoel Sheridan. Born Golda Mabovich in Russia, lived in Milwaukee, USA, moved to Israel in 1921 and became a kibbutznik, a Labor politician and the Fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. She has many streets named after her in Israel.

Shmuel Hanatziv (1870-1963): Presented by Elkan Levy. The Hebrew designation of Herbert Louis Samuel, First Viscount Samuel, British politician and diplomat, and first High Commissioner of the British Mandate in Palestine. The AACI offices are on this street.

Bracha Fuld (1926-46): German-born Holocaust survivor, educated in Britain and became Jewish resistance fighter in Palestine. Promoted to Platoon leader and died in battle fighting the Arabs. Fuld's story was presented memorably by historian Marjorie Glick whom I have asked to write an account to be included as a blog article.

James Grover McDonald (1886-1964): Presented by Jacques Korolnyk (who showed his video) and Leslie Portnoy. McDonald was a US diplomat who tried to help the Jewish cause both before and after WWII. Was appointed first US Ambassador to Israel. A street is named after him in Netanya and our Synagogue, often called "McDonald shool," is on that street.

Nahum Sokolow (1859-1936): Presented by Ray Cannon. Sokolow was second only to Chaim Weizmann in the leadership of the Zionist movement. Sokolow played a key role in obtaining the Balfour Declaration committing the British Government to establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. He was a peripatetic journalist and widely respected author.

Leon Pinsker (1821-1891): Presented passionately by Don Silverberg. Pinsker grew up in Odessa and had a Jewish-secular education. He was a physician, author and Zionist pioneer. He famously published "Auto-Emancipation" in 1882 that preceded Herzl's "Altneuland" by 20 years. He founded the Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) movement and organized its first conference in Katovice in 1884. This resulted in ca. 80,000 Jews making aliyah. He greatly influenced the subsequent Zionist movement.

Since this series was popular, we have decided to organize another on "Unknown Heroes in Jewish history", including those figures who made important contributions, who may not have streets named after them, yet deserve our attention and respect.


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