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Between Two Worlds: Henrietta Szold and Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi on the Absorption of Youth Aliya in the 1930s / בין שני עולמות: הנרייטה סאלד ורחל ינאית בן-צבי על קליטת עליית הנוער בשנות השלושים

דבורה הכהן and Dvora Hacohen
Cathedra: For the History of Eretz Israel and Its Yishuv / קתדרה: לתולדות ארץ ישראל ויישובה
חוברת‎ 98 (טבת תשס"א / דצמבר 2000), pp. 123-142
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23404499
Page Count: 20
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Abstract

Henrietta Szold, who headed Youth Aliya, and Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi, who founded the training farm for girls in Talpiot, Jerusalem, did not see eye to eye regarding the absorption of young Jewish girls from Germany in Eretz Israel. Each of these women ascribed to a different Weltanschauung, coming as they did from different social, cultural, and ideological backgrounds. Rachel Yanait represented the socialist ideology of members of the Second Aliya (the second wave of Zionist-oriented immigration, 1904-1914). It was their objective to initiate a social and national revolution in Eretz Israel, one that would shape a 'new person' in a new society based on a collectivist ideology that demanded of its individuals asceticism bordering upon self-sacrifice in the struggle to achieve national goals and objectives. The women of the Second Aliya also mounted a campaign for women's equality in the social and economic spheres. It was Rachel Yanait's intention to prepare the girls for agricultural work and to educate them in accordance with the objectives she set. American-born Henrietta Szold represented a liberal, humanistic outlook that focuses on the individual and his or her welfare. She opposed subordinating the youthful immigrants to a collectivist doctrine and to the national struggle as envisioned by the labor movement in Eretz Israel. Most of the young girls who immigrated to Eretz Israel through the agency of Youth Aliya came from a bourgeois social background, and the ideology of the pioneering Zionist movement was foreign to the majority of them. They were unprepared for labor that called for much physical effort, especially agricultural. The gap between the girls' expectations and the outlook of Rachel Yanait led to conflicts between them. Henrietta Szold supported the girls. The article traces the disagreements between the two in matters of organization as well as in those of principle, and sheds light on some of the problems inherent in the absorption of Youth Aliya children in the 1930s.

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