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Birthday of Nachman Syrkin, 1868

Nachman Syrkin was born into a Jewish family from Belorussia. His early education was conducted by tutors; however, after his family relocated to Minsk in 1884, he began attending a Russian public school. It was here where Nachman joined the Hovevei Zion, "The Lovers of Zion" - one of the groups (led by Leo Pinsker) to encourage & fund earliest Aliyah to Israel in the 1880s. In 1888, Nachman was arrested for having connections to Russian revolutionary groups. After his arrest, Syrkin fled to London and then Berlin, where he began his study of psychology and philosophy. During his time in Berlin, Nachman founded the “Russian-Jewish Scientific Society” which included future renowned Zionist leaders. Syrkin thought, “Zionism must of necessity fuse with socialism”. And with this thought, what we now know as Labor Zionism was born. He thought that even with the advent of a socialist revolution, the plight of the Jewish Diaspora would remain the same. To combat this, the Diaspora Jewry should move to a single location in order to assure their safety. Syrkin’s Labor Zionism has been a large force in worldwide Jewry and Israel, even after his death in 1924. David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel, was an avid and outspoken Labor Zionist. Syrkin’s legacy is also involved with the Jewish National Fund, a non-profit based in Israel dedicated to developing the land of Israel.

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