A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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This week in Israeli history: Aug. 17-23

Aug. 23, 1903: Theodor Herzl opens the Sixth Zionist Congress by making the case for the Uganda Plan as a step toward a homeland in the Land of Israel.

Aug. 17, 1898 — Russian Zionists Hold First Conference

A few weeks before the Second Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, 160 Russian Zionists meet secretly in Warsaw, where organizer Ahad Ha’am rallies support for a Jewish cultural renaissance before any Zionist political actions. He writes to scholar Yehoshua Ravnitzky that the young Zionists at the Warsaw meeting are excited to hear someone stand up to political Zionists such as Theodor Herzl.

Aug. 18, 2000 — Archaeologist Claire Epstein Dies

Archaeologist Claire Epstein, a London native who participated in many archaeological surveys and excavations in Israel, including discovering the culture of the Chalcolithic Period (4500 to 3300 B.C.E.) in the Golan, dies at 88 at Kibbutz Ginossar. She began her archaeological work at Susita, an ancient Roman city near Kibbutz Ein Gev, where she lived, as an assistant to Michael Avi-Yona during the War of Independence.

Aug. 19, 2003 — 23 Are Killed in Jerusalem Blast

A suicide bomber kills 23 people and injures more than 130 others by detonating an 11-pound explosive packed with ball bearings on a bus in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Shmuel Hanavi in central Jerusalem. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad claim credit. The bombing breaks a 50-day cease-fire. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas denounces the Second Intifada attack.

Aug. 20, 1967 — Author Etgar Keret Is Born

Etgar Keret, one of Israel’s most popular writers, is born in Ramat Gan. Keret’s quirky work, mainly short stories and graphic novels, wins critical acclaim as well as sales. He is published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian and other publications in addition to his books. He also writes screenplays. A surreal documentary, “Etgar Keret: Based on a True Story,” combines his life with his stories.

Aug. 21, 1969 — Arson at Al-Aqsa

A new immigrant from Australia, Denis Michael Rohan, sets fire to Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem by pouring kerosene through a keyhole and throwing in a lighted match. A centuries-old pulpit is damaged. Working at Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon in the Sharon Valley, the 28-year-old non-Jew reportedly began hearing voices. Under an insanity plea, Rohan is deported back to Australia.

Aug. 22, 1891 — Sculptor Jacques Lipchitz Is Born

Jacques Lipchitz, whose final sculpture, “The Tree of Life,” stands outside Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, is born in Lithuania. He studies art in Paris, where he joins a group that includes Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris. He works with abstract forms. He flees France for the United States in 1941. In his later years, he draws inspiration from Judaism and becomes more religiously observant.

Aug. 23, 1903 — Sixth Zionist Congress Opens

The Sixth Zionist Congress, the last presided over by Theodor Herzl, convenes in Basel, Switzerland. It is the largest so far, with approximately 600 delegates, and explores a proposal for a Jewish homeland in Uganda. The congress decides to send a commission to East Africa to investigate setting up a Jewish home there as an interim step toward the Land of Israel, but the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905 rejects the idea.

Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.

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