DOS NAYE LEBN [VOL. 2, NO. 2 - FEBRUARY, 1910]
New York : Ferayn "dos Naye Leben, 1910. Paperback. Item #39828
1st edition. Original paper wrappers. 8vo. 58 pages with 6 pages of ads. 23 cm. In Yiddish. Title translates to “The New Life. ” Zhitlowsky, an immigrant socialist revolutionary, sought to synthesize socialism with nationalism as early as 1883. He demanded for Jews "national equal rights with all peoples" and asserted that only through the Yiddish language could the social and national revival of the Jewish people be effected. He maintained that one could remain identified with the Jewish nationality even if abandoning the Jewish religion. He urged the Jewish masses to participate in the class struggle as a national unit. Alone among the cosmopolitan Jewish socialists he favored national socialism. In 1897 he began publishing philosophical studies in Jewish history and a comprehensive program of action which later appeared in book form as Pisma o starom I novom yevreystvie ("Letters on Old and Modern Judaism, " 1907) . His main thesis was that national consciousness consists mainly of spiritual-cultural determinants and that these national characteristics can be maintained by the Jews in the future in the lands of their dispersion, just as they have survived the lack of territory or unity of language since the end of the second commonwealth. After emancipation of the individual the Jews as a group should be granted national self-government within the framework of the state along with other national minorities. His secularization of the national idea as opposed to those who saw the essence of Judaism in religion, and his optimistic view of the future of Judaism in the Diaspora, were the main underpinnings of his insistence on national cultural autonomy. Zhitlowsky was "in favor of the centrality of Yiddish in the national Jewish experience and labored toward the recognition of that language, and of those who lived out their lives in it, as one of the several cultural linguistic communities of Eastern Europe, and of the Western world as a whole" (Isaac Levitas, et al, in EJ) . Very Good Condition. (YID-30-12).