Culture in Jerusalem during the British Mandate Period


of secular education and culture , at the 1901 Zionist Congress . At first it seemed that the ultra-Orthodox population , in crisis and licking its wounds from the war , would accept Weizmann’s initiative , but this hope was dashed when Rabbi Joseph Hayyim Sonnenfeld took a stand in opposition . The political-institutional split was final , with culture following its lead . Tensions continued to increase between the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox , on the one hand , and the Zionist groups and public on the other . The controversy over female suffrage only inflamed the fires of mutual hostility ( see “ Feminism , Nationalism , and Social Change : Women in Israel ” in the section on the State of Israel as a Modern Jewish Enterprise ) . The decision of the third Constituent Assembly of representatives of the Yishuv to give women the right to vote ( December 1918 ) decided the fate of relations between the two groups . The extreme ultra-Orthodox broke away , organizing themselves around the Ashkenazi City Committee . On the other hand , the Constituent Assembly , with the cooperation of moderate ultra-Orthodox leaders , initiated the establishment of the Rabbinate of the Jerusalem Community , to which eight rabbis , half Ashkenazim and half Sefardim , were appointed in 1919 . Two years later the Chief Rabbinate of Palestine-Eretz Israel was established , and from the outset this entity was to be based in Jerusalem . Such moves were anathema for the extreme ultra-Orthodox , and led to the formation of a separate community , almost entirely Ashkenazi , of ultra-Orthodox extremists , that would remain separatist for decades . The city of Jerusalem was to be the governmental and cultural center of Mandatory Palestine , the showcase for numerous cultural undertakings . Much work , seemingly unrelated to culture , was in fact connected : sewage , water , street cleaning , development plans . These are intimately connected to educational or cultural issues . For example , the decision to require construction in stone and the planting of trees in the city were part of Jerusalem culture . A City of Establishments The decision by the Zionist leadership and the leadership of the Yishuv to establish their seat in Jerusalem , rather than Jaffa , which many had demanded , had a far-reaching influence on the city’s development . A distinctive population of officials and functionaries grew up in connection with the Yishuv institutions , some of them activists in the parties that composed these “ National Institutions . ” The placement of the offices of the national institutions in Jerusalem was intended to serve as a source of authority . The inherent difficulties were evident : opposition on the part of the Orthodox ; criticism on the part of both the workers ’ movement and the settlement movements , all of whose offices were not in Jerusalem ; and the problematic nature of institutions that often had to represent Zionism abroad . Over the years the national institutions earmarked resources for fostering culture and art , throughout the country and especially in Jerusalem . Jerusalem intellectuals would , from time to time , visit the Diaspora , and they knew that they would have to report “ the truth from Eretz Israel . ” Hence the complexity of the literature of these emissaries . After Brenner , one could write the truth , harsh as it may have been at times . Jerusalemites such as Nathan Bistritsky , Yehudah Yaari , Yitzhak Shenhar and others became emissaries for the idea of the Hebrew culture of Eretz Israel , as a universal and national culture . Their stories told not of building the palatial halls of institutionalized Jerusalem , but of people seeking their own path within the city . They did not tell of British officialdom , or of the cultural salons hosted by government officials ; and , in general , they refrained from telling of the Hebrew University . The national institutions also addressed a message to the Hebrew teachers and the schools : that the culture developing within the agricultural settlements was directed by the national institutions . The Jewish National Fund organized the bringing of bikkurim , the first fruits , to the children of Jerusalem , at the

Posen Foundation

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