What Zionism Did for Herzl https://mosaicmagazine.com/response/israel-zionism/2021/01/what-zionism-did-for-herzl/

Though he was blessed with extraordinary charisma, Herzl was filled with inner turmoil. In Zionism, he found a calling that stabilized his fragile persona.

January 11, 2021 | Derek J. Penslar
About the author: Derek J. Penslar is the William Lee Frost professor of Jewish history at Harvard University. His books include Zionism and TechnocracyIn Search of Jewish Community, and, most recently Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader.
This is a response to The Mystery of Theodor Herzl, originally published in Mosaic in January 2021

Theodor Herzl and other Viennese Zionists in the Cafe Louvre in 1896. Imagno/Getty Images.

Rick Richman describes the story of Theodor Herzl as a “mystery.” Was it? To some degree we are all mysteries. No human can ever fully understand another—or, for that matter, him or herself. Herzl was a particularly complicated man whose neuroses were commensurate with his talents. But complexity is the opposite of mystery—it is an invitation to empirical investigation and a caution not to take our subject’s self-presentation, or his perception by others, at face value.

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