Shaping the Dream

By the early 1900s, members of Washington’s Jewish community were already working toward the dream of a Jewish homeland.

European and Russian Jews had begun fleeing anti-Semitism and violent pogroms in the late 1800s. A small group made aliyah (immigration to Palestine). As conditions worsened during the early 20th century, increasing numbers settled there.

During World War I, Great Britain’s Balfour Declaration announced support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In December 1917, the British captured Jerusalem, ending 400 years of Turkish rule. In Washington, a crowd celebrated on Christmas morning at the Belasco Theater on Lafayette Square. Local chapters of Zionist organizations raised money for Jewish settlement in Palestine.

If you will it, it is not a dream.

Zionism founder Theodor Herzl, 1896

Daughter of Zion card

1910: This Jewish New Year’s card depicts a Daughter of Zion carrying the Zionist banner. The inscription reads L’shana tova tickatavu (Happy New Year). Daughter of Zion chapters evolved into Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization founded by Henrietta Szold in 1912. Washington’s first Hadassah chapter formed in 1919, soon after Szold visited the city.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Myrna Goldenberg. 2004.16

Photo of blue box

Coins collected in these Jewish National Fund “blue boxes” helped purchase land for Jewish settlement in Palestine.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Judith Bernhardt. 1998.38

Photo of Zion Society

1917: Members of the Washington Poale (Labor) Zion Society.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Carl Allentuck. 1998.06

Photo of Zionists with Coolidge

1926: Orthodox Zionists met with President Calvin Coolidge at the White House.

JHSGW Collections.

Daughter of Zion card
Photo of blue box
Photo of Zion Society
Photo of Zionists with Coolidge