94-yr-old publishes e-book

May 24, 2013 by  
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When in 1997, eminent scholar Dr. Israel Kipen penned Ahad Ha-am: The Zionism of the Future, widely regarded as the definitive and standard study     of one of Zionism’s most towering and influential  figures, he never imagined that his much lauded and classic text would be republished as an e-book in the second decade of the 21st century.

Israel Kipen

Israel Kipen

The 94 year-old leading academic, community legend and recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Melbourne for his remarkable contribution to community life, Jewish studies and the humanities, came up with the idea for the book while he was lecturing on Ahad Ha-am at The University of Melbourne, “I realized that there was not a single book in the English language that explained, in the most elementary way, Ahad Ha-am’s Philosophy and writings, and which could make a student understand what Ahad Ha-am was all about.”

The admiration for Ahad Ha-am began for Dr Kipen eighty years ago, “I was impressed with Ahad Ha-am when I first studied his essays in high school. I was taken by the clarity of his writing, the conciseness of his argument and his objective, detached reasoning about the Jewish situation. I carried him within me throughout all my travails.”

The book continues to be a prescribed text at The University of Melbourne and at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Dr Kipen, who wrote a new introduction for the e-book, hopes that his work will reach the widest possible audience and will continue to have a wide, lasting impact as it has over the last 16 years. He wants young readers to gain an insight into the “intellectual maelstrom of 19th and 20th century Jewry apart from Hitler and Stalin and to understand our own crossroads.” And with his inimitable turn of phrase, Dr Kipen adds that he hopes the text will “serve as a modern Guide for the Perplexed on Zionism.”

The book has received acclaim for its mix of sharp philosophical analysis and splendidly informative judgments, as well as for the author’s ability to provide eloquent historical assessment and elegantly written and carefully documented insights that are informed by a nuanced grasp of Jewish history.

In a preface to the newly published book, Dr. Dvir Abramovich, Director of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at The University of Melbourne writes that, “Anyone interested in Jewish history and philosophy will find this impressively penned and thoughtful book illuminating and edifying…Kipen’s knowledge across the periods and themes is formidable. His writing is beautifully clear and his conclusions always compelling… Well-articulated, intelligent and written with the mature confidence of an expert, I can think of no better scholar to take us through history as complex and controversial as this. This is historical and literary scholarship at its finest and a joy to behold.”

With the re- publication as an e-book of this lively, refreshing and delightful work, a new generation of students,  academics and the general public now has the opportunity to discover a dazzling and eye opening text that fills a vital gap in the study of early Zionism and of  its greatest purveyor of serious    ideas.   Ahad Ha-am: The Zionism of the Future is sure to make an immense and superb contribution to Zionist scholarship and is an indispensable and invaluable tool for anyone attempting to understand the complex landscape of modern Jewish thought, identity and community.


One Response to “94-yr-old publishes e-book”
  1. haya says:

    Thank you for publishing this unbelievable news item. I was just bowled over when I read about this exhilarating and moving story. Dr Kipen should be congratulated for his energy and contribution to Jewish history and I only wish I had him as a teacher when i did my undergraduate studies. He is a blessing to us all.

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