Kalischer, Zevi Hirsch

   Early German Zionist. Kalischer was a well-known German talmudic scholar living in Thorn, East Prussia. Contrary to the accepted Orthodox view, he maintained that the return to Zion should be brought about by human effort, instead of waiting for a divine miracle and the coming of the Messiah. He proposed immigration and agricultural settlement on the land, with Jewish watchmen for protection against Arab banditry. He unsuccessfully sought the backing of Meyer Amshel ROTHSCHILD, the founder of the great banking house, and of Sir Moses MONTEFIORE in England.
   In 1862 Kalischer published a pamphlet called Drishat Zion (‘The Seeking of Zion’), setting out these ideas. It was written in stilted rabbinical Hebrew and later translated into German and English. The work appeared in the same year as the ‘Rome and Jerusalem’ of Moses HESS and Leon PINSKER’S ‘Auto- Emancipation’, marking the spontaneous 19-century stirrings of Zionist thought. HERZL was unaware of these forerunners when he wrote Der Judenstaat in 1895.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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