Alkalai, Judah ben Solomon Hai

Alkalai, Judah ben Solomon Hai

biographical name

(born 1798, Sarajevo, Bosnia, Ottoman Empire—died 1878, Jerusalem) Sephardic rabbi. Raised in Jerusalem, he became rabbi at Semlin, Croatia. He argued that a physical return to Israel (Palestine), rather than a symbolic return through repentance and practice, was necessary for the salvation of the Jewish people, a view that put him at odds with Jewish orthodoxy. He saw the anti-Semitic Damascus Affair of 1840 as part of a divine plan to reawaken Jews to the reality of their condition in exile. Unsuccessful in gaining support for Jewish immigration to Palestine, he himself settled in the Holy Land in 1871. His writings helped pave the way for Zionism.

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