Hello and welcome
to Israel Day,


I am THEODOR HERZL, the visionary of Zionism.  Born in Budapest in 1860 and raised in Vienna, I had great aspirations and became a lawyer and a journalist.  During the Dreyfuss affair in Parishome of the French Revolution’s call for equality--I witnessed mobs shouting “Death to the Jews” and resolved that there was only one solution to anti-Semitism: a land that Jews could call their own. To that end, I wrote plays, books, articles, and pamphlets, including Der Judenstaat--The Jewish State. I also organized and lead the first Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897. 

The Jews are one people, I said, and their plight could be transformed into a positive force by the establishment of a Jewish state with the consent of the great powers of Europe.  I foresaw the evolving Jewish state as a pluralist, advanced society, a “light unto the nations.”  Eventually, my dream of our own country led to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, even though I did not live to see it. 

Sometimes called “The man with the beard,” I died of pneumonia and exhaustion at the age of 44.  Sadly, my three children and my only grandchild all died tragically.  Yet, the Herzl family name lives on in the Israeli city of Herzliya, named in my honor.  People often quote my belief that "If you will it, it is no fairy tale" which has guided me and many people who came after me--in spite of all the adversities we all face.

I thank the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia (http://www.jewishphilly.org) and Theatre Ariel, the Jewish Theatre of Philadelphia (http://www.theatreariel.org) for the opportunity to interact with you.  Feel free to contact them, get actively involved, and check the Internet for more information on my life.  Thank you, Godspeed, and SHALOM—till next year in Jerusalem. 

Yours truly,
Theodor Herzl,
walking among you, with the hope that you will share this information with ALL your friends
Henrik Eger, 2007