Masada, Young Zionists of America book label

At a book sale over the weekend, I found the following book and bought it for the interesting label above: The Jewish State 1896-1946, by Theodor Herzl, published by The Emergency Zionist Council, NY, 1946. The title page offers this subtitle: An attempt at a modern solution of the Jewish Question. And I offer that bit of information because it ties in with, or explains the presence of, the book label pasted on the front endpaper.

Masada is an historic landmark in Israel where the last group of zealots from the Jewish Revolt against Rome, first century C.E., held out until they realized there was no escape from their fortress and committed mass suicide. Actually, it sounds more like murder-suicide because the men decided to kill their wives and children before allowing them to be captured, enslaved, and the women forced into prostitution. After they killed their families, they killed each other. A few women hid themselves to escape death and later related the story of what happened at Masada to Josephus Flavius. Josephus put it all in writing In an ironic twist, that desperate act of suicide in the face of defeat came to symbolize survival of the Jewish people.

The photo of Masada above is from the Jewish Virtual Library. Also at that site, I found this on Theodor Herzl: He was the father of political Zionism and outlined his vision for a Jewish state in Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), published in February 1896.

So the symbolic significance of Masada and the Zionist movement to establish a Jewish state inspired the formation of an organization called MASADA, Young Zionists of America, which began publishing a series of books 50 years after Herzl's classic text came out. Appropriately, they started with a reprint of Herzl's famous book. And upon publication, they pasted these labels into the front of each book.

It would interesting to find out how many books were published in the series, their titles, the publishing time-span, and how the labels may have changed, if they continued at all.

I can't find much on the history of this series and have to assume that it was discontinued a number of years ago. And the bit of bibliophemra pasted in the book is a paper relic, with a rich historical reference, of a past organization that promoted Jewish culture and survival before the state of Israel was created.

I found only one other title by the publisher The Emergency Zionist Council: The Facts About Palestine, by Arthur Lourie, a 17-page pamphlet published about 1946 or 47. The reference below is about all I can find on the organization that produced the book label for the reprint of the Herzl title, first in the proposed series. Perhaps the series plan died after the Herzl book.

Pres. Joseph P. Sternstein; Exec. Dir. Raymond Glazier
381 Fourth Ave., N. Y. C , 16
Purpose: To establish Palestine as the Jewish Commonwealth; to participate actively in Jewish community life in the United States.
Publications: Masada News; Masada Bulletin.


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