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A Journey To Palestine and Eastern Europe Between the World Wars

Hosted By: The Center for Jewish History

Horace M. Kallen (1882-1974) is best known for his contributions to American multiculturalism, chief among them, the concept of “cultural pluralism.” This lecture by Esther Schor, National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar in Residence 2022-23, however, explores Kallen’s early dream of being a foreign correspondent—a dream dashed by the US Department of State, which repeatedly denied him a passport on (mistaken) suspicion of communist agitation. Finally permitted to travel abroad in 1926, Kallen spent a year assessing the prospects for Jews in Palestine, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. Frontiers of Hope combines gritty journalism, lyrical descriptions of place, and philosophical meditations on idealism and disillusionment. In trains, cafes, slums, rural collectives, and meeting-halls, Kallen probed the self-understanding of Zionists, Bundists, Communists, and Fascists, documenting how they tested their faith against the realities of unpredictable political power and economic hardship.

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