Gordon, Aaron David

▪ Russian author and philosopher
born June 9/10, 1856, Troyanov, Ukraine
died Feb. 22, 1922, Deganya, Palestine [now in Israel]

      Zionist writer and philosopher who inculcated the idea of a return of Jews to Palestine as agriculturists.

      After working for some 20 years as a minor official for the estate of Baron Horace Günzburg, a wealthy Russian Jew, Gordon, who was an ardent Zionist, set a personal example by immigrating to Palestine in 1904. He settled in the village of Petaẖ Tiqwa, refusing a job as librarian to work as a farm labourer, a choice that reflected his belief that Jews could end the alienation caused by the Diaspora only if they returned to the Palestinian homeland and worked its soil. Gordon inspired other Jewish pioneers to establish Deganya (1909), Israel's first collective community, or kibbutz. At the end of World War I, Gordon went to Deganya, where his own example and ideals continued to influence the Jewish labour movement in Palestine. He became the ideologist of the ha-Poʿel ha-Tzaʿir (“The Younger Worker”), the first Palestinian Jewish Labour Party, which was later incorporated into the Mapai.

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