Though change is generally a gradual process through history, it’s worth noting how several momentous events which were indicators of a dynamic Jewish community all occurred during the year 1897. The first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, the founding of the socialist Bund political party in Vilna, the Pulmoss Hamussar in Lithuania and the founding of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshiva of Chabad in Lubavitch. Are these seemingly unrelated events which differ so much in ideology, goals and constituency at all connected? Or do all four separate events indicate some unifying trends taking place in the volatile situation the Jewish People found themselves within as the 19th century came to a close?
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