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Why I Was a Zionist and Why I Now Am Not

The Dybbukast, Season 3, Episode 2: Why I Was a Zionist and Why I Now Am Not

Season 3, Episode 2

In this episode, presented in collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Maryland, we share selections from a speech by Rabbi Morris S. Lazaron, which was given at the convention of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1937. Portions of this speech are featured along with excerpts from his unpublished autobiography in an article from the Museum's journal, Generations, titled “Why I Was a Zionist and Why I Now Am Not.” A prominent and nationally known leader affiliated with the Reform movement, Morris Lazaron served as rabbi for Baltimore Hebrew Congregation from 1915 through much of 1946, and, later, as rabbi emeritus.

Rabbi Lazaron’s words and work serve as an entry point for us to explore the American Council for Judaism: a non-Zionist, anti-nationalist organization that he co-founded with a group of Reform rabbis in 1942.

Dr. Matt Berkman, visiting professor at Oberlin College in Ohio, takes us through the history, philosophy, and formation of the American Council for Judaism while Rabbi Andrew Busch, current rabbi of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, and Peggy Wolf, Rabbi Lazaron’s granddaughter, share about the rabbi’s life, work, and legacy.

Read the transcript for "Why I Was a Zionist and Why I Now Am Not."


Hosted by Aaron Henne

Scholarship provided by Matt Berkman, PhD, Rabbi Andrew Busch, and Peggy Wolf

Edited by Mark McClain Wilson

Story editing by Julie A. Lockhart with Aaron Henne

Featuring the voices of Julie A. Lockhart, Jon Weinberg, and Mark McClain Wilson

Theme music composed by Michael Skloff and produced by Sam K.S.

Transcription by Dylan Southard

"Why I Was a Zionist and Why I Now Am Not" Learning Resources

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The Jewish Museum of Maryland is a space for all people to connect with Jewish life, history, culture, and art in Maryland. Located in downtown Baltimore, the Museum features two historical synagogues, two longterm exhibits, and a gallery space with original and traveling exhibits. The Museum also produces podcasts, videos, virtual content, and more. To learn more, visit


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