Babel in Zion:Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920–1948 by Liora R. Halperin / Yale University Press / 2014, pp. 328, $40
Who was Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of Jewish Palestine? Many have tried to understand this complex, charismatic scholar whose embrace of modernism existed side-by-side with strict traditionalism. How to explain his contradictory mixture of tolerance and orthodoxy, nationalism and universalism, mysticism and activism? Kook was a poet, religious jurist, philosopher and communal leader. Was he a Zionist?