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Israel Zangwill Biography

(1864–1926), Ariel, The Bachelors' Club, The Old Maids' Club, Children of the Ghetto

london ghetto jews zionist

British writer of Russian-Jewish descent, born in Whitechapel, London; he was educated at the Jews' Free School and London University. After working as a schoolteacher, from 1890 to 1892 he was founding editor of the magazine Ariel, collecting his humorous stories in The Bachelors' Club (1891) and The Old Maids' Club (1892). He gained wide notice with the novel Children of the Ghetto (1892), a graphically moving treatment of conditions among the Jewish population of London's East End, which appeared at a time of rising antisemitism. In Ghetto Tragedies (1893) and The King of the Schnorrers (1894) he depicts London Jews with humour and some sternness. Zangwill's affirmation of the ideals of Judaism in Dreamers of the Ghetto (1898) and The Mantle of Elijah (1900) established him as a leading Zionist. He became leader of the International Zionist Movement in 1904 and eloquently espoused the cause in The Voice of Jerusalem (1920). The best-known of his numerous plays is The Melting Pot (1909). His other works include the early essays collected in Without Prejudice (1896).

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