Bela Taraseiskey, Simha, ©1994, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches
The Orthodox Jews of Eastern Europe were completely opposed to the idea of returning to the Promised Land until the appearance of the Messiah. The religion taught them “at the end days” the Messiah would lead them all to Jerusalem. They would wait, they said. But there were other Orthodox Jews who couldn’t wait. Some 40.000 went to Palestine. Including two teenagers, David Ben-Gurion, who became Israel’s first prime minister and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, it’s second president.