Knights of Zion


Chicago's Zionists claim the first organized Zionist group in the United States, the Chicago Zion Society (later the Knights of Zion), which first met in 1895. Although the Knights resisted affiliation with the Federation of American Zionists, they finally joined a national umbrella organization in 1918, when the Zionist Organization of America was created by Louis Brandeis and Judge Julian Mack of Chicago.

Bernard Horwich, the first president of the Knights of Zion and a leader long into the 1930s, was a proponent of this new organization, which was dedicated to the compatibility of Jewish nationalism and Americanism and also provided a unified fundraising framework. Other, more radical Zionists in Chicago chose to affiliate separately in organizations such as the Poalei Tzion (Workers of Zion). While numerically small, these organizations and their leaders continued to exert influence on Zionist policy in America and abroad. Golda Meir, a member of the regional Poalei Tzion, went on to become prime minister of Israel.

Ritual of the Knights of Zion