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Article: A Life to Remember: Yehuda Even Shmuel’s Memorialization of His Son, Shmuel Asher Kaufman and the Crisis of His Zionist Vision

Author: Ira Robinson


Shmuel Asher Kaufman (1927–1947) died in a live ammunition training accident as a member of the Palmah in spring 1947. His father, Yehuda Kaufman Even-Shmuel (1886–1976), lovingly reconstructed his brief life and his story entered Israeli mythology, along with that of his fiancée Zohara Levyatov, as symbolic of the loss of the young Israeli men and women whose lives were lost in the struggle for Israel’s independence. This article examines the process by which Shmuel’s life was memorialized by his father in the decade after his death. It also begins to mine the wealth of documentation provided by this memorialization of Shmuel’s life in order to examine from a unique perspective the variety of social, religious, and educational choices available to members of the Yishuv’s elite during the Mandate period. In addition, it discusses the impact of Shmuel Kaufman’s tragic death on the crisis of Yehuda Even Shmuel’s Zionist vision, which led him to resign from the Mapai Party in 1947.

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pp. 280–292