1887 - 1959 ZALMAN SHNEOUR (Sklow, Belarus)
Radical Hebrew poet. His verse on the first Russian revolution served as an inspiration for younger generation radicals. In 1913 Shneour accurately predicted in his poetry the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. His poems on the shtetl are some of his most widely published works, and although he also achieved recognition as a Yiddish poet his real fame lies as one of the great modern Hebrew poets.
1942 April 20, ZDZIECIOL GHETTO (Dyatlovo, Belarus)
Alter Dworetsky and all the members of the Judenrat were forced to flee after their activities on behalf of the partisans became known to the Germans. Dworetsky tried to organize an attack on the Germans in the city but the Russian partisans refused to join them and later killed him. Dworetsky's efforts paid off when 800 people succeeded in escaping the ghetto and joined the Orlinski detachment of Russia partisans as a Jewish unit under Hersch Kaplinski. Dyatlovo was the birthplace of Israel Meir HaCohen (the Chafetz Chayim) as well as Jacob Wolf Kranz of Dubno (the Dubno Maggid). By August there were no Jews left.
1801 - 1875 ZECHARIA FRANKEL (Germany)
"Father of Conservative Judaism". As a moderate reformer, he objected to the changing of tradition. His views became known as "Historical Judaism". Frankel advocated an evolving Judaism which would only permit changes which were not in variance with the spirit of historical Judaism. As such he was against transferring all the prayers to the vernacular. As resident of the Breslau Seminary from 1854 until his death, he published many works, including a treatise on the Septuagint. His works include an examination of the Jewish oath Die Eidesleistung bei den Juden, an introduction to the MishnaDarkhei ha-Mishnah and an introduction to the Jerusalem Talmud Mevo ha-Yerushalmi.
1920 - 1987 ZELDA TREGER NISANILEVICH (Poland- Eretz Israel)
Partisan. One of the most famous women partisans in Poland . She trained as a teacher and after the war broke out she joined the Halutz group in Vilna. She passed for a non Jew and was of invaluable help to the HaShomer Ha-Tzair cells around Vilna. She managed to break into the ghetto 18 times relaying messages and bringing weapons and medicine. Although she was captured four times she managed to escape each time. At the end of the war she joined the Nekama "revenge" group under Abba Kovner, and later moved to Eretz Israel where she once again worked as a kindergarten teacher.
1720 - 1786 (19 Iyar 5546) ZERAH BEN MEIR EIDLITZ (Prague)
Rabbi, preacher, and mathematician. Eidlitz, a student of Jonathan Eybeshutz, was renowned for his sermons, some of which were preserved in his Or la-Yesharim. He wrote a textbook on math in both English and Hebrew called Melekhet Mahashev. Wealthy at first, he used his funds to support others. Eventually he lost all his resources but refused to accept any charity for himself.
1660 - 1718 (11 Iyar 5478) ZEVI ASHKENAZI, MANAH ZEVI (Moravia)
Fled Vilna on the arrival of the Cossacks. He left Buda in 1686 after his wife and sons were killed during the siege. Arriving in Sarajevo, he became the rabbi and started a school in Alfona. Zevi served as rabbi in Amsterdam, London and Lemberg, and was an opponent of Shabbetai Zevi. His son, Yaakov Emden, later became a famous scholar and was involved in a controversy over Shabbetai Zevi with Jonathan Eybeshutz.
1805 - 1855 ZEVI HIRSCH CHAJES (Brody-Lemberg, Germany)
One of the foremost Galician talmudic scholars. His work, Mevo Hatalmud (Introduction to the Talmud), is a valuable work, although it is more a commentary than an introduction.
1795 - 1874 (5 Cheshvan 5634) ZEVI HIRSCH KALISHER (Germany-Prussia)
The foremost developer of a nationalistic religious philosophy, which he
expounded in his Dreishat Zion (The Seeking of Zion). Kalisher was a
student of Rabbi Akiva Eiger and served as an unpaid rabbi in the town
of Thorn (now part of Poland). He believed that the return to Zion should
be brought about by acts, not by waiting for the Messiah (see 1862. Once the Jews returned to Zion, then the Messiah would come. Kalisher was instrumental in encouraging the idea of establishing agricultural
settlements as well as having Jews guarding them.
1731 ZHITOMIR (Poland/Ukraine)
31 Jewish men and 2 Jewish women were charged with kidnapping and ritual murder of a 3 year old child . The Bishop of Cracow, Kajetan Sołtyk, was the force behind the investigation and trial. Eleven Jews were executed, others converted; some were freed after conversion; others granted speedier executions.
1753 May 26, ZHITOMIR (Russia)
Under the influence of Bishop Solik of Kiev the castle court sentenced 33 Jews to death for the "ritual murder" of a Christian child. The entire evidence was based on the "confessions" of the innkeeper and his wife which had been made after being tortured (although they later retracted their statements). Thirteen of those Jews were released upon converting. Many others, including the local rabbi, were quartered alive. One couple converted on the spot and were granted a beheading.
1890 April 1, ZIONISM
Nathan Birnbaum (1864-1937) in his journal Selbstemanzipation (Self Emancipation) coined the term "Zionism". Birnbaum's idea was to change the philanthropic approach of the time towards the return of Jews to Eretz Israel to a more activist or political one. Although the idea of a return to Zion had been a foundation of Jewish thought and belief since biblical times, it only became a practical political movement at this time. This was later adopted as the Basel Program by the First Zionist Congress under Herzl (see 1897).
1946 December 9 - 24, ZIONIST CONGRESS (Basel, Switzerland)
The first Congress since the Holocaust. The Congress accepted the plan of the Zionist Organization "to establish a Jewish commonwealth integrated into the world democratic structure." A British proposal for a Jewish-Arab conference in London was rejected, and as a result Weizmann resigned. It was also reported that between July 1945 and December 1946, about 111,500 Jews succeeded in fleeing Poland, most of them organized by the Brichah organization.
1905 November, ZIONIST LABOR PARTY (Poale Zion) (Russia)
Was formed in Minsk in an effort to combine Zionism and Socialism. Its first leader was Ber Borochov.
1349 February 22, ZURICH (Switzerland)
Although the town council initally tried to protect the Jews of the town, they were forced to give in to the mob, resulting in the murder of many of the Jewish inhabitants.
1891 - 1982 ZVI JUDAH KOOK (Eretz Israel)
Rabbi and religious Zionist leader. Rav Zvi Judah was the son of Abraham Isaac Kook. He succeeded his father as the head of Yeshivat Mercaz Harav. His lectures dealing with the "Love of the Land of Israel" drew large crowds. Rav Kook was instrumental in encouraging his students to settle in all parts of the land of Israel. His halachic decisions within the field of modern events were published as L'Netivot Yisrael.