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In the early days of Zionism, the front-runners of the movement were largely secular Jews, many of whom were staunchly anti-religious.

This all changed with Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, who is accredited with shaping religious Zionism as it’s still known today.

Born in Latvia in 1865, the young Talmudic prodigy had a love of speaking Hebrew and felt a deep mystical connection to both God and the Jewish homeland.

When Rav Kook came to the Land of Israel in 1904, he became Chief Rabbi of Jaffa. He saw the divide between secular and religious Jews and worked towards bridging the gap between them. He furthered that mission as the first Ashkenazi “Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael” from 1921 to 1935.

Today, 90 years after his death, Rav Kook’s teachings continue to shape religious Zionism and inspire millions to love the people and the land of Israel.