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Lumina

LUMINA

LUMINA ("The Light"), Jewish Social Democratic group in Romania in the 1890s. Its founders were M. *Wechsler, L. *Gelerter, L. Geller, M. Haimovitz – later well known in the "Arbeter Ring" (*Workmen's Circle) in the United States – and R. Schwartz. Lumina originated in *Jassy in 1893 as an opposition group to the leadership of the Romanian Social Democratic Party. It rejected the latter's tendency to closer cooperation with the liberal bourgeois party, which was the main factor in antisemitism in the country, and also demanded a clear stand on the "Jewish problem." The circle developed into a solely Jewish body which in 1895 emerged as an independent group. It published the periodical Lumina (1895–97) in Romanian and Der Veker ("Awakener") in Yiddish. Previously (December 12, 1887–January 29, 1888), another pioneer journal of Romanian Jewish socialism had been published under the same title, edited by Stefan Stanca. The society criticized the Social Democratic Party for contenting itself with a demand for general voting rights for all citizens while the Jews were still regarded as "aliens without rights." Lumina considered that one of its functions was to organize the Jewish workers for an independent struggle for political and civic rights, on the assumption that the "liberation of a nation is impossible if it is dormant and frozen." The society, which also had contact with Jewish Social Democrats in Russia, favored the principle of organizing special unions for workers of differing nationalities to function in cooperation. The Jassy group had connections with similar groups in other places in Moldavia (northern Romania). It sent a memorandum (in German) to the congress of the Socialist International in London in 1896, in which it set out its principles and requested a discussion of the problem of the Jews in Romania. The memorandum also explained that the Jewish proletariat and bourgeoisie, though in opposition from the class aspect, had a common interest in obtaining civil and political rights. Lumina had reservations on Zionism and religious attitudes, but Veker claimed that a man "who is unable to raise himself to love and sacrifice for his own people, can certainly not be such an idealist as to sacrifice himself for strangers."

bibliography:

B. Liber, A Doctor's Apprenticeship (19572), index; Taẓkir Aggudat Lumina la-Congress ha-Internaẓyonal be-London (Heb. and Ger., 1969); J. Kissman, Shtudiyes tsu der Geshikhte fun Rumenishe Yidn… (1944), 63–86 (incl. Eng. summary). add. bibliography: C. Iancu, Les Juifs en Roumanie 18661919 (1978), 244–49; A. Greenbaum, The Periodical Publications of the Jewish Labor and Revolutionary Movements (1998), 50–51.

[Moshe Mishkinsky]

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