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Which early-Zionist thinker was the best hipster?

It's a hot topic at her local hair salon: those guys had great beards and awesome glasses
Bon vivant hipster (Cc c/o Wikipedia)
Bon vivant hipster (Cc c/o Wikipedia)

I walked into Shaffa, the uber-cool hair salon attached to the eponymous Shaffa Bar/nerve center of my Jaffa flea market neighborhood. I took a seat on a hard wooden bench next to a sun-scarred middle-aged blonde sporting a Jewfro of hair wrapped in tin foil strips. The gamine 20+ Gal Friday greeted me, as always, with “Hi, Shaffa (Arabic for ‘gorgeous’).” Then she pulled her pencil out of her auburn Brigitte Bardot up-do and proclaimed, “Ber Borochov!”

She looked at me apologetically and explained that she and her coworkers had been trying “all week” to figure out which early-Zionist thinker would have made the best hipster.

Before I could reveal that I too was a fan of Borochov’s “inverted class pyramid” theory and therefore older than dirt, a voluptuous brunette in a black mini-skirt, tights, and wrap-around ballet sweater shouted out while massaging shampoo into her client’s scalp: “Nathan Birnbaum. He had a great beard and perfect glasses.”


Borochov’s fan girl allowed that “The hair’s good. But his nationalism and return to religion…”

Casting my non-existent street cred to the wind, I pointed out that “Herzl is the obvious choice for looks.


But A.D. Gordon is still my favorite.”


Brigitte, the hair washer, and Sputnik all nodded kindly.

Who makes the best early-Zionist hipster? Borochov, Herzl, or maybe even Pinsker?


You decide.

About the Author
Varda Spiegel was Nurse-Director of the Bedouin Mobile Unit of the Negev, later serving as Maternal-Child Health Director for the Ministry of Health Jerusalem District. I am the author of Hershele and the Chicken Skates, was the English Web Content Manager for the Israel Museum and have translated from Hebrew to English for Haaretz and the ANU Museum of the Jewish People. I'm a grandmother, mother, and beachbum.