Nextbook: Gershom Scholem Diaries Reveal Cult of Friendship with Walter Benjamin

A new book and a tantalizing review....
...That is why the publication of Scholem’s youthful diaries by Harvard University Press, under the apt title Lamentations of Youth, comes as such a revelation. These passionate, tumultuous, deeply moving journals document the most important phase of Scholem’s life—the years 1913 to 1919, as he grew from a fifteen-year-old boy into a twenty-one-year-old man. This was the period when Scholem first discovered the subjects and ideas that would consume his adult life; it is also when he first became acquainted with Benjamin, and established the cult of friendship that would last until his death. To look on as Scholem evolves his highly personal understanding of Judaism and Zionism is like watching a painter lay down the first tentative strokes of what will become a masterpiece.

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