Born in Belorussia in 1868, Syrkin joins the Hovevei Tzion (Lovers of Zion) movement in Minsk, after his family relocates there while he is in high school. By 1888, Syrkin, a former student of psychology and philosophy, pioneers the concept of combining non-Marxist socialism with Jewish Nationalism. Bringing these concepts to the first Zionist Congress, he attends as a leader of the socialist Zionists. Syrkin’s most famous work, an article titled “The Jewish Problem and the Socialist Jewish State,” is published in 1898 in an Austrian socialist monthly.