Saturday, 9 April 2016


ZEREKH VARHAFTIK (ZERACH WARHAFTIG) (February 2, 1906-September 26, 2002)
            He was born in Volkovysk, Grodno district, Russian Poland, where his father Yerukhem Osher, an author of religious texts, was rabbi.  He studied in religious primary school and in a yeshiva, later graduating from a high school and the law faculty of Warsaw University.  From 1922 he was an active leader in the Mizrachi Party.  He was a member of its central committee and world council.  He took part in the “Torah veavoda” (Torah and labor) movement and the “Heḥaluts hamizrachi” (Mizrachi pioneer) organization in Poland.  He was a lawyer in Warsaw until 1939 and was devoted to community work.  When the Nazis invaded Poland, he escaped to Lithuania and there (until 1941) was active in relief work for Jewish refugees from Poland; later, he lived in Japan, and from there in 1942 he made his way to the United States.  From 1947 he was in Israel where he was active in the Mizrachi movement, in Yad Vashem, and elsewhere.  He served as vice-minister for religion in the state of Israel.  Until WWII, 1928-1939, he contributed to the Yiddish and Hebrew press in Warsaw, such as: Dos idishe lebn (Jewish life), Unzer veg (Our way), Der mizrakhi (The Mizrachi), Unzer shtime (Our voice), and Hamizraḥi (The Mizrachi), among others.  In Israel he placed works in: Sinai (Sinai), Hatsofe (The spectator), and elsewhere.  He edited the Jerusalem section of the anthology Baayot hamedina beyisrael (Problems of the state of Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1949).  He lived in Jerusalem until his death.

Sources: Dr. R. Yidishe gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish community handbook) (Warsaw, 1939), pp. 895-96; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), p. 2030; Sh. Izban, in Der amerikaner (New York (September 20, 1957).

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