YITSKHOK LUFBAN (LOFBAN, LAUFBAHN) (July 17, 1888-September 10, 1948)
He was born in Dembitse (Dębica), western Galicia. He studied in religious elementary school, synagogue study hall, and later under the influence of Jewish Enlightenment literature, he turned his attention to secular knowledge. He was the leader of the Dębica group in the Zionist youth movement “Hashaḥar” (The dawn) of western Galicia. He began writing around 1904, initially in Hebrew in Hashaḥar in Torne (Tornów), later in Yiddish for Di naye folks-tsaytng (The new people’s newspaper) in Reyshe (Rzeszów), edited by Naftole Zigel, and in the Polish-language Morija (Moriya) in Lemberg. In 1908 he left for the land of Israel, joined the Labor Zionist movement, and worked for a time with Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s newspaper Hatsvi (The gazelle) in Jerusalem. In 1910 he departed for Switzerland where he was an early auditor in the philosophy department of Zurich University. He returned to Israel in 1912 and edited the issues of Ḥovarot medaiyot amamiyot (Popular science pamphlets), put out by the publisher Laam. In 1914 he became assistant editor (and during WWI the editor) of the weekly Hapoel hatsair (The young worker). He was a member of the Asefat Hanivḥarim (Assembly of Representatives) and of the cultural council of the Zionist Organization, a delegate to Zionist congresses, and, with the unification of Aḥdut haavoda (Union of labor) and the Labor Zionists, he was a member of the central committee of Mapai. In 1921 he came to Poland on an assignment from the party. In Warsaw he edited the newspaper Folk un land (People and land), and later he edited Arbayts-folk (Working people) in Berlin, published articles and travel narratives in Haynt (Today) in Warsaw and in Tog (Day) in Cracow, edited by Yoyne Krepl, and in other Yiddish, Polish, and German Zionist publications in Poland, Austria, Germany, and other countries. After the death of Yoysef Aronovitsh, editor of Hapoel hatsair, Lufban edited the weekly over the course of thirty years and published essays, monographs, and political articles. He also contributed work to: Hashiloaḥ (The shiloah), Hatekufa (The epoch), Moznaim (Scales), Arakhin (Vows), and Maabarot (Fords), among others. Into Hebrew he translated Emil Ludwig’s Napoleon in two volumes (Berlin-Tel Aviv, 1930). He edited several issues of the monthly journal Aḥdut haavoda, and he was also compiler of the articles by Chaim Weizmann (published by Mitspe in 1934). In Yiddish he published the pamphlet, Far vos zaynen mir gegen revizyonism? (Why are we opposed to Revisionism?), in which was included his article “L״b perushim” (Thirty-two commentaries) and an article by A. Tsioni, “Di opozitsye” (The opposition) (Warsaw: Folk un land, 1927), 46 pp. He wrote introductions to works by Khayim Orlozorov, Yoysef Aronovitsh, and Yankev Zandbek, and to the anthology Pirke hapoel hatsair (Selections from The Young Worker). Shortly before his death, he edited the collection Arbaim shana (Forty years) on the fortieth anniversary of Hapoel hatsair. He died in Tel Aviv. After his death, two books by him appeared: Anshe segula (Virtuous people), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1949), 552 pp., a collection of his essays on Jewish and Gentile personalities, which had been published in various newspapers and periodicals; Mivḥar kitve y. lufban (Selections from the writings of Y. Lufban) (Tel Aviv, 1954), 564 pp., edited by N. Teradion, with critical assessments by Dov Sadan and Yitsḥak Elazar Volcani.
Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 1604-5; Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934); Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937); Dov Sadan, Kearat tsimukim (A bowl of raisins) (Tel Aviv, 1950); Y. Kahan, in Gesharim (Bridges) (Tel Aviv, 1954/1955); Dr. N. Gelber, Toldot hatenua hatsiyonit begalitsiya (History of the Zionist movement in Galicia) (Jerusalem, 1958).