Sunday, 10 June 2018


NAKHMEN-BER ETELZON (1828-March 25, 1920)
            He was born in Shaki (Šakiai), Suwalk district, Lithuania.  His father, Borekh Etelzon, was renowned as a great scholar and the author of the religious texts. Kanfe yona (Wings of a dove) (Warsaw, 1876), 264 pp., and Teome tsviya (Twin gazelles) (Chicago, 1891), among others.  At age twenty-three he made his way to the United States and settled in Chicago where he ran a print shop.  When the Jewish community in Chicago began to grow, Etelzon founded in 1877 a Yiddish weekly newspaper, Di izraelitishe prese (The Israelite press), one of the first Yiddish newspapers in America, which he edited (with Sh. L. Markus) in the Orthodox spirit.  It also had a Hebrew section, entitled “Hekhal haivriya” (the Temple of Hebrew), where scholars split hairs over Torah and speculation, and a fight ensued against Reform Jews, especially against the Chicago rabbi Dr. Bernard Felzntal who had proposed easing up on the conversion to Judaism by replacing circumcision by ritual immersion for purification.  After three years of existence, Di izraelitishe prese, despite its success in the Western states of America, ceased publication, and Etelzon withdrew from journalism.  In his old age, he was an agent of an insurance company.  He died in Chicago.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Hadoar (New York) (November 27, 1936); Shmuel Niger, in Di tsukunft (New York) (January 1940); Kh. M. Roytblat, in Pinkas shikago (Chicago) (1951/1952); M. izkuni (Shtarkman), in Pinkas shikago (1951/1952); izkuni, in Yorbukh (New York) (1951/1952); izkuni, in Metsuda (New York) (1953/1954); izkuni, in Hadoar (November 27, 1959).
Yankev Kahan

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