Thursday, 14 June 2018


YAAKOV (JACOB) AMIT (b. February 23, 1904)
            The Hebraized name of Yankev-Moyshe Gotlib, he was born in Kovno, Lithuania.  He studied traditional subject matter in religious elementary school and yeshiva and secular subjects in Russian secondary schools.  In 1915 during WWI, his family fled with other bezhentses (R. ‘refugees’) deep into Russia, stopping in Melitopol.  In 1918 he became a Zionist and joined Hashomer (The guard)—later, known as Hashomer Hatsayir (The young guard)—this movement was in the first years after the Russian Revolution tolerated by the Soviet authorities.  In 1922 he returned with his family to Kovno.  For a time he worked in an office and for three years was a teacher in Dr. Leman’s Jewish children’s home.  In 1928 he made aliya to the land of Israel as a member of a kibbutz run by Hashomer Hatsayir and worked on the kibbutz economy.  Over the course of years, he held numerous leading positions: a member of the central committee of Mapam (United Workers’ Party), a member of the Zionist Action Committee, and a member of the council of the Federation of Labor in Israel, among others.
            He began writing in Russian, but debuted in print in 1924 in Hebrew in the journal Ziv (Glory).  He wrote in Yiddish in the 1920s for Yidishe shtime (Jewish voice) and in the 1930 for Dos vort (The word) in Kovno.  Later, he also placed word in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal) and Tsukunft (Future) in New York.  From 1937 he was a professional Hebrew journalist.  From 1943 he was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Al hamishmar (On guard) in Tel Aviv.  He was later chairman of the committee of editors in the state of Israel.  Until 1974 he was editor-in-chief of Davar (Word) in Tel Aviv.  His essays dealt primarily with Jewish sociological and ideological issues.  He published solid works in the quarterly Bitefutsot hagola (In the dispersion) and elsewhere.  He authored: Lisheatam umeever lisheatam, asupat masot umaamarim (For that time and beyond, a collection of essays) (Tel Aviv, 1981), 198 pp.  He was last living on the kibbutz Bet Zera, Emek Hayarden, Israel.

Source: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lechalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 1774-75.
Yankev Birnboym

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 416.]

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