Thursday, 7 June 2018


YEKHIEL-MIKHL UZIEL (January 3, 1822-February 9, 1895)
            He was born in Kronstadt (Brașov), Zibenbirgen (Siebenbürgen [Transylvania]).  His father Uziel Ben-David, descended from a family which had settled in Bucharest over 500 years earlier, after expulsion from Hungary.  In 1821 during the religious war between Moldavia and Walachia, Uziel Ben-David fled from Kronshtadt, and in 1825 he returned to Bucharest.  Yekhiel-Mikhl received a traditional Jewish education.  In 1854 he married and became a businessman, but in 1871 he lost all of his possessions in a fire, and after a series of hardships he began in 1874, with help from Benjamin F. Peixotto, the American consul in Bucharest, and the association “Tsiyon” (Zion), to publish the Yiddish weekly newspaper Hayoets (The advisor), “for the house of Israel in Romania, a newspaper for community and family” (later, “politics” and “business” were to the subtitle), with the phrase from Proverbs 11.14, “Uteshua berov yoets” (but salvation [lies] in much counsel), as a motto.  During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, when Bucharest was flooded with Jewish merchants and war contractors, he brought out for a time a daily entitled Yudisher telegraf (Jewish telegraph), the first and only Yiddish daily newspaper in old Romania.  Around this time, once Uziel had acquired his own print shop, he began publishing Hayoets twice each week.  In December 1885 the Romanian government expelled him from the country, together with seven Hebrew publishers, and only after more than eighteen months later (on July 22, 1887), was he able to return.  He died in Bucharest.
            After his death, his eldest son YOYSEF UZIEL (Azielescu) became editor of the newspaper—Hayoets, levet yisrael berumenya (The advisor, for the house of Israel in Romania)—but because of a feud over the leadership of the newspaper, in December 1895 he began publishing his own periodical under the somewhat changed title of Der vahrer hayoets, levet yisrael berumenya (The true advisor, for the house of Israel in Romania), “organ for politics, literature, general Jewish interests, and Zionist matters,” four times each week.  From January 1904 Der vahrer hayoets was coming out only twice a week.  For a time, in place of the motto from Proverbs, it featured a phrase from Isaiah 9.5, “Pele yoets…sar shalom” (Wondrous Advisor…Prince of Peace).  Hayoets existed in its two incarnations until shortly before WWI, when its circulation was approaching 18,000 and was thus the only Yiddish newspaper in Romania with any longevity.  It carried out a variety of functions for Romanian Jewry over this lengthy period of time—assimilation, the struggle for civil rights, and lastly Zionist tendencies.  At different times, contributors to Hayoets included: Naftali Popper, Yakobzon, Yoysefzon, Khayim-Zelik Druker, Kornfeld, Shvartsfeld, Leyzer Rokeakh, B. Kahane, A. D. Rozen, Yitskhok Agent, Freylin Uziel, Maks Yuster, Rapaport, Anshl Shlumovitsh, Yisroel Shekhter, Dr. Vaynshtok, B. Morev, Dr. Rabinovitsh, Dr. Nemirover, S. Rubinson, Lazar Cassvan, Dr. Blokh, and Yitskhok Kahane, among others.  The language of the newspaper was largely Germanized, as was the case with the Yiddish press in old Romania.  Hayoets also had a publishing house, which brought out a large array of novels and storybooks in Yiddish.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; V. Tambur, Yidishe-prese in rumenye (The Yiddish press in Romania) (Bucharest, 1977), pp. 35-42.
Yankev Kahan

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