Monday, 6 May 2019


MIKHL-YITSKHOK RABINOVITSH (June 22, 1879-November 17, 1948)
            He was born in Mir, Byelorussia.  He studied in the yeshivas of Telz and Slobodka.  He received ordination into the rabbinate.  From 1902 he was living in Minsk and in 1925 settled in Jerusalem.  In both cities he had a large bookstore business.  He amassed a major Yiddish collection from home remedies, exorcism incantations, jokes, and Hebrew elements in the Yiddish language.  He was an active Zionist from 1897.  From 1902, he was writing for: Hamelits (The spectator), using the pen name Tsvi Rabin; Hatsfira (The siren), Hazman (The times), using the pen name Ben Avraham; and later Davar (Word).  He debuted in print in Yiddish in 1903 in Fraynd (Friend).  He wrote for Leon Rabinovitsh’s Tog (Day) in 1904 with feature pieces, using the pseudonym Pemun, Haynt (Today), Veker (Alarm) in Minsk (on Jewish folklore and the history of Jews in Byelorussia), and in the Minsk Yiddish newspapers and anthologies under a variety of pen names.  He edited Der yud (The Jew), a daily community-political and cultural newspaper, in Minsk (Minsk district of the Zionist Organization) (December 4, 1917-July 2, 1918).  He completed a work on Yiddish book publishers in Byelorussia.  According to Zalmen Shazar, Rabinovitsh was an “erudite.  He wrote no books, but he wrote a great deal…and even more did he prepare to write.”  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 5 (Tel Aviv, 1952); Zalmen Shazar, Or ishim (Light of personalities) (Tel Aviv, 1955), pp. 211-16; Y. Halperin, ed., Ḥol umoed (Everyday) (Jerusalem, 1964/1965); A. Y. Haberman, Masekhet sofrim vesifrut (A tractate on writers and literature) (Jerusalem, 1976), pp. 104-12.
Ruvn Goldberg

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