Friday 13 March 2015


MEYER BERLIN (BAR-ILAN) (April 10, 1880-April 17, 1949)
     He was born in Volozhin, Lithuania, the son of R. Tsvi-Yehude (Ha-Natsiv), the well-known leader of the Volozhin yeshiva.  He studied in the yeshivas of Volozhin, Telz (Telts, Telshe), Brisk (Brest), and Navaredok (Navahrudak) from which he received ordination into the rabbinate.  From his earliest youth, he was active in Mizrachi, a delegate to Zionist congresses, to a conference of Tsiyoni Tsiyon (Zionists for Zion) in Freiburg, Germany, and to all the Mizrachi conferences.  He was initially general secretary, later chairman, of World Mizrachi.  He served as the publisher and editor of the Hebrew periodical Haivri (The Jew) in Berlin.  During WWI, he was interned in Germany.  Thanks to Louis Brandeis, he was freed and came to the United States, where he took part in aid work for the settlement in Palestine at the time, and he was a member of the Central Relief Committee and the management of the Joint Distribution Committee.  He served as chair of Yeshivas Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan in New York.  He was one of the founders of Histadruth Ivrit (Hebrew organization) and Bet hamidrash lemorim (Teacher training school), both in New York.  He was a member of the Zionist Action Committee.  From 1924 he was living in Palestine.  From 1925 he was a member of the director’s council of the Jewish National Fund.  From 1929 he was a member of the Jewish Agency.  He served as an envoy from Zionist institutions to Europe and other parts of the world.  He also served on the editorial board of Entsiklopediya hatalmudit (Talmudic encyclopedia) (10 volumes), and he authored such Hebrew religious works as: Mivolozhin ad yerushalayim (From Volozhin to Jerusalem) (Tel Aviv, 1939/1940), 2 volumes; Raban shel yisrael (Teacher of Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1943), 157 pp.; Bishevile hateḥiya (On the paths of renewal) (Tel Aviv, 1940), 288 pp.  In Yiddish: Fun volozhin biz yerusholaim, epizoden (From Volozhin to Jerusalem, episodes) (New York, 1933), 471 pp. in 2 volumes.  He also contributed to the anthology: Vos tut der mizrakhi in erets yisroel (What is Mizrachi doing in Palestine), “a survey of Mizrachi’s work in Palestine in the economic and cultural realms” (New York, 1925), 31 pp., together with Y. L. Ha-cohen Fishman.

Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the founders and builders of Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1947-1971), vol. 3, see index; P. Viernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (June 9, 1933); R. Yankev Levinzon, in Morgn-zhurnal (June 15, 1933).

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