Wednesday 29 April 2015


YEHUDA GOTHELF (November 19, 1903-1994)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a well-to-do merchant household.  He studied in religious primary school, secular high school, and later philosophy and veterinary science at Warsaw University.  In his early youth, he was active in the Zionist youth organizations “Hashomer Hatsair” (The young guard) and “Haḥiluk” (Dissent).  He worked for a time as a teacher in a Hebrew high school in Warsaw.  In 1929 he left for Palestine and was one of the founders of Kibbutz Hadera.  He was also among the active leaders in the administration of Kibbutz Artzi.  Over the years 1932-1935, he was in Poland, as an agent for Hashomer Hatsair.  He then returned to Palestine and in 1948 he became active in Mapai (Workers’ Party in the Land of Israel).  In late 1948 he switched to Mapam (United Workers’ Party) from Hashomer Hatsair and Aḥdut haavoda (Union of labor).  His first publications were in Hebrew serials: Hashomer hatsair and Du-shavuon (Fortnightly) in Warsaw (1927).  During the founding of the Poale-Tsiyon daily newspaper Dos vort (The word) (Warsaw, 1933), he served as a member of the editorial board.  His first publication in Yiddish appeared in Dos vort: “Privat-virtshaftlekhe un khalutsishe kooperatsye” (Private economic and pioneer cooperation).  He also contributed to: Dos naye vort (The new word) in Warsaw (1933-1937); Naye-yugnt (New youth), Hamitspeh (The watchtower), Badere (On the road) in Warsaw, and Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York.  From 1938 he was a member of the editorial board of Davar (Word) in Tel Aviv.  Among his books: Sefer hashomrim (Book of the guardians), editor (Warsaw, 1934), 538 pp.; Torat hamaase (Theory of action) (Warsaw, 1933), 142 pp.  His pamphlet, Madua parashti mimifleget poale erets-yisrael? (How I distinguish myself from the party of laborers in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1948), 16 pp., aroused debates among Jewish workers in Israel.  He was also editor of the Yiddish supplement to the Hashomer Hatsair serial Heatid (The future) in Warsaw (1928-1932); and of Sefer hashana shel haitonaim (The annual of newspapers) in Tel Aviv.  In late 1957 he visited Poland and published in Davar a series of articles about the living condition of Jews there.  He edited Yisroel un “der nayer links,” zamlhef (Israel and “the new left,” a collection) (Tel Aviv, 1969), 139 pp.; and he coedited Di yidishe prese vos iz geven (The Yiddish press that was) (Tel Aviv, 1975).  He was also the author of a series of books in Hebrew on general and sociological-community topics.

Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the founders and builders of Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1950), vol. 4, p. 1838; N. Kantorovitsh, on Fun noentn over 3 (New York, 1957), p. 292.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 123-24.]

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