Wednesday 28 October 2015


YOYSEF DANOVSKI (JOSEPH DANOWSKY) (July 10, 1885-August 7, 1944)
            He was born in Jedwabne, Lomzhe region, Poland, the son of a teacher of Torah, Avrom-Arn (Avraham-Aharon) Danovski.  He received both a traditional Jewish and a secular education.  He studied in religious primary schools and in the yeshivas of Lomzhe, Slobodka, and Maltsh (Malecz), and with the help of teachers prepared to pass the examinations for the sixth level of senior high school in Mariopol, Suwalk district.  He received rabbinic ordination from R. Klatskin.  He later moved to study in Germany and lived for a time in Berlin.  He graduated from a teachers’ institute in Frankfurt-am-Mainz.  He studied philosophy and received his doctorate of philosophy.  He wrote for the Russian newspaper Birzhevie vedomosti (Stockbroker’s gazette) and for the German Rundschau (Review).  In 1922 he emigrated to the United States and settled in New York.  He was an Orthodox rabbi in the “Yeshivas Toras Chaim of Harlem” in Manhattan and in “Young Israel” in the Bronx, a teacher of languages, a lecturer, and he gave Talmud classes in the New York yeshiva Tiferet Yerushalayim.  Under his own name and under the pseudonyms Y. D. and Dan-ski, R. Danovski published essays, stories, adaptations, and translations from world literature in Tageblat (Daily newspaper) and Amerikaner (American) and in Hebrew in Hayom (Today) and the Hebrew column in Amerikaner in New York.  He was the author of such religious texts as: Haḥayim vehamavet (Life and death) (New York, 1940), 93, 24 pp.; and Torat haavot (The Torah of our forefathers), among others.  In Yiddish he published: Seyfer toyre un khokhme (The Torah and wisdom), “which includes: (a) sermons for all Jewish holidays; (b) sparks, aphorisms, and flashy ideas; and (c) scholarly problems on various themes” (New York, 1933), 142 pp.; Yoyre derekh al halokhes sheḥita (Showing the way to the laws of ritual slaughter) (New York: 1946?), 23 pp.; Di filozofye fun lebn (The philosophy of life) (New York, 1940), 46 pp.  His commentaries were on the whole written in a correct Yiddish and, in a foreword to the last of these works, he expressed why he as an Orthodox rabbi had concerned himself with popular philosophy, and he referred to an entire string of religious, Jewish thinkers, such as Yehuda Abarbanel and others, who engaged with philosophy.  He died in New York.

Source: Sh. A. Tiktin, in Hadoar (New York) (Elul 12 = September 1, 1944).

Zaynvl Diamant

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