Monday 18 April 2016


            He was born in Raseyn (Raseiniai), Lithuania, into a rabbinic family which descended from the Shelah (Isaiah Horovitz, c. 1565-1630).  He studied in religious elementary school and with his father, later at the Volozhin Yeshiva.  At the same time, he turned his attention to secular subject matter.  He married in 1880, worked for a time as a merchant, and then became a publisher.  In 1893 he moved to the United States, where he settled in Cleveland and there opened the first Yiddish publishing house.  He was a pioneer in the Yiddish press and Yiddish book publications in Cleveland.  He edited the local weekly newspaper Der idisher shtern (The Jewish star), 1893-1896, in which he effectively wrote the entire content by himself with treatises, poetry, as well as a humor section.  He founded Zionist religious associations and institutions in Ohio.  He was the author of booklets and pamphlets on Zionist, religious, and social issues, which in the late nineteenth century were brought out by “Der idishe shtern” publishers in Cleveland.  In 1901 he moved to New York, where he opened a publishing house that brought out his own pamphlets under the title Volfs idishe biblyotek (Volf’s Jewish library) and works of other authors, among them Max Bukanski’s book, Di geshikhte fun kristentum oder der farmaskirter getsendinst (The history of Christianity or disguised polytheism) (New York, 1901), with Volf’s “own words of the publisher” as a preface.  Together with Ts.-H. Maslyanski, he founded the daily newspaper Di idishe velt (The Jewish world), which published a variety of works.  He contributed as well to Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people) (New York, 1911), and other writings.  He was also the author of the pamphlet Tsienizmus in vort un in tat (Zionism in word and deed) (New York, 1902), 24 pp.

Sources: M. Markovits, Lekorot ir raseyn verabaneha (Chronicles of the city of Raseyn and its rabbis) (Warsaw, 1913); B. Ts. Ayzenshtadt, Dorot haaḥronim (The last generations) (New York, 1913), pp. 122-23; Ts. H. Maslyanski, Zikhroynes (Memoirs) (New York, 1924), p. 244.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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