YISROEL VESHER-RAYKHMAN (August 23, 1887-August 16, 1947)
He was born in Khoroshtsh, between Trok (Trakai) and Grodno in Russian Poland, into a merchant household. He studied in a “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school) and later acquired secular knowledge through self-study. He moved to Warsaw in 1903 and became a office clerk in the laundry line of work, worked for the illegal trade union movement, joined the Bund, and until 1906 was a member of its Warsaw committee. In 1906 he moved over to Labor Zionism, where he was one of the principal leaders and for many years a member of its central committee, and from 1920 a member of the world union of the Labor Zionist Party. He was a cofounder of Hazemir (The nightingale) in Warsaw and of the Jewish Literature Society (1910). During the German occupation of Warsaw (1915-1918), he cofounded the Workers’ Home, the administration of the “People’s Relief” Committee, and the Dinezon-Raykhman Committee for Jewish Children’s Homes from which later arose Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) in Poland, and he was among the founders of the last of these. In 1923 he came to Israel on an assignment from the world association of the left Labor Zionists and remained there. A man of deep ethical character, he did not wish to live by community activity alone and thus performed hard physical labor building streets and highways. In 1936 he switched to Mapai (Mifleget poale erets yisrael, or Workers’ party of the land of Israel) and thereafter was a member of the workers’ council and the city council of Tel Aviv, as well as a member of Asefat Hanivḥarim (Assembly of Representatives). He was one of the founders of the Labor Zionist press in Russia and in Poland. He contributed articles to the general Labor Zionist periodical Dos yudishe arbayter vort (The word of Jewish labor) in 1906; and later to: Arbeter-vort (Word of labor), Arbeter-velt (World of labor), Dos lebn (The life), Naye velt (New world), Arbeter-blat (Workers’ newspaper), Unzer tsaytung (Our newspaper), and mainly to Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw; also to Nay-velt (New world) and Davar (Word), among others, in Tel Aviv. He died in Tel Aviv.
Sources: Z. Nir, in Yidisher arbeter pinkes, tsu der geshikhte fun der poyle-tsien bavegung (Jewish workers’ records, toward a history of the Labor Zionist movement) (Warsaw, 1927), see index; Binyumin, in Arbeter-tsaytung (Warsaw), jubilee number, 1918-1928 (January 11, 1929); Onhoyb (Jerusalem) (1928); Davar (Tel Aviv) August 17, 1947); Iḥud olami (Tel Aviv) (November 1947); Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1936/1937); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 2029-30; Nir, Pirke ḥayim (Chapter of life) (Tel Aviv, 1958), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks