Friday 19 August 2016


OSHER ZILBERSHTEYN (1887-January 17, 1973)
            He was born in Mezritsh (Międzyrzecz), Shedlets (Siedlce) district, Poland.  He father was a rabbi.  He studied in religious elementary school, yeshiva, and secular subject matter with private tutors.  He was ordained into the rabbinate by his father.  He served for a time as a rabbi in Mezritsh.  During WWI he lived in Kiev.  In 1918 he was the successor to Rabbi Aronson.  He led the struggle of Agudat Yisrael for religious Judaism in the framework of Jewish national autonomy.  In 1925 he illegally left Russia and through various roundabout routes made his way to Canada.  Until 1933 he was rabbi in Winnipeg, thereafter settling in the United States where he lived for a time in New York before moving to Los Angeles where he ran the Board of Orthodox Jewish Education.  He began writing for Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw (1913), and from that time he contributed to: Haynt (Today) in Warsaw; Dos idishe vort (The Yiddish word) in Winnipeg (in 1928-1930 he published here a series of seventy features under the title “Mayne 40 yor lebn un 20 yor rabones” [My forty years of life and twenty years in the rabbinate]; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Tog (Day), Hadoar (The mail), Forverts (Forward), and Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York; Kalifornyer yontef bleter (California holiday sheets), and Kalifornyer idishe shtime (Jewish voice of California) in Los Angeles; among others.  He was editor and publisher of various pamphlets and booklets for Agudat Yisrael in Kiev, such as: Di organizirung-kraft un di yudn (Organizational power and the Jews) (Kiev, 1918), 22 pp.  He was also a contributor to Kievskaia misl’ (Kievan thought) and other Russian-language periodicals.  He died in Los Angeles.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Z. Ratner and Y. Kvitni, Dos yidishe bukh in f.s.s.r. in di yorn 1917-1921 (The Yiddish book in the USSR for the years 1917-1921) (Kiev, 1930), p. 51.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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