Friday 13 January 2017


MORTKHE COHEN (b. March 22, 1906)
            He was born in Jerusalem, the son of the mystic and Hassidic rebbe, Khanekh-Khayim Hacohen.  He studied in the yeshivas of “Ets Ḥayim” (Tree of life) and “Ḥaye olam” (Eternal life), receiving ordination into the rabbinate from Rabbi Kook and remaining thereafter among the first Hassidic youth who became students at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  From his youth he was active in the Mizrachi Party and later belonged to the World Vaad Hapoel (Zionist General Council).  He visited Europe and the United States on several occasions on behalf of Mizrachi.  He was the author of a number of Hebrew-language religious texts.  He contributed as well to: Di yudishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Muncacz (1935-1937), where, in addition to articles, he regularly published correspondence pieces from the land of Israel.  He contributed to: Unzer veg (Our way) in Paris; Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York (articles and legends of Jerusalem); the weekly newspaper Maḥzike hadat (Supporters of the faith) in Jerusalem (1919-1924), which was edited by his father-in-law, Rabbi A. Shur, and appeared one week in Yiddish and the next week in Hebrew.  Others of his articles appeared in: Haḥerut (The freedom), Bamaarakha (In the fight), Sinai (Sinai), Hatsofe (The spectator), Haposek (The decider), Doar hayom (Today’s mail), and Bemishor (Righteously), among others, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  He was editor of the weekly Nerot shabat (Sabbath candles) in Jerusalem (1943-1950), in which, aside from articles, he published translations from Yiddish literature as well.  He was last living in Jerusalem.  He was the father of the Hebrew poet and storyteller Pinḥas Peli.

Source: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopediya leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1949), pp. 1229-30.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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