Monday 16 January 2017


            He was born in Volkovisk (Wołkowysk), Russian Poland.  In his early youth, he moved with his parents to Israel.  He studied in religious primary school and yeshivas.  He was later a planter of etrogs (citrons from use on Sukkot) in the Jaffa region and a partner in an etrog export firm, and on its behalf he visited the United States on two occasions: 1906 and 1912.  He was co-owner of the first Jewish hotel in Jaffa, Malon Eshel (1882).  He was also a political leader and in 1908 joined the revolution of “Young Turks”; he linked up their victory with his dreams for a Jewish state in the land of Israel.  During a visit to New York in 1910, he published there his work of many years’ duration: Der shpigel fun erets-yisroel (The mirror of the land of Israel), “historical-geographic description of the land of Israel, with all the sacred places, all the details on agriculture, planting, and manufacture” (New York, 1910), 138 pp., with a foreword in which he strove to demonstrate that under the revolution of the Young Turks’ government, it would be possible, with material assistance from American Jews, to “acquire the rights for a Jewish state in Palestine.”  This short book, written in a pure popular Yiddish style, with specific old Yiddish and Israeli expressions, constituted a practical project for American Jewry to be able to settle in Israel with a genuinely small investment.  Cohen’s plan found no resounding support, neither in America nor in Israel.  Further information about him remains unknown.

Sources: Yidishes tageblat (New York) (August 4, 1910), under the heading “Tint un feder” (Ink and pen); A. Grayevski, Rayze handbukh erets yisroel (Travel handbook, Israel) (Jerusalem, 1910); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 6 (Tel Aviv, 1955), p. 3505 (under the biography for his son Moyshe Cohen).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

No comments:

Post a Comment