Sunday 9 July 2017


            He was born in Nikolaev, southern Russian.  Over the years 1870-1879, he lived in Odessa, studying in Lilienblum’s “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school) and graduating from a Russian senior high school.  In 1882 he graduated from the state institute for agriculture in Pulawy, Poland.  After the pogroms of 1881-1882, he took part in the first meeting of Ḥoveve-tsiyon (Lovers of Zion) in Warsaw, and he later joined the Nikolaev group of Bilu (Palestine pioneers, a movement to settle Jews in the land of Israel).  In November 1882 he left Odessa for Constantinople.  Until 1883 he contributed there to the “political committee” of Bilu, before leaving for the land of Israel and settling in Rishon Lezion.  He was cofounder of economic and cultural institutions in Israel.  During WWI, as chairman of the association of colonists, he ran into numerous difficulties with the Turkish authorities.  In 1915 he was exiled to Anatolia, later returning to Israel and living for a time in Tiberias.  He was a member of the first elected Vaad Haleumi (Zionist National Council), of the highest civil court, and practically every institution in Israel until 1933 when he withdrew from active work.  He wrote (using the pen names Star and Palestinyets) correspondence pieces from Israel for Russkiy Evrey (Russian Jew) in St. Petersburg (1884), and later (until 1902) for: the Russian Jewish Voskhod (Sunrise), Budushchnost’ (Future), and Evreiskaia zhizn’ (Jewish life)—in St. Petersburg.  He edited the first four collections of Der kolonist (The colonist) in Jerusalem (1893), and was co-editor with A. M. Lents of the two Hebrew-Yiddish Haikar—der kolonist (The farmer, the colonist) (Jerusalem, 1895).  Between 1899 and 1902, he published “Briv fun erets-yisroel” (Letter from the land of Israel) in Der yud (The Jew) (Warsaw-Cracow) under the pen name “the old Zionist,” and later he did the same in Der fraynd (The friend) (St. Petersburg-Warsaw) between 1903 and 1912, using the pseudonym “Jew from the land of Israel.”  He also contributed to: Dos yudishe folk (The Jewish people) in Vilna (1906-1908); Di velt (The world) in Vienna (1909-1911); and Dos yudishe folk in New York (from 1910); among others—using such pen names as: Y. Rashuni, Der Alter (the old man), Ben-Tsvi, and Mizikne Hayishuv.  He also placed work in such collections as: Yerushalaim (Jerusalem), Mevaseret tsiyon (Herald of Zion) (1884), Ḥadashot haarets (News of the land), Haarets (The land), Ketuvim (Writings), and Reshumot (Records)—in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; in German: Selbst-Emancipation (Self-emancipation) in Vienna and Die Welt (The world) in Berlin-London; and also in the English and Arabic press in Israel, in which he campaigned on behalf of peace between Jews and Arabs.  His books include: Opisanie evreyskikh koloniy v Palestinie (Description of the Jewish colony in Palestine) (Odessa, 1900), 196 pp.; Shire am tsiyon (Poems of the people of Zion), Hebrew-language folksongs (Jerusalem, 1897), 36 pp.; Ḥevle teḥiya (Pains of revival) (Tel Aviv, 1931), 149 pp.; Mehashvil al haderekh (From the path to the road) (Tel Aviv, 1936), 158 pp.; Minḥat-erev (Evening post) (1940), 188 pp.; Biyeme bilu (In the days of Bilu) (Jerusalem, 1942), 51 pp.; Mizikhronotav shel aḥaron habiluim (From memoirs of the last of the Bilu) (Jerusalem, 1946), 36 pp.  He died in Rishon Lezion.

Sources: E. R. Malachi, in Tsukunft (New York) (June 1928); Y. Shpigelman (Yatsiv), in Forverts (New York) (September 17, 1932); Ben-Arye, in Der tog (New York) (December 8, 1932); M. Unger, in Zamlbukh lekoved dem tsveyhundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese, 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936), ed. Dr. Y. Shatski (New York, 1937), pp. 165-66; Zalmen Reyzen, Psevdonimen in der yidisher literatur (Pseudonyms in Yiddish literature) (Vilna, 1939), pp. 16, 18; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 823-25; Dov Sadan, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 16 (1953); Sh. Beharav, in Unzer veg (New York) (August 1956); Dr. Joseph Klausner, Behitorer am (Amid the awakening of a people) (Jerusalem, 1962), see index; A. Alperin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 21, 1962).

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