YISROEL MEREMINSKI-MEROM (October 24, 1891-May 9, 1976)
He was born in Slonim, Byelorussia. His father was an employee in the field of forestry and sawmills, a beadle in synagogue, and an arbitrator. His mother, born Rokhl Kaplan, was a Zionist leader and also a cofounder of “Hazemir” (The nightingale) in Lodz and Warsaw; and she published articles in Unzer leben (Our life) and Haynt (Today) in Warsaw as well as a libretto for an opera entitled Tsien (Zion). (Hillel Tsaytlin and Y. Grinboym published her stories—in Warsaw in 1930, after her death—in a special collection.) Until age thirteen young Yisroel studied in religious elementary school, with tutors in the home, and in yeshiva, and he subsequently graduated from a Jewish state public school in Slonim and in 1911 the senior high school in Warsaw. From 1915 he studied construction engineering and political economy at the Moscow polytechnic institute, before moving to the Kiev institute of commerce in the department of urban self-governance. Already in his senior high school years, he was leading Zionist activities among the Jewish school youth. He was active, 1906-1907, in the Zionist socialists. He was later one of the leaders of the student union Kadima (Onward), which laid the foundations for the organization of “Tseire-Tsiyon” (Zionist youth). He organized the first conference for Tseire-Tsiyon in Russia (Moscow, 1915). He served as secretary general of the party in Russia. After the October Revolution, he worked in Kharkov and Kiev, was a delegate from Tseire-Tsiyon to the provisional Jewish national assembly in Ukraine. In June 1919, on assignment from the Russian Tseire-Tsiyon, he came to Poland, and at the second national conference of the Polish Tseire-Tsiyon, he assisted in the establishment of an independent party with a socialist spirit. He was a member of the office of the Tseire-Tsiyon world union, and from 1920 he represented the Tseire-Tsiyon in the Zionist action committee. Over the years 1920-1924, he was vice-chairman of the Jewish writers’ association in Warsaw. In 1923 he made aliya to the land of Israel. Over the period 1923-1939, he was a member of Vaad Leumi (National council), of the central committee of Aḥdut haavoda (Union of labor), and later of Mapai (Workers’ Party in the Land of Israel). During those same years, he was one of secretary generals of the Histadrut executive, and he was delegated by Histadrut to the United States, where he established a bond with the AFL (American Federation of Labor) and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations). He was treasurer for the Histadrut executive and a member of the permanent finance committee of the Jewish Agency. He was also a guest of Histadrut at the conference of American Federation of Labor convention in Boston (1943). He debuted as a writer in Russian in the children magazine Yunyi izraelit (Young Israelite) in Ekaterinoslav (1910), and later he wrote for Vozrozhdenie (Renaissance) in Vilna (1912) and Evreiskaia zhizn’ (Jewish life) and Haam (The people), among others, in Moscow. He was the founder, co-editor, and contributor to the organ of Tseire-Tsiyon, Izvestia Tsentral’nogo Komiteta Ts”Ts (News from the Central Committee of Tseire-Tsiyon) in Petrograd (1917). He published articles in Razsvet (Dawn) and Unzer fraynd (Our friend) in Petrograd, and in Erd un frayhayt (Land and freedom) in Moscow. He was founder and editor of the first organ of Tseire-Tsiyon in Russia, Erd un arbet (Land and labor) (1918-1919)—the first five issues were published in Kharkov, the subsequent twenty in Kiev at the time of the Jewish national assembly, with literary editor Avrom Levinson. At the second national conference of Tseire-Tsiyon in Warsaw (1919), he was selected to be editor of the weekly party organ Bafrayung (Liberation), which lasted until 1923. Over the years 1920-1923 he edited the monthly journal Haoved (Labor). Mereminski also placed pieces in: Haynt, Moment (Moment), Haḥaluts (The pioneer), and Haatid (The future), among others, in Warsaw; Idisher arbayter (Jewish worker), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Forverts (Forward), Der tog (The day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Di tsukunft (The future), Advans (Advance), Frontir (Frontier), and others in the United States; Kuntres (Pamphlet), Hapoal hatsair (The young worker), Haarets (The land), and Davar (Word), among others, in Israel. He wrote under such pen names as: Y. Kosovski, Y. Lvovitsh, Y. Volfzon, Y. Meres, Emet, and Yisrael Merom. He published the pamphlets: Vegn der yidisher kehile (On the Jewish community council) (St. Petersburg: Tseire-Tsiyon, 1917); Tsum shul-kamf (On school battles) (Kiev: Erd un arbet, 1918), 48 pp.; Dos gebot fun der tsayt, a brif fun goles keyn erets yisroel tsum yudishen arbayter-tsuzamenfor (The order of the times, a letter from the diaspora to the land of Israel on the Jewish labor conference) (Vienna: Bafrayung, 1920), 13 pp., 15,000 copies printed; Boykot oder mithilf dem arbetendn erets-yisroel (Boycott or help laboring Israel) (Warsaw: Bafrayung, 1921), 44 pp., in the “Zionist socialist library”; and one in English (New York, 10941) on Israeli labor pioneers involved in the world struggle, a conference speech presented at the campaign for artisans. He died in Tel Aviv.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 5 (Tel Aviv, 1952), pp. 340-41; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937), p. 170; Zev Barzilai, in Tsayt (New York) (September 24, 1921); P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 20, 1931); H. Lang, in Forverts (New York) (October 20, 1932); R. Yuklson, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (October 22, 1932); M. Dantsis, in Der tog (New York) (October 31, 1932); Sh. Z. Tsukerman, in Der tog (December 12, 1932); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), p. 480; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; M. Ginzburg, in Slonimer buletin (Buenos Aires) (1963).