YISROEL PRAYS (ISRAEL PRICE) (December 3, 1869 [or 1872]-1942)
He was born in Lazdey (Lazdijai), Suwalk district, Lithuania. He studied in yeshiva until age eighteen. Around 1890 he came to the United States, and he lived in Philadelphia, New York, and Trenton. He was a popular orator and pioneer of the idea of “love of Zion” among religious Jews. From 1885 he was publishing correspondence pieces in: Hamelits (The advocate), Hatsfira (The siren), and Hamagid (The preacher). Later, he placed work in Chicago’s Hapisga (The summit), and he published articles mainly about Jewish historical topics in: Di gegenvart (The present) in Philadelphia (1895); Abendpost (Evening mail), Idishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Varhayt (Truth), Amerikaner (American), Tog (Day), and Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), among others. In book form: Yudishe doktoyrim, lebens geshikhten fun di yudishe berihmte ertste fun di alte un naye tsayten (Jewish doctors, biographies of the famous Jewish firsts from the past and present times) (New York, 1898), 66 pp.; Tsienizmus in der yudisher geshikhte (Zionism in Jewish history) (New York, 1900), 66 pp.; Yalkut yisroel (Selections from Israel), biographies of Jewish poets and scholars in Spain (New York, 1902), 48 pp.; Toldot gedole yisrael, lebensbeshraybung fun groyse idishe gelehrnte, rabeynu shloyme yitskhoki, rashe, rabeynu yankev tam, rabeynu shmuel rashbam (History of the greats of Israel, life depictions of great Jewish scholars: Rabbi Shlomo Yitsḥaki or Rashi, Rabbi Yaakov Tam, Rabbi Shmuel Rashbam) (New York, 1904), 56 pp.—all in a variety of editions. Until 1938 he lived in New York. He supported himself by selling his books, and thereafter until his death he served as a personal assistant in Trenton. The work he prepared on biographies from the biblical Adam to much later rabbis and his reworked and enlarged history of Jewish doctors were never published because of his sudden death in Trenton, New Jersey.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; private information.
Khayim Leyb Fuks