By Dr. M. A. Nahir
Donated by Rebecca Entwisle
An accomplished teacher, a dear and loyal friend, he was born in 1855 in Janów, near Pinsk, Belarus. He learned traditional Judaism, Hebrew and general studies at Progressive Cheders (elementary schools for Jewish children) and from private teachers in Janów and Pinsk, he studied Talmud at Rabbi David Friedman's Beit Hamidrash (seminary) and acquired an extensive knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures (Tanach), grammar and literature from distinguished teachers. In Vilna, he completed his pedagogical studies at the Tarbut Hebrew Gymnasia, and went on to teach in Hebrew schools in Janów, in BriskDaLita at the Hatchiyya school, at the TelHai Girls School in Pinsk and at the Tarbut Hebrew Gymnasia.
He was deeply involved in Zionistsocialist and Hebrew cultural activities in Tzeirei Zion (Young Zionists; later, Poalei Zion Z. S. Socialist Zionists) of the Hechalutz Movement.
In 1924, he immigrated to Israel with his wife, EstherRachel, and studied at the Institute of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem while continuing to teach in elementary and high schools. Eventually, he settled in Tel Aviv, and when he died, he had already been retired for a number of year. Already, when he was still in Europe, his literary works had been published, and then, in Israel, he published original fables and satirical works in rhyme, he translated Russian and Yiddish literature into Hebrew, including translations of poems of Pushkin and Lermontov and stories by Steinberg. Many of his writings were published journals, such as: Davar, B'Ma'aleh, DavarHashavua, DavarLeyeladim, HapoelHatzair, Beterem, MishmarLeyaledim and others. In 1952, Niv Publishing issued a collection of his work entitled, SeventyOne Fables, in which the protagonists' experiences are awash with the stamp of their Jewishness and of the Land of Israel. Critiques of several of his works appeared in the national press.
In 1964, about two years before his death, he initiated and ran the Ideological Circle (Chug Harayoni) attended by a group of teachers, whom the deceased encouraged to meet every Motzei Shabbat (Saturday evening) to listen to and debate a lecture by one of the members. The meetings became an ongoing interesting social and spiritual pastime. Two days before he died, he wanted the Circle to meet for a lecture and I suggested he postpone it until after his recovery which was not to be. May his memory be a blessing.
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