Braunstein, Menahem Mendel

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BRAUNSTEIN, MENAHEM MENDEL

BRAUNSTEIN, MENAHEM MENDEL (pen name Mibashan ; 1858–1944), Hebrew writer and leading figure in the Zionist movement in Romania. He received his early education in Jassy and had a broad knowledge of the Bible and of traditional Hebrew literature. After his marriage, however, he took up secular studies and learned several European languages. In 1887 he was one of the founders in Jassy of Doresh le-Zion, an organization which sought to revive the movement of Romanian Jews to Palestine following the decline which had set in after the relatively large-scale emigration during 1882–83. From 1887, he edited the newspaper Juedischer Volksfreund (German in Hebrew script). He helped found Oholei Shem, an association aimed at disseminating knowledge of Jewish history and literature among Romanian Jewry. For 23 years he taught Hebrew subjects in Jewish schools in various towns in Romania. He advocated teaching Hebrew through the medium of Hebrew, founded Hebrew libraries, and struggled to overcome the objections of an apathetic public and of assimilationist opponents to the teaching of Hebrew in Jewish schools. He wrote Divrei ha-Yamim li-Venei Yisrael ("History of the Jews." Warsaw, 1897, 1904) and Sefer ha-Moreh ("The Teacher's Book," Piatra, 1910). From 1885 he also contributed to the Jewish press in German and Romanian but wrote mainly for the Hebrew press. He settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1914, and continued writing stories and poems, especially for young people. Four volumes of his works were published between 1928 and 1937. Braunstein was one of the last modern Hebrew authors to use a purely biblical style. His translations from European literature include: Lehmann's The House of Aguilar (St. Petersburg, 1896); Edmondo de Amici's Il Cuore (Warsaw, 1923); and Swift's Gulliver's Travels (Tel Aviv, 1944).

bibliography:

Y. Klausner, Ḥibbat Ẓiyyon be-Romanyah (1958), 259–68.

[Yehuda Slutsky]