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Dainow, Ẓevi Hirsch ben Ze'ev Wolf


DAINOW, ẒEVI HIRSCH BEN ZE'EV WOLF (1832–1877), Russian preacher known as "the Maggid of Slutsk" after his native town Slutsk, in the district of Minsk. Dainow was regarded in his time as "the preacher of the Haskalah." He preached in favor of a combination of Torah with Haskalah and in popular Yiddish rebuked his compatriots for their estrangement from manual labor and stressed the need for reform in education, advocating that the ḥeder be abolished and Jewish children study in government schools. Dainow was widely known for his personal integrity; he was fearless in his preaching, favoring no one, not even the maskilim, though he regarded himself as close to them. This attitude and his criticism of the leaders of the old school roused against him widespread opposition, particularly in religious circles, and in many places the doors of the synagogue were closed to him. In his articles in the periodicals Ha-Maggid and Ha-Mattif, Dainow described the troubles and persecutions that were his lot. For a time Dainow was active throughout Russia on behalf of "The Society for the Promotion of Culture Among Jews of Russia." The Haskalah writers, including J.L. *Gordon, supported him and corresponded with him. The unremitting hostility of his opponents compelled him to leave Russia, and in 1874 he moved to London where he continued – as advised by J.L. Gordon – his role as preacher to the communities of Russian and Polish immigrants until his death. In London he was at first harassed by Chief Rabbi N.M. *Adler, but later was reconciled with him as the chief rabbi became convinced of his integrity. Dainow also founded a Hebrew school in London. One of his sermons, entitled Kevod Melekh in honor of Czar Alexander ii, was published in 1869; he left other works in manuscript.


J.M. Rosenthal, Toledot Ḥevrat Marbei Haskalah be-Yisrael be-Ereẓ Rusyah, 1 (1885), 69f.; 2 (1890), 207f; J.L. Gordon, Iggerot (1894), nos. 60, 62, 77, 78, 97, 98, 101, 107, 108, 111; J. Meisl, Haskalah. Geschichte der Aufklaerungsbewegung unter den Juden in Russland (1919), 174; J. Lipschitz, Zikhron Ya'akov, 2 (1927), 62–64, 194; Citron, in: Hadoar, 9–10 (1930–31), 60f., 75–77; S.J. Gliksberg, Ha-Derashah be-Yisrael (1940), 427; Pinkas Slutsk u-Venoteha (1962), 100, 307f.

[Yehoshua Horowitz]

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