Farbstein, Joshua Heschel

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FARBSTEIN, JOSHUA HESCHEL (1870–1948), leader of the *Mizrachi movement, head of the Warsaw Jewish community, and of the Jewish Community Council (Va'ad ha-Kehillah) in Jerusalem (see Israel, Communal *Governance). Born in Warsaw, Farbstein was active in the Ḥibbat Zion movement, and, with the emergence of Herzl, joined the political Zionist movement. Together with his brother, David Ẓevi *Farbstein, he attended the First Zionist Congress and was the first to discuss the religious problems of the Zionist movement in pre-Congress talks with Herzl. Farbstein participated in subsequent Congresses, representing Mizrachi after its formation in 1902. He was president of the Zionist Organization in Poland from 1915 to 1918 and was active during these years in obtaining extensive aid for war victims. A founder of Mizrachi in Poland, he was its president between 1918 and 1931, president of the Keren Hayesod in Poland, a member of the Polish Sejm and of the city council of Warsaw, and, between 1926 and 1931, president of the Warsaw Jewish community. Farbstein settled in Jerusalem in 1931 and was a member of the Zionist Executive between 1931 and 1933. Together with Emanuel *Neumann, he devised the abortive plan to lease 70,000 dunams in Transjordan for Jewish settlement. In Jerusalem he was active in the Community Council, which he headed between 1938 and 1945 (ultimately, as honorary president). Throughout his life he held leading posts in the world Mizrachi movement.


Askan le-Mofet (1945), anthology of articles on J. Farbstein; L. Jaffe (ed.), Sefer ha-Congress (19502), 191–2, 343–4.

[Getzel Kressel]