Gaon, Moses David

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GAON, MOSES DAVID (1889–1958), Israel educator, journalist, and writer. Gaon was born in Travnik, then under Austro-Hungarian administration (now in Yugoslavia), and studied in the University of Vienna. He emigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1909. He taught Hebrew and was principal of elementary schools in Jerusalem, Smyrna, and Buenos Aires. In his last years he was an official of the Jerusalem municipality and was active in the Committee of the Sephardi Community. He co-founded the Mizrachi Pioneers' Federation. For several decades Gaon contributed articles to the Hebrew press on Oriental Jewry and its relation to the Holy Land, which was also the subject of his book Yehudei ha-Mizraḥ be-Ereẓ Yisrael (2 vols., 1928–37). He also wrote a study of a popular Ladino moralistic work, Maskiyyot Levav on *Me-Am Lo'ez (1933), Ba-Mishol (1936) on the history of the Hebrew press in Palestine up to 1914, etc. He edited the jubilee volume in honor of Jacob *MeirZikhron Me'ir (1936) with M. Laniado; Sefer ha-Zikhronot (1938) by Ben-Zion Cuenca; and a volume on the Jerusalem family Azriel (1950). He compiled a bibliography of the Ladino press in Ha-Ittonut be-Ladino – Bibliografyah (1965). The Gaon Center for Ladino Culture at Ben-Gurion University is named for him. His son Yehoram *Gaon, a popular Israeli entertainer, often included Sephardi music in his repertoire. He also appeared in several films and on the musical stage, notably in the Israeli musical Kazablan.


Tidhar, 1 (1947), 500; 10 (1959), 3648.

[Getzel Kressel]