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Gellman, Leon


GELLMAN, LEON (1887–1973), U.S. Zionist journalist and leader. Gellman, who was born in Yampol, Russia, immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 23. He settled in St. Louis where he worked as a principal of various Hebrew schools (1911–17), and later as editor (1918–35) and publisher (1923–35) of the Yiddish St. Louis Jewish Record, in which he advocated the creation of a great religious Zionist movement. An organizer of the U.S. Mizrachi movement, he subsequently served as its executive secretary (1914–17), national vice president (1930–35), and president (1935–39). Moving to New York, he was editor of Mizrachi publications from 1935 to 1949, including Der Mizrachi Weg (1936–49) and (with Pinkhos Churgin) the Mizrachi Jubilee Publication (1936).

Gellman moved to Israel in 1949 and became chairman of the World Mizrachi Organization in that year, later becoming honorary chairman. From 1948 to 1953 he was a deputy member of the Executive of the Jewish Agency. He was a frequent contributor to Ha-Ẓofeh, the Israeli national religious daily, and to New York Yiddish newspapers. A prevalent theme in Gellman's writing is that the survival of Israel is contingent upon adherence to traditional Jewish faith and values. Among his numerous books, primarily collections of essays, are: Eynem Kampf far der Yidishe Medine (1948), Ha-Yahadutbe-Ma'avakah (1956), Neẓaḥ ha-Ummah (1958), Bi-Shevilei ha-Yahadut (1967), and Be-Darkhei No'am (1969).

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