Gold, Wolf

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GOLD, WOLF (Ze'ev ; 1889–1956), rabbi, leader of religious Zionism. Born in Sczcyczyin, Poland, and descended from a long line of rabbis, Gold was ordained at the age of 17 by Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz after having studied at the Yeshiva in Mir and succeeded his father-in-law as rabbi in Juteka. In 1907 he emigrated to the U.S., where he served in several congregations: South Chicago, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Williamsburg, New York, San Francisco (where he strenuously fought Reform), and Brooklyn, New York. A man of handsome presence with a beautiful speaking voice, he was a powerful orator and capable organizer. Everywhere he engaged in educational and communal activities, founding a Hebrew school (Williamsburg Talmud Torah), a yeshivah ("Torah Vada'at"), a hospital ("Beth Mosheh," Brooklyn) which he established when the Jewish hospital abandoned its kashrut superivision, a Hebrew teachers training college (San Francisco), and an orphanage (also in Brooklyn). Gold was from the beginning in the forefront of Zionist workers in the U.S. – in the Order of the Sons of Zion, and the Zionist funds; he was a delegate to all Zionist Congresses and a member of the Zionist General Council from 1923. From 1913 he was active in the *Mizrachi movement, which, together with his lifelong friend M. *Bar-Ilan (Berlin), he organized in the U.S.; he served as president of the American Mizrachi 1932–35. His contract specified that he could work three months a year on Zionist activities, which involved extensive travel. From 1945 he represented the Mizrachi on the executive of the Jewish Agency and was a member of the Jewish delegation at the United Nations in 1946. Already in 1924 Gold went to Ereẓ Israel to assist in the religious propaganda work of the chief rabbinate and the Mizrachi in the new settlements. His experience led him to the idea of an agricultural yeshivah which was founded eventually (1938) in *Kefar ha-Ro'eh. He settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1935. With the establishment of the State of Israel he became a member of the Provisional Council of State and for some time headed the Jewish Agency's Department for the Development of Jerusalem and in 1951 the Department for Torah Education and Culture. In that capacity Gold did much for the establishment of schools and other educational institutions in various parts of the Diaspora – in North Africa in particular. He worked on the plans for a training institute for rabbis, teachers, youth leaders, etc. for the Diaspora, which after his death came into being as the Z. Gold Institute for Jewish Studies and Teachers' Seminary. A volume of his sermons, articles etc. was published in 1949 (Nivei Zahav), and a memorial volume of sermons in 1963 (Ẓiyyon min ha-Torah, ed. Z. Tabori).


eẓd, 1 (1958), 464–9, incl. bibl.; Netivot, no. 6 (1956), 7–16; S. Daniel, in: Gevilim, 1 (1957), 84–102; J.B. Soloveitchik, in: Ẓiyyon min ha-Torah (1963), 31–43; Shanah be-Shanah 5731 (1970), 192–201; Z. Gold, Lessons in Talmud (1956), introd. What Would Ezra Say? An Open Letter to the Rabbinical Assembly (1935); Shuva Yisrael (1936). add. bibliography: M.D. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Bibliographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1996).