Goldberg, Isaac Leib

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GOLDBERG, ISAAC LEIB (1860–1935), Zionist leader and philanthropist in Russia and Ereẓ Israel; brother of Boris *Goldberg. After studying at the Kovno yeshivah, he settled in Vilna, where he joined his uncle's business. One of the first members of the *Ḥibbat Zion movement (1882), he founded the Ohavei Zion society in Vilna. At the Ḥovevei Zion meeting in Druzgenik in 1887, he sought to effect a compromise between the views of the Orthodox and the maskilim. He represented the Ḥovevei Zion committee in Vilna and was a member of *Benei Moshe. His home in Vilna became the center of Zionist and Jewish national activities. His wife, Rachel, was among the founders of Yehudiyyah Hebrew Girls School.

Goldberg was a delegate to the First Zionist Congress, representing the Ḥovevei Zion of Vilna; in 1900 he was appointed representative of the *Zionist Organization in the Vilna district. He took part in the establishment of the Geulah Company, whose aim it was to acquire land in Ereẓ Israel for private ownership, and of the Carmel Company for the marketing of wine produced in the Jewish settlements in Ereẓ Israel. In 1908 he established a farm at Hartuv and purchased the first plot of land on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem for the future *Hebrew University. In 1906 he became a member of the Zionist Central Committee in Russia, and its office was located in his home. He lent his support to the Zionist periodicals in Vilna Ha-Olam and Dos Yidishe Folk. During World War i the Russian authorities forced him to live in Moscow, where he continued his Zionist activities. In 1919 he settled in Palestine, engaged in growing oranges, and made important contributions to improving the packing and marketing of citrus products. He was one of the founders of the Haaretz daily newspaper, which he supported financially. Goldberg was also a supporter of the Hebrew Language Committee. He left half his estate for the establishment of a fund for the Promotion of Hebrew Literature and Hebrew Culture in Ereẓ Israel, which was eventually handed over to the *Jewish National Fund, which devoted the income to Hebrew cultural projects.


N. Sokolow, History of Zionism, 2 (1919), index; S. Eisenstadt, I.L. Goldberg… (Heb., 1945); I. Klausner, Mi-Kattoviẓ ad Basel, 2 vols. (1956), index; Tidhar, 1 (1947), 293, 483–4.

[Yehuda Slutsky]