Goor (Grasovski), Yehudah

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GOOR (Grasovski), YEHUDAH

GOOR (Grasovski), YEHUDAH (1862–1950), educator and lexicographer. Born in Pohost, Belorussia, he studied at the yeshivah of Volozhin and in 1887 immigrated to Ereẓ Israel. At first he worked as an agricultural laborer and watchman in Rishon le-Zion and, after a year, as a clerk in Jaffa. He later became secretary of the *Benei Moshe society, participated in editing its publication Ha-Mikhtavim me-Ereẓ Yisrael, and then a teacher. With D. Idelovitch he founded the first Histadrut ha-Morim ha-Ivrim (Hebrew Teachers' Association) in Ereẓ Israel. Goor was one of the pioneers of the Ivrit be-Ivrit method whereby Hebrew is taught without using any other language. He wrote several manuals on the study of Hebrew, Jewish history, natural sciences, the geography of Ereẓ Israel, and translated into Hebrew several of Hans Christian Andersen's tales, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and stories by Mark Twain, Dickens, and Jules Verne. In 1893, together with Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and D. Idelovitch, he edited a newspaper for children, Olam Katan ("Small World"). From 1906 to 1929, he worked for the Anglo-Palestine Company, at first in Beirut (until 1911), and then in Jaffa-Tel Aviv. His activities with this institution included the purchase of lands for the yishuv in Tel Aviv and Haifa. While in Beirut, he helped to open a Hebrew kindergarten. During World War i, he and his family were exiled to Damascus, where he engaged in many beneficial activities for refugees in Palestine.

Goor is best known for his work in Hebrew lexicography. Already in 1903, he prepared (together with Y. Klausner) a "pocket dictionary" and later several other small dictionaries (Hebrew–Hebrew, Hebrew–English, etc.). In 1920, he and *D. Yellin published an illustrated Hebrew dictionary, and from 1937 he was occupied with his major work, the Millon ha-Safah ha-Ivrit ("Dictionary of the Hebrew Language," published in an enlarged edition in 1947). In 1939, he prepared a Leksikon le-Millim Zarot ("Lexicon of Foreign Words"). Goor's was the first Hebrew dictionary in which Hebrew words were traced to the period in which they originated.


Yehudah Grasovski Ish ha-Gevurot (1942); Pograbinsky, in: ks, 28 (1952/53), 110–20 (bibliography).

[Irene Garbell]