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Greenberg, Hayim


GREENBERG, HAYIM (1889–1953), Zionist leader, essayist, and editor. Greenberg, born in the Bessarabian village of Todoristi in Russia, joined the Zionist movement while still a youngster and attracted immediate notice as a self-taught intellectual prodigy. In 1904 he attended the Zionist Congress in Helsinki as a correspondent, and while still in his teens moved to Odessa, where he emerged before long as a leading figure in Hebrew and Zionist letters, excelling as both an orator and an essayist on philosophical and political themes. With the outbreak of World War i, Greenberg moved to Moscow, where he edited the Russian-Jewish weekly Razsvet ("The Dawn"). After the Russian Revolution he served for a while as an instructor in medieval Jewish literature at the University of Kharkov and lectured at Kiev Academy. Arrested several times for Zionist activities by the Communist authorities, he left for Berlin in 1921, where he edited Haolam ("The World"), the official weekly of the World Zionist Organization.

Greenberg immigrated to the U.S. in 1924 to become editor of the Yiddish Zionist publication Farn Folk ("For the People"), which later became Der *Yidisher Kempfer ("The Jewish Warrior"), and in 1934 became editor of the Labor Zionist monthly The Jewish Frontier. From 1934 he was a permanent member of the Central Committee of the Labor Zionist Organization of America. During World War ii he served as head of the American Zionist Emergency Council, and in 1946 he was appointed director of the Department of Education and Culture of the Jewish Agency Executive in America. Greenberg's influence on Zionist activities during these years was great. Particularly noteworthy were his accomplishments in winning the votes of several Latin-American delegations at the United Nations for the creation of a Jewish State, and later in helping to forge strong cultural ties between the new State of Israel and Jews the world over.

As an essayist in three languages, Yiddish, Hebrew, and English, Greenberg was distinguished by his breadth of knowledge, urbanity of approach, and deep moral earnestness. The core of his writings was devoted to expounding the philosophy of Zionism and attempting to demonstrate its consistency with the ideals of socialism, pacifism, and universalism to which he adhered. Collections of his essays have appeared in several volumes in Yiddish and in English, including: The Inner Eye (2 vols., 1953–64); Yid un Velt (1953); Beytlakh fun a Tog-Bukh (1954); Mentshn un Vertn (1954); and Hayim Greenberg Anthology (1968).


Gordis, in: Judaism, 2 (1953), 99–100; lnyl, 2 (1958), 398–404; Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 509–10; S. Bickel, Shreiber fun Mayn Dor (1958), 256–66.

[Hillel Halkin]

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