Ha-Reubeni (Rubinowitz), Ephraim

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HA-REUBENI (Rubinowitz ), EPHRAIM (1881–1953), botanist and pioneer in Ereẓ Israel. Born in Novo-Moskovsk, Ukraine, Ha-Reubeni settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1906 and worked as teacher of natural science in various high schools. In 1907 he founded the first museum of botany in Ereẓ Israel. Together with his wife Hannah (d. 1956) he founded in 1912 the Museum of Flora of the Bible and Talmud, in Rishon le-Zion. In 1936 they were transferred to the Hebrew University. He joined the academic staff of the Hebrew University in 1926 and in 1935 was appointed lecturer in botany of the Bible and Talmud. Ha-Reubeni contributed much to the investigation of plants in Ereẓ Israel, their uses and associated folklore. On the basis of their research, together with linguistic studies of plant names in Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and other languages, the Ha-Reubenis did much to explain the ancient Hebrew botanical terms and to identify the plants mentioned in the Bible and Talmud. They wrote Meḥkarim bi-Shemot Ẓimhei Ereẓ Yisrael (1930) and Oẓar Ẓimḥei Ereẓ Yisrael (1941).


C. Tartakower, in: Menorah, 2 no. 3 (Ger., 1924), 1–2; Tidhar, 12 (1962), 3946–47; Ha-Teva re-ha-Areẓ, 7 (1947), 303 (bibliography).

[Frederick Simon Bodenheimer]