Histadrut Ivrit of America

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HISTADRUT IVRIT OF AMERICA , U.S. organization devoted to encouraging the knowledge and use of the Hebrew language, the publication of Hebrew books and periodicals, and an interest in Hebrew culture. The organization held its opening convention in December 1917 as a result of the activity of Zionists and Hebraists who found themselves in the United States as the result of World War i, in particular Shmarya *Levin, who served as president of the organization (1917–18). In 1923, under the editorship of M. Ribalow, the Histadrut Ivrit began to publish the Hebrew newspaper Hadoar as a weekly. Since then Hadoar was the only Hebrew weekly in the Diaspora to be published regularly without interruption. The Histadrut Ivrit established its own publishing house, Ogen, in 1926. For a number of years it also published an annual Sefer ha-Shanah li-Yhudei Amerikah ("Yearbook for American Jews"). It founded a Hebrew-speaking youth organization which published its own magazine Niv, and for a number of years sponsored a Hebrew theater and other activities for younger speakers of the language. In 1954 under the direction of Samuel K. Mirsky the Histadrut Ivrit also established Ha-Akademyah ha-Ivrit ("The Hebrew Academy"), an organization that annually organized a series of scholarly and academic lectures in various fields delivered by Jewish scholars in the Hebrew language. The Histadrut Ivrit was associated with the *Brit Ivrit Olamit.

Ironically, a Diaspora Hebrew language publication became the victim of the flattening of the universe, the availability of Israeli newspapers in the United States, of weekly newspapers geared to Israelis living in the United States and the accessibility of Hebrew language writing on the Internet and the ability of American Hebrew writers to publish their material in a timely manner in Israel. In 2002 the Histadrut Ivrit appointed Prof. Lev Hakak as the editor of Hadoar. He revitalized it and gave the Hebrew language highly respected representation in America. Histadrut Ivrit subsequently merged with Hebrew College. The organization ran out of funds and ended its existence, including the publication of Hadoar, in 2005.

[David Mirsky /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]