views updated


IZRAELITA , Polish Jewish weekly of assimilationist tendencies (1866–1908). During the 40 years it appeared, Izraelita promoted Polish culture within the Jewish community. The editor, Samuel Henryk *Peltin, continued the tradition of Jutrzeńka, edited by Daniel *Neufeld. The forerunner of both these journals was the short-lived Izraelita Polski, which appeared during the November Revolution (1830–31) under the editorship of Stanislaw Harnisch. The Izraelita opposed antisemites who rejected the services of the Jewish youth who had enthusiastically volunteered in the ranks of the revolution. The Izraelita had a varied readership. Since its editor was not an extreme assimilationist, he maintained contact with the Jewish intelligentsia of differing ideologies. Among those who contributed to the journal were Wilhelm *Feldman, historian of Polish literature; the lawyer Joseph Kirszrot; the author Leo Belmont; the lawyer A.J. Cohen; Adolf *Gruenbaum; the lawyer Nikodem Lekert; and Nahum *Sokolow. The journal carried news of Jews throughout the world, Jewish historical and literary articles, and reports on the Warsaw Jewish community, and performed an important function in opposing the antisemitic incitement of the journal Rola edited by Jan *Jeleński. It supported community philanthropy and attempted to strengthen Jewish commitment among the assimilationists in Poland. In this context, the paper aroused interest in research into the Jewish past in Poland, encouraging scholarship into folklore and history. The Polish press accused the Izraelita of encouraging separatism even to the extent of supporting an independent Jewish school system. Despite the strong trend to polonization, the journal never achieved a significant circulation. In 1872 it had 460 subscribers, 300 of them from Warsaw. By 1895, it had still not achieved a readership of one thousand. Izraelita opposed the Orthodox camp and Zionism, regarding emigration as an act of treachery toward the Polish homeland. During the short period of Nahum Sokolow's editorship after the death of Peltin (1896), the journal did, however, give some expression to national-Zionist ideas. In 1915, publication of the Izraelita was briefly resumed by Joseph Wasserzug, an extreme assimilationist who opposed the efforts of Georg *Brandes to defend the Jews against Polish antisemitism.


EG, 1 (1953), 246, 509; J. Shatzky, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Varshe, 3 (1953), 318–21; I. Schiper (ed.), Zydzi w Polsce Odrodzonej, 2 (1933), 151. add. bibliography: M. Fuks, Prasa zydowska w Warszawie 18231939 (1979), index.

[Moshe Landau]