Katz, Benzion

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KATZ, BENZION (1875–1958), Hebrew journalist and writer. Born in Daugi (Vilna district), Katz began to contribute to Ha-Ẓefirah at an early age. At the invitation of Baron David *Guenzburg, he went to St. Petersburg in order to engage in talmudic research, the results of which he later published in the journal Ha-Shilo'aḥ. He also conducted much research in the history of Polish and Russian Jewry, in light of halakhic and responsa literature; part of this work was published under the title Le-Korot ha-Yehudim be-Rusyah u-Polin ve-Lita ba-Me'ot ha-Shesh-Esreh ve-ha-Sheva-Esreh ("History of the Jews in Russia, Poland, and Lithuania in the 16th and 17th centuries," 1898). Katz's contributions to the Hebrew press inspired him to publish his own periodicals, and in 1903 in St. Petersburg he founded a newspaper and a quarterly, both under the name Ha-Zeman; a monthly, bearing the same name, was also published by him in Vilna (1905–06). At the end of 1916 Katz began to publish a Hebrew weekly, Ha-Am, in Moscow, which became a daily at the outbreak of the 1917 Revolution. The newspaper was critical of the Communist Revolution and was closed down in 1918. In 1920 he left Russia and after a short stay in Kovno, moved to Berlin, residing there until he settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1931. He was a regular contributor to Haaretz and Ha-Boker, and for a few years, also resumed publication of an independent daily, Ha-Zeman. Toward the end of his life Katz published chapters of his memoirs, afterward collected in Zikhronot (1963). In 1953 he founded He-Avar, a journal devoted to Russian Jewish history. The results of his historical researches appear in his books Perushim, Ẓedukim, Kanna'im, Noẓerim ("Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Christians," 1948) and Rabbanut, Ḥasidut, Haskalah ("Rabbinism, Ḥasidism, Enlightenment," 1956–59).


Rejzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 17–20; lnyl, 4 (1961), 348–51; He-Avar, 6 (1958), 3–24.

[Getzel Kressel and

Yehuda Slutsky]