Kohen-Zedek, Joseph

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KOHEN-ZEDEK, JOSEPH (1827–1903), Hebrew poet, writer, and publicist. Kohen-Zedek, who was born in Lvov, studied rabbinics with Solomon *Kluger in Brody and S.J. Nathanson in Lvov. He first engaged – unsuccessfully – in business and then turned to literature and journalism. He published a number of collections of his patriotic poetry in honor of the Austro-Hungarian emperor – from whom he received a gold medal for art and science in 1851 – and an anthology of contemporary poetry dedicated to Moses Montefiore, Neveh Kehillah (1864). Kohen-Zedek edited a number of more or less short-lived Hebrew periodicals: Meged Yeraḥim (4 issues, 1855–59), Oẓar Ḥokhmah (3 issues, 1859–65), Ha-Yehudi ha-Niẓḥi (4 issues, 1866), and Or Torah (4 issues, 1874). His weekly Ha-Mevasser, which included a literary supplement, Ha-Nesher, was the first Hebrew paper in Galicia (1861–66); some of the best Hebrew writers and scholars contributed to it. He himself wrote in a lively and original meliẓah style. Following a dispute with one of his associates which led to a denunciation, Kohen-Zedek had to leave Austria in 1868. He went first to Frankfurt on the Main, and in 1875 to London, where he served as preacher to immigrant congregations. In London he wrote a number of mainly homiletic works, including Elef Alfin, a thousand-word eulogy on Chief Rabbi Nathan Adler, each word beginning with alef. Of some scholarly importance are his Sefat Emet (1879), a polemic against Michael *Rodkinson; Ohole Shem: Tents of Shem, Being an Account of the Trial of Jacob and Isaac of the City of Madrid in the Year 5202 (1883), on blood libels; Divrei ha-Yamim le-MalkheiẒarefat (1859), an edition of *Joseph ha-Kohen's chronicle with Kohen-Zedek's introduction; and Even Boḥan (1865), an annotated edition of Kalonymus b. Kalonymus' satirical work. His Biographical Sketches of Eminent Jewish Families (1897) is in English. Kohen-Zedek maintained a lively correspondence with the leading rabbis and scholars of his time. He has been called "the last publicist of the Galician Haskalah."


G. Bader, Medinah va-Ḥakhamehah (1934), 119–21; N. Sokolow, Ishim (19582), 205–13.

[Getzel Kressel]