Kol Mevasser

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KOL MEVASSER ("The Voice which Brings Tidings"; cf. Isa. 52:7), pioneering Yiddish periodical founded in Odessa in 1862 by Alexander *Zederbaum as a supplement of the Hebrew weekly Ha-Meliẓ, and issued from 1869 to 1872 as a separate publication. It was first edited by Zederbaum and his son-in-law Aaron Isaac Goldenblum (1827–1912), who was later joined by Moses Leib *Lilienblum and M. *Beilinson. While Hasidim opposed the journal on the grounds that it furthered unbelief and weakened Orthodoxy, maskilim attacked it on the grounds that it furthered Jewish separatism in Russia and hindered the Russification of Jews. Throughout the paper's life, Zederbaum's objective was to fight ignorance, superstition, and the mismanagement of Jewish public institutions, and to strengthen Jewishness against the fanatical extremists of both Hasidism and Haskalah. This first modern Yiddish journal helped to raise the prestige of the folk vernacular then despised as "jargon." It began the process of standardizing Yiddish spelling, and enriched Yiddish vocabulary with many neologisms. Reporting on Jewish life in communities throughout the world, but especially in Eastern Europe, it also surveyed the contemporary scene from the Jewish viewpoint, with articles on science, education, history, and literature. By bringing to public attention earlier Yiddish writers, such as Solomon *Ettinger, Israel *Axenfeld, and Abraham *Gottlober, and introducing new writers, such as the lexicographer S.M. Lifshitz, I.J. *Linetzky, Abraham *Goldfaden, and Sholem Yankev *Abramovitsh, Kol Mevasser may be said to have paved the way for the Yiddish classical renaissance, and the advent of modern Yiddish journalism.


Malachi, in: jba, 20 (1962), 84–94; M. Mandelman, Der Onzoger fun der Yidish-Veltlikher Kultur (1963).

[Sol Liptzin /

Jack S. Berger (2nd ed.)]