Kugel, Ḥayyim

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KUGEL, ḤAYYIM (1897–1966), Czechoslovakian pioneer of Hebrew education. Born into a *Ḥovevei Zion family in Minsk (Belorussia), Kugel was sent for his secondary education to the Tel Aviv Gymnasium, Herzlia. The outbreak of World War i (1914) prevented his return to Tel Aviv; he continued his studies in Russia and from 1920 at Prague University. In Prague he founded a club called Ivriyyah which later became part of the Tarbut organization, and pioneered the teaching of living Hebrew and founding of Hebrew schools in Czechoslovakia. After completing his studies, he moved to Mukachevo where in 1924 he founded the Hebrew high school Ha-Gimnasyah ha-Ivrit. In 1935 Kugel was elected along with Angelo *Goldstein to the Czechoslovak parliament on behalf of the Židovská strana (Jewish party). He served as the principal of the school until his emigration to Palestine in 1938. In the school he supported a Jewish national and Zionist spirit, and was therefore reviled by Orthodox Jews and the Magyars. He escaped with his family before the arrival of the Hungarian army, and indeed the Hungarian Secret Service began to look for him as soon as the city was occupied. In Palestine he was among the founders of the city of Ḥolon. In 1940 he became head of the Ḥolon town council and from 1950 to his death was its mayor. He was active in organizations of Jews from Czechoslovakia.


Jews of Czechoslovakia, 1 (1968), index; Y. Ereẓ (ed.), Karpatorus (Heb., 1959), 533–53 and passim; Tidhar, 4 (1950), 1978; Y.M. Immanuel (ed.), Yadan Ḥolon (1961), 65, 84–85. add. bibliography: Y.A. Jelinek, Exile in the Foothills of the Carpathians. The Jews of Carpatho-Rus and Mukachevo, 18481948 (2003), index

[Meir Lamed /

Yeshayahu Jelinek (2nd ed.)]