Levner, Israel Benjamin

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LEVNER, ISRAEL BENJAMIN

LEVNER, ISRAEL BENJAMIN (1862–1916), Hebrew writer. Born in Trudolyubovka, a Jewish colony in the Russian province of Yekaterinoslav, Levner taught in various parts of Russia. In the early 1880s he published his first articles, in *Ha-Meliẓ, which dealt with educational subjects and descriptions of Jewish life in the communities he had visited. His stories, first published in 1895, attracted wide attention. *Ben-Avigdor invited him to join the Tushiyyah publishing house, where he edited a series of storybooks for children (especially Bibliotekah li-Yladim – the first proper readers for Hebrew-reading children). His major work, Kol Aggadot Yisrael, which has retained its popularity to the present day, contains the legends of the Talmud, written in biblical style and arranged in chronological order. First published in 1895, the book has had a great many editions in Ereẓ Israel and abroad, and has been translated into various languages. Levner continued writing children's literature, especially for Ha-Peraḥim, a weekly which came into existence in 1908 and continued publication until the eve of World War i (he was also its editor and publisher); these works have earned an important place in Hebrew literature for children (see *Children's Literature). Together with Judah Steinberg – one of the major contributors to Ha-Peraḥim – he published the first of two volumes of Kereistomatyah ("Chrestomathy," 19083). Among other works by Levner are a version of the Shulḥan Arukh (1906) and an edition of Ein Ya'akov (1909), both for youth.

bibliography:

Ofek, in: Moznayim, 16 (1963), 137–8; Kressel, Leksikon, 2 (1967), 170–1.

[Getzel Kressel]