Lurie, Joseph

views updated


LURIE, JOSEPH (1871–1937), Zionist leader and Hebrew educator. Born in Pumpenai, Lithuania, Lurie studied at the University of Berlin, where, together with Leo *Motzkin and Shemaryahu *Levin, he established the first Russian Jewish students' group (1889) and joined the *Benei Moshe association. Lurie was a delegate to the First *Zionist Congress. From 1899 to 1904 he edited the Zionist weekly Der Yud ("The Jew"), gathering around him the best of the Yiddish writers. He stressed the importance of the Yiddish language as a national heritage in a series of articles in the St. Petersburg daily Der Fraynd, the literary supplement of which he edited until 1906. In that year he was elected to the central committee of the Zionist Organization in Russia and became editor of the Zionist organ Dos Yidishe Folk ("The Jewish People") in Vilna. In 1907 he went to Ereẓ Israel, joining the staff of the Herzlia High School in Tel Aviv. Lurie was a key figure in the language controversy with the *Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden, which tried to introduce German as a language of instruction. During World War i he was banished by the Turkish authorities. From 1919 he headed the education department of the Zionist Organization, later of the Va'ad Le'ummi (National Council of the Jews in Palestine). An advocate of an understanding with the Arab national movement as vitally important to the Zionist movement, he was a member of *Berit Shalom in its early days. His book, Ereẓ Yisrael (1914), is a collection of his articles about life in Ereẓ Israel.


D. Kimḥi (ed.), Nefesh le-Doktor Yosef Lurie (1938); I. Klausner, Opoziẓyah le-Herzl (1960), index; B. Dinur, Benei Dori (1965), 156–60; lnyl, 5 (1963), 27–29 (incl. bibl.).

[Yehuda Slutsky]