Persky, Daniel

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PERSKY, DANIEL (1887–1962), Hebraist, educator, and journalist. Born in Minsk, Persky settled in the United States in 1906 and devoted all his efforts to the Hebraist movement in that country. From 1921 until his death, with the exception of six years in Europe and in Ereẓ Israel (1927–33), he taught at the Herzliah Hebrew Teachers' College in New York. For many years he published an article in each issue of the Hebrew weekly, Hadoar, which enjoyed great popularity. His books are largely drawn from these articles, many of them dealing with Hebrew language and syntax. They include Ha-Medabber Ivrit (1921; Spoken Hebrew, 1921): Ivri Anokhi (1948); Dabberu Ivrit (1950; Lashon Nekiyyah 1962); Matamim le-Ḥag (1939); Zemannim Tovim (1944); Kol ha-Mo'ed (1957); Le-Elef Yedidim (1935); and Ẓeḥok me-Ereẓ Yisrael (1951).

Persky edited several children's magazines, including Eden (1924–25) and Hadoar la-No'ar (1934–46). He published posthumously works of several of his colleagues, including I. Beaber and Solomon Rabinowitz, translated the constitution of the United States into Hebrew, and wrote in Yiddish. For English translations see Goell, Bibliography, 35, 74, 89.

A leading figure in Hebrew-speaking circles in the U.S., he carried on a voluminous correspondence with Hebrew writers all over the world and through friends gave many of them financial assistance. His visiting card bore the legend "I am a slave of Hebrew forever."


MacDonald, in: The New Yorker (Nov. 28, 1959), 57–105; Waxman, Literature, 4 (1960), 1081–82; Glenn, in: jba, 20 (1962/63), 73–75; Kressel, Leksikon, 2 (1967), 692f.

[Eisig Silberschlag]