Raab (Ben-Ezer), Judah

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RAAB (Ben-Ezer), JUDAH

RAAB (Ben-Ezer), JUDAH (1858–1948), pioneer and one of the first Jewish guards in Ereẓ Israel. Born in the village of Szent István in western Hungary into a farming family which had contacts with the Jewish community in Ereẓ Israel, Raab went to Ereẓ Israel with his father in 1876. He joined the group of Jerusalemites who founded Petaḥ Tikvah and plowed the first furrow in its fields in 1878. He was one of the first guards and was responsible for the settlement's security during its early years. When Petaḥ Tikvah was abandoned during the sabbatical year (shemittah) of 1882, Raab became an instructor for new settlers in Rishon le-Zion and the Bilu settlers. In 1883, when Petaḥ Tikvah was resettled, he returned and instructed new immigrants ("the Byalistokites") in agricultural techniques. Raab was appointed a foreman by Baron de *Rothschild's officials and struggled to maintain the agricultural character of Petaḥ Tikvah. His memoirs, Ha-Telem ha-Rishon (1956) recorded by his son, B. Ben-Ezer, constitute valuable material on the early history of Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel. His daughter Esther *Raab (1894–1981) was born in Petaḥ Tikvah and joined kibbutz Deganyah in her youth. After her marriage she lived in Egypt for five years and then in Tel Aviv, returning afterward to Petaḥ Tikvah. Her early lyric poetry, characterized by its descriptions of the landscape of Ereẓ Israel, is collected in Kimshonim (1930). Her collected poems were published in Kol ha-Shirim (1988).


Y. Yaari and M. Harizman, Sefer ha-Yovel shel Petaḥ Tikvah (1929), 126–9, 187–92; Tidhar, 1 (1947), 119–21.

[Yehuda Slutsky]