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Rawnitzki, Yehoshua Ḥana

RAWNITZKI, YEHOSHUA ḤANA

RAWNITZKI, YEHOSHUA ḤANA (1859–1944), Hebrew journalist and publisher. Born in Odessa, Rawnitzki began his journalistic career – in which he continued for most of his life – in 1879, by contributing first to Ha-Kol, and then to other periodicals. His articles, first in Hebrew and later in Yiddish, were largely the result of his activities in the *Ḥibbat Zion movement. He was the editor and publisher of the literary collection Pardes (3 vols., 1892–96), a forum for the outstanding Hebrew writers of the time and a forerunner of *Ha-Shilo'aḥ. With his publication of Ḥ.N. *Bialik's first poem, "El ha-Ẓippor," in Pardes, Rawnitzki became Bialik's first patron, thus initiating a lifelong association with the poet. Some of his own works appeared in Pardes and subsequently in Ha-Shilo'aḥ, as well as other periodicals. Special recognition was aroused by a series of feuilletons, "Kevurat Soferim" ("The Burial of Writers"), which were written with Shalom Aleichem under the pseudonyms of Eldad (Shalom Aleichem) and Medad (Rawnitzki). As a result of his teaching experience and interest in pedagogical problems, he established the Moriah publishing house in Odessa in 1901, together with S. *Ben-Zion and Bialik, having influenced the latter to move to Odessa. The publishing house, the first of his joint endeavors with Bialik, began with the publication of textbooks (e.g., Sippurei ha-Mikra, 1903–05), followed by the influential aggadic anthology Sefer ha-Aggadah (1908–11), and many other books. This partnership between the two continued until the poet's death. Bialik frequently complained that Rawnitzki's role was not sufficiently appreciated. Settling in Ereẓ Israel in 1921, Rawnitzki, together with Bialik and S. *Levin, founded the Devir publishing house, where he published the works on which he and Bialik had cooperated (e.g., the commentary on the poems of Moses *Ibn Ezra and Solomon ibn *Gabirol).

Later, he published Dor ve-Soferav (2 vols., 1926–37), a collection of his articles and memoirs on Bialik, Mendele Mokher Seforim, and other writers of his time, and Mikhtavim le-Vat Yisrael (2nd ed., 1923), on educational problems. A collection of his articles, Be-Sha'arei Sefer (1961), was published by S. Kremer, together with a comprehensive introduction by the editor. Rawnitzki also published Yiddish books and edited various Yiddish periodicals.

bibliography:

Kressel, Leksikon, 2 (1967), 828–9.

[Getzel Kressel]

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