Rivkind, Isaac

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RIVKIND, ISAAC (1895–1968), librarian and scholar. Rivkind was born in Lodz, Poland, and studied at the yeshivot of Volozhin and Ponevezh. During World War i and after he helped organize the Mizrachi movement of Poland. In 1917 he founded the Ẓe'irei Mizrachi in Lodz and in 1919–20 was a member of the Jewish National Council of Poland. In 1920 he was a delegate to the London Zionist Conference and from there proceeded to the U.S. to work on behalf of Mizrachi. In 1923 he began to work in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, eventually becoming chief of the Hebraica section. He was a co-founder of the U.S. branch of the Yiddish Scientific Institute (yivo); on the executive of the Hebrew pen Club of the U.S.A.; and a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research. During World War ii and in the immediate postwar years he was the national chairman in the U.S. of the League for Religious Labor in Palestine.

Rivkind was the author of significant studies and essays in many fields, notably in Jewish bibliography, ethnography and folklore, Yiddish philology, and Zionism. He contributed to numerous periodicals and publications in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English, including Kirjath Sepher, Reshumot, and Yidishe Shprakh. He wrote the following works: Le-Ot u-le-Zikkaron ("For a Sign and a Reminder," 1942), a study on the history, development, and customs of bar mitzvah; Der Kamf Kegn Azartshpilen bay Yidn (1946), on the fight against gambling among Jews, with special reference to Old Yiddish poetry; and Yidishe Gelt ("Jewish Money," 1959), a Yiddish lexicological study on money in Jewish folkways, cultural history, and folklore. Other notable studies of his included Ha-Naẓiv ve-Yiḥuso le-Ḥibbat Ẓiyyon ("Rabbi Naphtali Ẓevi Yehuda Berlin and the Ḥibbat Zion Movement," 1919), Elokei Bialik ("The Religion of Bialik," in Ein ha-Kor, 1923), "Moses Provencal on Ball Playing" ("Teshuvat…," in Tarbiz, 4 (1932/33, 366–76), and "A Responsum of Leon of Modena on Uncovering the Head" (in Sefer ha-Yovel… L. Ginzberg (1946), 401–23). He assisted scores of scholars in their research.


M. Kosover and A. Duker (eds.), Minḥah le-Yiẓḥak (1949), with bibl. of Rivkind's works; A. Zeitlin et al. in: Hadoar, 44 (1965), 351–8.

[Tovia Preschel]