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Rokach, Eleazar

ROKACH, ELEAZAR

ROKACH, ELEAZAR (1854–1914), Ereẓ Israel pioneer and writer. Rokach, the grandson of Israel *Bak, was born in Jerusalem. He also studied there, but moved to Safed after his marriage, whereupon he began contributing articles on Safed Jewry to the Hebrew press abroad (mainly anonymously) and later wrote for *Ḥavaẓẓelet on many issues. He advocated working the land and was among those who initiated the acquisition of the village Gei-Oni (later *Rosh-Pinnah), where he was one of the first settlers. Rokach went abroad in 1880 and lived first in Romania, and then in Galicia, calling upon the Jews to settle in Ereẓ Israel. He was an unusual mixture of romantic and realist – a dreamer yet a fighter for his beliefs – who was unappreciated in his time. From 1901 until the end of his life, he wandered all over Galicia, lecturing and writing. He died in Drohobycz.

Rokach wrote a pamphlet entitled Maẓẓav ha-Ir ha-Kedoshah Ẓefat ve-Toshaveha ha-Ashkenazim ("The Conditions of the Holy City of Safed and its Ashkenazi Inhabitants," Jerusalem, no date). He also published several Yiddish and Hebrew newspapers while abroad (Yisrael, Jassy-Piatra, 1881; Talpiyyot, Jassy, 1898–99; and Ha-Yarden, Buczacz, 1906, in which his coeditor was S.Y. Agnon).

bibliography:

N. Sokolow, Ḥibbath Zion (Eng., 1935), 271–3; Y. Yaari-Poleskin, Ḥolemim ve-Loḥamim (19643), 49–52; M. Smilansky, Mishpahat ha-Adamah, 2 (1954), 142–52; I. Klausner, Ḥibbat Ẓiyyon be-Romanyah (1958), index; idem, Be-Hitorer Am (1962), index; idem, Mi-Katoviẓ ad Basel, 2 (1965), index; G. Yardeni, in: Aresheth, 4 (1960), 296–321; idem, Toledot ha-Ittonut be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1968), index; S. Jawnieli, Tekufat Ḥibbat Ẓiyyon, 1 (1942), 7–9.

[Getzel Kressel]

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