Shabad (Szabad), Ẓemaḥ

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SHABAD (Szabad), ẒEMAḤ (1864–1935), physician, communal leader, and publicist, one of the heads of the Vilna community, known for his cultural and political activities. Born in Vilna, in 1881 Shabad moved with his family to Moscow, where he completed his studies in the faculty of medicine at Moscow University (1884–89). In 1894 Shabad settled in Vilna, devoting himself to work in a hospital, where he became a director and a well-known internist. For many years he was chairman of *yekopo. Believing in the principle of "productivization" in Jewish occupations, he promoted the development of *ort, serving as its chairman until 1925. Shabad was distinguished for his manifold activities in the field of public health, as founder of the Vilna branch of *oze, which was affiliated to the national organization of *toz. In this framework he devoted himself to the central organ of toz, Folksgezund, in which he published articles dealing with medical research, and formulated many medical terms in Yiddish.

During World War i he worked to save the Jewish masses in the battle areas from epidemics and hunger. In 1919–20 he served as president of the democratically elected community council, and between 1919 and 1927 was a member of the Vilna municipal council. Politically he was close to the Folkist Party (*Folkspartei) in Poland; he cultivated ideological and personal relations with S. *Dubnow before the Russian Revolution and also later when Dubnow left Russia. Following a disagreement with Noah *Prylucki, a split occurred in the party in 1926. Later Shabad, as head of the dissidents whose center was in Vilna, made contact with the *Minority Bloc led by Y. *Gruenbaum, and in 1928 was elected a member of the Polish Senate. There he fought manifestations of antisemitism and discrimination by the government. At the end of his life he became close to the neo-Territorialist (see *Territorialism) movement. Supporting Jewish cultural and national autonomy (see *Autonomism), and as one of the active members of the Central Yiddish School Organization (cysho), he struggled for the rights of secular schools with Yiddish as their language of instruction. He was one of the founders of the *yivo research institute which was established in Vilna.


Z. Rejzen, Vilne (1935), 737, 744; Rejzen, Leksikon, 4 (1929), 429–34; M. Shalit (ed.), Oyf di Khurves fun Milk-homes un Mehumes (1931), 574–602, 903; Dr. Zemah Shabad, der Visenschaftler un Publitsist (1937).

[Moshe Landau]