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Yellin

YELLIN

YELLIN , pioneer family in modern Ereẓ Israel. yehoshua (1843–1924), pioneer in Ereẓ Israel, was born in Jerusalem, the son of the prosperous Yellin-Tavia family from Lomza, Poland, that immigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1834. He married into the Yehuda family of Baghdad and learned Arabic and Oriental customs in the home of his father-in-law, Shelomo Yeḥezkel Yehuda. In 1860, under the auspices of the British consul, James *Finn, he and his father purchased land in the village of Kalonya (Colonia) on which the settlement of Moẓa was established in 1891. Yehoshua was one of the founders of Naḥalat Shivah, the third Jewish quarter of Jerusalem built outside the Old City by residents of the city (1869).

In 1876 he belonged to the group that tried to buy government lands near Jericho for the establishment of a settlement to be called Petaḥ Tikvah – an attempt that failed because of the opposition of the Turkish government in Constantinople. In 1882 Yellin entered his son David, born in Jerusalem, at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school just opened in Jerusalem and was thus the first member of the Ashkenazi community to ignore the boycott imposed by its rabbis (led by Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Leib *Diskin) on study in schools. As a punishment he was deprived of his allocation from the *ḥalukkah. In 1897 he was elected a member of the Jerusalem Town Council and served in this capacity until 1901. In his later years he wrote memoirs, Zikhronot le-Ven Yerushalayim ("The Memoirs of a Son of Jerusalem," 1924), which are a source for the history of the old Jewish community in Jerusalem at the end of the 19th century.

[Yehuda Slutsky]

His son, david yellin (1864–1941), was a distinguished teacher, writer, scholar, and one of the leaders of the yishuv.

David studied at the Eẓ Ḥayyim yeshivah and also acquired a general education and knowledge of both Eastern and Western languages. In 1882 he became a pupil (later teacher) in Jerusalem at the Alliance Israélite Universelle school and at the Laemel school. In 1903 Yellin was one of the organizers of the founding conference of the *Teachers' Association at Zikhron Ya'akov and was the association's president. In 1912 he became deputy director of the teachers' seminary founded by the *Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Ezra) in Jerusalem. During the language controversy, when the Hilfsverein tried to introduce German as language of instruction, he founded the Hebrew Teachers' Seminary (later at Bet ha-Kerem in Jerusalem) and was its principal until his death. In 1926 he was appointed professor of Hebrew poetry of the Spanish period at the Hebrew University. His knowledge of Arabic language and literature brought him to a deep understanding of Hebrew poetry written in Spain, and he published a number of works by Spanish Hebrew poets. In addition to research works in the field of poetics, he wrote Torat ha-Shirah ha-Sefaradit (1941), in which he described the techniques of various poets, types of poems, meters, and the influence of Arabic poetry on that of Hebrew poets in Spain. Yellin was active in the development of Jerusalem and its institutions, participating in the establishment of new quarters and public buildings such as the Zikhron Moshe quarter, the Laemel school, and the Bet ha-Kerem Seminary. Together with his father-in-law, Y.M. *Pines, and E. *Ben-Yehuda, Yellin sat on the Va'ad ha-Lashon (Hebrew Language Committee). He also helped to establish the National Library and organize *B'nai B'rith in the country. He was a member of the Ottoman parliament (1913) and a leader of the Jewish community's aid committee during World War i. He was among the first public figures in the country to join the Zionist movement openly, took part in Zionist Congresses, and in 1917 was exiled by the Turks to Damascus. From 1920 to 1925 he was a member of the Jerusalem Town Council and deputy mayor, introducing the municipality's first Hebrew seal. From 1920 to 1928 David was chairman of the Va'ad Le'ummi (National Council of the Jews of Palestine) and appeared as a Jewish representative on the League of Nations "Wailing Wall Committee" (1931).

Apart from textbooks (the best known is Mikra le-Fi ha-Taf, 1900–01), and translations from Arabic (Shirat Shemu'el Ben Adaya) and from European languages (e.g., The Vicar of Wakefield), David published many studies on Hebrew language and grammar (e.g., Dikduk ha-Lashon ha-Ivrit, 1942; Toledot Dikduk ha-Lashon ha-Ivrit ve-Hitpatteḥutah, 1947); and on the Bible (among them commentaries on the books of Job and Isaiah, 1927). The first two volumes of his selected writings, which appeared in 1936 and 1939, contain a selection of his articles in the Hebrew press in Jerusalem and are a valuable source on the history of the yishuv. David Yellin was a symbol of the integration of the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities in Ereẓ Israel, which was also expressed in his scholarship. He was also a leader in education as it developed in the yishuv.

David's second son aviezer (1890–1971), educator, was born in Jerusalem and attended the Laemel school and the Ezra Teachers' Seminary. He taught in Bulgaria in 1910 and later in the Ezra Seminary. During World War i he founded the first Hebrew girls' school in Damascus. Aviezer was one of the founders and leaders of the *Maccabi and scout movements in Israel. He was a delegate to the first Asefat ha-Nivḥarim (Elected Assembly of Palestine Jews) and a member of the Jewish Communal Council in Jerusalem. In 1925 he became a member of the central committee of the Teachers' Association and served as its secretary until 1956 when he was elected as its honorary president. He wrote many articles on education, sports, and current affairs.

[Benzion Dinur (Dinaburg)]

David's fifth son, avinoam (1900–1937), educator and Orientalist, was born in Jerusalem. He translated The Book of Ahikar the Wise from the Syriac and Aramaic into Hebrew (Sefer Aḥikar he-Ḥakham, 1937) and published modern textbooks for the study of Hebrew and classical Arabic (the latter together with Levi *Billig), as well as numerous studies and articles. A member of the Hebrew Language committee (Va'ad ha-Lashon), he became supervisor of Jewish schools in the British Mandatory administration. He was killed in Jerusalem by Arab rioters.

bibliography:

Minḥah le-David (1935), 7–15 (bibliography); B. Dinur, Benei Dori (1963), 86–99; Malachi, in: Hadoar, nos. 12 and 19 (1941); I. Yellin, Le-Ẓe'eẓa'ai, 2 vols. (1938–41); Orlinsky, in: jqr, 32 (1941/42), 221–5; M. Attias, Sefer ha-Te'udot shel ha-Va'ad ha-Le'ummi (1963), index; Tidhar, 1 (1947), 475–6; 2 (1947), 569–70. 705–7.

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