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Samuel Mohilever

Samuel Mohilever

Israeli rabbi, pioneer of Zionism
Samuel Mohilever
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Israeli rabbi, pioneer of Zionism
A.K.A. Shmuel Mohilever
Was Rabbi
From Russia
Type Religion
Gender male
Birth 25 April 1824, Hlybokaye, Belarus
Death 10 June 1898, Białystok, Poland (aged 74 years)
Star sign TaurusTaurus
Samuel Mohilever
The details

Biography

Samuel Mohilever

Samuel Mohilever (1824–1898), also Shmuel Mohilever, was a rabbi, pioneer of Religious Zionism and one of the founders of the Hovevei Zion movement.

Biography

Mohilever was born in Głębokie (now Hlybokaye, Belarus) and studied in the Volozhin yeshiva.

After the pogroms following the May Laws, he helped found the Hovevei Zion in Warsaw, and convinced Baron Edmond James de Rothschild to financially support a settlement called Ekron (now Mazkeret Batya).

Mohilever was made the Rabbi of Białystok in 1883. He dedicated himself to promote Zionism by convincing Białystok's Jews to move to Petah Tikva, then a struggling settlement. In 1884, Mohilever was elected to the presidency of the Hovevei Zion conference, with Leon Pinsker serving as chairman. Mohilever served as chairman in the 1887 and 1889 conferences. Many of his contributions were of a religious nature - Mohilever insured that Jewish farming in Palestine complied with Jewish laws and tradition by setting up a rabbinical committee to oversee it.

In 1893 there were a series of differences between Rabbi Mohilever and the main offices of Chovevei L'Tzion in Odessa, which was largely secularist and directed by Leo Pinsker. This led to a decision for Chovevei L'Tzion to make another Centre under Mohilever's leadership. This new branch, was named Mizrachi, (A Hebrew abbreviation of merkaz ruhani – "spiritual centre"). Their task was to educate orthodox Jews about the concept of Zionism. But despite the religious differences, Rabbi Mohilever made the wise decision to remain part of the Chovevei L'Tzion movement. Nonetheless, Mohilever put constant pressure on the national movement to meet with the requirements of the Orthodox Jews.

In 1897 Mohilever sent a message to the First Zionist Congress: 'It is essential', he wrote, 'that the Congress unite all "Sons of Zion" who are true to our cause to work in complete harmony and fraternity, even if there be among them differences of opinion regarding religion.'

Rabbi Mohilever and his colleagues continued their work, especially among Orthodox Jews, and as a result, Mizrachi became the foundation of the religious Zionist movement. In 1902, four years after Rabbi Shmuel’s death, Mizrachi officially joined the Zionist Organization.

When in 1901 Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines and other of Mohilever's disciples re-established the organization, they did so with the same stance, spirit and name. Mohilever had successfully inspired the amalgamation of traditional Jewish orthodoxy with practical Zionism.

His last letter to the Jews of Russia before his death urged them to work to achieve a deep attachment to the commandment to settle in Israel, which he said is “the foundation of the existence of our people.”

The kibbutz Gan Shmuel was named after Mohilever.

Mohilever was active in the propagandist and organizational affairs as well as labors on behalf of colonization in Palestine. As early as 1882, he went to Paris to meet a young Baron Edmond de Rothschild, and convinced him to take an interest in the struggling settlers in Israel. With the help of Rabbi Mohilever, Rothschild stayed and was the single greatest benefactor of Zionist work there.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 08 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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Reference sources
References
http://www.zionistarchives.org.il/en/Pages/Default.aspx
https://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb16268085q
https://data.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb16268085q
https://d-nb.info/gnd/1052831648
http://isni.org/isni/0000000084381605
https://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n87937149
http://uli.nli.org.il/F/?func=direct&doc_number=001434040&local_base=nlx10
https://viaf.org/viaf/33533027
https://www.worldcat.org/identities/lccn-n87937149
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