Recha Freier and Youth Aliyah

Youth Aliyah (originally called the “Committee for the Assistance of Jewish Youth”) opened its office in Berlin on this date in 1933 — the same day that Adolf Hitler took power as chancellor of Germany. “The utter senselessness of Jewish life in the Diaspora stood palpably before my eyes,” wrote Recha Freier, a poet, musician, […]

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One Young Goat

Israeli satirist Ephraim Kishon (Ferenc Hoffmann), who maintained a column, “Had Gadyo” (“One Young Goat”) in Maariv for thirty years, for twenty of them on nearly a daily basis, was born in Hungary on this date in 1924. He narrowly survived in several Nazi concentration camps before escaping en route to Sobibor, after which he passed himself […]

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Bringing Film to Israel

Lia van Leer (born Greenberg), founder of the Haifa Cinematheque, the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Israel Film Archive, and the Jerusalem Film Festival, was born in Moldova on this date in 1924. Both of her parents and her grandmother were murdered by the Nazis before she emigrated to Jerusalem in 1943. In 1952, she married Wim van Leer, a […]

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The Dadaist

Marcel Janco, co-inventor with Tristan Tzara of Dadaism in Switzerland, and a leading exponent of Constructivism in Eastern Europe, died in Israel at 89 on this date in 1984. Born in Romania, he lived in Switzerland after World War I, then returned to his native country and became one of its leading intellectuals and artists. […]

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January 28: Nahman Avigad in the Old City

Israeli archaeologist Nahman Avigad, who excavated the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and discovered remnants of the Jewish revolt against Rome that was crushed by Titus, as described in the work of Josephus, died at 86 on this date in 1992. Avigad also worked on excavating Masada as well as the caves […]

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November 4: The Memorial Builder

Brazilian-born David Resnick, who became one of Israel’s most prominent modernist architects after moving there in 1949, died at 88 on this date in 2012. His best-known works include Yad Kennedy, a memorial to John F. Kennedy in the Jerusalem Forest (pictured above), and Jerusalem’s Yad Lebanim, the Soldiers Home complex. Resnick trained for four […]

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June 28: Yigael Yadin

Yigael Yadin, who was David Ben Gurion’s Head of Operations during the Israeli War of Independence and then Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 1949 to 1952, died in Jerusalem at 67 on this date in 1984. Son of archaeologist Eleazar Sukenik and women’s rights activist Hasya Sukenik-Feinsod, Yadin became an archaeologist […]

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March 31: The Queen of Hebrew Music

Husky-voiced singer Shoshana Damari, who earned a reputation as “The Queen of Hebrew Music,” was born in Dhamar, Yemen on this date in 1923. Her family brought her to Palestine (on foot) the following year, and she became a child performer there within the Yemenite Jewish community. She gave her first radio performance at age […]

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November 27: Dahlia Ravikovitch

Winner of both the Israel Prize and the Bialik Prize, among many other honors, Israeli poet Dahlia Ravikovitch, the only widely recognized woman poet writing in Hebrew in the 1950s, was born in Ramat Gan on this date (some sources say November 18th) in 1936. Ravikovitch published some twenty volumes, including two poetry books for […]

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