Dr. Yisroel Zinberg - A Famous Person

Dr. Yisroel Zinberg was born in 1873 in Lanowitz, Volyn, when this town was still small. Zinberg documented in his encyclopedia the history of Jewish literature starting with the publication of the Talmud and culminating with current Hebrew works.

The History of Jewish Literature? by Yisroel Zinberg, should have been written by a person under such unfavorable circumstances.  It is doubly surprising that the book was written by a Chemical engineer employed at a large factory in Leningrad for several decades.  The book, which emphasizes the continuity and uniqueness of Jewish history, was written in a country that banned use of the Hebrew, and later the Yiddish languages.  Its authorities created a spiritual climate designed to cause Jews to forget their past and their heritage.

Dr. Yisroel Zinberg became one of the more famous researchers of Jewish literature.  He contributed his deep knowledge of this subject to his people.  His published works are nowadays a primary source for those who wish to research the history of our culture.  His multi-volume study is the product of a long and continuous effort that only few of us can persist in.  He gave up his private life, his leisure and rest in order to complete this literary work.  For his dedication to its completion he paid with his life.

He regarded as literature all works from poetry to prose and philosophy. He viewed these literary works as an expression of Jewish continuity through the generations.  He included references to all these literary works in these encyclopedic volumes.

In summary we can state: Yisroel Zinberg, the  chemical engineer, the young socialist, the steadfast genius, did not succumb to the attractions of his era and its benefits.  Instead he devoted his full talent and energy to the documentation of his people's literature.