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December 02, 1983 - Image 58

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-12-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

58 Friday, December 2, 1983




ND I•1


Stamp Honors Rabbi Bar-Ilan




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Meir Bar-Ilan, spiritual
leader, outstanding or-
ganizer, man of action and
leader of religious Zionism,
was born in Volozhin, in
Lithuania, in 1880 and died
in Jerusalem in 1949.
He was an active Zionist
from his very early days,
one of the founders of Miz-
rachi — the religious-
Zionist movement — and
one of its first leaders. At
the Seventh Zionist Con-
gress in 1911 he was made a
member of the Mizrachi
Executive and General-
Secretry of the World Miz-
rachi movement. From then

on, he was the guiding spirit
of the movement and its ef-
fective leader.
It was he who coined the
motto of Mizrachi — "Eretz
Israel for the people of Israel
in accordance with the Law
of Israel" and he explained,
"There are not three sepa-
rate principles, but three
revelations of a single unity
— the complete Judaism."

As a result of his ef-
forts, the Mizrachi
movement in many coun-
tries grew in strength.
Rabbi Bar-Ilan devoted
his energies not only to
Mizrachi, but also to the
problems of world

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Jewry. He was one of the
founders of the American
Jewish Joint Distribu-
tion Committee and
served as its vice
president and cultural

In 1925, he was appointed
a member of the Executive
of the Jewish National
Fund. In 1926, he emigrated
to Eretz Israel where he
took over the leadership of
the Mizrachi movement
and, as a member of the
World Zionist Executive,
was responsible for extend-
ing aid to victims of the riots
-in the Holy Land.
He opposed the idea of a
bi-national state and the
program of "Brit Shalom"
and was against the expul-
sion of the Revisionists from
the Zionist Organization.

He wrote a number of
books including an auto-
biography "From Vol-
ozhin to Jerusalem" and
a book on his father,
Rabbi Zvi Judah Berlin.
He initiated the issue of
the Talmudic
Encyclopedia, the publi-
cation of the works of
Rabbi Kook, and the Is-
rael edition of the com-
plete Mishna.

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The Meir Forest in the
Gush Etzion area was
planted in his honor and the
American Mizrachi 0rgan-
ization founded Bar-Ilan
University in Ramat Gan as
a living memorial. The uni-
versity is the depository , of
his writings, corre-
spondence and papers.
In 1937, Rabbi Bar-Ilan
was one of the heads of the
inter-party group that op-
posed the plan for the parti-
tion of Eretz Israel proposed
by the Peel Commission. He
took part in the round-table
discussions with the British
government in London, but
when the anti-Zionist aims
of the talks became clear, he
vehemently demanded
their suspension. His re-
quest being rejected, he
walked out.

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When the Mandatory
government published its
White Paper in 1939 he
recommended a policy of
non-cooperation with the
authorities in Eretz Is-

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After the establishment
of the state of Israel, he or-
ganized a committee of
people learned in religious
law to provide answers to
the state's legal problems,
which would be firmly
based on religious law. He
was the originator and or-
ganizer of the United Reli-
gious Front in the First
Rabbi Bar-Ilan also de-
voted himself to problems of
Jewish religious education,
and when World War II
broke out, he organized "Mi-
fal Ha-Tora" which ex-
teAded aid to yeshivot and
helped to save the remnants
of the Torah centers in
He also found time for
writing. In Berlin and later,
in New York, he edited and
published "Ha-Ivri," the
Mizrachi weekly and was
later the founder and
editor-in-chief of "Ha-Zofe"
daily newspaper.

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