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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Dainow, Ẓebi Hirsch B. Zeëb Wolf

Russian preacher; born at Slutzk, government of Minsk, in 1832; died in London March 6, 1877. He possessed oratorical ability of a high order, and inspired the progressive element of the Russian Jewry through his exhortations in behalf of secular knowledge and his glorification of industry, patriotism, and progress. In him the modern Russo-Jewish "haskalah" (progressive movement) found its orator; and its great exponents, like Gordon, Smolenskin, and theirfriends and followers—who up to that time had received from the pulpit nothing but condemnation and censure—recognized in Dainow a powerful ally, and at first encouraged him in every possible way. But he aggravated, rather than allayed, the fear of the conservative classes that he was not in accord with them on some religious questions; and by discarding the traditional dress and manners of the "maggid" he aroused suspicion and also opposition in certain quarters. The support and encouragement that he received from the government officials augmented the hostility, and this fact misled Dainow to believe that he was persecuted by fanatics and had to suffer for the sake of the principles which he wished to enforce on his audiences. Judah Loeb GORDON, who understood the Russian Jews and their needs much better than Dainow did, made light of these imaginary persecutions, and warned Dainow against the evils that would result from a complaint to the authorities against his opponents. The violent attack on his antagonists in general, and particularly on the Jews of Byelostok and on A. B. Gottlober—which Dainow published in " Ha-Shaḥar," 5:329-347—gives a good idea of the condition of his mind. The reply to that attack (ib. pp. 601-605) contains a good description of Dainow and his methods at that time.

In 1874 he left Russia forever, and settled in London, where he became preacher in a congregation of Russian and Polish Jews, and also lecturer on Haggadah at the En Jacob synagogue. Even in his letters from London he complained continuously of opposition and persecution, giving vent to grievances that were as imaginary as those he had suffered in his native land, if not more so. All contemporary accounts agree that he was highly respected and well treated in London, where his oratorical powers were recognized even by the English rabbis. His premature death in March, 1877, was universally regretted; and his funeral was probably the most imposing that a Russian Jew had ever had in the British capital.

Besides the article mentioned, there is only one publication bearing Dainow's name. It is a pamphlet named "Kebod ha-Melek" (Glory of the King, Odessa, 1869), and contains a sermon, delivered by Dainow in Odessa, eulogizing Czar Alexander II. It appeared also in a Russian translation.

  • J. L. Gordon, Iggerot, Nos. 60, 62, 77, 79, 97, 98, 101, 107, 108, 111, Warsaw, 1894:
  • Ha-Maggid, 5:20, Nos. 8, 11, 13;
  • Jewish Chronicle, March 9, 1877.
H. R.
P. Wi.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Dainow, Ẓebi Hirsch B. Zeëb Wolf'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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