Feb 26, 2020



Last Name
First Name
Yoseph Chaim
Life Span
Ukrainian born Jewish novelist, pioneer of modern Hebrew literature. Born in Novy Mlini in the Ukraine in 1881 to a traditional Jewish family. He received a formal Jewish education which included studies at a yeshiva. In Gomel, Brenner became active in the Jewish labor movement. At the turn of the century he lived in Bialystok and Warsaw where he made a living by teaching Hebrew. In 1901 having recently written his first short story, he was drafted to the army but with the outbreak of the Russian-Japanese war he was smuggled out of the country. He settled in London where he worked in a print shop and became active in the infant Po'alei Zion movement. Out of the Depths or "Out Of A Gloomy Valley", Brenner's first book is a collection of six short stories about Jewish life in the diaspora. It was published in Warsaw 1900. He immigrated to Palestine in 1908 during the 2nd aliyah (1904-1914), eager to put his Zionist ideology into practice. He soon gave up farming and started teaching at the Gymnasia Herzliyia in Tel Aviv. He was particularly critical of Jewish life in the Diaspora and had little patience for the rabbinic world which he felt had strangled Jewish creativity in the Diaspora. During the early period of the Third Aliyah (1919-1923) he joined the Gedud Ha'avodah (Labor Battalions) and worked in the Galilee in road construction. He was also active in the founding conference of the Histadrut (Labor Federation). He is known for this quote: "The New Testament is also bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh." Unfortunately, he was murdered in May 1921 during anti-Jewish Arab riots. Kibbutz Giv'at Brenner was named after him.

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