“Portraits of the Great Poets of Israel.” Commercially produced lithograph based on an illustration printed in the Hebrew newspaper Ha-Asif, 1886. (1) Mikhah Yosef Lebensohn, (2) Yehudah Leib Gordon, (3) Naftali Herts Wessely, (4) Adam ha-Kohen (Avraham Dov Lebensohn), and (5) Avraham Ber Gottlober. (YIVO)

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Asif, Ha-

Annual Hebrew publication, issued between 1884 and 1889, and again in 1893. Ha-Asif (The Harvest) was published in Warsaw and edited by Naḥum Sokolow. The yearly journal focused on discussions and reviews of Jewish studies while attempting to avoid complete identification with the Ḥibat Tsiyon movement. Although Sokolow felt a certain ideological affinity with that movement, he stressed, in his introduction to the 1884 edition, that Ha-Asif was not established to fulfill the needs of any single party or the needs of the hour, but was aimed at the Jewish nation as a whole. Throughout its existence, the publication focused on Jewish history and historiosophy as the basis of nationalism, an approach emphasized by Sokolow in his major essays.

Ha-Asif printed numerous illustrations of personalities and places, and its distribution was fairly substantial by the standards of that time; the first and second volumes sold 6,000 copies each. Despite its extensive distribution, Ha-Asif encountered financial difficulties, forcing its owners to cease publication after the fifth volume (1889). Publication was renewed four years later with the sixth and final edition.

In accordance with its maskilic and nationalist objectives, Ha-Asif consisted of two parts: Otsar ha-yedi‘ot (News Treasure) and Otsar ha-sifrut (Literature Treasure). The first contained historic chronicles, news of everyday life, and essays on economics and medicine. The second section was made up of articles on Jewish studies, new book reviews, and original and translated stories and poems. The major innovation of the literary section involved the publication of short stories and works by writers of the New Current Hebrew literary movement. Prose contributions came from David Frishman, who served as editorial board treasurer and assisted in the editing, Y. L. Peretz, and Sholem Aleichem. Among the poets were Avraham Ber Gottlober, Yehudah Leib Gordon, and Mordekhai Tsevi Mane.

Suggested Reading

Menuḥah Gilbo‘a, Leksikon ha-‘itonut ha-‘ivrit: Ba-Me’ot ha-shemoneh ‘esreh veha-tesha‘ ‘esreh (Tel Aviv, 1992), pp. 301–304.



Translated from Hebrew by Rami Hann