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Rosenboim, Shimshon

(1860–1934), politician and Zionist leader. Born in Pinsk, Shimshon Rosenboim studied at the Volozhin yeshiva and, after obtaining a high school diploma, went on to study law at universities in Vienna and Odessa. He established a law practice in Minsk and was involved in a number of cases of a political character and seeking redress for pogrom victims. He was also very active in the Zionist movement, becoming one of its leaders in Russia and participating in the First Zionist Congress in 1897 and many subsequent congresses (he was among the leaders of the opposition to Herzl’s so-called Uganda plan in 1903). In 1906, he was elected to the Russian Duma (parliament), objecting strenuously when it was disbanded.

In the latter years of World War I, Rosenboim was a participant in discussions on how best to assure Jewish minority rights in the coming period of Lithuanian independence. When the state was established, he was appointed deputy foreign minister. In this position, he had a significant influence on the formulation of Jewish autonomous rights presented by the Lithuanian delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. In January 1920, he was elected president of the Lithuanian Jewish National Council, receiving the support of Zionists. He was also a leader among Jewish members of the Lithuanian parliament. In 1923, Rosenboim was appointed minister of Jewish affairs.

By this time, however, resistance to Jewish autonomy was growing in Lithuanian government circles, led by the Christian Democrats. Rosenboim’s ministry was thus systematically weakened. Its budget was cut and his title officially removed at the end of 1924. At about the same time, the police dispersed a meeting of the Jewish National Council. In 1925, Rosenboim immigrated to Palestine, serving for a short time as a judge in Tel Aviv, and publishing a number of influential studies in law journals such as Ha-Mishpat ha-‘Ivri and Ha-Mishpat.

Suggested Reading

Šarūnas Liekis, A State within a State?: Jewish Autonomy in Lithuania, 1918–1925 (Vilnius, 2003); Alvydas Nikžentaitis, Stefan Schreiner, and Darius Staliūnas, eds., The Vanished World of Lithuanian Jews (Amsterdam, 2004); “Shimshon Rozenbaum,” Ha-Mishpat 5 (1935): 5; Mendel Sudarsky, Uryeh Katsenelenbogn, and Y. Kisin, eds., Lite, vol. 1 (New York, 1951).



Translated from Hebrew by the editorial staff