Title page of Maḥanayim (The Two Camps), by Mikhah Yosef Berdyczewski (Warsaw: Tushiyah, 1900). (Ginze Mikhah Yosef, Holon, Israel)

Find more information about

at the Center for Jewish History:

NOTE: you will be redirected
to the Web site for the


Hebrew-language publishing house that was established in 1896 in Warsaw by Avraham Leib Shalkovich; it produced secular and cultural books until 1928. From its inception, Tushiyah (which may be translated into English as “insight”) had two main priorities. On the one hand it was ideologically committed to revamping the Hebrew bookshelf, and on the other, it hoped to run a self-sufficient commercial venture that could provide a livelihood for its owners and workers. Shalkovich, who was known by the pseudonym Ben-Avigdor, had brought changes to Hebrew publishing as early as 1891. In 1896, he gave up his managerial position at the Aḥi’asaf Press to set up Tushiyah, the first privately owned, modern secular Hebrew printing press.

According to announcements in newspapers, manifestoes, letters, and prospectuses, Tushiyah was to be most innovative in its division of books into four classifications. Popular books consisted of classics, belles-lettres (aesthetic literature), natural sciences, social sciences, social anthropology, and history. Children’s and young readers’ selections included original Hebrew books as well as translations of classics. Educational books and textbooks made up the third division; biographies the fourth. Much thought was invested into setting up these categories, and Tushiyah consistently provided a fair balance between original works and translations; veteran writers and new voices; Hebrew classics and more prosaic writings; and modernism’s expressions as articulated by different cultures

In 1898, Tushiyah unveiled Ha-Bibliyotekah ha-‘Ivrit (The Hebrew Library), a major new series of publications that was sold exclusively by subscription. With a new book published each week, the series produced 200 new titles in just four years. Its broad subject matter included affordable selections of aesthetic literature, contemporary texts, natural and social sciences, biographies, philosophy, the history of literature, translated works, and original Hebrew works. According to the company’s records, 2,000 new subscribers had signed on to the program by the end of 1898.

Ha-Bibliyotekah’s contribution to Hebrew publishing was impressive for two reasons. First, its popular and affordable titles enlarged the circle of Hebrew readers. Second, the trailblazing idea of producing books for subscription established a pattern within the realm of Hebrew publishing that continues to this day. Increasing numbers of households were able to be introduced to Hebrew books.

The subscription scheme also appeared to be quite profitable. As a result, as soon as Ben-Avigdor discontinued Ha-Bibliyotekah ha-‘Ivrit, Tushiyah unveiled a new subscription series, Bibliyotikah Gedolah (The Great Library), a service offering its readers copies of the major 100 classics. There were also subscription services for younger readers: Nitsanim (Buds), for very young children; Peraḥim (Flowers) for older children; and Agudat Yisra’el (The Society of Israel) for adolescents.

Tushiyah was the “first home” for many famous Hebrew writers, and it was there that they made inroads into Hebrew literature. This press was also the first to publish the works of Ḥayim Naḥman Bialik, Yosef Ḥayim Brenner, and others. In the difficult years of war and economic crises, Tushiyah succeeded by merging with other presses (whose founding Tushiyah had actually inspired), and in 1911 it became one of the founding partners of Tsentral (Central), made up of the leading Hebrew and Yiddish publishing companies in Warsaw. In 1928, Tushiyah ceased operations. However, many editions of its books are still available today in Hebrew archives and libraries. Apart from Hebrew publications, Tushiyah published, under the Folksbildung imprint, Yiddish books (the first edition of Sholem Aleichem’s collected works in four volumes) and periodicals (Yidishe froyentsaytung and its special supplement for women, Yidishe froyenvelt; Di tsayt, later Naye tsaytn; and Yidishe tsaytung); after the merger with Tsentral the Yiddish output was substantially increased thanks to the efforts of Ben-Avigdor.

Suggested Reading

Ben-Avigdor (Abraham Leib Shalkovich), “Hatsa‘ah (Bi-Devar yesod mulanut be-Eretz Yisra’el),” Ha-Toren 9 (October/ November 1933): 91–92; Jacob Fichman, Ruḥot Menagnot (Sofrey Polin) (Jerusalem, 1952); Zeev Gries, “The Revolution in the World of Hebrew Books at the Start of the Twentieth Century,” in The Book in the Jewish World, 1700–1900, pp. 181–190 (Oxford, 2007); “Katalog, Hotsa’at Tushiyah” (Warsaw, 1900).



Translated from Hebrew by David Fachler