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Eliezer Lipa Joffe

JOFFE, ELIEZER LIPA (1882–1944), Ereẓ Israel pioneer; father of the idea of the moshav *ovedim. Joffe was born in Yanovka (Ivanovka), Bessarabia, and in 1902 published a call to young Jews to settle in Ereẓ Israel (in the Hebrew daily, Ha-Meliẓ). He went to the United States in 1904 to study advanced agricultural techniques in preparation for his own settlement in Ereẓ Israel. In 1905 Joffe founded the Ha-Ikkar ha-Ẓa'ir ("Young Farmer") association for aliyah to Ereẓ Israel in Woodbine, New Jersey, whose members were students at the agricultural school there. He also published Ha-Ikkar ha-Ẓa'ir, which advocated agricultural training and preparation for life in Ereẓ Israel. At the same time, he founded *He-Ḥalutz in New York City. In 1910 he settled in Ereẓ Israel, establishing an experimental farm at *Ein Gannim near Petaḥ Tikvah. He settled in Galilee in 1911 and in 1913 organized American pioneers in the Ha-Ikkar ha-Ẓa'ir group for the autonomous cultivation of the *Kinneret farm. Joffe expounded his idea of the moshav ovedim in a brochure, Yissud Moshevei Ovedim ("Establishment of Agricultural Smallholder's Cooperatives," 1918) and in 1921 was one of the founders of *Nahalal, the first moshav ovedim, based on the principles he had formulated. In 1928 he became a founder of Tenuvah (the largest marketing cooperative in Israel), serving as its director until 1936.

A leader of the Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓa'ir party, Joffe served as its representative at Zionist Congresses. He published books on agricultural subjects and was the first editor of Ha-Sadeh ("The Field"), a monthly agricultural magazine. His works, Kitvei Eliezer Joffe, were published in six volumes, together with a biography, in 1956.


B. Ḥabas (ed.), Sefer ha-Aliyyah ha-Sheniyyah (1947), index; J. Burtniker, Bibliografiyah shel E.L. Joffe (1950); M. Smilansky, Mishpaḥat ha-Adamah, 4 (1953), 35–46; B. Katznelson, Be-Ḥevlei Adam (1950), 140–52.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.