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Yehoshua Kalef

KALEF, YEHOSHUA (1875–1943), Bulgarian Zionist leader. Born in Plovdiv (Philippopolis) to a large and influential family, Kalef was educated in Alliance Israélite schools and later completed his law studies in Sofia and in Brussels. With the appearance of *Herzl, Kalef joined *Z.H.Belkowsky in his Zionist work. He began by publishing the Zionist newspaper Kol ha-Am ("Voice of the People") in Bulgarian (1896) and together with K. *Herbst translated Herzl's Judenstaat into Bulgarian (1896). He participated in the First Zionist Congress (1897) and thereafter fought for Zionist leadership in the Jewish communities, the crystallization of a Zionist consciousness among Bulgarian Jewry, and the domination of Jewish national ideology and of the Hebrew language in Jewish schools. Kalef was a member of the Bulgarian government's delegation to the Paris Peace Conference after World War I. In 1920 he was elected chairman of the Jewish Consistory and later also president of the Zionist Organization in Bulgaria. Afterward, he moved to Alsace and then to Paris, where he lived out his life. In 1961 his remains were reinterred in Bet Ḥanan, a moshav of Bulgarian immigrants in Israel.


EG, 10 (1967), 611–3, and index; Haaretz (Sept. 18, 1961).

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