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Yizhak Oren

(1918 - 2007)

OREN, YIẒḤAK (pen-name of Yiẓḥak Nadel; 1918– ), Israeli writer. Born in Ulan-Ude, Siberia, Oren received a thorough Jewish education from his father, who was a Hebrew teacher and an active Zionist from Latvia. In 1924 the family moved to Harbin, China, where Oren graduated from a Russian high school. There he joined the Betar movement and in 1936 went to Ereẓ Israel, later becoming a member of the Irgun Ẓeva'i Le'ummi. He studied Hebrew literature, history, and philosophy at the Hebrew University. His first stories were published in literary supplements of the Hebrew daily press, but later he contributed frequently to such literary journals as Molad, Moznayim, Keshet, and Ha-Ummah. He translated Russian classics into Hebrew (e.g., Goncharov's Oblomov) as well as Hebrew prose and verse (e.g., Agnon and Alterman) into Russian. He was editor of the educational programs of Israel's Russian-language broadcasts. Among his published works are Ei-Sham ("Somewhere," 1950), Ba-Oref ("Behind the Lines," 1953), Massot Binyamin ha-Ḥamishi ("Adventures of Benjamin the Fifth," 1958), Avot u-Boser ("Fathers and Sour Grapes," 1964), Penei Dor ke-Kelev ("The Dog-like Generation," 1968), Konei Shamayim va-Areẓ ("Possessors of Heaven and Earth," 1970), Etgarim ("Challenges," 1972), Ha-Har veha-Akhbar ("The Mountain and the Mouse," 1972), Ḥamesh Megillot Afot ("Five Flying Scrolls," stories, 1985) and Yeẓarim vi-Yẓirot ("Passions and Creations," stories and essays, 1997). Though not religious in any formal sense, in his very personal, somewhat surrealistic, narrative style and structure, Oren expresses a mystical belief in man and particularly his spiritual creativity as a central element in the cosmic design, stressing thereby the specific significance of the history and renaissance of the Jewish people. The author of "Jabotinsky and Me" (1980), Oren was awarded the Jabotinsky Prize in 1999. He also received the Newman Prize (1989) and the President's Prize (1999). The English translation The Imaginary Number appeared in 1986. For further information concerning translations see the ITHL website at


S. Halkin, Derakhim ve-Ẓiddei Derakhim ba-Sifrut; M. Dor, in: Ma'ariv (May 26, 1972). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Zehavi, "Al Jabotinsky va-Ani," in: Yedioth Aharonoth (October 24, 1980); Y. Friedlander, "Al Jabotinsky va-Ani," in: Be-Ereẓ Yisrael, 110 (1981), 14; G. Shaked, Ha-Sipporet ha-Ivrit, 3 (1988), 164–78; O. Bartana, "Ẓava'ah ke-Sippur Merkaz bi-Yẓirat Y. Oren," in: Biẓaron, 43–44 (1989), 41–51.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.