The Bais Yaakov Journal
The Bais Yaakov Journal was a publication of Bais Yaakov and the Agudah. It was edited by Eliezer Gershon Friedenson, from his office in Łódź, and it appeared monthly (or sometimes more often) from 1923 to 1939. A Polish supplement accompanied the Yiddish journal beginning in 1924. The Polish supplement was discontinued in 1929, when Bais Yaakov embraced Orthodox Yiddishism (see bio of Solomon Shlyome Birnbaum). Below are links to selected issues, digitized and presented here with generous permission from YIVO. (Some issues are missing from the YIVO archives.)
We have provided summaries of the highlights of each issue, but along with these were regular features, including:
- reflections by Sarah Schenirer on the parsha, Jewish holidays, and Bais Yaakov topics in nearly every issue
- letters to the editor
- a column by ELiezer Gershon Friedensohn called “From Month to Month”
- an advice column called “Sister to Sister”
- book reviews
- announcements about Bais Yaakov events
- reports from local Bais Yaakovs and Bnos chapters
- announcements of births, engagements, marriages, and deaths
Some of the regular journal topics came and went. For instance, in the late 1920s, Bais Yaakov published Yiddish translations of poetry by Rabindranath Tagore in nearly every issue, participating in the general European passion for his poetry.
As part of the ongoing nature of the Bais Yaakov Project, we will finish uploading the print runs of the Bais Yaakov Journal though 1939, and add the print runs of the Bais Yaakov Ruf (Lithuania), Bet Yaakov (Israel), and Beth Jacob (United States).
We also plan to translate the Yiddish, Polish, and Hebrew journals. If you would like to contribute your time and expertise, please contact us.
- Two articles, by Yehuda Leib Orlean and Y. Pupkin, dedicated to the "Chafetz Chayim" (Yisrael Meir Kagan, 1938-1933) on his passing
- A poem by Eliezer Schindler titled "Exile", and a short story by Elimelekh Shteyer titled "Beside a Yom-Kippur Candle", about Sheyndl, a student who returns to her hometown from Prague before the holiday
- Heshl Klepfish’s call for women to contribute to the Bais ...
- Several essays in this issue are dedicated to Rabbi Yehuda Meir Shapiro, the Lubliner Rav, who promoted the Daf Yomi study program in 1923, established the famed Yeshivat Chokhmei Lublin in 1930, and died at the age of 46 on October 27, 1933: Hillel Seidman’s essay describes the Rabbi as the soul of Agudath Israel; Rabbi Moshe Chayim Levi’s essay, "The Muted Sorrow", speaks ...
- Essays celebrating Sarah Schenirer’s 50th birthday by Beyle Gross Fastag, S. P-N, Esther Roza, R. Redlich, and Hode Mowshowitz
- Poems by Elimelekh Shteyer, Eliezer Schindler (one dedicated to Rabbi Meir Shapiro Z"L and the other to Sarah Schenirer), and a ballad by Israel Emiat about “The Holy Woman Odl Kikenish” who died for the sanctification of God's name after being wrongly accused, and on ...
- Short story by Elimelekh Shteyer ("The Hands Are Holy"), and poems by Eliezer Schindler ("Edom and Israel") and Israel Emiat ("Winter Motif")
- Eliezer Gershon Friedensohn’s article congratulating the Bnos on the founding of its first chapter in Tel Aviv, and Rivka Israelska’s article thanking Rabbi Meir Scharansky, an Agudah activist who immigrated to Palestine from Poland, and helped establish Bnos in Tel Aviv ...
- Yehuda Leib Orlean’s "The Art of Silence" offers a commentary on the story of Purim, arguing that Esther knew when to maintain her silence to save her people; so, too, must Jews learn from her in this political climate how to use the art of silence to protect Jews
- Short story by Israel Emiat titled "Pearl". Poems by Eliezer Schindler "The Holy Torah", and ...
- Dr. Nathan Birnbaum’s article for Passover, "The Salvation - the Holiday Passover", discusses different commentaries on the mitzvah "And you shall tell your son" and compares being in the diaspora–gales–today and then (in Egypt)
- Yaakov Landau’s essay for Passover, "God, Wonder, and History", argues that the heart of the night is to tell the history of the Jewish people; he focuses on the four ...
- Editorial titled "After the Conference" reports on the Bnos conferences in Warsaw and Lublin that took place on February 1934, and discusses current struggles and future steps that must be taken
- Poems by Alter Schnur and Israel Emiat. A short story by Elimelekh Shteyer, titled "Around the Same Shadows", tells the story of Nakhum who meets a mysterious stranger at night, in the shadows, ...
- A special issue dedicated to the 70th birthday of Nathan Birnbaum, including a sketch of him on the first page. Several essays about his life and work as one of the leaders of the movement by R. Tuvye Horowitz, Eliezer Schindler, I. L. Gersht, Rabbi M. I. Gutman, Dr. Meir Schwartzman, Shmuel Pliskin, and Elimelekh Shteyer
- Dr. Shlomo Brinbaum’s essay against assimilation and the ...
- An article by Eliezer Gershon Friedensohn titled "Certificates for Bnos Agudath Israel!" on the difficult issue of obtaining certificates for immigration to the Land of Israel. Friedensohn reports on the Bnos conference that winter in Warsaw, at which members spoke of their desire for these certificates. Now Agudath Israel is organizing the certificates specifically for women participating in Bnos activities and training.
- Poem by ...
- A special longer issue celebrating the 12th year of the journal’s existence. The editorial praises its growth over the years from a small organization with just a few members to a large and strong movement
- This issue is also dedicated to Rabbi Yisrael Meir ha-Kohen Kagan, the "Chofetz Chaim", who passed away in 1933. Shmuel Pliskin writes three pieces: a personal essay about mourning ...