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David Yellin, Hebrew Writer and Teacher, Dead in Jerusalem

December 14, 1941
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

David Yellin, one of the foremost pedagogues and cultural leaders of Palestine, died here today after a long illness. He was 77 years old.

Born in Jerusalem on March 19, 1864, David Yellin came of a prominent family. His father, Joshua Yellin, came from Poland as a boy. His mother was a member of the famous Sassoon family. She was born in Baghdad. At the age of eighteen Yellin became a teacher. A few years later he joined the staff of the Laemel School in Jerusalem, of which he was director when he resigned in 1913. The resignation came about as a result of the controversy, begun in 1889, over whether Hebrew or German was to take precedence in the Jewish schools supported in Palestine by the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden. Yellin was a leader of the movement for Hebrew and subsequently founded the training college at Beth Hakerem of which he was director at the time of his death.

Yellin was also active in many other cultural fields. For many years he was president of the “Jerusalem” B’nai B’rith lodge, which he helped found. In 1882 he helped establish the nucleus of the Jewish National Library, now housed at the Hebrew University.

From 1903 to 1912 Professor Yellin served in the Jerusalem Municipal Council. From 1905 to 1920, when he became president of the Jewish National Council, he was Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem. During the first war Professor Yellin, with many other Jews, was exiled to Damascus because the Turkish Commander suspected the Jews of favoring the Allied cause. During his exile he served with the American Palestine Relief Committee. After the war he was a member of the Jewish Committee at the Paris Peace Conference.

Dr. Yellin visited the United States in 1925 to serve as guest professor at the Dr. Stephen S. Wise Theological Seminary in New York and lectured at Columbia University on Hebrew and Arabic literature.

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