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MANDELSTAMM, BENJAMIN B. JOSEPH:

Russian Hebraist and author; born in Zhagory about the end of the eighteenth century; died in Simferopol May 8, 1886. He was the eldest of several sons and received a liberal education. Inthe first part of his "Ḥazon la-Mo'ed" (Vienna, 1877) Benjamin describes a journey which he made from Zhagory to Moscow about 1835. The second part of the work consists of letters which he wrote from Wilna in 1841-43 in regard to Lilienthal's mission in Russia. Like most of the leading Maskilim of the time, Mandelstamm was at first very enthusiastic about the movement; but he was much disappointed at the results and expressed strong disapproval of Lilienthal's methods. The third part contains a description of the Crimea with plans for bettering the condition of the Russian Jews.

Mandelstamm was employed by the Günzburgs, with some intervals, for more than forty years, and from 1864 until the time of his death he was their representative in Simferopol. He visited Paris in 1875 and gave a graphic description, in Hebrew, of the French capital in his "Paris" (Warsaw, 1878). He furthermore wrote "Mishle Binyamin," which appeared in the first two volumes of "Ha-Asif" (published also separately), and contributed to "Ha-Meliẓ" (1892, Nos. 267-271) a very interesting description of the younger days of his brother Leon and to "Ha-Ẓefirah" (xv., Nos. 12 et seq.) an article on the anti-Jewish riots of 1881-82. He is considered one of the best of Hebrew prose-writers, although his too florid style and his continual deviations from the subject can hardly please a modern reader.

Bibliography:
  • Ha-Asif, iii. 117;
  • Ha-Shaḥar, viii. 384;
  • Ha-Ẓefirah, xiii., No. 26;
  • Keneset ha-Gedolah, iv., part 2, pp. 30 et seq.;
  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels. p. 227.
H. R. P. Wi.
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