Yehoshua Blum contributed to the translation of the liturgy into Hebrew. Brother Yohanan Elihai from the Jerusalem community, who worked with him, writes about him after his death in Germany.


A few days ago, we learnt that Yehoshua Blum had passed away on March 11, 2010 in Hamburg at the age of 91.

Here are some details about him:

He was born in Berlin on August 7, 1919 and immigrated to the country at the age of sixteen, in 1935.

We only know that he served in the British army for some years and that afterwards he was a high officer in the Palmach and participated in the War of Independence. He was at the head of the brigade that conquered Safed in 1948. Thereafter he worked as a translator in a court or in the Ministry of Justice (?). Hebrew was very precise and later this would help in our translations.

Yehoshua joined the kehilla and we met him for the first time in the framework of a meeting in Ein Karem on September 20, 1957. I remember one of his reactions: "Why do you speak French and not Hebrew?" I responded: "It will come! But most people do not yet know Hebrew well. Do not ask: Why are you eating margarine and not butter? Because I will answer you: We still cannot afford to buy butter."

He dreamed for a time of being a Benedictine monk in the monastery on Mount Zion. However, after a year he understood that this was not his way. He married Claudine, a member of the Haifa community, and a son, Michael, was born to them.

For a period of ten years, he worked with me on the translation of sections from the "Order of the Mass", the basic daily version, and also on sections from the New Testament for the Sunday mass. His translations were very precise because he wanted to be faithful to the Latin original. However he was always a military man and a lawyer; his style being quite dry and modern and not very poetic or close to the Tanach or to Jewish prayer. However, he enabled us to pray in Hebrew already back then until others would come and the style would become more poetic.

I must say that I learnt a lot from him about life in the country and about correct Hebrew… as well as slang.

For personal reasons, the difficulty to provide for a family on the little he earned from his translations, he left the country in 1967 with his wife and son, Michael. He resided in Germany until the day of his death. His wife wrote in the announcement of his death: "His life was a struggle for interior security, for order, justice and honesty. He carried this out with full awareness and returned "home" at peace with God".

May his memory be blessed.

In conversation with Alfred Delmée, responsible for the kehilla in Jaffa

An example of his hand writing from his translation of the First Epistle of Peter, chapter 1