Bouskila, Yehiel

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Yehiel Bouskila was born in 1921 in a small town near Marrakesh. He moved with his parents to Casablanca when still a child and attended the Magen David and Keter Torah schools there. In 1938 he was given the position of teacher of Hebrew, history, and Bible in the Em Ha-Banim and Magen David schools. In 1946 he began to teach Hebrew in the Alliance school in Casablanca.

At the end of 1942, the Magen David association founded a “Hebrew Club,” which Yehiel Bouskila ran. Members of the club met one evening during the week and for an oneg Shabbat on the weekend. The gatherings featured lectures on a variety of topics in Hebrew by local speakers as well as guest speakers from the Land of Israel, Europe, and the United States. The club was active in the years 1942–1948. During Israel’s War of Independence it was closed. In 1952 it was reopened and continued to operate until Morocco became independent in 1956. The club held an annual literary competition in Hebrew, in which writers from the whole country participated. As the club’s manager, Bouskila was in close contact with Haim Nahmany, a member of the board of directors of Magen David. After the war he founded another club, Hovevei Ha-Safa.

In 1944, he published Toldot Ramba ve-Rashbi (The History of Rabbis Meʾir Baʿal ha-Ness and Simeon bar Yoḥay), a book intended for students with little knowledge of Hebrew and Judaism. The book is a biography of the two Tannaim, with an introduction entitled “A Word for Teachers of Hebrew,” in which he presented his methodological and social views on Modern Hebrew education. The text is in Hebrew, followed by a translation into Judeo-Arabic, making the book accessible to the public-at-large.

In the summer of 1950, he participated in a seminar for teachers of Hebrew in Bet David Yellin in Jerusalem. The seminar was organized by the Jewish Agency’s Department of Education and Culture in the Diaspora. In the same year he passed the Jerusalem Examinations with distinction and received a Jerusalem Certificate from the Hebrew University. He was in contact with functionaries in the Jewish Agency and wrote articles for Hebrew journals published in Israel: Maḥberet, Hed Ha-Mizraḥ, Megillot, and ʿAm Va-Sefer. In 1956, Bouskila emigrated to Israel and settled in Beersheba, where he worked as a Hebrew teacher and ran an evening ulpan for adults. He died in 1990 and was buried in Beersheba.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publication Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic world
EditorsNorman A. Stillman
Place of PublicationLeiden
ISBN (Electronic)9789004176782
StatePublished - 2018

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