Tuesday, 22 March 2016


SHLOYME HILLELS (March 13, 1873-October 23, 1953)
            He was born in Bar, Podolia, into a poor family.  At age six he moved with his parents to Soroki (Soroca), Bessarabia, where he studied until age fourteen in religious elementary school and thereafter in the local house of study.  At age eighteen he married and became a Hebrew teacher.  Over the course of sixteen years starting in 1900, he was the manager of a YIKO (Jewish Cultural Organization) school in the Jewish colony of Markulesht (Mărculeşti), thereafter spending two years at a Jewish high school in Rybnitsa (Râbniţa), and later still he worked as an instructor in Bessarabian Jewish schools.  From the 1890s he was active in relief work for the homeless, and a member of Tarbut and the Jewish National Fund in Bessarabia.  In 1921 he was living in Kishinev, in 1925 in Israel where he was a teacher in Mikveh Israel, and from 1935 he was the director of Bet Bialik Museum in Tel Aviv.  He was a delegate to the Zionist Congress in 1939.  In that year he moved to the United States where he remained until 1946 and worked as an instructor at Hertzliya in New York.  From 1891 he was publishing stories in: Hamelits (The advocate), Hashiloa (The shiloah), Had hazman (Echo of the times), Olam katan (Small world), and Moledet (Homeland), among others; and in certain publications—the legendary Hayalda shenepakha leeven (The girl who was turned into stone) (Odessa: Sifriya) and the children’s play Yatsa beshalom (Leave unscathed) (Moriah).  From 1921 when he was in Kishinev, he began to write in Yiddish and published (under the pen name Lemel) stories, features, and articles in the Bessarabian Yiddish press, such as: Der id (The Jew) and Unzer tsayt (Our time); as well as in Forverts (Forward), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), and Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people)—in New York, and in various Hebrew magazines and newspaper.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937), p. 180; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1949), pp. 60-64; Ḥ. Toren and M. Rabinzon, Sifrutenu hayafa (Our beautiful literature) (Jerusalem, 1953), pp. 60-64; Y. Fikhman, Regnboygn (Rainbow) (Buenos Aires, 1953), pp. 74-78; D. Pinski, in Hadoar (New York) (February 5, 1954); Y. Likhtnboym, in the anthology Hasipur haivri (The Hebrew story) (Tel Aviv, 1955), p. 518; D. Perski, in Hadoar (February 11, 1955); A. Broydes, in Hadoar (April 10, 1959), pp. 399-400; B. I. Michaly, Leyad haavanim (Near the rocks) (Tel Aviv, 1959).

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