Monday, 12 December 2016

SHLOYME (SHMUEL?) YIGDAL

SHLOYME (SHMUEL?) YIGDAL (June 11, 1870-1936)
            He was born in Zhitomir, Ukraine.  He studied in religious primary school and synagogue study hall, and later through self-education he acquired knowledge of secular subject matter.  He was active in socialist circles run by a son of Yehude-Leyb Binshtok.  He became an early Zionist—lit., a “lover of Zion” (Ḥovev-tsiyon)—bought land in Rishon Lezion, and would have proceeded to go there and settle, but he changed his mind and moved instead to the Caucasus.  Around 1894-1895, he emigrated from there to the United States, and there he wrote a series entitled “Kavkazer mayses” (Stories of the Caucasus) in Der idisher velt (The Jewish world), edited by Getsl Zelikovitsh.  In 1895 he settled in Lawrence, near Boston, and worked in the local textile mill.  He was an active member of the Socialist Labor Party (SLP).  He published correspondence pieces in Arbayter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), and contributed as well to: Abend-blat (Evening newspaper), Sotsyal-demokrat (Social democrat), Forverts (Forward), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Milers vokhnblat (Miller’s weekly newspaper), Di varhayt (The truth), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) edited by B. Faygenboym, and Arbayter-velt (Workers’ world) edited by Philip Krants, among others—all in New York.  He served as general secretary of the Independent Workmen’s Circle from its founding in October 1906 until March 1925, and edited its official organ, Dos naye vort (The new word), published in Boston.  He was also the author of the booklet, Arbayter-yunyons (Labor unions), “adapted from various sources” (Boston: September 1917), 47 pp.  Among his pen names: Sh. Gitelson, H. Vaysbard, M. Zhitomirski, Yude Hakol, Sh. Etelman, S. Yakobzohn, Susi Ben Gidi, and Bal Dover.  In the 1930s he ran a pharmacy in Medford, Massachusetts.  He died in Boston.

Sources: Letter from Zalmen Reyzen to A. Liessin (dated December 7, 1934), in Yivo-arkhiv (YIVO archives) (New York); Z. Osipov and M. Tuvyash, Tsurik tsum shoyresh (Return to the source) (Boston, 1948), pp. 21, 47, 60; information from Morris Tuvyash in Boston.


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