SHMUEL-YITSKHOK FEYGIN (SAMUEL I. FEIGIN) (May 13, 1893-March 31, 1950)
He was born in Gritshev (Krychaw? Grichevo?), Russia. In 1912 he made aliya to the land of Israel. He studied in the Ezra Teachers’ Seminary in Jerusalem. He was for a time secretary to Yekhiel-Mikhel Pines. During the years of WWI, he served as an officer in the Turkish army. He arrived in the United States in 1920. He studied Semitics at Yale University and received his doctorate in 1923. Over the years 1923-1930, he worked as a Hebrew teacher in the Hebrew Teachers’ Seminary in Pittsburgh. In 1932 he began working in the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, and there he contributed to preparing the dictionary of Assyrian. At the same time (1934), he was a professor of Semitics at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Chicago and a teacher of Jewish history and biblical literature in the Department of Jewish Studies. Feygin published his first work on Assyrian in Hashiloaḥ (The shiloah), edited by Joseph Klausner. He contributed research works, essays, reviews, and treatments as well to: Hadoar (The mail), Bitsaron (Fortress), Tsukunft (Future), Shikago (Chicago), and Sefer hashana leyehude amerika (American Jewish annual). He also published in Anglophone scholarly journals. As a specialist in ancient history, Feygin wrote solid works of research on Tanakh, the Hebrew language, Ugaritic, and Assyrian, and longer essays on such well-known writers as David Yelin, Adler, Levi Gintsburg, Aḥad-Ha’am, and others. Among the more important articles that he published in Yiddish were the treatments of: Shimon Dubnov’s Weltgeschichte des Jüdischen Volkes (The world history of the Jewish people) in Tsukunft (1930, 1932, 1933, 1934); Klausner’s history of the Second Temple in Tsukunft (1930); and Bernfeld’s work on Tanakh in Tsukunft (1930); as well as a discussion with Zelig Kalmanovitsh, “Visnshaftlekhe metodn in natsyonale opshatsung” (Scholarly methods in ethnic judgment), in Tsukunft (1934). In Hebrew he brought out two books: Misitre haavar, meḥkarim bemikra uvehistoriya atika (Mysteries of the past, studies in the Bible and ancient history) (New York, 1943), 450 pp., for which he received the Louis Lamed Prize; and Anshe sefer, ḥokrim vesofrim (People of the book, scholars and authors) (New York, 1950), 483 pp., which included, among other items, his writings about Avrom Lyesin, Yoyne Spivak, and Yitskhok Ribkind. He died in Chicago.
Sources: Yefim Yeshurin, in Tsukunft (New York) (May-June 1942), p. 350; Yeshurin, 100 yor moderne yidishe literatur, biblyografisher tsushteyer (100 years of modern Yiddish literature, bibliographical contribution) (New York, 1966), p. 191; Y. K. Miklishanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn 5” (New York, 1959), p. 159; Miklishanski, Toldot hasifrut haivrit baamerika (History of Hebrew literature in America) (New York: Ogen, 1967), pp. 319-20; Yehuda Rozental, Kitve dr. shemuel y. feigin zal, reshima bibliyografit (The writings of Dr. Shmuel I. Feigin, may his memory be for a blessing, bibliographic listing) (Chicago, 1951/1952), 23 pp.; Moyshe Shtarkman, in Tog (New York) (June 13, 1943; January 9, 1950); obituary notices in the Hebrew press; American Jewish Yearbook (New York) 52 (1951), p. 501.
Elye (Elias) Shulman