Wednesday, 8 May 2019


ELISHE RODIN (January 14, 1884-November 1946)
            He was a Hebrew and Yiddish poet, born in Omtshislav (Mstsislaw), Mogilev region, Belarus.  His original name was Avrom-Elye Rodin.  He studied in religious elementary school.  From 1905 he was a bookkeeper.  He was a revolutionary agitator (1906-1907) in the Vilna region.  He was living in Warsaw (ca. 1912), later in Russia.  He debuted in print with a poem in Di yudishe velt (The Jewish world).  He published in: Di naye velt (The new world) in Vilna (January-March 1919), Royte velt (Red world) in Kharkov, and Literatur un leben (Literature and life) in New York (1914), among other serials.  He contributed to a collection of five poets: Lider (Poems) (Homel: State Publ., 1921), 69 pp.  His work appeared as well in: B. Kalushiner’s Gezang-bukh (Song book) (Melbourne, 1977).  His works include: Lider un poemen (Poetry) (Kharkov: Hofenung, 1918/1919), 40 pp.; Akher (Stranger), poems (Homel: State Publ., 1921), 8 pp.; Heroik (Heroic), poems (Homel: State Publ., 1921), 33 pp.; Fun tsvey kvaln (From two sources), poetry (Petrograd: Krasni agitator, 1924), 30 pp.  Out of protest against the persecutions by the Soviet authorities of Hebrew and Zionism, Rodin switched entirely to write in Hebrew (late 1920s).  His poems and articles were published in the land of Israel in: Davar (Word), Haarets (The land), and Gilyonot (Tablets) (1929-1939), and for this he was punished with several years in prison.  In the land of Israel, his Hebrew books were published: Bifeat nekhar, shirim vehegyonot (On a strange note, poems and meditations) (Tel Aviv: Davar, 1938), 201 pp.; Laben (To my son) (Tel Aviv: Am oved, 1943), 63 pp.; and Haanaf hagadua (The chopped branch) (Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik, 1954), 385 pp., with Ḥaim Lenski.  In his last years he lived in Leningrad, where due to the siege his only son died.  This last Hebrew poet in Soviet Russia died all alone and deserted by all in a Moscow hospital.  In a letter, date September 7, 1929, with a Moscow postmark, Ḥ. N. Bialik wrote to Rodin: “Your poems are growing warmer and heartfelt.  They have been purified of suffering.  Several of them have touched me deeply.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967); A. Krib, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 43 (1962); Avrom Sutzkever, in Di goldene keyt 45 (1962); Moyshe Ungerfeld, in Di goldene keyt 77 (1972); Yehoshua A. Gilboa, Lashon omedet al nafsha (A language fights for its life) (Tel Aviv, 1977), see index; Y. D. Abramski, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (November 4, 1977); Avigdor Panitsh, In shturemdike yorn, a forsh-arbet ṿegn der algemeyner un yidisher geshikhte in rusland in di fargangene 60 yor (In turbulent times, a research work concerning the general and Jewish history of Russia over the past sixty years) (New York: Tsiko, 1977), pp. 457-62; Lyesin-Tsukunft-archive, YIVO (New York).
Ruvn Goldberg

[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 347.]

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