Monday, 3 June 2019


SHLOYME Z. RUBIN (January 1, 1879-April 1969)
            He was a poet, born in Lide (Lida), Vilna district.  In 1882 he moved with his parents to Berdichev and later to another city in Kiev Province.  There and back in Lida, he studied in religious elementary school and graduated from a Russian Jewish school.  In 1893 the family made its way to the United States.  He worked in a factory and studied in evening school.  He was active in the socialist movement.  In 1905 he graduated from a pharmacy college in Minneapolis and worked as a druggist there, in International Falls, and in Mennville [Manitoba?].  He later lived in New York.  He debuted in print with the translation of a poem from English in Forverts (Forward) in New York (May 28, 1899), for which he would also write later.  At the beginning of the century, he published in: Folks vekhter (People’s watchman) in Minneapolis, B. Gorin’s Teater-zhurnal un familyen-fraynd (Theater journal and family friend), Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Yudishe gazetten (Jewish gazette), Tsukunft (Future), and Idishe arbayter velt (Jewish workers’ world) (1913).  From 1946 he was writing for Tog (Day) and Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal) in New York.  His poetry appeared as well in: Morris Basin’s Antologye, 500 yor yidishe poezye (Anthology, 500 years of Yiddish poetry), vol. 2 (New York, 1917); Yoyel Entin, Yidishe poetn, hantbukh fun yidisher dikhtung (Yiddish poets, a handbook of Yiddish poetry), vol. 2 (New York: Jewish National Labor Alliance and Labor Zionist Party, 1927); and the anthology Frayhayt (Freedom) (1905).  Rubin was among the Yiddish poet-pioneers in America.  He lived close to the passing of the proletarian era in American Yiddish poetry.  In the words of Nokhum-Borekh Minkov, his “few poems of alarm were not characteristic of Rubin’s social poetry….  For him and for his time, the social poem was not one of sadness,… not the painful outcry of horror or desperation,… [but] the well thought out concept of justice, expressed…in poetic form.”  He died in New York.

Sources: Nokhum-Borekh Minkov, Pyonern fun der yidisher poezye in amerike (Pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America) (New York, 1956), pp. 221-26; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen

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