TSEMEKH SHABAD (SZABAD) (February 5, 1864-January 1, 1935)
A scientist and journalist, he was born in Vilna. He attended religious elementary school and later a Russian high school. In 1889 he graduated from the medical faculty of Moscow University, and from 1894 he practiced medicine in Vilna and was very active in the Jewish community. He was a cofounder of the “Yidishe demokratishe grupe” (Jewish democratic group) in 1904, and for many years he was chairman of the Folks-partey (People’s party) and of “Khevre mefitse haskole” (Society for the promotion of Enlightenment), Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”), OZE (Obschestvo zdravookhraneniia evreev—Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jewish Population), and ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades), among other organizations. He was also a cofounder of YIVO, “Vilbig” (Vilner yidisher bildungs gezelshaft, or Vilna Jewish Education Society), and Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization); as well as chairman of the Vilna Jewish community (1912-1920), a member of the Vilna city council (1919-1931), and a senator (1928-1930).
His literary work began in 1886 with a series of natural science articles in Russian. He debuted in print in Yiddish in Shmuel Niger’s Di vokh (The week) in 1915. From that point forward, he published articles on politics, community cultural affairs, and especially medical topics. He wrote for: Vilner tog (Vilna day), Letste nayes (Latest news), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Shul-fragn (School issues), Shul-pinkes (School records), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), Sotsyale meditsin (Social medicine) in Warsaw, and Pinkes af di khurves fun milkhomes un mehumes (Records of the destruction from wars and rioting) (Vilna, 1931). He co-edited: Pinkes far der geshikhte fun vilne in di yorn fun milkhome un okupatsye (Records for the history of Vilna in the years of war and occupation) (Vilna, 1922); with Yoysef Tshernikhov, Frayer gedank (Free thought) (1926-1927); and the weekly Vilner vegn (Vilna roads) (1928). He edited: Vilner zamlbukh (Vilna collection), 2 volumes (1916, 1918), and the biweekly Folks-gezunt (People’s health) in which he published several hundred longer and shorter essays. He accomplished a great deal for medical and hygiene literature in Yiddish and for Yiddish terminology. He published several dozen articles on medical matters in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia) (Paris, 1935-1937), vols. 1-3. On his own he wrote, translated, or edited a series of popular medical writings: Vi farhit men zikh fun klepige krankheytn (How to protect oneself from contagious diseases) (Vilna, 1921), 8 pp.; Vos iz farkilung (What is cold) (Vilna: ORT, 1924), 14 pp.; Di zelbstshuts fun menshlekhn organizm (The self-defense of the human organism) (Warsaw: TOZ, 1925), 189 pp., second edition (1927); Mozlen (Measles) (Vilna: TOZ, 1928), 30 pp.; Oytobyografye (Autobiography) (Vilna, YIVO, 1935), 91 pp.; Vegn der yidishe vilne (On Jewish Vilna) (Vilna, 1939), 24 pp. His pen names include: Dr. Yoselson, Dr. Yusfson, Dr. Tsadishin, and A Doktor. He died in Vilna.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Shabad issue of Vilner tog (February 21, 1934); Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 1.8 (1935); Tsvi-Hirsh Mats, Dr. tsemekh shabad, der visnshaftler un publitsist (Dr. Tsemekh Shabad, the scientist and publicist) (Warsaw, May 1937); Hirsh Abramovitsh, Farshvundene geshtaltn (Disappearing images) (Buenos Aires: Farband fun poylishe yidn, 1958), pp. 182-85; Leyzer Ran, Yerusholaim delite, ilustrirt un dokumentirt (Jerusalem of Lithuania, illustrated and documented) (New York, 1974), see index.