KHAYIM-BENYOMEN SHOYS (HAYYIM SCHAUSS) (March 10, 1884-October 22, 1953)
He was a historian, born in Gorzd (Gargždai), Lithuania. He attended religious elementary school and studied Talmud with a special rabbi. He learned German and secular subject matter by the correspondence method. He lived in Memel, Frankfurt am Main, and Wiesbaden. In 1910 he made his way to Chicago. There he studied Bible criticism and Semitic history. In 1915 he moved to New York, where he was a teacher of Tanakh and ancient Jewish history in the Jewish teachers’ seminary (1918-1948). The last five years of his life, he spent in Los Angeles. He debuted in print in 1909 in Leben un visenshaft (Life and science) with a translation of Arnold Dodel’s pamphlet Di religyon fun der tsukunft (The religion of the future [original: Die Religion der Zukunft]). He wrote about Jewish history, Tanakh, and Jewish ways of life in earlier times, from time to time also poetry and prose in: Dos naye leben (The new life) (1910), Idishe arbayter velt (The world of Jewish laborers) in Chicago (1911-1912), Literatur un lebn (Literature and life), Fraye gezelshaft (Free society), Tog (Day), Gedank un lebn (Thought and life), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), and Tsukunft (Future). Over the years 1916-1918, he published numerous longer articles in: Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter). Yerusholaim di heylike shtot (Jerusalem the holy city), Der idisher monoteizm un der marksistisher materyalizm (Jewish monotheism and Marxist materialism), and Geshikhte filosofye bay di neviim (History-philosophy for the prophets). In the daily newspaper Varhayt (Truth), he published a series of thirty-four articles entitled “Yisroel un di felker” (Israel and the peoples); from 1924 in Forverts (Forward), when he was a standing contributor, he brought out a series of essays on the stories, ancient and classical, of noted converts to Christianity, and well-known Jewish cities and their prominent figures, the Inquisition, and the like; in Shriftn (Writings) VI, a chapter of a planned book entitled Di melukhe fun himl (The state of heaven); and an assortment of others. His died in Los Angeles.
His works include: Biblishe gezangen (Biblical songs) (New York: Literarishe farlag, 1916), 229 pp.; Di groyse idishe geshikhte, fun di eltste tsayten biz af haynt (Great Jewish history, from oldest times to today), 4 vols. (New York: Max Yankowitz, 1919-1925), second edition (1926); Idishe geshikhte far shul un folk (Jewish history for school and people), 2 vols. (New York: Education Committee of Workmen’s Circle, 1927-1928); Di neviim, a kriṭisher araynfir in der antshteyung un antṿiklung fun nevue bay idn (The prophets, a critical introduction to the emergence and development of prophecy among the Jews) (New York: Jewish teachers’ seminary, 1931), 64 pp.; Dos yontef bukh, di geshikhte fun di idishe yon-toyvim (The holiday book, the history of the Jewish holidays) (New York, 1933), 270 pp., also an English edition (1938); Mayses fun agadete (Homiletical tales) (New York, 1936), 32 pp., with Shloyme Saymon (Simon); Mentsh un got in der religyezer geshikhte fun yidishn folk (Man and God in the religious history of the Jewish people) (New York, 1942), 31 pp.; Neviim, kapitlekh “neviim akhroynim,” derklerungen un iberzetsung (Prophets, the last prophets, explanations and translation), 2 vols. (New York: Jewish National Workers’ Alliance, 1942-1951); Mayses fun breyshes (Stories from Genesis) (New York: Tsiko, 1945), 328 pp.; Historishe shriftn (Historical writings) (New York: Farband, 1956), 311 pp. Using the pseudonym Kh. Sh. Gorzdovski, he translated Oscar Wilde’s Dos bild fun doryan grey (The Picture of Dorian Gray) (New York: M. Jankovitz, 1920?), 287 pp.; Kuno Fischer’s Shpinozas leben un kharakter (Spinoza’s life and character), in Dos naye leben; and William Isaac Thomas et al., Antropologye (Anthopology) (New York, 1920), 217 pp. His pen names: B. Toybin and Dr. Z. Kadish. In English: The Lifetime of a Jew throughout the Ages of Jewish History (Cincinnati, 1950), 332 pp.; Guide to Jewish Holy Days, History and Observance, trans. Samuel Jaffe (New York, 1962), 316 pp.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Zelik-Hirsh Kalmanovitsh, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 2 (1931); M. Galan, in Hadoar (New York) (November 21, 1946); Y. Vayngartn, in Bleter far yidisher dertsiung (New York) (April-July 1953); F. Hershteyn, in Dos idishe vort (New York) (December 11, 1953); Ben-Tsien Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 1, 1955); Der Lebediker (Khayim Gutman), in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (June 3, 1956); Shloyme Saymon (Simon), in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1956); Leybush Lehrer, Mentsh un ideye (Man and thought) (New York: Matones, 1960), pp. 38-47; Yahadut lita (Jewish Lithuania), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1967); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).