Sunday 12 October 2014


GERSHOM BADER (August 21, 1868-November 11, 1953)
Born in Krakow into a family that traced its pedigree back to the Shakh (Shabbatai ben Meir HaKohen, 1621-1662) and the Shelah (Isaiah Horovitz, c. 1565-1630).  He was the son of Yitskhok-Moyshe Bader.  He studied in religious schools, and he spent one year in the home of the Krakow rabbi, Shimon Sofer (1820-1883).  At age fourteen he left Krakow on foot for Berlin to enter rabbinical school.  However, he was compelled to return home, and he became a teacher in villages.  In 1889 in Kolomyja, he took over the editing of Ha-shemesh (The sun) in place of R. A. Broyder.  In 1894 he was a teacher in Lemberg (Lvov), where he played an important part in Yiddish literary life and in the Zionist movement.  He was a pioneer in Yiddish literature and the press in Galicia.  He first published in the Yiddish weekly, Ha-karmel (The Carmel).  In 1898 he was editor of the biweekly Ha-ivri (The Jew), and he was the founder and editor (1904-1906) of the first Yiddish-language newspaper in Galicia (in Lemberg): Tageblat (Daily news).  He was the publisher of Yudisher folks-kalendar (Jewish people’s calendar, 1896-1912) and of an anthology Shtraln (Rays of the sun).  He was a contributor to Otsar ha-sifrut (Treasury of literature), Khermon (Mt. Hermon), Ha-et (The pen), Der yud (The Jew), Tsukunft (Future), Zhitlovsky’s Dos naye lebn (The new Life), Pardes (Orchard), and Ha-shiloach (The shiloah), among others.  He wrote stories, allegories, feature pieces, historical essays, literary treatises, and articles on current events.  His stage pieces include: Tate-mames tsores (Trouble for parents), Nont baym fayer (Near to the fire), Yisroel bal shem tov (Yisroel Bal-shem-tov [founder of Hassidism]), R’ chaim raytses (R. Chaim Raytses), Der amerikaner doktor (The American doctor), and Di goldene royz (The golden rose), among others.  In 1912 he settled in New York and became a longtime contributor to Tageblat (Daily news) and Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal).  Among his books: Tsvishn blut un fayer (Between blood and fire) (New York, 1916), 99 pp.; R’ Yisroel bal shem tov, historishe folks-shtik in fir aktn (R. Yisroel bal shem tov, a popular historical piece in four acts) (Lemberg, 1922), 68 pp.; Draysik doyrer yidn in poyln, fun der ershter tsayt vos yidn zenen ahin gekumen (Thirty generations of Jews in Poland, from the first time that Jews came here) (New York, 1927), 494 pp.; Eybike emesn fun sforim un funem lebn, kleyne mayses un sharfe bamerkungen (Eternal truths from religious works and from life, short tales and sharp observations) (Vienna, 1927), 304 pp.; Divre kheyn veseykhel (Words of charm and wisdom) (New York, 1935), 103 pp.; Naye horizontn vegn undzere alte yomim-toyvim (New horizons on our ancient holidays) (New York: “Pardes,” 1938), 127 pp.; Di milkhomes fun di khashmenoim (The wars of the Maccabees) (New York, 1940), 358 pp.; Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages), a Hebrew-language handbook of Galician writers (New York, 1934); Mayne zikhrones (My memoirs) (Buenos Aires: Tsentral-farband fun poylishe yidn in argentine, 1953), 429 pp.  His works of popular history and his memoirs retain significant value.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1; Avrom Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), part 3 (Vilna, 1935); Zalmen Reyzen, “Galitsye in der yidisher kultur” (Galicia in Jewish culture), in Yoyvl-bukh 30 yor keneder odler (30-year jubilee volume of the Canadian eagle) (Montreal, 1938); Dr. Y. Tenenboym, Galitsye mayn alte heym (Galicia, my old home) (Buenos Aires, 1952); Yankev Mestl, 70 yor teater-repertuar (Seventy years of theater repertoire) (New York, 1954); A. Goldberg, “Der talmid khokhem gershom bader” (The scholar Gershom Bader), in Yorbukh poylishe yidn (Annual of Polish Jews) (1938); Melech Ravitsh, “Gershom bader,” Keneder adler (November 29, 1953); Dr. Y. Klausner, Historiyah shel hasifrut haivrit haadashah (History of modern Hebrew literature) (Jerusalem, 1930), vol. 2.

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