Sunday 7 December 2014


KHAYIM-YITSKHOK (HAYYIM ISAAC) BUNIN (January 12, 1875-Summer 1942)
Born in Homel (Hamel, Gomel) into a family of Chabad Hassids, he studied in religious elementary and high schools.  He married young, and for a time worked as a merchant and a ritual slaughterer.  In 1906 he received rabbinical ordination, but he did not receive a pulpit as a rabbi.  He prepared himself to become a “stock” rabbi, and as an auditor graduated from a Russian high school.  For a long time he worked as a teacher of Russian in Kiev, Vilna, and Homel.  In 1910 he was living in Warsaw.  From 1916 until WWII broke out in 1939, he worked as a teacher in a Jewish high school in Lodz.  When the Nazis seized Lodz, he escaped to Warsaw.  He began publishing in Hebrew with an essay entitled “Hachasidut hachabad” (Chabad Hassidism) in Hashiloach (The shiloah) in 1912/1913.  On the same topic, he published several articles in Haolam (The world) (1914-1915) and Hatsfira (The siren) (Warsaw, 1915).  At this time, he began to publish in Yiddish, and he published a fictional work entitled “Moyshke vilenker” in Dos naye lebn (The new life) (Warsaw, 1914), as well as a series of articles, “Di poylishe khsidim un khabad” (Polish Hassids and Chabad), in Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people) (Warsaw, 1914, edited by Yitskhok Grinberg).  He was a contributor to Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily news) and Nayer folksblat (New people’s news)—in Lodz; and articles and fictional pieces in Hatsfira, Hamizrachi (The easterner), Haivri (The Jew), and Hatoren (The mast), among others.  He worked as editor of Shear-yashuv (Remnants of the settlement), which appeared periodically from 1921 to 1939, in Hebrew in which he published his religious-ethical writings.  Among his books: Limude hayahadut (Topics in Judaism) (Lodz, 1914), 127 pp.; Di drite aliye (The third aliya) (Warsaw, 1921); Di entplekung fun groysn shotn (The imposing, great shadow) (Warsaw, 1928), 83 pp.; Mishnat chabad (Teachings of Chabad) (Warsaw, 1932), 87 pp.; Khabadish, vol. 1: geshtaltn, bilder, khazones, dertseylungen, shmuesn (The way of Chabad, vol. 1: Images, sights, cantorship, stories, conversations) (Lodz, 1938), 80 pp.  He was in the Warsaw Ghetto at the time of the deportations during the summer of 1942 in which he died.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. A. Coralnik, Shriftn (Writings) (New York, 1938), vol. 2, pp. 170-77; Dr. Sh. Pietrushke, in Keneder odler (May 27, 1947); Sh. Berholts, in Der poylisher yid (New York) (April 1944), p. 16; Ber Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954).

Khayim-Leyb Fuks

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