REUVEN-ASHER BROYDES (BRAUDES) (September 22, 1851-October 18, 1902)
Born in Vilna, he was already as a youngster reputed to be a prodigy. At age twelve he was versed in Talmud and later commentaries. In 1868 he debuted with his first article on matters pertaining to religion in Halevanon (Lebanon), edited by Yechiel Bril. In 1870 he contributed to Hamelits (The advocate) and Hakarmel (The garden-land). In 1873 he moved to Warsaw and contributed to Hashaḥar (The dawn). In 1876 he arrived in Lemberg, and he was on the editorial board of Haboker or (Good morning), edited by A.-B. Gotlober. Due to controversies with Gotlober, he left Haboker or in 1881 and returned to Vilna. He contributed to Y. Mezaḥ’s Gan peraḥim (Flower garden). In 1882-1884 he was living in Bucharest, Romania. He campaigned among Romanian Jews for settlement in Palestine. In 1882 he made his first effort to publish in Yiddish in Yehudis, a periodical with a many-sided program. On account of persecutions of “alien Jews,” Broydes had to leave Romania. He then returned to Lemberg. From then he roamed from city to city, from country to country. He did not adhere to a single language either. Irrespective of the fact that his novels Hadat vehaḥayim (Religion and life) and Shtei hakatsvot (The two extremes) may have given another impression to Hebrew readers, he also wrote in Yiddish: Vayivrakh yankev oder vi yankev iz antlofn (Yankev took to his heals, or how Yankev ran away) (Warsaw, 1884), and, apparently, a second edition of the same work, entitled Gemakht di pleyte (Contrived refugee) (Vilna, 1895); Dos umglik, oder vi der pumpyaner rov hot gevolt leyzn di sotsyale frage (Unhappiness, or how the Pumpyaner rabbi would have solved the social problem), 20 pp., which was published by Snunit, a well-known Hebrew-language publisher at the time and translated into German by Theodor Zlocisti [as Wie der Pumpianer Rabbi die soziale Frage löst] and into English by Helena Frank in Yiddish Tales (Philadelphia, 1912) [as “The Misfortune, or How the Rav of Pumpian Tried to Solve a Social Problem”], reissued in Lemberg (Menunit, 1930), 16 pp.; Der natsyonal-fond (The national fund), an offprint from Yudishe folkstsaytung (Jewish people’s newspaper) (Warsaw-Cracow: Folks-bildung, 1902); Der poymenik (The young Jewish draftee [under Nikolai I] (Zhitomir, 1874). Broydes published in the Hebrew serials in Lemberg, Eked hasipurim (Collection of stories), Yahadut (Judaism), and Hazman (The times) over a period of nine months, 1891; and in the Yiddish weeklies, Karmel (Garden-land) and Veker (Alarm) which, probably due to censured topics, later had its title changed to Dos yidishe vokhnblat (The Jewish weekly newspaper). Following the First Zionist Congress, Broydes settled in Vienna. He served as editor of Di velt (The world) and published sketches and feature pieces in Yidishes folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper). He died in Vienna.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Gershom Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934); Bader, Mayne zikhroynes (My memoirs) (Buenos Aires, 1953); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, A shtot mit yidn, zikhroynes un geshtaltn (A city with Jews, memoirs and impressions) (New York, 1943); Dr. Y. Tenenboym, Galitsye, mayn alte heym (Galicia, my old country) (Buenos Aires, 1952); Y. Tsineman, Di geshikhte fun tsienizm (The history of Zionism), vol. 1 (Paris, 1947); E. R. Malachi, “Vegn broydes yehudis” (On Broydes’s Yehudis), Keneder odler (August 9, 1954); Y. Volovski, in Voskhod 43 (St. Petersburg, 1902).