Wednesday 20 May 2015


KHAYIM GOLDBLUM (1865-May 8, 1936)
            This was the adopted name of Khayim Kishinevski.  He was born in Ostre, Wolhynia.  His father Arn-Leyb was—as he described it in his memoirs—“a women’s tailor, but a scholarly Jew and a very pious one.”  Until age ten he studied in religious primary school, thereafter in synagogue study hall under the guidance of scholars and rabbis.  Later, he prepared to become a ritual slaughterer.  At that time he became acquainted with writings of the Jewish Enlightenment.  He was therefore driven out of the synagogue study hall, and his parents threw him out of the house.  He diligently began to study worldly subject matter, and in 1888 he went to study in Berlin with the assistance of a stipend from the Odessa “Khevre mefitse haskole” (Society for the promotion of enlightenment [among the Jews of Russia]).  He was a free auditor at university and studied in the Breslau seminary.  For a time he lived in Belz, Bessarabia.  In 1897 he returned to Odessa, and he passed the teacher’s examination.  He took part in the revolutionary movement (1905), and in 1906 he emigrated to the United States.  He worked in a sweatshop in New York.  In 1908, together with the two teachers Shabtai Lerner and A. Shleger, he conceived a plan to open a modern secular Jewish school.  The three of them worked out a program, published it in several hundred copies, distributed these twelve-page brochures themselves to Jewish homes, and thus founded the first secular Jewish school in Brownsville, New York City.  In 1919 he became secretary of Sholem-Aleykhem School Number Five in New York.  Around this time he began writing and his first publication was a Passover story in the first issue of Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), and thereafter he was a frequent contributor.  In 1929 he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he worked as a teacher.  He published stories and tales in Kalifornyer idishe shtime (Jewish voice of California) and ran a “children’s corner” in Idishe teglekhe prese (Jewish daily press), edited by L. Blank.  He was also a campaigner for vegetarianism.  His published books include: Vegetarizm (Vegetarianism) (New York, 1913), 14 pp.; Murashkes (Ants), stories (New York: Matones, 1925), 62 double-columned pp.; Legendn un mayselekh (Legends and stories) (Los Angeles, 1935), 224 pp.; and his Yiddish translations of Tolstoy’s In shlakht hoyz (In the slaughter house [original: Na boinye]) (Chicago, 1915), 15 pp.; and of Elisée Reclus’s Vegetarizm (original: On Vegetarianism) (New York, 1921), 40 pp.  In 1921, with Yitskhok Horovits, he edited the monthly Di vegetarishe velt (The vegetarian world), and in November 1935, together with Dr. Ostrovski, he published Vegetarisher gedank (The vegetarian idea) in Los Angeles (altogether four numbers appeared).  He died in Los Angeles.

Sources: Kh. Goldblum, “Abisele zikhroynes” (A few memories), in Legendn un mayselekh (Los Angeles, 1935), pp. 5-23; obituary notice in Kinder-zhurnal (New York) (May 1936); Y. Sh. Naumov, “Di yidishe prese in kalifornye” (The Yiddish press in California), Heshbn 5 (Los Angeles) (1954); Y. Lamed, “Pyoner fun progresivn gedank in los andzheles” (Pioneer of progressive thinking in Los Angeles), Heshbn 5 (Los Angeles) (1954).

Zaynvl Diamant

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