Sunday 17 May 2015


TSVI-NISN (ZVI-NISSAN, HIRSH-NISN) GOLOMB (December 4, 1853-September 8, 1934)
            He was born in Podzelve (Želva), nine miles from Vilna.  His father, R. Aba-Elyahu, was an itinerant teacher and for a certain time rabbi in Sviadoshtsh (Svedasai).  Until age eleven he studied Bible and Talmud with his father, thereafter in the yeshivas of Vilkomir (Ukmergė).  Out of fear that he might stray from the straight and narrow, his parents married him off.  In 1873, two years after the wedding, he moved to Vilna where he worked as an assistant proofreader in the Romm Publishing House.  He read through the storybooks of Ayzik-Meyer Dik (he would transcribe them for the censor because of Dik’s unclear handwriting).  Golomb himself began to publish Yiddish booklets in the style of the time: Praktike iz a lere (Practice is a teaching) (1875); A yunge toyb far a korbm (A young dove for a victim) (1878); Der ferbotener bris (The forbidden circumcision) (1878). 16 pp.; Mishle ḥakhamim (Sayings of wise men) (proverbs, 1879); Hilkhot deot (The laws of temperaments) (a section from the Ramban’s “Yad haḥazaka” [Mighty hand], 1875).  Golomb also wrote for: Hamelits (The advocate); Hatsfira (The siren); Rodkinson’s Kol leam (Call to the people); and Bril’s Hayisraeli (Israel) in which he published (1881) his treatise Damen-rekht (Women’s rights), “a judgment on the female sex in their virtues and their rights within family life…” with a foreword concerning “zhargon” [Yiddish], which appeared in book form in 1890, 48 pp.  At that time, he learned to play the violin from one his pupils (to whom he gave Hebrew lessons in his free time) and learned as well musical theory, and he even published several pamphlets on music: Menatseyekh benegines, gezang mayster (Music conductor, master of song), “to teach oneself to sing and play the violin with notes” (1883, 86 pp.); Zimres yo, harmonye lere (Songs, harmony lessons), with compositions from the “Vilner balebosl” (The Vilna newly-wed) (1885, 104 pp.); Kol yehude, klenge der yudn (Voice from Judah, sounds of the Jewish people), a collection of Jewish wedding melodies and folksongs for piano, violin, and voice (1886); Kol nidre, notes with text for violin, piano, and voice (1888).  Golomb’s other works from later years would include: Lahakat neviim (Selections from the Prophets), an anthology of articles, in prose and poetry, of great writers (Vilna, 1889), 144 pp.; Kriyot sefer, hashkafa al matsav ḥakhamim vesofrim (Republic of letters, a view of the condition of sages and scribes), a Hebrew-language description of a trip through Vilna, Grodno, Bialystok, and Warsaw (Warsaw, 1890), 46 pp.; Oyffirung, vegn hitn di gezind in der tsayt fun cholera (Conduct, on caring for health in a time of cholera) (1892); Di burzhuazye oder di geld sumatokhe (The bourgeoisie, or monetary fluctuations), “judgment and review of an economic standpoint and facts of life in the immense mastery of money in the material and spiritual production manufacturing” (Warsaw, 1906), 56 pp.; Shemot haanashim vehanashim (Names of men and women), “Hebrew male and female names used in zhargon” (Vilna, 1906), 16 pp.; Mayse hatsadik in vilne (The story of a saintly man in Vilna), “1. The charitable institutions introduced earlier, 2. The associations and institutions in wartime” (Vilna, 1917), 48 pp.; Milim beleshoni, hebreish-idishes verter-bukh fun hebreishe verter, oysdrike un toyre-verter, velkhe veren benutst in idishn geshprekh un in ir literatur (Dictionary: Hebrew-Yiddish dictionary of Hebrew words, expressions, and Torah language, which are used in Yiddish conversation and in its literature) (Vilna, 1910), 400 pp., with a 48-page supplement entitled “Pitgame oraita” (Sayings from the Torah), “Talmudic sayings which are used as expressions,” translated into Yiddish rhyme.  Together with his son Emanuel, he also compiled a biographical handbook in Hebrew, entitled Ḥemdat yisrael (Treasury of Israel) (Vilna, 1901-1903), 116 pp., in large format.  His last treatise, apparently left unpublished, was Ḥevel haneviim (Sorrow of the Prophets), concerned with twenty-eight lost religious texts which are mentioned in Tanakh.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Der Tunkeler, in Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), p. 1286; Dr. Y. Shatski, on Lite (see index).

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