Sunday 21 June 2015


ARN-DOVID (AHARON DAVID) GORDON (June 10, 1856-February 22, 1922)
            He was born in the village of Troyano, Podolia region, Russia; his father Uri, a scholar, came from Vilna.  He studied in the village, later in Vilna.  A man of immense character, he always worked and sought out a way of life by himself that would accord with his ethical ideas.  He was devout himself, but close to followers of the Jewish Enlightenment movement and Zionists.  He interpreted Zionism in his own manner and way.  At age fifty he departed for the Land of Israel and for a time worked as a simple warden.  He later joined the workers’ party Hapoel Hatsair (The young worker) and became its ideologue.  One of the most beautiful figures of the Zionist labor movement, he had an immense impact on the spiritual shape of an entire generation of leaders of laboring Palestine.  He was the founder of the ethical socialist movement Dat haavoda (Religion of labor).  He published a large number of works on various issues in Hebrew as well as in Yiddish, among them his series “Briv fun erets-yisroel” (Letters from the Land of Israel), in Moment (Moment) in Warsaw (1912), which later appeared in book form (retranslated by Sh. Rabidovitsh from a German translation, Berlin, 1921, 52 pp., because no one could locate the Yiddish original).  As Yoysef Aronovitsh has explained in his essay “Shtrikhn tsu der lebnsgeshikhte fun a. d. Gordon” (Features of the biography of A. D. Gordon), which appears in the edition of Gordon’s Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) (Tel Aviv, 1946, 271 pp.), Gordon composed a number of poems while dancing with his coworkers after difficult physical labors.  Also his friend Kh. K., who worked with him in the Kineret colony, recounted this and cited from a Yiddish-language poem by Gordon (in his Gezamlte shriftn, p. 47).  Using the pseudonym Zaken (old man), Gordon translated a number of works from Russian into Hebrew, such as several works by Rubanik.  His pamphlet Haavoda (Work) was translated from Hebrew into Yiddish by Kh. Menakhem as Di arbet (Tomaszow-Mazowieski, 1921), 16 pp.  He died in Deganya.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; B. Brodetski, Kemfer un boyer (Fighter and builder) (Chicago, 1945), pp. 20-22; Y. Aronovitsh, ed., Gezamlte shriftn fun a. d. Gordon (Collected writings of A. D. Gordon) (Tel Aviv, 1946), pp. 7-30; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the founders and builders of Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1955), vol. 1, pp. 413-15; A. Ben-Or, Toldot hasifrut haivrit (History of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1951), pp. 406-15; M. Ben-Amram, in Folk un tsien (Jerusalem) (June 8, 1956); A. Levinson, Ketavim (Writings) (Tel Aviv, 1956); Yosef Shekhter, Mishnato shel aharon david gordon (The opinion of Aharon David Gordon) (Tel Aviv, 1956), p. 170; A. Tsaytlin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (June 22, 1956).

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