Sunday 19 July 2015


ABE (ABBA) GORDIN (1887-August 21, 1964)

            He was born in Michalishok (P. Michaliszki), Vilna region.  He studied in religious primary school and later spent two years in yeshiva, as well as in self-study of Hebrew, Russian, and other fields.  He began writing in 1908.  Together with his brother, Zev-Volf Gordin, he brought out in Hebrew Mikhtav galui al mukire haḥinukh (Open letter to those who respect education) (Vilna, 1908), 15 pp.  He emigrated to the United States on February 6, 1926.  He contributed pieces to Russian- and English-language newspapers, and in Yiddish to: Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Tsukunft (Forward), Feder (Pen), Nyu-yorker vokhnblat (New York weekly newspaper), Fraye abeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Literarishe heftn (Literary notebooks), and Oyfsnay (Afresh)—all in New York; and in Hebrew to: Hadoar (The mail), Mabua (Fount), Megilot (Scrolls), Had hakevutsa (Echo of the collective), and Sefer hashana (Yearbook).  Among his books (written with his brother Zev-Volf Gordin) [the following are translated titles originally written in Russian]: A System of Material and Relative Natural Moderation (Vilna, 1909); Imitative Rational Method (Vilna, 1909); Youth Pedagogy (Moscow, 1918); lectures and speeches (Moscow, 1919); and in Hebrew, Gan-teatroni (Theatrical garden), student’s book (Vilna, 1909); Gan-teatroni, teacher’s book (Vilna, 1909); Misderet hayeladim (The children’s typesetter) (Vilna, 1910); and in Yiddish, A megile tsu di yidn in goles (A scroll for the Jews in Diaspora) (Vilna, 1909); Undzere khiburim (Our treatises) (Vilna, 1912); Fonetishe ortografye (Phonetic orthography) (Vilna, 1913); Undzer kheder (Our schoolroom) (Vilna, 1913); Der yung-mentsh oder der finf-bund (The young man or the group of five), a dramatic poem in five acts (Vilna, 1913); Triumfedye (Triumphant) (Vilna, 1914).  By himself he wrote in Russian: Why? (Moscow, 1917), 64 pp.; Anarchism in Spirit (Moscow, 1919), 159 pp.; Anarchism of Fantasy (Moscow, 1919), 128 pp.; Freedom de jure and de facto (Moscow, 1920), 39 pp.; Lower Individualism (Moscow, 1922), 229 pp.; Egotism, poems (Moscow, 1922), 40 pp.; Our program (Moscow, 1920), 39 pp.; in Yiddish, Oysbreyterungen fun di printsipn un tsvekn-derklerung fun der yidish-etisher gezelshaft (Expansion of the principles and explanation of the objectives of the Jewish ethical society) (New York, 1936), 8 pp.; Yidishe etik (Jewish ethics) (New York, 1937), 320 pp.; Yidishkeyt (Jewishness) (New York, 1939), 335 pp.; Di froy un di bibl (Woman and the Bible) (New York, 1939), 188 pp.; Yidisher velt-banem (The Jewish world conception) (New York, 1939), 287 pp.; Moral in yidishn lebn (Morality in Jewish life) (New York, 1940), 288 pp.; Di sotsyale frage (The social question) (New York, 1940), 197 pp.; Sotsyale abergloyberay (Social superstition) (new York, 1941), 304 pp.; Di soydes fun der gezelshaft (Secrets of society) (New York, 1941), 320 pp.; Undzer banem (Our conception) (New York, 1946), 68 pp.; Denker un dikhter (Thinker and writer) (New York, 1949), 320 pp.; essays (New York, 1950), 224 pp.; Zikhroynes un kheshboynes (Reminiscences and reflections) (Buenos Aires, 1955), 460 pp; In gerangl far frayhayt (In the struggle for freedom), two volumes (Buenos Aires, 1956), 567 pp.; Yidish lebn in amerike (in shpigl fun f. bimkos verk (Jewish life in America, in light of Fishl Bimko’s work) (Buenos Aires, 1957), 341 pp.; Draysik yor in lite un poyln, oytobyografye (Thirty years in Lithuania and Poland, an autobiography) (Buenos Aires, 1958), 490 pp.; Shloyme hameylekh, historisher roman (King Solomon, a historical novel) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1960), 386 pp.; Moyshe, zayn lebn un lere (Moses, his life and teachings) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1962), 405 pp.; in English, Communism Unmasked (New York, 1940), 320 pp.  Gordin edited (in Russian) Anarkhie (Anarchy), a daily newspaper published by the Moscow federation of anarchists (Moscow, 1918); and Ob individualizme (On individualism), a monthly (Moscow, 1922); in Yiddish, Yidishe shrift (Yiddish writings), a quarterly anthology (1941-1946); in English, the monthly Clarion (New York, 1932-1934); and the quarterly Problems (New York, 1948-1950).  He edited the work by Borekh Rivkin, A gloybn far umgloybike (A credo for the unbelieving) (New York, 1947), 256 pp.; and he authored the book Sh. yanovski, zayn lebn, kemfn un shafn (Saul Janovsky, his life, struggles, and creations) (Los Angeles, 1957), 584 pp.  He also wrote under the pseudonyms: A. Keml, Meyers Esters, F. Meler, Gaskvin, and the like—in Yiddish; Gordi, Svetlov, Bloznetsov, and the like—in Russian; and Y. N. Howard and Benoyni, among others—in English.  In the early years after the February and October Revolutions, Gordin with his brother, Zev-Volf, were active in the Moscow federation of anarchists.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Der lebediker, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 12, 1954); Sh. Grund, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (May 17, 1955); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1955); Y. Birnboym, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (September 23, 1955); Dr. N. Raziel, in Hadoar (New York) (April 27, 1955); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (January 29 and September 30, 1956); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (September 30, 1956; January 23, 24, and 26, 1958); Professor E. Naks, in Keneder odler (May 17, 1955; December 31, 1956); Naks, in Tsukunft (January 1957); M. Ginzburg, in Keneder odler (December 16, 1956); B. Parkman, in Dos fraye vort (Buenos Aires) (September 21, 1957); Y. Birnboym, in Di idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (January 23, 1958).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 147.]

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