BINYUMIN GROBARD (May 3, 1894-December 15, 1957)
He was born in Shrentsk (Szreńsk), Plock region, Poland, into a family of rabbis and other Jewish clergymen. His father Menakhem-Tsvi was the head of the yeshiva in Maków, Lomzhe region, in Poland. He studied in religious primary school, in the synagogue study hall, and with his father in the yeshiva. At age fifteen he ran off to study in Germany, but he was unable to stay there for long, and in 1910 he departed for the United States. There he studied in an English preparatory school, thereafter in a rabbinical seminary, and he finally graduated from a university as a dentist. He then practiced in New York under the adopted name of Roberts. In 1925 he relinquished his dental practice and became a teacher in the Workmen’s Circle schools in Philadelphia. Over the years 1936-1948, he was director of the Jewish middle school in Chicago. In 1949 he became director of the Workmen’s Circle schools in Philadelphia, and in 1952 a teacher in these same schools.
He began his literary activities in 1915 in English with articles on Jewish community and literary matters in the American magazines: The Nation, Forum, The Bookman, and the like. From 1920 he was writing articles and reviews in Yiddish on both Jewish and general literature, and he published in: Di feder (The pen), Der tog (The day), Di tsayt (The times), Vegn (Pathways), Nay-idish (New Yiddish), Tsukunft (Future), Oyfkum (Arise), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Proletarishe shtime (Proletarian voice), Der fraynd (The friend), Zamlbikher (Anthologies), and Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education)—all in New York; the anthology Shikago (Chicago); and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw, among others. He edited the collection of art and literature entitled Baginen (At dawn) (New York, 1922); Otem (Breath) (1923), the second and last issue edited with M. L. Halpern and Z. Vaynper; the volume Ibergang (Transition), together with Sh. Simkin, Y. Bren, and S. Brodzki (Chicago, 1942), 142 pp.; and A fertlyorhundert, esey vegn der yidisher literatur in amerike (A quarter century, essay on Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1935), 211 pp. He also translated into English a number of essays by Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky. He died in Philadelphia.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 23, 1935); N. Mayzil, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (October 20, 1935).
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