Thursday 24 May 2018


SHLOYME-TSVI SKOMOROVSKI (June 30, 1858-ca. 1921)
            He was born in Zhitomir, Ukraine, where his father operated a bookshop.  In his youth he earned a reputation as a prodigy, at age thirteen entering rabbinical seminary, at seventeen graduating with a gold medal, and then continuing his studies in Leipzig where (1879) he received his degree as a medical doctor.  After returning to Russia, he passed the state examinations and became a doctor in Kiev.  In the early 1890s he married the daughter of a wealthy resident of Vilna, Moshe Rozenson, author of Miḥama veshalom (War and peace), in which he implemented semi-Christian ideas and propagandized for the notion of one faith for all peoples.  For his public opposition to his father-in-law in the name of traditional Judaism, he was compelled to divorce his wife, and he returned to Zhitomir, where he served as rabbi for many years.  He wrote articles for the Hebrew press, such as in: Hamagid (The preacher), Hatsfira (The siren), Hamelits (The advocate), and Haasif (The harvest), and in the Russian Jewish Russkiy Evrey (Russian Jew), as well as in German periodicals.  In Yiddish he published the historical essay “Di gzeyre fun gonta in uman un ukrayna” ([Ivan] Gonta’s evil decree in Uman and Ukraine), in Sholem Aleichem’s Yudishe folks-biblyotek (Jewish people’s library) 2 (1889), which included mainly citations from the Yiddish booklet, “Mayse gedoyle min uman umin ukrayna” (The great tale of Uman and from Ukraine)—according to specimens from the Asiatic Museum in St. Petersburg (the booklet was, as is well known, published twice: in Sedelkov in 1838 and in Vilna in 1845).  He spent his final years in Kiev.  A chapter of his memoirs from Zhitomir (concerning the blind followers of the Jewish Enlightenment, Yosef Bernshteyn and Moti Perltsvayg) was published Yevreiskaia letopis’ (Jewish chronicle) (St. Petersburg) 3 (1924).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Reyzen, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 5, 1931).

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