Wednesday 25 July 2018


SHIYE PELOVITS (JOSHUA PELOWITZ) (1875-February 13, 1938)
            He was born in Rogeve (Raguva), Kovno district, Lithuania.  When he was two years old, his parents settled in Kupishok (Kupiskis).  He studied in religious elementary school, yeshivas, and on his own.  From the beginning of political Zionism, he was active in the movement and in 1903 wrote the poem “Di shvue” (The oath) in Vilna, which became the hymn of Labor Zionism.  In 1906 he came to the United States and lived for decades in Baltimore.  He published poetry, journalistic articles, and translations in: Varhayt (Truth) and Yidishe tribune (Jewish tribune) in New York.  His midrashic legend “R. khananye ben khanine” (Rabbi Ḥanania ben Ḥanina) was published in Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) on February 22, 1918.  In the same issue he also wrote about the birth of “Di shvue.”  In book form: Lieder un legenden (Poems and legends), nine poems including “Der muser” (The moralizing) (New York, 1918), 32 pp.  His Labor Zionist oath was translated into Hebrew by K. Y. Silman.  He died in Baltimore.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; D. Perski, in Sefer haasor shel hadoar (Hadoar’s volume on ten years [of Israeli independence]) (New York, 1958), p. 82; H. Shteyn, in Lite (Lithuania), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1965), p. 1807.
Leyb Vaserman

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 549.]

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