SHOYEL (SAUL) RASKIN (August 15, 1878-September 22, 1966)
He was a painter and writer, born in Nogaysk (Prymors’k), Ukraine. He attended religious primary school and a Russian public school. In 1893 he studied lithography in Odessa, later in Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy. He studied at art academies everywhere. In 1904 he made his way to the United States. He held a number of art shows, and his works may be found in a number of museums. In 1906 he began writing articles about art, theater, and literature. He contributed in America to: Tsayt-gayst (Spirit of the times), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Tsukunft (Future), Chaim Zhitlovsky’s Dos naye leben (The new life), Shoyel-Yoysef Yanovski’s Di fraye gezelshaft (The free society), Avrom Reyzen’s Dos naye land (The new country), Di literarishe velt (The literary world), Di vokh (The week), Nay-idish (New Yiddish), Di tsayt (The times), Detroyter vokhenblat (Detroit weekly newspaper), and Gerekhtigkeyt (Justice). For may years he worked as a caricaturist for Groyser kundes (Great prankster) for political and literary subjects. From 1924 he was a regular writer for Tog (Day), for which he wrote an especially great amount. In book and album format: Erets-yisroel in vort un bild, ayndrike fun tsvey rayzes, 1921-1924 (The land of Israel in word and image, impressions from two trips, 1921-1924) (New York: Reznik, Menshel and Co., 1933), 138 pp, second printing (1938); Pirke-oves (Ethics of the Fathers), with etchings, in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English (New York, 1940), 136 pp.; Tilim (Psalms), with drawings, in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English (New York, 1942), 100 pp.; Kabole in vort un bild (Kabbala in word and image) (New York, 1952), 79 pp.; Orn-koydesh (The Holy Ark), in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English (New York, 1955), 140 pp.; An oysgetrakhter emes, a mistisher roman (An invented truth, a mystical novel) (New York: Brothers Shulzinger, 1956), 281 pp.; Tsvishn got un mentsh (Between God and man), 100 drawings (New York, 1959), 136 pp.; Dos naye ponem fun yisroel (The new face of Israel) (new York, 1960), 125 pp. Raskin visited Israel five times, and these trips had great significance for him as a writer and a painter. “One of the very best Jewish writers about art,” wrote Zalmen Reyzen, “he is both as a writer and as a painter a realist in style with impressionist and decorative leanings.” He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 4 (New York, 1963); Shmuel Niger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 21, 1955); A. Mukdoni, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 23 (1955); Nokhum-Borekh Minkov, in Tsukunft (New York) 8 (1956); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (March 27, 1958); Arn Leyeles, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (October 7, 1962); Ben-Tsien Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (November 18, 1962); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).