Yehoash (Blumgarten)

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Yehoash was the pen name for Solomon Blumgarten, also known as Solomon Bloomgarden (1872-1927), a Yiddish-language poet, scholar and Bible translator.

Yehoash "is generally recognized by those familiar with this literature [Yiddish], as its greatest living poet and one of its most skillful raconteurs", according to a New York Times book review in 1923.[1]

His output included verse, translations, poetry, short stories, essays and fables in Yiddish and some articles in English. His poetry was translated into Russian, Dutch, Polish, Finnish, German, Spanish, English and Hebrew.[2] He was responsible for translating many works of world literature into Yiddish, including Longfellow's Hiawatha[3] and a very popular translation of the Bible. His version was hailed as a contribution of national significance and perhaps the greatest masterpiece in the Yiddish language. His two volume edition became a standard work for Yiddish speaking homes throughout the world.[4]

Born in Virbalis, Lithuania (then considered part of Russian-ruled Poland), he emigrated to the United States in 1890 and settled in New York.[3] For a decade he was a businessman, but wrote full-time starting in 1900 when he entered a sanitarium for tuberculosis.[2]

A visit to Palestine in 1914 led him to write a three-volume work describing the trip and the country. His description was later translated into English as The Feet of the Messenger. His translations included parts of the Koran, classical Arabic writings and Sayings of the Fathers (Pirke Aboth). With Dr. O. D. Spivak, he wrote a dictionary of the Hebrew and Chaldaic elements of Yiddish, illustrated with idiomatic expressions and proverbs.[2]

He died suddenly at his home at 943 Whitlock Avenue in The Bronx, where he lived with his wife, Flora, and his daughter, Evelyn (Chave), at the time a student at Hunter College. At the time of his death, he was an editor at The Day newspaper.[3]

Yehoash's daughter Evelyn married Ben Dworkin in New York City (circa?) who a Yiddish publisher, ultimately moving to Israel in 1967 to live in Rehovot, Evelyn's childhood home and the setting for Feet of the Messenger. They were succeeded by a single son, Yehoash Shlomo Dworkin, who married Nancy Ellen Wexler, and produced three children: Kolev (eldest), Amram, and Tamar. The current bearers of the Yehoash family name are Amram and Erika Dworkin's son, Adam Yehoash Dworkin (born 2009), and Tamar Dworkin's and Elie Zarem's son, Lucas Avish Dworkin (born April 9, 2006).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Impressions of the Land of Israel" book review of The Feet of the Messenger in The New York Times, June 24, 1923
  2. ^ a b c Kravitz, Nathaniel, "3,000 Years of Hebrew Literature", Chicago: Swallow Press Inc., 1972
  3. ^ a b c "Solomon Bloomgarten: Jewish Poet and Editor Dies in the Bronx — Funeral Today" [the name is spelled "Bloomgarten" in the headline but "Bloomgarden", with a "d", in the article), no-byline obituary in The New York Times January 12, 1927
  4. ^ Goldman, Yosef. Hebrew Printing In America. YGBooks, 2006. ISBN 1-59975-685-4