Biography of Shalom Jaaqov o Mendele Mokher Sefarim Abramowich (ca. 1835-1917)

Narrator and Russian essayist of Jewish origin, born in Kopyl (in Minsk, Belarus) around 1835 (his various biographers put his BirthDate between 1834 and 1837), and died in Odessa (Ukraine) in 1917. Although his real name was that of Shalom Jaaqov Abramowich, signed his literary writing under the pseudonym of "Mendele Mokher (or Moijer) Sefarim (or Seforim)", which can be translated as "Mendele, the seller of books". Considered to be one of the most important voices of the Hebrew literature, it has become the history of their community for being the founder of the modern literature written in language yiddish (or "judeoalemana").

At an early age he/she moved, in the company of his family, the surroundings of Kaunas (Lithuania), in whose Talmudic academies received elementary training for children of their creed. Already at young age, he/she surrendered to a dissipated life which, for several years, led him to wander from one place to another in the bosom of a group of beggars, thanks to which had the opportunity to know very well all the Western and southern Russia populated Jewish urban areas sown. Especially successful were his stays in Ukraine and the territory of Volhynia, where he/she frequented such Hebrew settlements and extracted from them numerous narrative material for their subsequent foray into the world of literary creation.

Once satisfied needs of adventure, Abramovich decided to build a vast literary work which had accommodated customs, concerns and feelings of the Jewish working classes, especially the reduced to the urban ghettos. Thus, he/she began writing his first novels in Hebrew language, but soon passed to make use of yiddish as a specific means of expression of the Jews settled in the Central and Eastern Europe. Finally, in the last years of his essays and novelistic career he/she returned to resort to Hebrew, language that translated several of his earlier works written in yiddish, which gave rise to a new literary language enriched by the most brilliant features of two languages who had handled in his literary career and in their daily lives.

His academic training you had been a marked inclination towards the world of letters, especially influenced by one of the authors who then they would serve to characterize how interested some of his works: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Indeed, since his first novel, entitled Das kleine Menshele (the little man, 1864), Shalom Abramovich gave samples of a constant social concern that, almost always from the perspective of the satire, was interested in the popular types and melted, in his painting, humor and compassion, a creative online which also approaching you the best writings of Charles Dickens. This first foray into the narrative genre Abramovich was born in Odessa, city in which Jewish author settled and which came to direct a Hebrew school.

Subsequently, he/she published Fishke the lame (1869), work to which followed one of their best narrative serial, titled Die Klyatshe (the old Mare, 1878). In it the pathetic story of an infirm horse that is persecuted and harassed by the ruffians of a village, in a clear allegory of the ancient persecution suffered by the Jewish people. Then his interest in Spanish letters returned to become patent novel entitled Masot Binyamin has-selisi (travel and adventures of Benjamín III, 1879), a lucid and sorry parody of medieval travel Benjamín de Tudela, which served to highlight the extreme conditions of poverty and discrimination that survived the Jewish working classes in Eastern Europe. In this work — in which more patents than any other result influences the Quixote, Shalom Abramovich showed a refreshing and progressive spirit that, at the time defending the legitimate identity of the Jewish people, pooling its efforts that will deliver once and for all rigid corsets that imposed him more archaic traditions.

Become a real bridge link between the ancient Jewish bookish tradition and modern Hebrew literature of the 20th century (in which left influences as crisp as the confesadas by the great Ukrainian poet Hayim Nahmán Bialik), "Mendele Mokher Sefarim" ("seller's books") reviewed and expanded multiple times all of his writings, in a constant process of search of a personal style and greater stylistic perfection. His complete works - consisting, in addition to his narrative fictions, by numerous critical essays and reporting scientific, comprise twenty volumes written in yiddish and other seven definitely published in Hebrew language.

In 1905, after the establishment of the pogroms in Russia, Shalom Jaaqov Abramovich fled their country to settle in the city of Genoa for a few years. Finally he/she returned to Odessa, where he/she died in 1917, after having given the definitive impulse to the literary adventure of language yiddish, along with the narrator and dramatist Solomon Rabinowitz (Shalom Aleichem) and also playwright and storyteller Jew, of Polish origin, Isaac Leib Peretz (or Yitzjok Leibusch Peretz). On their own, each one of them proposed the creation of a robust yiddish literature whose essential purpose was to meet the needs of instruction and distraction of the Jewish people. Subsequently, most of the growers of literary creation in that language evolved towards socialism, by which much of the corpus of printed in yiddish have been identified, sometimes with this ideological current.

J. R. Fernández Cano