Bialik, Chaim Nachman

(1873–1934)
   Hebrew poet. Bialik was the most outstanding figure in modern Hebrew literature. He was born in Radi, in the province of Volhynia, in southern Russia. When he was six, his family moved to nearby Zhitomir. His father died the following year and Bialik’s mother sent him to stay with his grandfather, a stern and pious man. For ten years Bialik received a traditional Jewish upbringing. He then began to read more widely, especially the Jewish philosophical works of the Middle Ages, such as MAIMONIDES’ Guide of the Perplexed, and Judah HALEVI’S Kuzari, which he found among his grandfather’s books. Bialik continued his talmudical studies for a short time at the famous Volozhin yeshivah in Lithuania. Despite the single-minded concentration demanded of the pupils (later reflected in his poem Ha-Matmid, ‘The Talmud Student’, 1894– 5), Bialik found time to read Russian writers and poems in Russian by Shimon FRUG. He also helped to found Nezach Israel, a secret Zionist society, and set forth its ideals in ‘Raiyon ha-Yishuv’, his first published article, which appeared in Ha-Melitz (1891). This showed the influence of AHAD HA-AM’S striving for a spiritual and cultural Zionism. In 1891, Bialik left Volozhin for Odessa, a centre of Jewish and Zionist intellectuals. Ahad Ha-Am and LILIENBLUM had one of his poems, El ha- Zippor (‘To the Bird’), published in the literary anthology Ha-Pardes (1892). The poem expressed the depressing influence of Jewish life in eastern Europe, and the longing for Zion - two constant themes in his work. It met with general acclaim and marks the beginning of Bialik’s literary career. The note of despair was even stronger when he returned to Zhitomir to visit his sick grandfather. Bialik greeted the First Zionist Congress enthusiastically in his poem, Michrae Zion (‘The Convocation of Zion’, 1898). But in Achen Chazir ha-Am (‘Truly, the People Is as Grass’, 1897), he concluded that only persecution would arouse the Jewish masses from their apathy.
   In 1900 Bialik returned to Odessa from a teaching post in Sosnowiec, Poland, and joined the circle of writers active there. He published his first volume of poems in the following year and was hailed as the bard of the national renaissance. Together with others, he established the Moriah Publishing House for textbooks for Hebrew schools. Among the firm’s productions was Sefer ha- Aggadah (1908–11), a midrashic anthology in Hebrew, compiled and translated in part from Aramaic by Bialik and his partner Rawnitzki. When news of the fearful pogrom in Kishinev in 1903 reached Odessa, Bialik was asked to travel to the town and gather first-hand evidence. He described his impressions in a poem, Be-Ir ha Haregah (‘In the City of Slaughter’, 1904), which scathingly condemned the helplessness of the Jewish inhabitants. It aroused the Jews elsewhere to organize their own self-defence groups. Bialik moved for a year (1904) to Warsaw, where he became literary editor of Ha- Shiloah, but soon resumed his literary activities in Odessa. In 1921, with the help of Maxim Gorki, Bialik and eleven other Hebrew writers obtained permission from the Soviet authorities to leave Russia. For a few years he remained in Germany, where he founded the Dvir Publishing House, which moved with him to Palestine in 1924. He conceived the idea of gathering and publishing all Jewish literary works of note through the ages. In Palestine, Bialik became president of the Hebrew Language Council and headed the Hebrew Writers Association. In 1926 he travelled to the United States on a fund-raising mission, and in 1931 he toured London, Poland, Lithuania and Austria, giving lectures on Hebrew culture and Zionism. In 1934 he went to Vienna for an operation, which proved fatal. He was buried in Tel Aviv. Bialik succeeded in freeing the Hebrew language from its ornate and rigid biblical and classical forms. He made it a pliable and modern language without breaking its ties with the past. His poetry expresses various themes: nostalgia for the countryside of his childhood; a personal and introspective lyricism; the conflict between traditional Judaism and the modern secular world; prophetic wrath and gloom contrasted with the hope of national revival. Bialik also excelled as an essayist and storyteller. In the latter field he was greatly influenced by Mendele Mocher Seforim. He was active as an editor of various journals, and as a translator into Hebrew (Don Quixote, William Tell). Bialik wrote not only in Hebrew but in Yiddish as well, and left his mark on Yiddish literature. He was interested in the revival of Jewish medieval literature, and published the poems of Solomon IBN-GABIROL and Moses IBN-EZRA. BIRNBAUM, Nathan 1864–1937. Zionist and religious ideologist. Birnbaum was born and grew up in Vienna. Though descended from a long line of Galician and Romanian rabbis and scholars, he drifted away from Orthodox Judaism, and at an early age was drawn into the Chovevei Zion movement. He anticipated HERZL by propagating a detailed plan for a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine and coined the word ‘Zionism’.
   Birnbaum at first worked as Herzl’s assistant in the Vienna office of the Zionist organization, but he soon broke away and became an advocate of Galut Nationalism, working for autonomous national status for the Jewish communities within the Austro-Hungarian empire, with Yiddish as its official language. From 1908, Birnbaum veered towards religion. He preached the need for a spiritual revival on orthodox lines, and the creation of a pious elite. For a while after World War I, he was the secretary of the ultra-orthodox Agudat Israel movement.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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  • Bialik Hebrew Day School — (בית ספר יומי על שם ח.ן. ביאליק) is a private, Jewish day school located in Toronto, Canada. It is named in honor of the poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik. It has four houses named for Israeli schools Bar Ilan Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Wietzman, Hebrew… …   Wikipedia

  • Bialik — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Chaim Nachman Bialik (1873–1934), jüdischer Dichter Mayim Bialik (* 1975), US amerikanische Schauspielerin Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselbe …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bialik-Preis — Der Bialik Preis für schöne Literatur und Wissenschaft des Judentums ist ein bedeutender Literaturpreis, der seit 1933 für Autoren auf dem Gebiet der Belletristik und der Wissenschaft des Judentums durch die Stadtverwaltung von Tel Aviv Jaffa in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bialik — /byah lik/, n. Chaim Nachman /khuy eem nahkh mahn /; Eng. /khuy im nahkh meuhn/, 1873 1934, Hebrew poet, born in Russia. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bialik — /byah lik/, n. Chaim Nachman /khuy eem nahkh mahn /; Eng. /khuy im nahkh meuhn/, 1873 1934, Hebrew poet, born in Russia …   Useful english dictionary

  • Kiriat Bialik — Kirjat Bialik (hebr. קריית ביאליק, arabisch كريات بياليك) ist eine Stadt in Israel nordöstlich von Haifa. Ihre Gesamtfläche beträgt 7,2 Quadratkilometer. Im September 2003 hatte die nach Chaim Nachman Bialik benannte Stadt 37.100 Einwohner. Den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Kirjat Bialik — (hebr. קריית ביאליק, arabisch كريات بياليك) ist eine Stadt in Israel nordöstlich von Haifa. Ihre Gesamtfläche beträgt 7,2 Quadratkilometer. Im September 2003 hatte die nach Chaim Nachman Bialik benannte Stadt 37.100 Einwohner. Den Status einer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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