Gordon, Judah Leib (Leon)
- (1831–92)Hebrew poet and writer. Gordon was the foremost poet of the Haskalah, the movement to introduce secular European culture into Jewish life. Born in Vilna, he worked as a teacher and headmaster and later as editor of the Hebrew periodical ha-Melitz. He had been a youthful prodigy in biblical and talmudic studies, but came under Haskalah influence and by the age of seventeen was reading literary works in a number of European languages. Gordon was thus at home in both cultures and drew on Jewish and European sources for his poems and writings. Among his notable translations were the Pentateuch into Russian and Byron into Hebrew. BIALIK, TCHERNICHOWSKY and AHAD HA-AM were among the later writers who acknowledged their debt to Gordon as an early master of modern Hebrew. Gordon was at first an apostle of the liberal ideas then current in Russia, and believed that they would lead to complete Jewish emancipation. In biting, polemical articles he attacked the rabbis for trying to preserve the narrow walls of the ghetto, and to insulate the Jews from modern life. On the other hand he rejected the assimilation to which parts of the Haskalah movement tended. His saying was, ‘Live as a Jew at home and a man in the street.’ The repressive anti-Jewish measures in Russia from 1882 destroyed his hopes in liberalism, and he advocated emigration for the Russian Jews. At this stage he moved closer to the Chovevei Zion (‘Lovers of Zion’) movement though he remained sceptical about the possibilities of large-scale Jewish settlement in Palestine under Ottoman rule.
Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. Joan Comay . 2012.
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GORDON, JUDAH LEIB — (Leon; 1831–1892), Hebrew poet, writer, critic, and allegorist. One of the outstanding poets of the 19th century, Gordon was also a witty, incisive journalist who courageously militated against the ills in Jewish society. He advocated social and… … Encyclopedia of Judaism
Gordon, Judah Leib — ▪ Russian writer also called Leon Gordon, byname Yalag born Dec. 7, 1830, Vilnius, Lithuania died Sept. 16, 1892, St. Petersburg, Russia Jewish poet, essayist, and novelist, the leading poet of the Hebrew Enlightenment ( Haskala), whose … Universalium
Judaism — /jooh dee iz euhm, day , deuh /, n. 1. the monotheistic religion of the Jews, having its ethical, ceremonial, and legal foundation in the precepts of the Old Testament and in the teachings and commentaries of the rabbis as found chiefly in the… … Universalium
Hebrew literature — Introduction the body of written works produced in the Hebrew language and distinct from Jewish literature, which also exists in other languages. Literature in Hebrew has been produced uninterruptedly from the early 12th century BC,… … Universalium
Yiddish literature — Introduction the body of written works produced in the Yiddish language of Ashkenazic (Ashkenazi) Jewry (central and eastern European Jews and their descendants). Yiddish literature culminated in the period from 1864 to 1939, inspired … Universalium
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