ABRAMOVITZ, MAX To ABU (Jews and Judaism)


(1908-2004), U.S. architect, born in Chicago. From 1947 to 1952 Abramovitz was deputy director of the Planning Office of the United Nations. He was partner in the firm of Harrison & Abramovitz, which built the United Nations Secretariat, New York (1950). The design incorporated the ideas of an international panel of architects that included Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. This construction, the east and west sides of which were faced almost entirely with glass, proved a prototype of later buildings. His firm specialized in office buildings such as the Alcoa Building, Pittsburgh (1953), and the Socony Mobil Building, New York (1956), in which story-high metal units were used for the curtain walls. He also worked on projects of Jewish interest. These include Temple Beth-Zion, Buffalo, n.y., and the Hillel Foundations on the campuses of the University of Illinois (1951) and of Northwestern University (1952). His three chapels (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish) at Brandeis University (1954) expressed the harmony and equality of the three faiths as represented on the campus, while at the same time respecting their differences. The chapels were similar structures placed around a pool. In 1963 Abramovitz built the new Philharmonic Hall, New York. The facade features two superimposed rows of concrete shafts softened with flattened vaults. It has been regarded as an example of American "neoclassicism." In 1973 Philharmonic Hall was renamed Avery Fisher Hall. Located at the northern end of the Lincoln Center Plaza, the concert hall is home to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and can seat an audience of more than 2,700. The Plaza, built in 1964-65 by Harrison & Abramovitz, was rebuilt in 1984-85 by Lew Davis and renamed Paul Milstein Plaza in 1997. Abramovitz’s auditorium of the University of Illinois at Urbana (1964) is a vast saucer dome surrounded by a circulation gallery that can accommodate more than 18,000 spectators.

The Empire State Plaza in Albany, n.y., considered one of the most ambitious urban renewal projects in modern U.S. history, was designed by Harrison & Abramovitz and built between 1965 and 1979. The government complex consists of ten buildings set on a six-story platform, which forms the plaza.


(1912-2000), U.S. economist. Born in New York City, he was an instructor at Harvard (1936-38) and from 1938 to 1940 a member of the staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 1940 he began teaching at Columbia but interrupted his work during World War 11 to serve as the principal economist of the War Production Board and the Office of Strategic Services. He spent the final year of the war as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and with the close of the conflict was appointed economic adviser to the U.S. representative on the Allied Commission on Reparations. In 1946 he resumed his teaching at Columbia but left in 1948 for Stanford University. He taught at Stanford for almost 30 years, taking leave only during 1962-63 to work as economic adviser to the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic

Cooperation and Development in Paris. He served as chair from 1963 to 1965 and from 1971 to 1974. During his tenure at Stanford and after his retirement, he gained international admiration and renown for his fundamental insights and pioneering contributions to the study of long-term economic growth. His main fields of interest were economic history and development and business cycles.

Abramovitz served as president of the American Economic Association (1979-80), the Western Economic Association (1988-89), and the Economic History Association (1992-93). His publications include An Approach to a Price Theory for a Changing Economy (1939); Inventories and Business Cycles (1950); with Vera Eliasberg, The Growth of Public Employment in Great Britain (1957); Evidences of Long Swings in Aggregate Construction since the Civil War (1964); and Thinking About Growth and Other Essays (1989). Abramovitz’s article "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind" (1986) is one of the most frequently cited papers ever published by the Journal of Economic History.


(1909-2000), librarian and specialist on Yiddish studies and on Jewish history and culture in Eastern Europe. Born in Vilna, she was raised in a Russian-speaking home with strong family ties to the Haskalah, the Yiddish-speaking intelligentsia, and the Bund. Abramo-wicz was educated in Yiddish and Polish schools, including a Polish gymnasium, and she received an M.A. in philosophy and Polish literature from Stefan Batory University in Vilna (1936). From 1939 to 1941 she was assistant to the head librarian of the Jewish Central Children’s Library of Vilna, and during the Nazi occupation she worked in the Vilna Ghetto Library. Most of the library’s books had previously belonged to the Hevrah Mefitse Haskalah, in whose former building it was housed. Abramowicz escaped the ghetto before its liquidation and from 1943 until liberation in 1944 she served in a Jewish partisan unit. Abramowicz immigrated to the United States in 1946, where she was reunited with her father, who had been there since 1939. Her mother perished in Treblinka in 1943, and her younger sister survived the war in France. In America, Abramowicz resumed her career as a librarian at the *Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, where she served as assistant librarian (1947-62), head librarian (1962-87), and senior reference librarian (1987-2000). Under Abramowicz’s leadership the Yivo Library grew into one of the largest and most important repositories of printed Judaica, especially in her areas of specialization: Yiddish language and literature (including children’s literature), Jewish history and culture in Eastern Europe, and the Holocaust. Abramowicz was assiduous in her efforts to acquire new and unusual publications for the library. She supervised the absorption of much of the prewar Vilna Yivo library after it was recovered in Europe and brought to New York. In addition, she published book reviews, topical articles, annual lists of new Yiddish books, and bibliographies of translations from Yiddish into English, and she co-edited a collection of essays on 19th- and early 20th-century Lithuanian Jewry, Profiles of a Lost World: Memoirs of East European Jewish Life before World War 11 (1999) with her father Hirsz Abramowicz. Abramowicz’s contributions as reference librarian and cultural gatekeeper were particularly noteworthy, and she received awards from several national library associations and Jewish organizations. Over the years she provided in-depth consultations to thousands of researchers, including novelists, scholars, filmmakers, journalists, and genealogists. Through her personal experiences, professional training, intellectual engagement, and longevity, Abramow-icz came to personify the legacy of Eastern European Jewish civilization. She died in New York City.


(Fuchs; 1865-1953), Yiddish actress. At the age of 14, Bina Fuchs joined the chorus of Mogulesko’s company in Odessa and later acted with Naphtali Goldfaden’s troupe, being typecast in "mother" roles. After her marriage to Max Abramowitz, the couple toured Russia giving concerts, and in 1886 accompanied Mogulesko to the U.S. In New York she played with various Yiddish companies, including Maurice Schwartz’s at the Jewish Art Theater. She created many roles in Jacob Gordin’s plays. Abramowitz also appeared in films made in the U.S. They include the silent movie Broken Hearts (1926), directed by Maurice Schwartz, and the Yiddish-language films The Unfortunate Bride (1932) and Yiskor (1933).


(1860-1926), U.S. rabbi, religious Zionist leader, and founding member of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of America. Abramowitz was born in Lithuania but made aliyah together with his parents as a young boy. He was educated at the Ez H ayyim yeshivah in Jerusalem and appointed as a district rabbi in the city after receiving ordination in 1885. Abramowitz left Israel for America in 1894, moving first to Philadelphia, and later to New York City, where he served as the rabbi of Congregation Mishkan Israel. He quickly became a prominent figure in the Orthodox community, admired for both his scholarship and his leadership abilities. While in New York, he published a text on the Jewish marriage code, a collection of sermons, and a multi-volume study of Jewish law as well as editing a short-lived scholarly journal. He also joined with Moses Matlin and Judah Bernstein to push for the establishment of a seminary to train English-speaking rabbis to serve American pulpits. The Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Yeshiva, the product of their combined labors, was founded in 1897. Five years later, he joined with a group of other immigrant rabbis who had received their ordination at yeshivot in Europe and Palestine to form the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of America (Agudat ha-Rabbonim). Abramowitz moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1906 after accepting an offer to become head of the city’s bet din. This position provided Abramowitz with the status and time to pursue a variety of initiatives close to his heart. A passionate proponent of religious Zionism, Abramowitz campaigned on behalf of the Miz-rachi movement, starting its first American office in 1910 and encouraging its expansion. Abramowitz was appointed as the president of the American Mizrachi at its founding in 1914. During World War 1 his focus shifted to easing the plight of the embattled Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. Abramowitz collected money for the Central Relief Committee, the organization established to rally the often fractious American Jewish community on behalf of their beleaguered brethren caught between opposing armies on the Eastern Front. Following the war, Abramowitz returned to his Zionist activities, founding an organization to support emissaries who visited America to raise funds for Palestine. After over 25 years in America, Abramowitz returned to settle in Palestine in 1921. Among his writings are Dat Yisrael (1897-1905), Ketav ha-Dat (1900), and Kuntres Sefer Ketubbah (1900).


(1864-1922), physician, one of the first Social Democrats in Russia. Abramowitz was born in Grodno and studied in France. He was active in the movement in Minsk and Kiev in the 1880s. His wide education, personal warmth, and persuasiveness as an exponent of socialism enabled him to influence numerous workers. The program he drew up for workers’ circles was followed for a long time in the Jewish labor movement. Abramowitz was imprisoned for his political activities and spent many years in exile in Siberia, where he gained a reputation for his cultural activities and dedication to the medical profession. During World War 1 he served as an army doctor; in 1919 he was again imprisoned, as a Menshevik. The letters he wrote between 1914 and 1917 reveal concern over the fate of Russian Jewry and pessimism as to its future.


(pseudonyms: ZZ evi Abrahami, W. Farbman, and Michael Farbman; 1880?-1933), Zionist socialist, and journalist. Born in Odessa, Russia, Abramowitz studied in Munich and Zurich where he became an active Zionist. At first sharing the ideology of the *Dem-ocratic Fraction, he later joined the Zionist socialist group "H erut" in Zurich. As a supporter of the project for Jewish colonization in *Uganda, Abramowitz wrote a series of articles on "Zionism and the Uganda question" in the Zionist organ Yevreyskaya (Zhizn, 1905). For the *Zionist Socialist Workers Party he wrote on Jewish emigration and the economy. After withdrawing from public activities, Abramowitz founded a book-publishing firm. He lived in England from 1915 and while there contributed to English and American journals as an expert on Soviet affairs. His books include After Lenin (1924) and Five-Year Plan (1931). He founded the European Year Book in 1926.


(1880-1947), Canadian rabbi. Born in Lithuania, Abramowitz moved to New York City with his family in 1890. He received a B.A. from the City College of New York (ccny) in 1900 and was ordained at the *Jewish Theological Seminary (jts) two years later. He was appointed rabbi at Montreal’s Shaar Hashomayim synagogue in 1902, where he served until his death 44 years later. In 1907 he was also the first student to earn a D.H.L. at jts.

Although Abramowitz initially felt some discomfort about being outside the United States (and later reminisced that his departure from New York for Montreal "was like pioneering on distant foreign fields") he grew to embrace his congregation and Canadian Jewry. He was regarded an effective, dignified, and caring spiritual leader. Many of his sermons were reprinted in the English-language Canadian Jewish press. He encouraged the congregational Sunday school and lay involvement in the synagogue. Abramowitz was also involved in Jewish communal life outside the synagogue. In his first decade in Montreal, he visited western farm colonies in Quebec and western Canada as a representative of the *Jew-ish Colonization Association. He was instrumental in raising funds for tb patients at Montreal’s Mount Sinai Hospital, and in 1913 he was an expert witness on the Talmud in a law suit against the Quebec notary and journalist Plamondon, who delivered a speech (subsequently printed) accusing Jews of the *blood libel.

With the outbreak of wwi, Abramowitz served as chaplain to the Jewish soldiers in Canada. He held the rank of captain. In the interwar period, he was on the board of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Montreal, the Montreal Talmud Torah, and the Montreal General Hospital. During wwii, although suffering from failing health, he chaired the Religious Welfare Committee of Canadian Jewish Congress. Abramowitz also left his mark on Conservative Judaism. In 1926 he was elected president of the *United Synagogue of America, the first person from outside the United States.

During Abramowitz’s tenure, Shaar Hashomayim became the congregation of Montreal’s "uptown" elite. His congregants included the wealthiest members of the community, including factory owners at odds with their Jewish workers.

This may have led to suspicion of Abramowitz by the Jewish masses. Over time, however, he seems to have earned the respect of many of the "downtown" Jews and the Yiddish journalist B.G. *Sack wrote a heartfelt obituary in the Yiddish daily, the Kanader Adler.


(1880-1963), socialist leader and writer. He was born in Dvinsk, Latvia, and from 1899 took part in the activities of the illegal student movement in Riga, where he joined the *Bund in 1901. An outstanding speaker, prolific writer, and energetic organizer, he was speedily recognized as one of the chief spokesmen of the second generation of Bund leaders. In 1903-04, he was active in the "colonies" of the Russian students in Liege and Zurich. In 1905 he was elected a member of the central committee of the Bund and in 1906 became a member of the central committee of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, Abramowitz was the Bund candidate for the second Russian *Duma. He was arrested several times for his socialist activities and exiled to Siberia in 1910 but in 1911 succeeded in escaping abroad. Abramow-itz returned to Russia in 1917, and played a leading role as a Menshevik representative, notably in the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviet. After the October Revolution, he and Julius *Martov were included in the Menshe-vik faction which for a while believed that gradual democratization of the Bolshevik regime was possible. He opposed a contemplated merger of the Bund with the Communist Party and was among the founders of a separate "Social-Democratic Bund" (April 1920). At the end of 1920 Abramowitz went to Berlin, where the following year he and Martov founded the Menshevist organ Sotsialistitcheskiy Vestnik, which he continued to edit until shortly before his death. Between 1923 and 1929 he was a leading member of the executive of the Socialist International. Abramowitz moved to Paris in 1939 and in 1940 succeeded in reaching New York.

Abramowitz was a contributor to the Yiddish Socialist Jewish Daily Forward and the monthly Zukunft, and a founder and editor of the Yiddish Algemayne Entsiklopedye (1934-50), and of The Jewish People, Past and Present (1946-55). He edited the laborite Modern Review (New York, 1947-50). His books include Lerbukh tsu der Geshikhtefun Yisroel (in collaboration with A. Menes, 1923); Der Terorgegen di Sotsialisten in Rusland un in Gruzye (in collaboration with Tsereteli and Sukhomolin, Yiddish, 1925; translated into French, German, and Dutch); two volumes of memoirs, In Tsvay Revolutsyes (1944) and The Soviet Revolution, 1917-1939 (1962).


"CAL" (Calvin Ross; 1924-1997), U.S. baseball player, lifetime .269 hitter over eight seasons, with 433 hits, 32 home runs, 257 runs, and 138 rbis. Born in Philadelphia to Russian immigrant parents, he moved with his family to Brooklyn when he was a child. Having grown up in Brooklyn in the shadow of Ebbets Field, Abrams fulfilled a life-long dream when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers after graduating from James Madison High School. But after two weeks in the minor leagues he was drafted into the army, where he served four years. Abrams spent three years in the minor leagues, winning the Southern Association championship with Mobile in 1947 while hitting .336. Abrams, who batted and threw left-handed, played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1949-52), Cincinnati Reds (1952), Pittsburgh Pirates (1953-54), Baltimore Orioles (1954-55), and Chicago White Sox (1955), and had a perfect fielding percentage in three different seasons, 1950, 1952, and 1956. Abrams is best remembered for one of the most famous plays in Dodger franchise history. In the final game of the 1950 season, with the Dodgers one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the pennant race, Abrams tried to score from second with two out in the bottom of the ninth of a 1-1 game on a hit by Duke Snider, but Abrams, who had been waved home by third base coach Milt Stock, was thrown out by the Phillies’ Richie Ashburn. Had Cal scored, the Dodgers would have won the game and forced a playoff with the Phillies for the pennant. Dick Sisler hit a three-run home run in the top of the tenth to win the game – and the pennant – for Philadelphia. It was the closest Abrams ever got to the postseason. Dodgers fans vilified Abrams for years but he was defended by both Ashburn and Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts for the play, who agreed with many others who said Abrams should not have been sent home by Stock.


(1901-1970), U.S. housing and urban planning expert, lawyer, and author. Abrams, who was born in Vilna, was taken to the U.S. in 1904. Admitted to the New York bar in 1923, Abrams became involved in housing and urban development both as a property owner and lawyer during the 1920s and 1930s when he campaigned for the preservation of Greenwich Village’s historic streets and buildings. He laid the groundwork for U.S. public housing laws and, in the course of his career, held housing posts on the city, state, national, and international levels. These included counsel to the New York City Housing Authority (1934-37), and leader of, and adviser to, several UN housing missions, mostly to underdeveloped countries. Abrams was a state vice chairman of the New York State Liberal Party in the 1940s. From 1955 to 1959 Abrams was chairman of the New York State Commission Against Discrimination and a member of Governor Harriman’s cabinet. In 1965 he chaired the committee whose recommendations led to the creation of the New York City Housing and Development Administration.

Abrams lectured in housing and economics at the New School for Social Research (1936-60), and chaired both Columbia University’s city planning department (1965) and its division of urban planning (1965-68).

As housing columnist for the New York Post (1947-49),Abrams vigorously exposed real estate abuses and inadequacies in city, state, and federal housing policies. His books include: Revolution in Land (1937); Future of Housing (1946); Forbidden Neighbors (1955); and Mans Struggle for Shelter(1964).


(1948- ), U.S. neoconservative political figure. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1973, Abrams worked in corporate law but quickly decided to pursue a career in politics and public service instead. Abrams volunteered in Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson’s 1972 bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, and in 1975, when Abrams was looking to get into politics, Jackson offered him a campaign staff position.

After Jackson lost the presidential nomination to Jimmy Carter, Abrams remained in Washington, d.c., where he became chief legal counsel to newly elected Senator Daniel P. Moynihan (Dem., n.y.), another outspoken advocate of U.S. interventionism, and eventually became Moynihan’s chief of staff.

During these years, the Democratic Party, under the auspices of President Carter, softened its stance on the Soviet Union. Carter was accused by hawks of "giving up too much" in arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union. A minor coup d’etat ensued among several Jewish Democrats who had worked for Senator Jackson: Elliott *Abrams, Richard *Perle, Doug Feith, and Paul Wolfowitz switched to the Republican Party, supported Ronald Reagan in 1980, and began to espouse a political-intellectual ideology known as neoconservatism.

Abrams was assistant undersecretary of inter-American affairs at the time of the Contras affair involving the illicit sale of weapons to Iran and the channeling of the receipts to the Contras. When he was called to testify before Congress, he claimed to have had no knowledge of any illegal activities. A later Independent Counsel investigation alleged that he had lied to Congress. He pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress. On November 15, 1991, the presiding judge, Aubrey E. Robinson, sentenced Abrams to two years probation and 100 hours of community service. On December 24, 1992, outgoing President George H.W. Bush granted Abrams a full pardon amid much controversy.

From 1989 to 2002, Abrams wrote and worked for a number of research and public policy organizations. He was a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the National Advisory Council of the American Jewish Committee. He also served as president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. In 2002, Abrams returned to public life. The younger President George W. Bush appointed Abrams to the post of senior director of the National Security Council, with responsibilities for the Middle East, a position that did not require the Senate confirmation that he was unlikely to get.

Abrams was also the author of three books: Undue Process (1993), a scathing critique of the Office of Independent Counsel; Security and Sacrifice (1995), which urges an aggressive U.S. foreign policy; and Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in Christian America (1997), which argues that American Jewry would fare far better if it adopted conservative values and alliances, particularly with the Christian right. It was written with a grant from a prominent Conservative Foundation.


(1936- ), U.S. lawyer. Abrams, who was born in New York, graduated from Cornell University and Yale Law School and achieved fame as the nation’s most prominent defender of the rights of the press under the First Amendment, arguing many important cases before the United States Supreme Court. At the law firm of Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, he argued more First Amendment and media cases before the Supreme Court than any lawyer in United States history. Perhaps his most important case involved the New York Times, which acquired a secret history of the United States policy in Vietnam from the administrations of Harry S. Truman through Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967, and begin printing it on June 13, 1971 (the war in Vietnam was still going on at the time). Abrams was co-counsel for the Times as the administration of Richard M. Nixon sought to enjoin the Times from printing the archive on grounds of national security. In a lower court decision, the government was able to bar the paper from printing the stories. The Times agreed to suspend publication while it awaited a decision in the Supreme Court. It was the first time in American history that the government exercised a prior restraint on the press. But the Times eventually prevailed. The case reached the Supreme Court, which decided by a 6-3 vote that the government’s case against releasing the material was not compelling and allowed the series to be printed. Over the years Abrams represented virtually every major media organization in First Amendment-related cases: cnn, abc, nbc, cbs, Time, Business Week, The Nation, and Readers Digest, among others. Abrams was also counsel to the Brooklyn Museum in its legal battle with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who sought to close an art exhibition he considered blasphemous and in poor taste. In addition to his legal representation, Abrams was chairman of several American Bar Association committees on freedom of speech and of the press. He served as a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School and William J. Brennan Jr. Visiting Professor of First Amendment Law at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


(1912- ), U.S. literary critic and scholar. Born in Long Branch, New Jersey, Abrams was educated at Harvard University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and, in 1940, his doctorate. He also studied at Cambridge University in 1934 and 1935 with I.A. Richards, author of Coleridge on Imagination (1934). Regarded as one of the most influential critics of Romantic literature, Abrams first established his reputation with his 1953 work The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition. Here Abrams defines Romanticism in terms of its "expressive orientation." He characterizes 18th-century literature as a mirror, or "reflector," which seeks to faithfully reflect the exterior world; 19th-century literature, on the other hand, is a lamp, or "projector," which seeks to illuminate and express the inner life of the artist. With this metaphor, Abrams is considered to have created a significant definition of English Romanticism, one that profoundly affected subsequent studies.

In his later work, Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (1971), Abrams links English and German Romanticism to a Judeo-Christian conception of man’s fall, redemption, and return to paradise, and he uses Wordsworth’s "The Recluse" as the exemplar of his theory. Critical reception to Natural Supernaturalism was mixed, with Deconstructionists and New Historicists challenging its authority. Abrams’s 1989 work, Doing Things with Texts: Essays in Criticism and Critical Theory, which includes previously published essays, addresses these critiques and further elaborates his literary theory.

During his long career at Cornell University, beginning in 1938, Meyer Abrams established a reputation as an esteemed Jewish scholar in a field previously dominated by non-Jewish academics. Professor emeritus at Cornell from 1983, Abrams is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Ford Foundation fellowship in 1953, Guggenheim fellowships in 1958 and 1960, the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association of America in 1972 for Natural Supernaturalism, and the Award for Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1990. He served as general editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature (1962 and subsequent editions; founding editor emeritus of the 2005 edition) and was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.


(1938- ), U.S. politician, attorney general of New York. Abrams received his B.A. from Columbia College in 1960 and graduated from New York University School of Law in 1963. In 1965, he was elected at the age of 27 to the first of three terms in the New York State Assembly. In 1978, he ran a successful campaign for attorney general of New York State, becoming the first Democrat to hold the position in 40 years. As attorney general, he commanded one of the largest law offices in the nation, overseeing 1,200 employees, including 475 attorneys in 14 different locations throughout the State of New York. Abrams remained attorney general for 15 years. He is credited with altering New York’s abortion law, prosecuting organized crime figures, implementing environmental protection laws, and protecting victims’ rights (particularly abused children).

A leader among U.S. attorney generals, Abrams served as president of the National Association of Attorney Generals. His colleagues also awarded him the Wyman Award as an outstanding attorney general. In 1992, Abrams ran against incumbent Senator Alphonse D’amato, losing by 1.2 percentage points. Married to an observant Jewish woman, he would not campaign or work on Friday evening or Sabbath morning, and considered it a professional requirement to be more lax Saturday afternoon. Subsequently he worked as an attorney for the law firm Strook & Strook & Lavan llp in New York.


(1886-1976), talmudic scholar. Abramsky was born in Lithuania. He studied at the yeshi-vot of Telz, Mir, and Slobodka as well as under H ayyim *So-loveichik of Brisk. He achieved a reputation as a profound talmudic scholar and active communal worker. During World War 1 and the Russian Revolution he wandered in Russia and applied himself to learning, lecturing, and strengthening religious life. He was appointed rabbi of Slutsk and Smolensk. In 1928 Abramsky and S.J. Zevin published Yagdil Torah, a periodical dedicated to strengthening Torah study in the unfavorable conditions of the Soviet Union. It was probably the last Jewish religious periodical published in the Soviet Union for nearly 60 years. In 1930 he was arrested as a "counter-revolutionary." Abramsky was sentenced to hard labor in Siberia, but, after two years, his wife and friends succeeded in obtaining his release. He went to London, where he was appointed rabbi of the Machzike Hadath congregation, and subsequently became dayyan of the London bet din. He became a British subject in 1937. In London, his strong personality was largely responsible for the influence of traditional Orthodoxy in the official community. He was appointed a member of the Moezzet Gedolei ha-Torah of *Agudat Israel. In 1951 he retired and took up residence in Jerusalem, where he became a significant figure in the yeshivah world. Abramsky wrote Divrei Mamonot (1939) and Erez Yisrael (1945), but his scholarly fame rests on his HHazon Yehezkel, a 24-volume commentary on the Tosefta, with his novellae (first volume, 1925). In 1955 he was awarded the Israel Prize. Several of his responsa were published in London (1937). In Israel he was recognized as a rabbi of great stature, and his funeral in Jerusalem was attended by an estimated 40,000 mourners.


18th-19th century family of German medalists and engravers.jacob abraham (1723-1800), born in Poland, worked in the mints of Berlin, Stettin, Koenigsberg, and Dresden. In 1752, Frederick ii of Prussia appointed him medalist at the Berlin mint. Abraham struck 33 commemorative medals, among them one in memory of Moses *Mendelssohn. His son, abraham (1754-1811), studied with his father and with Tassaert at the Berlin Kunstakademie. Working at first with his father but after 1784 on his own, he produced a series of medals depicting German scholars. The first medal, of Moses Mendelssohn, which he did with his father, was followed by many others including Lessing and Kant. He worked as his father’s assistant from 1771, but was appointed royal medalist in 1782 and in this function cut mainly mint dies and worked at portrait medals in wax; after 1786 he exhibited them at the Kunstakademie. Aided by a government grant, he made a tour of Vienna, Venice, and Rome from 1788 to 1792. Beside his work for the mint Abraham received government commissions for commemorative medals and wax portraits. He also executed work for Russia and several German states, among them a medal to celebrate Jewish emancipation in Westphalia in 1808. Abraham also did private work, such as medals of Markus *Herz (1803), and Daniel *Itzig (1793). His signature was Abr, A/S, N, or sometimes just A. Of his lapidary work only a carnelian with the portrait of Frederick William ii is known. In 1792 Abramson was member of the Berlin Akad-emie der Kuenste and of other similar bodies.

His brother, michael jacob (1750-1825), was also an engraver. He exhibited after 1787 at the Berlin Kunstakademie but apparently later emigrated to Scandinavia. His works include a copper-plate engraving of Z evi Hirsch *Levin, chief rabbi of Berlin (1798). It is suspected but unconfirmed that he was baptized. hirsch (d. 1800), another son of Jacob, also worked as an engraver at the Berlin mint.


(1946- ), U.S. politician. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Abramson graduated from Indiana University (1968). After having served in the U.S. Army between 1969 and 1971, for which he received a medal for meritorious service, he returned to law school and was graduated from Georgetown School of Law in 1973. He then entered private practice with Greenbaum, Doll, and McDonald, where he became a partner and immediately became active in Democratic politics, first as a member of the Board of Alderman and later as general counsel to Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown. He was elected mayor of Louisville in 1986, a position he held for 12 years. A national leader, he was president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 1993-94 and vice chair of the Democratic Platform Committee when his fellow southerner Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992. He chaired the Clinton reelection efforts for Kentucky. After being barred for reelection by term limits, Abramson became mayor once again after the government of Louisville had been regionalized, serving from 2003 as Louisville metro mayor.


(1904-1979), U.S. sportswriter. Known as the leading track and field writer in the U.S., Abramson was the first person from the media to be elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, in 1981. He witnessed every Olympics from 1928 until 1976, as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, for the International Herald-Tribune in 1972, and as foreign press liaison at the 1968 and 1976 Games. His obituary in the New York Times noted: "Colleagues called him ‘The Brain,’ in recognition of his profound knowledge of track and his phenomenal memory for detail." Abramson was honored with the Grantland Rice Award of the Sportsmen Brotherhood, the James J. Walker Award for service to boxing, and the career achievement award from the New York Track Writers Association. He was a founder and long-time president of the n.y. Track Writers Association, which presents the annual Jesse Abramson Award to the outstanding athlete of the year. Abramson also reported on football and boxing, serving as president of the New York Football Writers Association, and was awarded the Boxing Writers’ Association of America Nat Fleischer Memorial Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism in 1976.


(1915-1996), rabbinic scholar. Born in Ciechanowiec, in the district of Bialystok, Poland, he received rabbinic ordination in 1936, in which year he immigrated to Erez Israel where he continued his education in various yeshivot and at the Hebrew University. He served on the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York from 1952 until 1958, the final year as associate professor. From 1958 he was professor of Talmud, Geonica, and rishonim at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His scholarly contributions are to be found in the areas of Talmud, Geonica, rabbinic Hebrew, biblical exegesis and interpretation in the Middle Ages, medieval Hebrew poetry and literature, and medieval Hebrew philology. They are noteworthy for their erudition in talmu-dic and rabbinic literature and their disciplined scientific research methods. His main field, however, is Geonica to which he has made important contributions. He was awarded the Israel Prize for Jewish studies in 1974.

His most important published work was R. Nissim Gaon (Heb., 1965). Among his earlier works are critical editions of R. Samuel ha-Nagid, Ben Mishlei (1948) and Ben Kohelet (1953). His other published works include Massekhet Avodah Zarah (1957), a publication of a manuscript of the tractate Avodah Zarah of the Babylonian Talmud; Massekhet Bava Batra (1958), a Hebrew translation of the tractate Bava Batra of the Babylonian Talmud; Ba-Merkazim u-va-Tefuzot bi-Tekufat ha-Geonim (1965), on the geonic period; Bi-Leshon Kodemim (1965), a study in medieval Hebrew poetry; and Sheloshah Sefarim shel R. Yehudah ibn Balaam.


(Joshua; 1829-1883), Russian hazzan and synagogue composer. He was born in Berdichev and became known as "Pitshe Odesser" ("The Mite from Odessa") when as a boy he gained fame for his soprano solos in the choir of his teacher, Bezalel Shulsinger in Odessa. Abrass also studied with *Sulzer in Vienna. He was hazzan and choir leader in Tarnopol in 1840 and in Lvov in 1842. In 1858 he became chief hazzan in the Odessa synagogue, the largest in Russia. Abrass’ phenomenal vocal performance as well as his contributions to synagogal choir music enhanced the fame of this synagogue and set new standards in Eastern European liturgical singing. His sole printed work was Simrat-Joh; Gottes-dienstliehe Gesaenge der Israeliten (1874) for cantor and choir. His virtuosity in coloratura was compared with that of Ade-lina Patti, the great soprano, as exemplified by his "Simrat-Joh" No. 27, or the following "ornamental extension" of the note E-flat (ibid. No. 32):

Abrass' 39 published compositions may be judged best as a further attempt to connect the traditional meshorerim style with Western choral music. He uses chordal harmony, effects learned from Rossini (No. 10), and even fugato technique (No. 18) only to embellish a basically monodic melody.

Abrass’ 39 published compositions may be judged best as a further attempt to connect the traditional meshorerim style with Western choral music. He uses chordal harmony, effects learned from Rossini (No. 10), and even fugato technique (No. 18) only to embellish a basically monodic melody.


(1903-1993), conductor. Born in Salonika, Abravanel studied at Lausanne University, and in Zurich and Berlin. He began his career in 1924 as conductor at the Zwickau Municipal Theater. Before leaving Germany in 1933, he had already conducted at the Berlin Opera, and subsequently he conducted ballet performances in Paris, London, and at the Rome Opera. He toured Australia with the British National Opera Company before moving to the United States in 1936, where he conducted at the Metropolitan (1936) and in Chicago (1940-41). In 1946, he conducted musicals such as *Weill’s Lady in the Dark for a season on Broadway. In 1947, he became conductor of the Utah State Symphony Orchestra at Salt Lake City, which he made into one of the most adventurous and remarkable musical bodies in the United States based in a small city. Abravanel was also a professor at the University of Utah.


(or Abrek; Heb,tmp2C31_thumbavrekh), probably a command or a title. After deputizing Joseph, Pharaoh "had him ride in the chariot of his second-in-command, and they cried before him, Abrek!’" (Gen. 41:43; cf. the Persian ceremony in Esth. 6:11). The exact meaning of the word is uncertain. One view equates the word with Egyptian ‘ib-r.k, "attention!" or "have a care." A difficulty according to this view is that the singular suffix k appears where one would expect the plural suffix tn. Another view (reminiscent of the ancient Jewish derivation from brk ("kneel")) notes that brk (borrowed from Semitic) means "render homage" in Egyptian and that the initial alef of Abrek may possibly be equated with the Egyptian imperative prefix proponents of this interpretation therefore translate "kneel!" or "render homage!" This command is similar to the later Egyptian command of homage "to the ground! to the ground!" Both kneeling and complete prostration as acts of homage are represented in Egyptian art. Others take the word as a title, citing the Akkadian abarakku, "chief steward of a private or royal household" (I.J. Gelb et al., The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, vol. 1, pt. 1, pp. 32-5); note Gen. 41:40a: "You shall be in charge of my house.." None of these views is free of difficulty, and the question remains open.


(d. 1592), scholar of Safed and disciple of Isaac *Luria. Solomon was a friend and contemporary of Moses *Alshekh and studied under Joseph *Caro. It is probable that, like Alshekh, he was among those ordained by Caro. From 1562 his signature appeared on letters and decisions together with those of Joseph Caro and Moses di *Trani. In 1571 he joined them in excommunicating the physician Daoud, an opponent of Joseph *Nasi. In a manuscript responsum (Oxford, 832, n. 23) his signature appears at the head of the list of leading rabbis of Safed. Absaban taught in the talmudic academies of Safed, where Jacob *Abulafia was among his students. In 1582 he served as av bet din of Safed. Absaban associated with the mystics there, and was a friend of Eleazar b. Moses *Azikri, who referred to him as distinguished in wisdom, piety, and holiness. Ultimately he settled in Damascus where he presided over the yeshivah until his death.


(Heb.tmp2C32_thumb third son of *David, born during his reign in Hebron, probably about 1007/06 B.c.E.

In the Bible

Absalom was the son of Maacah, the daughter of King Tal-mai of Geshur. When his half brother Amnon dishonored his full sister Tamar (11 Sam. 13:1-20), he considered himself the avenger of her honor and ordered Amnon killed at a shearing feast on his estate, to which he had invited all the king’s sons (ibid. 13:23-29). Fearing David’s wrath, he took refuge at the court of his grandfather, probably a vassal-king of David by that time (c. 987 B.c.E.). Meanwhile, *Joab took up his cause with the king and obtained David’s permission for Absalom to return to Jerusalem without fear of punishment; later a full reconciliation was effected between the two (ibid. 14:33; c. 983 B.c.E.).

Probably David’s second son, Chileab (11 Sam. 3:3) or Daniel (1 Chron. 3:1), either died young or was mentally or physically handicapped, because it was Absalom, the next oldest son of David, who was the most obvious candidate for the succession. He was a handsome man of prepossessing appearance, a glib tongue, and winning manners (11 Sam. 14:25; 15:2-6), and seems to have gained a great deal of popularity among the common people as well. Though strong headed and willful, he knew how to bide his time in order to achieve his desires (cf. ibid. 13:20) and how to work for that end (cf. ibid. 14:28-30).

Considering these qualities, it is difficult to understand what induced him to plot a revolt against his father (c. 979 B.c.E.); but since there was no strict law that David’s successor must be his oldest living son, perhaps Absalom was worried by the influence of David’s favorite wife Bath-Sheba and the possibility that David might, as he eventually did, proclaim his oldest son by her his successor.

Be that as it may, the plot was carefully planned at Hebron (cf. 11 Sam. 15:7). The revolt seems to have enjoyed wide support in Judah, which was perhaps offended by the old king’s refusal to show any palpable preference for his own tribesmen, as well as among other Israelite tribes, who were dissatisfied with the gradual bureaucratization of the kingdom and the curtailment of tribal rights.

David retreated with his immediate entourage - bodyguards (the gibborim), foreign mercenaries (the Cherethites and Pelethites), 600 Gittites, and some of the people who remained loyal to him – to Transjordan. At the same time, he took care to leave a "fifth columnist" in Jerusalem in the person of *Hushai the Archite, and with him two intelligence messengers, *Ahimaaz and Jonathan, the sons of the two high priests. Hushai succeeded in persuading Absalom to reject his adviser *Ahithophel’s sensible proposal to pursue the old king and defeat him before he could find further support. In the subsequent battle in Transjordan (in the forest of Ephraim) Absalom’s tribal levees proved no match for David’s veteran mercenaries under Ittai the Gittite, who was supported by the loyal Israelites under Joab and Abishai. Absalom was caught by his head in a thick tree and killed on Joab’s orders, which contravened the express command of David to spare his life (11 Sam. 18:9). The king’s mourning for his son almost cost him the support of his loyal troops (ibid.19:1-9).

Absalom had no son, which prompted him to erect a memorial monument for himself (ibid. 18:18; cf. however ibid. 14:27); he apparently had a daughter, Maacah, who was named for his mother and who later married her cousin *Rehoboam and became the latter’s favorite queen and mother of the heir-apparent *Abijam.

In the Aggadah

Although the Bible stated that it was by his head and not specifically by his hair that Absalom was caught, the rabbis assume that it was by his hair and make of his death a homily on false ambition, unfilial conduct, and poetic justice. Of the perfect physical qualities ascribed to Adam, Absalom is regarded as having inherited his hair (Pirkei Rabbenu ha-Kadosh, in L. Grueenhut, Likkutim, 3 (1899), 72). It grew so luxuriantly that although he had taken the Nazirite vow prohibiting the cutting of the hair, he was permitted to trim it from time to time (Nazir 5a). It was his hair, in which he gloried, which brought about his death (Sotah 1:8). He was caught "in the heart of a tree" (11 Sam. 18:14). "But did one ever hear of a tree having a heart. This turn of phrase teaches that when a man becomes so heartless as to make war on his own father, nature takes on a heart to avenge the deed" (Mekh. Shirata 6). So unforgivable was his conduct that he is enumerated among those who have no share in the world to come (Sanh. 103b). In Exodus Rabbah 1:1 he is cited as one of the exemplars of "spare the rod and spoil the child." His abode is in hell where he is in charge of ten heathen nations (A. Jellinek, Beit ha-Midrash, 2 (1938), 50) but David’s lament saved him from the extreme penalties of hell (Sot. 10b).

In Folklore

In Jewish folk sayings and in Palestinian legends clustered around the Pillar of Absalom (Yad Avshalom) in the Kidron Valley of Jerusalem, rebellious Absalom serves as an example of punishments inflicted upon sons transgressing the Fifth Commandment. According to the report from Jerusalem (1666) of a French Christian pilgrim (Bernardin Surius), the inhabitants of Jerusalem used to bring their children to the tomb of Absalom to shout and throw stones at it, stressing the end of wicked children who did not revere their parents.

In the Arts

In Western literature Absalom has been regarded as a symbol of manly beauty. The subject inspired a medieval mystery play and several Elizabethan dramas. George Peele’s The Love of King David and Fair Bethsabe (1599) deals at length with Absalom’s rebellion, which is blamed on David’s illicit love affair with Bath-Sheba, and in tune with the bloodthirsty taste of the era shows the unfortunate prince, suspended by his hair from a tree, being done to death by Joab. John Dryden’s Absalom and Achithophel (1681), a political satire in verse, presents Charles 11 as David, Charles’ illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth as Absalom, and Lord Shaftesbury as the false counselor Ahithophel. Some 20th-century works based on this theme are Absalom (1920), a translation of a Japanese play by Torahiko Kori; Howard Spring’s novel O Absalom (1938; later reissued in the U.S.A. as My Son, My Son); and William Faulkner’s novel Absalom, Absalom (1936).

Some artists in the late Middle Ages interpreted Absalom’s death as a prefiguration of the Crucifixion. Parts of the story occasionally appear in illuminated manuscripts, such as the Winchester Bible, a French Bible moralisee (1250) now in Toledo, and the 14th-century Anglo-Norman Queen Mary’s Psalter (British Museum), which illustrates most of the biblical narrative. Absalom’s end also appears in an Italian 15th-century pavement mosaic in Siena Cathedral. The Reconciliation of David and Absalom (1642) was painted by *Rembrandt. The Pillar of Absalom (Yad Avshalom), which stands on the traditional site of Absalom’s burial place, is one of several sepulchral monuments in the Kidron Valley, Jerusalem, that date from the Second Temple and Roman periods. The monument is executed in the late Hellenistic style, however, and its link with Absalom does not predate the 16th century.

David’s lament for Absalom has inspired a number of composers, notably Heinrich Schuetz, whose motet for bass solo and trombone quartet Fili mi Absalon (in Symphoniae Sacrae vol. 1 (1629), no. 13) is a masterly work. No less poignant is Lugebat David Absalon: Absalon fili mi, a four-voice motet by Josquin des Pres, written a century earlier. In the 16th century Jacob Hand (Gallus) arranged a notable setting of the lament. A number of oratorios, mainly of the 18th century, describe Absalom’s rebellion and death. A recent composition is David Weeps for Absalom (1947), a work for voice and piano by David *Diamond. The Judeo-Spanish song "Triste estaba el Rey David" (arranged for choir by Joaquin Rodrigo, 1950), tells the story of Absalom’s rebellion in romantic form.


(1) Judah Maccabaeus’ ambassador in 164 B.c.E. (11 Macc. 11:17). (2) The father of Mattathias and Jonathan, who both held high commands during the Maccabean wars (1 Macc. 11:70 and 13:11; Jos., Ant., 13:161, 202). (3) The younger son of John Hyrcanus 1. Upon the death of his father, Absalom was imprisoned by his brother Aristobulus 1 and released when Alexander Yannai ascended the throne. He played a prominent part in the defense of Jerusalem against Pompey, but was captured by him (Jos., Ant., 14:71; cf. Wars, 1:154). (4) Jewish partisan leader at the beginning of the Roman War. He was associated with the Sicarii leader *Menahem b. Judah, and called by Josephus "his most eminent supporter in his tyranny." When *Eleazar son of Ananias, the captain of the

Temple, turned against Menahem and assassinated him, Absalom shared his fate (Jos., Wars, 2:448). Because of his views regarding the Zealots and Qumran, Cecil *Roth identified him with the Absalom mentioned in the Pesher ("Commentary") on Habakkuk found at Qumran (1 QpHab), but few scholars would accept this. (5) The name Absalom appears on an ossuary from Givat ha-Mivtar and in a tomb inscription from Silwan, both dated to before 70 c.E. The name "abshi," perhaps an abbreviation of Absalom, appears in a deed on papyrus of 131 c.E. from Wadi Muraba’at. (6) A Late Hellenistic tomb monument named after Absalom, David’s rebellious son (11 Sam. 3:3), is situated in the Kidron Valley, west of the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. The style of the tomb, which shows Orientalizing architectural influences, suggests a first century B.c.E. date for the time it was hewn. Recent work on this monument by J. Zias and E. Puech has brought to light a Byzantine inscription in Greek next to the entrance to the tomb which refers not to Absalom but to the father of John the Baptist. It reads: "This is the tomb of Zachariah, martyr, very pious priest, father of John."


Situated in the Kidron Valley, close to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, are a number of monumental rock-hewn tombs of which one has been attributed by tradition to Absalom in reference to ii Samuel 18:18, where it is stated that Absalom set up for himself a "pillar" in the King’s Valley. In Arabic it is known as "Tantour Firaoun" (pharaoh’s crown). This monument is a prominent feature in the topography of Jerusalem and was frequently commented upon by travelers and pilgrims since medieval times. The monument is freestanding and the lower part was rock-cut, whereas the upper part – hat-like in appearance – was built out of finely carved ashlars in a local architectural style utilizing Hellenistic features. The monument has been studied by many scholars since the 19th century: C. Clermont-Ganneau dug there, H. Vincent made a detailed study, and a substantial study of this and the other funerary monuments in the Kidron Valley was made by N. Avigad in the 1950s. Excavations around the foot of the monument were made by E. Oren in the 1970s, but the results remain unpublished. Probably the best short descriptions appear in guidebooks published by K. Prag and J. Murphy-O’Connor. Access to the entrance to the inner tomb chamber is from the south. The entrance led to a rock-hewn chamber which was originally square with a bench within an arcosolium on the west side, with a ceiling with a sunken panel decorated with a central wreath and four circles in relief, and with a fine carved cornice along the junction between ceiling and walls. The style of the monument suggests a date late in the Early Roman period, i.e., the first century c.e., contrary to some scholars who have suggested a date in the first century b.c.e. The internal chamber underwent major changes in the Byzantine period, 4^-6^ centuries c.e., and it was probably converted into a reclusive cell for a Byzantine monk. Above the entrance to the tomb are faint Greek inscriptions which were first recorded by J. Zias in 2000. According to Emile Puech, one of these inscriptions is of Byzantine age and mentions Zacharias, father of John the Baptist: "This is the tomb of Zachariah, martyr, very pious priest, father of John." The adjacent complex of tomb chambers associated with the monument contained a chapel and was held to mark the graves of St. Zacharias, St. Simeon, and St. James (the first bishop of Jerusalem) in the 12th century. Traces of medieval wall paintings are visible on some of the chamber walls. Within the interior chamber of the monument itself is a late medieval three-line Hebrew inscription ("Shamsi ben … [unclear]" – incorrectly read by Dalman in 1914) which was probably incised by a Jewish traveler to Jerusalem. In the 19th century a bridge for a road crossing over the Kidron Valley existed in front of the funerary monument and is evident in old photographs (e.g., F. Bedford, 1862).


(1964-1993), Israeli sculptor. Absalon was born in Ashdod as Meir Eshel and adopted the name Absalon when he arrived in Paris in the late 1980s. He won his reputation as an artist from the 1:1 scale architectural models that he constructed of idealized living units. These wooden models, painted white, demonstrate an obsession with order, arrangement, and containment, and have associations both of protective shelters and monastic cells. His sculptures are reminiscent of the works of the Russian constructivists, the Dutch De Stijl, and Le Corbusier. His last exhibition was of Six Cellules in Paris in 1993. Absalon died of aids at the age of 28.


(1923- ), English poet. Abse was born in Cardiff. After four years in the Royal Air Force in World War 11 he qualified as a doctor. From 1947 to 1954 he edited and published the magazine Poetry and Poverty. Although his work included fiction and drama, he was primarily a poet. Abse has thought deeply about the Holocaust, and his challenge to God to explain Himself to man (in "The Abandoned") is in the Hebraic tradition. His verse collections include After Every Green Thing (1949); Walking Under Water (1952); Tenants of the House (1957); Poems. Golders Green (1962); Selected Poems (1963); and Small Desperation (1968). He wrote two novels, Ash on a Young Man’s Sleeve (1954) and Some Corner of an English Field (1956); and two dramas, Fire in Heaven (1956) and Three Questor Plays (1967). Abse’s White Coat; Purple Coat: Collected Poems 1948-1988 appeared in 1991. He has also written two volumes of autobiography, published in 1974 and 2001. His brother leo abse (1917- ) was a Labour member of the British Parliament for a Welsh seat from 1958 until 1997. He introduced bills liberalizing legislation governing homosexuality (1967) and divorce (1968). A solicitor, Leo Abse wrote "psychobiographies" of British politicians Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.


(1867-1955), U.S. pediatrician. Abt, who was born in Wilmington, Illinois, served as professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University (1897-1902), Rush Medical College (1902-08), and again at Northwestern from 1908. He was the first president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (1931). Abt wrote prolifically on clinical, social, and experimental subjects in the field of pediatrics and wrote an encyclopedic eight-volume work Pediatrics (1923-36). The section dealing with nutritional disturbances in infancy is of particular significance. He was the first American pediatrician to use protein milk in the treatment of diarrhea in infants. His work The Baby’s Food was published in 1917.


(Abedroth, Aptrod), DAVID BEN MOSES ELIAKIM (d. 1728), rabbinic author. Apparently he was born at Abterode near Frankfurt where he served as dayyan. He wrote a commentary on Sefer Hasidim and glosses on liturgical poems. All his manuscripts were destroyed in the great fire of Frankfurt in 1711. His son Solomon (Zalman) rewrote from memory the commentary on Sefer Hasidim and published it together with the text (1724); other editions contain an abridged version of the commentary only. Jacob Emden criticized the commentary (Sheelot Yavez, 1:160), which Joseph David *Sinzheim, the author’s great-grandson, defended in his book Yad David (1799), 28d (on Shab. 81a).


(Avrom; 1897-1937), Soviet Yiddish writer and critic. Born in Lutsk, Volhynia, he lived in Kiev after 1921. In the late 1920s and 1930s he was associated with the Jewish Research Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Science in Kiev. In 1926 he began contributing short stories to the Kharkov-based literary journal Di Royte Velt and is best known for Hershl Shamay (1929; part 2, 1934), an occasionally humorous narrative which deals with the industrialization of Jewish workers under the Soviets. Abtshuk’s Etyudn un Ma-teryaln tsu der Geshikhtefun der Yidisher Literatur-Bavegung in F.S.R.R. ("Studies and Materials for the History of the Yiddish Literature Movement in Soviet Russia," 1934) is important both as a document and as a source of documents; it contains minutes, letters, and resolutions of Yiddish literary groups in Kiev, Moscow, Kharkov, and Minsk. Abtshuk was associate editor of the proletarian writers’ periodical Prolit (1928-32) and its successor Farmest (1933-37). Accused of Trotskyist tendencies and Jewish nationalism, allegedly evident in Hershl Shamay, he perished during the Stalinist "purges."


Arabic word meaning "father of" used in personal names. Jews living in Islamic countries followed the Arab custom, and addressed one another by their kunya (Arabic, "nickname"). Originally, the kunya contained the word abu, and the name of a son of the person concerned, normally that of the eldest, e.g., a man whose son’s name was Zayd, was called Abu Zayd. If there was no son in the family, this could not apply but, nonetheless, imaginary kunyas developed, and these predominated among Jews. Thus, persons called Abraham were often addressed as Abu Ishaq ("Father of Isaac") or Jacob was known as Abu Yusuf (Joseph) instead of Jacob. The reverse procedure was even more common. Since it was customary to call a child after his grandfather, the kunya often contained the names of the father of the biblical or other historical personality after whom the man was named. As the father of Moses was Amram (Arabic ‘Imran), as Abu ‘Imran. The word abu also denotes "possessor," especially of a certain quality. Well-known examples of this use are Abu-al-Afiya ("possessor of health") from which the family name *Abulafia is derived. The honorifics preferred by Jews were generally those expressive of abstract notions, both in the singular and plural, e.g., Abu al-Sad ("happiness") and Abu al-Barakat ("blessings"). This might be compared to the Hebrew equivalents Avi-Musar (father of ethics, moral, moralist) and Ahi-Musar (brother of ethics) used in Hebrew poetry. Sometimes two kunyas were given, one at birth and another added on some special occasion, such as recovery from a dangerous illness. Biblical and talmudic names were connected with kunyas believed to be of the same or similar meaning.

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