Solomon Naumovich (Sholom Nohumovich) Rabinovich (Russian: Соломо́н Нау́мович (Шо́лом Но́хумович) Рабино́вич) was born in 1859 in Pereyaslav and grew up in the nearby shtetl (small town with a large Jewish population) of Voronko, in the Poltava Governorateof the Russian Empire (now in the Kiev Oblast of central Ukraine). His father, Menachem-Nukhem Rabinovich, was a rich merchant at that time. However, a failed business affair plunged the family into poverty and Solomon Rabinovich grew up in reduced circumstances. When he was 13 years old, the family moved back to Pereyaslav, where his mother, Chaye-Esther, died in a choleraepidemic.
Sholem Aleichem’s first venture into writing was an alphabetic glossary of the epithets used by his stepmother. At the age of fifteen, inspired by Robinson Crusoe, he composed a Jewish version of the novel. He adopted the pseudonymSholem Aleichem, a Yiddishvariant of the Hebrew expression shalom aleichem, meaning “peace be with you” and typically used as a greeting. In 1876, after graduating from school in Pereyaslav, he spent three years tutoring a wealthy landowner’s daughter, Olga (Hodel) Loev (1865 – 1942).From 1880 to 1883 he served as crown rabbi in Lubny. On May 12, 1883, he and Olga married, against the wishes of her father. A few years later, they inherited the estate of Olga’s father. In 1890, Sholem Aleichem lost their entire fortune in a stock speculation and fled from his creditors. Solomon and Olga had their first child, a daughter named Ernestina (Tissa), in 1884. Daughter Lyalya (Lili) was born in 1887. As Lyalya Kaufman, she became a Hebrew writer. (Lyalya’s daughter Bel Kaufman, also a writer, was the author of Up the Down Staircase, which was also made into a successful film.) A third daughter, Emma, was born in 1888. In 1889, Olga finally gave birth to a son. They named him Elimelech, after Olga’s father, but at home they called him Misha. Daughter Marusi (who would one day publish “My Father, Sholom Aleichem” under her married name Marie Waife-Goldberg) was born in 1892. A final child, a son named Nochum (Numa) after Solomon’s father was born in 1901 (under the name Norman Raeben he became a painter and an influential art teacher).
After witnessing the pogroms that swept through southern Russia in 1905, Sholem Aleichem left Kiev and resettled to New York City, where he arrived in 1906. His family[clarification needed] set up house in Geneva, Switzerland, but when he saw he could not afford to maintain two households, he joined them in Geneva in 1908. Despite his great popularity, he was forced to take up an exhausting schedule of lecturing to make ends meet. In July 1908, during a reading tour in Russia, Sholem Aleichem collapsed on a train going through Baranowicze. He was diagnosed with a relapse of acute hemorrhagic tuberculosis and spent two months convalescing in the town’s hospital. He later described the incident as “meeting his majesty, the Angel of Death, face to face”, and claimed it as the catalyst for writing his autobiography, Funem yarid [From the Fair]. He thus missed the first Conference for the Yiddish Language, held in 1908 in Czernovitz; his colleague and fellow Yiddish activist Nathan Birnbaum went in his place. Sholem Aleichem spent the next four years living as a semi-invalid. During this period the family was largely supported by donations from friends and admirers.
Sholem Aleichem moved to New York City again with his family in 1914. The family lived in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. His son, Misha, ill with tuberculosis, was not permitted entry under United States immigration laws and remained in Switzerland with his sister Emma.
For many decades the local and imperial authorities forbade the construction of a monumental place of Jewish worship in Kiev, as they feared that this would facilitate the growth of the Jewish community in Kiev, which, being a big trading and industrial city, would then become an important Jewish religious center. This was considered “undesirable” due to the symbolic importance of Kiev, as the cradle of Russian Orthodoxy. It was only allowed to convert existing buildings into Jewish worship houses.
In 1895, permission was given to build a synagogue in the Podil district, a poor quarter of Kiev. The location was however too far from the city center where the wealthy Jews lived such that they could not walk there on Sabbath. They wished a big choral synagogue in the city center, similar to those in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Odessa.
To evade the ban, Brodsky and rabbi Evsey Tsukerman sent a complaint to the Governing Senate requesting a permission to build a worship house in the private estate of Brodsky. As an attachment they included only a side view drawing of the planned building which looked like a private mansion. The permission was obtained, and the synagogue became an example of an Aesopian synagogue.
In 1926, the synagogue was closed down by the Soviet authorities. The building was converted into an artisan club.
In 1997 the theatre moved into a new building. The old building was renovated and since 2000 it is again used as a synagogue. The restoration was mainly financed by a media proprietor Vadim Rabinovich. Currently it serves a Chabad-Lubavitch congregation.
End of the tour. Down to the Metro
Only half the day gone, now on to Podil
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
View of the modern Podil neighborhood.
Podil (Ukrainian: Поділ) is a historic neighborhood in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Kiev, and the birthplace of the city’s trade, commerce and industry. It contains many architectural and historical landmarks, and new archaeological sites are still being revealed. It is a part of the city’s larger administrative Podilskyi District.