Bavli (Rashgolski), Hillel

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BAVLI (Rashgolski), HILLEL

BAVLI (Rashgolski), HILLEL (1893–1961), Hebrew poet and educator. Bavli, who was born in Pilvishki, Lithuania, attended yeshivot in Kovno and Vilna. In 1912 he immigrated to the United States and studied at Canisius College and Columbia University. From 1918 he taught modern Hebrew literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, after 1937 with the rank of professor. Bavli's first poems appeared in a children's periodical, Ha-Peraḥim, in 1908. His first book of poetry, Neginot Areẓ ("Melodies of the Land"), was published in 1929. Subsequent collections of his poetry, Shirim ("Poems," 1938), Shirim le-Raḥelah ("Poems for Raḥelah," 1950), and Adderet ha-Shanim ("The Mantle of Years," 1955), also appeared in Israel. Conservative in style and structure, Bavli covers a broad range of themes in his work: personal love; love of his people; love of Ereẓ Israel. He was one of the first Hebrew poets to deal with the American milieu. "Mrs. Woods" is an idyll about an American woman of simple tastes and honest demeanor. Bavli's critical essays Ruḥot Nifgashot ("Winds Meet," 1958) deal mainly with Hebrew and American writers. Bavli translated Dickens' Oliver Twist (1924) and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra into Hebrew (1952). He also translated works by the black writers James D. Corrothers, W. Burghardt du Bois, and Claude McKay into Hebrew. He edited a miscellany, Nimim (1923); a yearbook, Massad (2 vols, 1933–36); the Ẓevi Scharfstein Jubilee Volume (1955); and several modern Hebrew classics for school use. He published a number of articles in English on modern Hebrew literature, including "The Growth of Modern Hebrew Literature" (1939) and "Some Aspects of Modern Hebrew Literature" (1958).


A. Epstein, Soferim Ivrim be-Amerika, 1 (1952), 104–24; E.R. Malachi, Zekher le-Hillel (1962); J. Kabakoff, in: jba, 20 (1962/63), 76–83; Waxman, Literature, 5 (19602), 190–2.

[Eliezer Schweid]