Beider, Chaim

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BEIDER, CHAIM (1920–2003), Yiddish poet, journalist, and literary historian. Beider was born in the shtetl of Kupel, near the town of Proskurov (now Khmelnitski, Ukraine). After finishing the local Yiddish school, he studied in the Yiddish Department of the Odessa Teachers' Training Institute and, from 1933, published poems in periodicals. He graduated in 1940 and worked as a teacher. During the war he lived in Tadzhikistan. From 1946 he lived in Khmelnitski and Kamenets-Podolski, working on local Ukrainian dailies. In 1971 he moved to Birobidzhan and worked there as a staff journalist for the Yiddish newspaper Birobidzhaner Shtern. In 1973 he moved to Moscow and joined the editorial staff of Sovetish Heymland, first as an editor and later as associate editor. In 1998 he immigrated to New York.

His first poetic collection, Khanukas Khabais ("House-warming"), appeared in Moscow in 1979. He also wrote numerous articles devoted to the history of Yiddish literature and culture, many of which were included in his collection Di Vegn, Vos Mir Antdekn ("The Ways That We Find," 1991). He was especially interested in such topics as the life and work of Sholem Jacob *Abramovitsh (Mendele Mokher Seforim), the cultural history of Birobidzhan, and biographies of Soviet Yiddish cultural and political activists. In New York, he briefly edited the Yiddish journal Tsukunft and regularly contributed to the Yiddish weekly Forverts.


Ch. Beider (ed.), Native Land (1980); Yiddish Writers Almanac: Year After Year (1987).

[Gennady Estraikh (2nd ed.)]