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Selikovitch, George


SELIKOVITCH, GEORGE (Getsl Zelikovitsh ; 1855–1926), Yiddish and Hebrew writer and scholar. Born in Rietavas (Riteve), Lithuania (in 1855, as Z. Goldberg clarifies), he studied Semitics and Egyptology at the University of Paris. For a while he worked at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and, in 1885, accompanied Lord Kitchener as a translator on his expedition to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum. In 1887, after traveling in Turkey, Greece, Italy, and North Africa, he reached the U.S., where he briefly lectured on Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia. He then settled in New York and became active as a Yiddish journalist. In 1890 he joined the Yiddish Tageblat, where be remained with short interruptions until his death, writing scholarly articles and serial fiction. His weekly column "Literatur un Lomdes" ("Literature and Learning") reviewed important works of Jewish scholarship. He contributed to the Jewish Encyclopaedia and to the Hebrew encyclopedia Oẓar Yisrael ("Treasure of Israel"). His most important contributions to Hebrew literature are his Ẓiyyurey Massa ("Travel Portraits," 1910), a description of his journey in Ethiopia, and Torat Budha ("Buddha's Teaching," 1922), a translation into biblical Hebrew of Buddha's sayings. He also translated into Hebrew part of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Among his publications are Literarishe Brif ("Literary Letters," 1909); an Arabic-Yiddish textbook (1918); and Geklibene Shriftn ("Collected Writings," 1913), consisting of stories, sketches, poems, and critical essays. He was a pioneer feminist, a satiric feuilletonist, and an author of erotic and sensationalist fiction.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1926), 1105–07; lnyl, 3 (1960), 667–70; E. Schulman, Geshikhte fun der Yidisher Literatur in Amerike (1943), 41–4; A. Almi, Momentn fun a Lebn (1948), 224–9. add. bibliography: Z. Goldberg, "Getsl ZelikovitshMaskil ve-Ittonai Yehudi ba-Mifneh ha-Me'ot" (Diss., 1995; Eng. abstract in The Mendele Review, 8:11 (2004)). website:

[Elias Schulman /

Leonard Prager (2nd ed.)]

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