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BERMAN, JEKUTHIEL:

Russian-Hebrew novelist; born in 1825; died in Moscow about 1889. He held for over thirty years a responsible position in the employ of the Jewish railroad magnate Samuel Poliakov, and devoted part of his leisure to literary composition. Between 1870 and 1880 he lived in Tver and later in Moscow. A stroke of paralysis in 1887 rendered him incapable of continuing either his vocation or his favorite literary labors.

The first novel by Berman, "Shenot Rainu Ra'ah" (The Years Wherein We Have Seen Evil), which describes the life and sufferings of the Cantonists or child-recruits in the time of Emperor Nicholas I., appeared in the first volume of "Ha-Meliẓ" (1860). Another novel, "Pesel Mikah" (The Graven Image of Micah), appeared in vol. xx., Nos. 19-43 of the same periodical (1884). "Hashodedim be-Ẓaharayim" (The Noonday Robbers) was first published in vol. viii. of "Ha-Shaḥar" (1877) and afterward appeared in book form. The fate of his fourth novel, "Ha-Yetomim" (The Orphans), is somewhat singular. The first instalment appeared in Zederbaum's monthly, "Ha-Mizraḥ," of which only four numbers were published in St. Petersburg in 1886. Ten years later another part appeared in "Ner ha-Ma'arabi," a Hebrew monthly published in New York, which was also soon discontinued.

Berman is one of the purists in modern Hebrew, who insist that no strange words or foreign idioms shall be used by the writers of what is supposed to be the language of the Bible. An eloquent letter from his pen on this subject, and a clever reply by R. A. Braudes of Wilna (now of Lemberg) favoring expansion and modification of the language, are published in Meisach's "Gan Peraḥim" (Wilna, 1881), pp. 9-21.

Bibliography:
  • Zeitlin, Bibliotheca Hebraica Post-Mendelssohniana, s.v.;
  • Lippe's Bibliographisches Lexikon, I.;
  • Ha-Shaḥar, vi. 313.
H. R. P. Wi.
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