||Literary and social criticism. In his writings on social and literary problems Mendele showed lively interest in the education and public life of Jews in Russia. He was preoccupied by the question of the role of Hebrew literature in molding the Jewish community.
Shalom Jacob Abramowitsch a.k.a. Mendele Mokher Seforim (1835–1917), Hebrew and Yiddish writer. Mendele's life and work encompass several periods in the development of Jewish society in Russia: the Haskalah, Hibbat Zion, and Zionism. He lived to the onset of the Russian Revolution as well. Mendele began his literary career as an essayist and writer of fiction during the Haskalah period in Russia and reached his artistic maturity during the period of national renaissance after 1881. He was instrumental in the founding of modern literary Yiddish and the new realism in Hebrew style, and left his mark on the two literatures thematically as well as stylistically.
Knowledge of Mendele's life, especially his childhood, which is depicted in minute detail, comes mainly from his autobiographical works, Ba-Yamim ha-Hem ("In Those Days"; first published in Hebrew in 1903, 1904, 1910, 1917) and Reshimot le-Toledotai ("My Life Story"; in Sefer Zikkaron (1889), 117–26), and his many letters. Mendele was born in the small town of Kapulia in Belorussia. After the death of his father, Mendele, aged 13, left Kapuli and wandered through Lithuania, studying at various yeshivot. Traveling throughout Volhynia, Ukraine, and Podolia, he absorbed many impressions of Jewish life which he later recorded in his writings. He lived in Berdichev from 1858 to 1869, in Zhitomir from 1869 to 1881, and, except for a short stay in Geneva from 1905 to 1907, in Odessa from 1881 to 1917.