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NAHUM B. UZZIEL KAPLAN (Reb Nahum Grodner):

Preacher and philanthropist; born 1811; died at Grodno Oct. 25, 1879. Though he was a great Talmudist, he preferred to hold the humble position of "shammash" (sexton) in the synagogue Ḥebrah Shas and to pass his life in poverty. But his untiring energy in behalf of the distressed of all classes and the implicit confidence reposed in him made him famous throughout Russian Jewry. He spent a great part of his time in going from house to house, collecting from residents of Grodno and from visitors money or articles of necessity and bestowing them wherever they were most needed. He exercised much influence also by his great piety and simplicity of life. He was a preacher of much force and was adored by the Jewish masses, to whom he spoke, usually on Sabbath afternoons, on plain moral truths in a language and manner suited to their feeling and understanding. Numberless anecdotes about his kindness and liberality, and about the esteem in which he was held by high personages, are still current in Grodno, where his memory is revered. His funeral is said to have been the most imposing ever seen in Grodno.

Bibliography:
  • Gurvich, in Razsvyct, 1879, No. 7;
  • Lipshitz, Nekrolog Rabbi Nokhim iz Grodno (reprinted from Russki Yevrei, 1879, No. 9), St. Petersburg, 1879;
  • Ha-xẒefirah, 1879, No. 42;
  • Ha-Meliẓ, 1879, No. 43;
  • Friedenstein, 'Ir Gibborim, pp. 95-96, Wilna, 1880.
H. R. P. Wi.
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