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OLSCHWANG (LEVIN), JACOB SOLOMON:

Russian Hebraist; born at Kokhanovo, government of Moghilef, May 4, 1840; died at Yekaterinoslav Jan. 17, 1896. He was a descendant of David Conforte, the author of "Seder ha-Dorot." Olschwang received a thorough Ḥasidic education, and studied Talmud and Halakah, the Zohar and various other cabalistic works. He then went to Kovno, where he studied at the yeshibah of Navyazki. In 1862 he settled in Friedrichstadt, Courland, where he joined the circle of the Maskilim and in a short time was able to write Hebrew well. His family name was then Levin, which he changed to Olschwang when he removed to Krementchug in 1866.

Olschwang contributed numerous articles to "Ha-Meliẓ" (from 1860), "Ha-Shaḥar," "Ha-Boḳer Or," and other Hebrew periodicals. The most interesting of Olschwang's writings are "Abot de-Kartina" (in "Ha-Meliẓ," 1868) and "Haggadah shel Pesaḥ" (in "Ha-Shaḥar," 1877), both satirical sketches of Jewish life in Russia.

Olschwang maintained a correspondence with most of the Russian Maskilim of his time, especially with Jacob Reiffmann, Lillienblum, Zederbaum, L. Schulman, Dobsevage, and Rosenthal. Many of his articles were signed "YaShBaL."

Bibliography:
  • Sefer Zikkaron, p. 203, Warsaw, 1889;
  • Luaḥ Aḥiasaf, iv. 304.
H. R. A. S. W.
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