Famous historian, orientalist Avraham (Albert) Yakovlevich Harkavy
was born in 1835 in Novogrudok (in Belarussian
- Navagrudak). He studied rabbinic literature in Ivna, Navagrudak
and in the great Volozhin (in Belarussian - Valozhin)
Yeshiva. In 1858 Harkavy recieved a general education in
the rabbinic school. Five years later he entered the Orinetal faculty of
the St-Petersburg University. In 1868 Harkavy left Russia. He was in Paris
and Berlin. In Autumn, 1870, he returned to Russia and recieved a chair
of the Oriental history in the St-Petersburg University.
In 1872 Avraham Harkavy - doctor of the Oriental history. Later, he was
dismissed from the Unversity because of his jewish nationality. Since
1877 Harkavy was a head of jewish and Oriental manuscripts
department in the Imperial Public library.
Avraham Harkavy published since 1861 (in magazines "Hakarmel", "Hamelitz" and "Rassvet"). In 1864 "Hakarmel" began to publish his "Issledovaniya po istorii evreev v Rossii" ("The research`s in the history of Russian Jewry"). Avraham Harkavy is the author of 400 scientific works.
The main topics of Harkavy interest were - the history of khazars, polish, lithuanian and russian jewry, karaims and so on. Avraham Harkavy was a member of the Russian Geographical, St-Peteresburg filological, Moscow anthropological, Odessa historical and archeological societies, of many French and German scientific societies, a correspondent of Madrid Academy of Science. He was famous member of the " Society for the spreding of education between Russian Jewry". Also, he was one of the authors and editors of the "Jewish encyclopaedia" (St-Petersburg, 1909-13).
Avraham Harkavy played a great role in St-Petersburg jewish community.
He was a scientific starosta (old man) of the synagogue. In honour of Avraham Harkavy in synagogue was created a fund of pensions for the Community memebers. Also, Harkavy created a fund for the help to teachers of "St-Petersurg society for the spreading of education between Russian Jewry).
Famous writer and philologist Alexander Harkavy was born in 1863
in Navagrudak. Early, he stayed an orphan. Alexander brought up in
the family of his poor relatives. He recieved a religious education. Alexander
Harkavy prefered a self-education (espescially - languagues). He
liked literature very much. When Alexander Harkavy was 13-14 years
old, he wrote his first poems in Hebrew and published a manuscript
Since 1878 He worked in Romm brothers printer`s in Vilna. Harkavy used his free-time for the self-education. His first literary experiment in Yiddish were "Al Naharoth Babel" and humorous sketch "Kontorske Szenes" (1882). Later he taught Yiddish in Belostok (in Belarussian - Belastok).
After the pogroms (1881, 1882) Harkavy decided to leave Russia. His went to the USA. Alexander Harkavy describe his journey and life (first time he worked as unskill worker) in the USA described in his memoirs (published in "Haleom", 1903, IV-XII).
Since 1885 Harkavy lived in Paris, since 1903 - in New-York. He published in Jewish and English magazines and newspapers (Hamagid, Hazefirah, Haleom, Hajom, Zukunft, Montreal Gazette). Alexander Harkavy was an author of the prominent works - "Die idisch-deitsche Sprach" ("The research of Yiddish), 1882), "Der Englischer Lehrer" ("English teacher - the first text-book of English in Yiddish), "Der Englischer Alefbeis" ("English alphabet"), "Harkavy`s amerikaner brifensteller, "Englisch-Idisches Worterbuch (1892-93) (published 42 times). In 1925 Alexander Harkavy published "Yiddish-English-Hebrew dictionary" (published 4 times - the last in 1957). He translated in Yiddish "The history of Jewish people" of G. Gretz,
published in Yiddish: "About the Constituation of the USA", "The history of American discovery", the biography of G. Washington, "Don-Kichot" of M. Servantes.
Alexander Harkavy was an editor of the newspapers: "Der Idischer Progress" (once a week, 1910), "The Hebrew American" (weekly, New-York, 1894), "Der Neuer Geist" (monthly, New-York, 1897), "Judisch-Amerikanischer Volksalender" (New-York, 1894-1900).
Alexander Harkavy was of the most famous reseacher of Yiddish, great fighters for this language. He thought that Yiddish was a great language, like other European languages.