poem index


Alter Abelson

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Scholar, poet, and translator Alter Abelson was born in Lithuania on July 17, 1880, and grew up in Manhattan, where he studied John Keats, John Milton, William Shakespeare, and Percy Shelley. In 1903 he received his Master of Hebrew Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary and in 1920 received a law degree from the New Jersey Last School.

Abelson, who served as a rabbi in synagogues in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, also served as a chaplain for the New York Board of Rabbis from 1947 to his retirement in 1960.

Abelson authored four poetry collections, Helen and Shulamith (Whittier Books, 1959), Songs of Labor (Paebar Co. Publishers, 1947), Sonnets of Motherhood (1938), and Sambatyon and Other Poems (The Ariel Publications, 1931), and translated work by the Hebrew poets Judah Halevi and Chaim Nachman Bialik.

He died in 1964 in New York City.

Selected Bibliography


Helen and Shulamith (Whittier Books, 1959)
Songs of Labor (Paebar Co. Publishers, 1947)
Sonnets of Motherhood (1938)
Sambatyon and Other Poems (The Ariel Publications, 1931)

by this poet


O, the legendary light,
Gleaming goldenly in night
     Like the stars above,
Beautiful, like lights in dream,
Eight, the taper-flames that stream
     All one glory and one love.

In our Temple, magical—
Memories, now tragical—
Holy hero-hearts aflame
With a glory