Abraham Regelson was born in Russia (in Hlusk, Minsk) in 1896, and
with his family immigrated to the United States as a boy. In New
York's Lower East Side he attended heder, yeshiva, and public
schools. Though he never attended college or university, he was a
voluminous reader, a self-educated scholar, who earned his
livelihood by teaching Hebrew, and working as a librarian in
Hebrew schools in New York and in Cleveland, Ohio, while
contributing original poems, essays, scholarly and critical
articles and stories to various Hebraic publications such as
Miklat, Hatekufah, Hadoar, Moznayim, Bitzaron, the Hebrew press in early
Jewish Palestine, as well as the Anglo-Jewish and Yiddish press in
In 1933 he immigrated to Palestine with his growing family (he
was married to Chaya Rosen, a gifted singer, who like him, was
fluent in English, Hebrew and Yiddish).
There he was employed on
the staff of the Tel-Aviv daily newspaper Davar, also contributing
regularly to its weekly children's supplement (which he
co-founded), where his popular book, (Masa HaBubot l'Eretz-Israel) The Dolls' Journey to Eretz-Israel was first published in installments.
Three years later, -- after dysentery had claimed the life of
an infant son in a primitive Tel-Aviv hospital, and with the lives
of two other children endangered by malaria, -- the family, with
four children and expecting another, returned to the United
States, settling in the Bronx, New York. There he eked out a
meager existence by free-lance writing in Hebrew, Yiddish and
In 1941 he was awarded the Louis Lamed Prize in the U.S. for his Hebrew and Yiddish poetry.
His first steady job was during WWII, when he was
employed by the Yiddish daily Morgen Freiheit. His regular column
there featured personal viewpoints, news from Palestine,
commentaries of English and Hebrew literature, essays, fables from
Jewish history, as well as original poetry.
In 1949 he re-immigrated to what was by then the State of
Israel, where he worked as an editor and translator for the
publisher Am Oved, and also was on the regular staff of the Hebrew
daily Al Hamishmar, until his retirement in 1962.
In 1964 he was awarded the prestigious Brenner Literature
Prize for his book of poems "Hakukot Otiyotaich" ("Engraved are
Thy Letters"). The title poem is a hymn to the Hebrew language.
In 1972 the illustrious Bialik Prize for Literature was awarded
to him for his book "Shirotayim" ("Two Poems"), which included
"La-Sulam Tzorit" ("To the Lady from Sulam Tzur"), and "Shney
Barburim ve-Nahar" ("Two Swans and a River"). The latter work
deals with an episode in the life of the Irish poet William Butler
Yeats, and was subsequently translated into English by Regelson
himself. It was recited publicly at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.
In 1976 the Hebrew Department of New York University awarded
him the Neuman Prize for his contribution to Hebrew literature,
bringing him to New York for the presentation.
He died in 1981.