Jew of the Week: Isaac Asimov

Master of Science Fiction

Isaac Asimov: “I am Jewish.”

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Born in Belorussia as Itzhak Yudovich Ozimov, his family immigrated to New York when he was only three, starting a chain of candy stores where he worked. After serving in the US Army, Asimov became a biochemistry professor at Boston University. He wrote his first book in 1950, and would go on to write and edit over 500 titles. His short story Nightfall is considered the greatest science-fiction piece of all time. Fluent in Yiddish, he would continue to speak the language throughout his adult life. Interestingly, he writes critically of his father for not having taught him the Orthodox Jewish way. In the opening of Wandering Stars, he writes: “I attend no services and follow no ritual and have never undergone that curious puberty rite, the bar mitzvah. It doesn’t matter. I am Jewish.”

Words of the Week

The wicked in their lifetimes are called “dead”; the righteous in death are called “living”.
Talmud, Berachot 18