Updated: Sep 20
Born in Minsk, Belarus in 1870, Lev grew up in a religious Litvak (Jew from historical Lithuania - which includes Belarus) family - in fact, his father was a Rabbi in Minsk. However, Lev did not think religious life was for him, so at the age of 17, he went to Odessa, Ukraine, to join cousins who were already working there.
Lev became a staunch atheist while in Odessa. He became involved in left-wing labour movements (precursors to the Bundist movement).
After marrying Raisa Rifkina (who became Abramova after marriage), Lev and Raisa decided to immigrate to America due to the pogroms rocking Ukraine in the 1890s.
Raisa and Lev settle on the Lower East Side and become newspaper editors and writers for a number of Yiddish newspapers.
Learn more about Lev in this podcast episode: