Grigoriy Isaakovich was self-educated. In childhood, he was interested in Russian literature. He secretly from his father studied Russian and other European languages. Grigoriy Isaakovich he played the violin.
In 1863 Grigoriy Isaakovich wrote the first part of his main work of the semi-memoir-essay Zapiski evreia. He moved to Saint Petersburg and devoted himself entirely to literary work. Grigoriy Isaakovich had published a historical novel from the era of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, where he showed the causes of social injustice in the life of the Ukrainian and Jewish peoples. He participated in such magazines as Slovo, Vek.
In 1879 Grigoriy Isaakovich participated in editing the magazine Russkiy evrey. At that time, he joined to Russian-Jewish writers. Then he went to the magazine Rassvet, where he edited a number of stories.
In the last years of his life, Grigoriy Isaakovich published stories and essays in the magazine Voskhod. The story Maniac placed in this magazine was directed against the ideas of Palestinophilia.
A few months before his death, Grigoriy Isaakovich converted to Christianity in order to marry.
At the age of 17, Grigoriy Isaakovich was forcibly married.