Wednesday, 13 November 2019

TASHRAK


TASHRAK (January 30, 1872-October 5, 1926)
            He authored stories, was a humorist, and translated homiletical material from the Talmud.  Tashrak was the pen name of Yisroel-Yoysef Zevin.  He came from a wealthy Hassidic family.  He received an excellent Jewish education and studied Talmud and commentators as well as Russian and German.  In 1889 he made his way to the United States.  He worked as a peddler, a shopkeeper, and later devoted himself entirely to journalistic and literary activities.  In 1893 he debuted in print with a sketch in Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), and he remained linked to this newspaper his entire life as one of its principal contributors under various pseudonyms (mainly: Yudkovitsh); in this period, he also worked for a short time in 1894 as editor of the Philadelphia weekly Di yudishe prese (The Jewish press).  For Yidishes tageblat, he wrote stories, feuilletons, tales, humorous sketches, and novels—among them, Fun akhtsehn biz draysig (From eighteen to thirty)—as well as journalistic articles.  The humorous sketches and stories drew mainly on daily immigrant life, such as the series “Khayim der kostomer peddler” (Khayim the customer peddler), “Dzhou der veiter” (Joe the waiter), “Berl der butsher boy” (Berl the butcher boy), and “Simkhe der shames” (Simkhe the sexton).  From 1924 he was also a regular contributor to Morgn zhurnal (Morning journal); in it he published popular articles, mainly in the section “Far hoyz un familye” (For home and family), edited by Dr. A. Adelman and Meyer Zonenshayn.  From time to time, he wrote for Warsaw’s daily newspapers Dos leben (The life) [Der fraynd (The friend)] and Der shoyfer (The shofar) (1905), New York’s Minikes yontef bleter (Minikes’ holiday sheets), Minikes yohr-bukh (Minikes’ yearbook), and Di idishe bihne (The Yiddish stage), among others.  Tashrak also placed work in Gershon Rozentsvayg’s Haivri (The Jew), Haam (The people) in New York (1907/1908), and English-language newspapers.  Over the years 1907-1914, he was a standing contributor to the Anglophone daily New York Herald and in it published some eighty humorous stories of Jewish life in New York.  Two of his stories appeared as well in: Helena Frank, Yiddish Tales (Philadelphia, 1912).
            His writings include: Fun tashraks tagebukh (From Tashrak’s diary), “reports, observations, impressions, expressions, witty tales, ideas, porridge, and beet leaves” (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., n.d.), 32 pp.; Zevins geklibene shriften (Zevin’s [Tashrak’s] selected writings), part 1, supplement to Minikes’ Yomim-neroim un sukes blatt (Days of Awe and Sukkot newspaper) (New York, 1906), 32 pp.; Geklibene shriften (Selected writings) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1909), newer editions (1917, 1926), 2 vols.; Tashraks beste ertsehlungen I. Dos goldene land (Tashrak’s best stories, 1. The golden land), “stories from Jewish life in America”; II. Shpas un ernst (2. Joking and serious), “stories, fables, and fantasies”; III. Mener un froyen (3. Men and women), “tragedies and comedies of family life”; IV. Af der zayt yam (On this side of the ocean), “images of us yellow and green” (New York, 1910), 4 vols.: 224 pp., 160 pp., 223 pp., 160 pp., second edition (1911), third edition (1912), fourth edition (1919); Etikete, a veg vayzer fun laytishe oyffihrung, helflikhkayt un shehne manyeren far mener un froyen (Etiquette, a guide to proper demeanor, assistance, and beautiful manners for men and women) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1912), 310 pp.; Mayselekh far kinder (Stories for children) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1919), 222 pp., later edition (1928); Ale agodes fun talmud an ayen yankev af idish, ale mayses, agodes, mesholim, alegoryen, anekdoten, historishe un byografishe ertsehlungen, poetishe, moralishe un filozofishe perl fun gants talmud bavli un yerushalmi (All the homiletics from the Talmud, an Ein Yaakov in Yiddish, all the tales, homiletical tales, fables, allegories, anecdotes, historical and biographical stories, [and] poetic, moral, and philosophical pearls from the entire Talmud, Babylonian and Jerusalem [editions]) (New York, 1922), 3 vols., later edition (1925); Ale mesholim fun dubner magid (All the fables of the Dubner preacher) (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1925), 2 vols.; Der oytser fun ale medroshim, ale agodes, ertshelungen un mesholim, aroysgenumen fun medresh rabe tankhume,…un fun ale andere medroshim (The treasury of all midrashim, all homiletics, stories, and fables, including Midrash Rabbah Tanuma,…and of all other midrashim) (New York, 1926), 4 vols.; Fun akhtsehn biz draysig, a novel (New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1929), 586 pp.  He died in New York.
            “He made a name first and foremost,” wrote Zalmen Reyzen, “for his humorous stories drawn from Jewish life in the United States….  He was at that time the humorist of Jewish America,...depicting the comical situations and the twisted nature of the community in the new country.”
            Among the hundreds of anecdotal stories, noted E. Vohliner, Tashrak also had “truly masterful humorous sketches, stories, and feuilletons with vivid people and with surroundings, drafted…with a proficient hand….  When you peruse Tashrak’s writings, you travel through all the stages of the Jewish American community…and this is an interesting history, if still not so great as literature….  [Even in his best pieces, one senses] the haste, the negligence, and the carelessness of newspaper writing, and the whole suffers from wordiness.”
            “Tashrak is still more a journalist and critic of the democratic life of the people,” commented Bal-Makhshoves, “than the purely artistic storyteller.”



Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Ab. Goldberg, Gezamlte shriftn (Selected writings) (New York, 1913), pp. 249-51; Shmuel Niger, in Fraynd (New York) (October-November 1921); Bal-Makhshoves, Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings) (Warsaw, 1929), vol. 4, pp. 146-50, vol. 5, p. 140; Yoyel Entin, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 20, 1944); Borekh Rivkin, Grunt-tendentsn fun der yidisher literatur in ameriḳe (Basic tendencies in Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1948), p. 77; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen


ARN-SHMUEL TAMARES


ARN-SHMUEL TAMARES (1869-August 12, 1931)
            Known by his pen name “Aḥad harabanim hamargishim” (One of the sensitive rabbis), he was born in Maltsh (Malecz), Grodno district.  From 1893 until his death, he was rabbi in the small town of Mileytshits (Milejczyce).  He was a well-known rabbinical-intellectual personality, an original and unique figure in the Jewish world of thought.  He fought against Zionism (earlier, he was for it), against nationalism, against the petrification of Orthodoxy; for uncompromising pacifism, territorialism, and a Crimean land project.  In his last years he grew closer to Agudat Yisrael.  He wrote mainly for the Hebrew-language press and published several religious texts in Hebrew.  In Yiddish he published a pamphlet entitled Farn tsar fun a nirdef (For the grief of a persecuted man), “illuminating the ‘Radom matter’ [the struggle of the Radom Jewish community against the imposition of R. Yekhiel Kestenberg] and incidentally also the full batch of painful events…in the Jewish world” (Pyetrkov, 1927/1928).  He also wrote articles in Fraynd (Friend) (1911), the daily newspaper Dos yudishe velt (The Jewish world) in Warsaw 219 (1917), the popular Dos folk (The people) (1922), Vilna’s Dos vort (The word) and Vilner tog (Vilna day) 35-41 (1925) (a series of articles against Zev Jabotinsky’s Jewish Legions), Aguda’s Der yud (The Jew), and elsewhere.  Among his Hebrew books: Musar hatora vehayahadut (The etiquette of the Torah and Judaism) (Vilna: Garber, 1912), 174 pp.; Sefer haemuna haṭehora vehadat hahamonit (Pure faith and mass religion) (Odessa: N. Halprin, 1912), 71 pp.; Kneset yisroel umilḥamot hagoyim (The congregation of Israel and the wars of the gentiles) (Warsaw, 1920), 83 pp.  He died in Warsaw.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967); Arn Tsaytlin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (September 22, 1961).
Berl Cohen


SHMUEL (SAMUEL) TALPIS


SHMUEL (SAMUEL) TALPIS (June 29, 1877-November 21, 1951)
            He was born in Nayshtot-Sugind (Žemaičių Naumiestis), Lithuania.  He studied in religious elementary school and for three years at the Telz yeshiva.  He lived in Germany, England, and from 1894 Montreal.  For a time he took up business, later devoting himself to community and literary matters.  From the founding of the Zionist Organization in Canada, he was active in Jewish colonization in Israel.  He wrote numerous articles on the Jewish wisdom, historical figures, Jewish history, travel impressions, and contemporary community topics.  He wrote for a string of Hebrew serials: Hamelits (The advocate), Hatsfira (The siren), Hatsofe (The spectator), Haolam (The world), and others, as well as for Anglophone Jewish ones.  In Yiddish he wrote primarily for: Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) and Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; and from time to time for other Yiddish publications—in Forverts (Forward) in New York under the pen name K. Bernard.  He edited the illustrated weekly newspaper Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper).  In book form: Geklibene shriften fun shmuel talpis, a zamlung ophandlungen iber khokhmes yisroel (Selected writings of Shmuel Talpis, a collection of treatments of Jewish wisdom) (Montreal., 1939), 303 pp.  He died in Montreal.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Y. Y. Sigal, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (January 11, 1935); Benyomen-Gutel Zak, in Lite (Lithuania), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1965), p. 238; N. Goren, ed., Yahadut lita (Jews of Lithuania), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv: Am hasefer, 1967), p. 251 (his given name is incorrectly given as “Shloyme”); Yeshrin archive, YIVO (New York).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


Tuesday, 12 November 2019

TALUSH


TALUSH[1] (May 17, 1887-July 7, 1962)
            He was a story writer, born Iser Muselevitsh in Dvinsk (Daugavpils), Latvia.  He was orphaned in his youth.  He wandered along the Volga River and for a time lived there among vagabonds.  He learned Russian and left for abroad—Switzerland, Paris, twice in the land of Israel, performing hard labor everywhere.  In 1920 he emigrated to New York.  In 1925 he founded the publishing house of Tsvaygn (Branches) for booklets.  He spent his last years in Miami Beach.  He began his literary work in 1909 in Russian, and in 1920 he turned to Yiddish with a novel appearing in Tsukunft (Future) in New York; it was entitled Fremde (Stranger), and in book form it was titled Der yam roysht (The sea rushes).  He was a regular contributor (1920-1921) to the daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times), later placing sketches and stories in Tog (Day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Forverts (Forward), Tsukunft, Amerikaner (American), Gerekhtigkeyt (Justice), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor)—all New York—and Eygns (One’s own) in Bayonne, among others.  Talush’s sketches were often reprinted in the Polish Yiddish provincial press.  Several of his stories were translated into French, German, and English, among them “L’étranger” (The stranger), “a tale of the new Jewish life in Palestine.”  One story drawn from the life of the pioneers in the land of Israel was dramatized under the title “Der falfalener” (The lost one).  His work appeared as well in Mordekhai alamish, ed., Mikan umikarov, antologya shel sipure yidish beerets yisrael (From near and from far away, anthology of stories in Yiddish in Israel) (Meravya, 1966).
            His writings include: Der yam roysht, dertsehlungen un skitsen (The sea rushes, stories and sketches) (New York: Kultur, 1921), 378 pp.; A zump, ertsehlung fun amerikanem idishen farmer leben (A marsh, a story from the life of an American Jewish farmer) (New York: Zangen, 1922), 73 pp., later edition (1924); Der kholem, dertseylung (The dream, a story) (New York: Tsvaygn, 1925), 16 pp.; Ven mir zaynen kinder geven, eskizn (When we were children, sketches) (New York: Tsvaygn, 1925), 16 pp.; Der bilbl, drama (The blood libel, a drama) (New York, 1929), newspaper clippings from published chapters in Fraye arbeter-shtime; Der bunt (The rebellion) (Warsaw: Kh. Bzhoza, 1936), 288 pp.; Voglenish, roman (Wandering, a novel) (Warsaw: Literarishe bleter, 1938), 560 pp.; Yidishe shrayber, derinerungen un fartseykhenungen (Yiddish writers, memoirs and notes) (Miami Beach, 1953), 319 pp.; Mayn tatns nign, dertseylungen un skitsn (My father’s melody, stories and sketches) (Buenos Aires: Der shpigl, 1957), 319 pp.  He used the pen name Noytman for the humor page of Forverts.  In English: The New Bethlehem (New York, 1936), 281 pp.  He died in Miami Beach.
            “Behind every one of Talush’s stories,” wrote Borekh Rivkin, “there is pantomime and shadow play, which can be narrated and displayed without words….  He introduces into the events…his solitude—the solitude of one who is all by himself in the world….  He seizes the solitary ones, makes them even more lonely, borrows their unhappiness, and the joy of loneliness—befalls them.”
            “Talush, the convert to our literature,” noted A. Mukdoni, “…brought with him from Russian literature the search and discovery in human disquiet, longing, and perpetual haunting….  Talush…paints with the quietest of colors.  Often the colors are so quiet that…only a sharp eye will even notice them.”


Talush in the frontispiece to his book, Der yam roysht

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; A. Mukdoni, in Tsukunft (New York) 2 (1954); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (September 3, 1954); Ben-Tsien Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 2, 1958); Sh. Rozenberg, in Amerikaner (New York) (May 30, 1958); Yankev Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (July 10, 1962); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Yekhezkl Lifshits



[1] He was given this pseudonym by Zalmen Shneur in 1918 as a characterization of his life at the time—no home, no country, a wanderer.

DOVID TEOMIM


DOVID TEOMIM (d. January 1943)
            He attended religious elementary schools and yeshivas.  At age sixteen he debuted in print with a story drawn from Hassidic life.  He wrote for various newspapers.  In Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, he published several stories under the pen name “Der Khosid.”  In Yoyvl-bukh fun haynt (Jubilee volume from Haynt) for the years 1908-1938, there appeared a fragment of his long story Nekome (Revenge).  He was confined in the Warsaw Ghetto and died there in January 1943.

Sources: Ber Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 68; Khayim Finkelshteyn, Haynt, a tsaytung bay yidn, 1908-1939 (Haynt [Today], a newspaper for Jews, 1908-1939) (Tel Aviv, 1978), pp. 202-3.
Bew\rl Cohen


ARYE SHARFI


ARYE SHARFI (1907-1966)
            The author of stories, he was born with the surname Gozheltshani in Tshizeve (Czyżew), Poland.  In 1936 he moved to the land of Israel.  He contributed to Israeli periodicals: Shtamen (Tribes), Di brik (The bridge), Nayvelt (New world), Bleter far literatur un kritik (Pages for literature and criticism); and to New York’s Tsukunft (Future) and Unzer veg (Our way); among others.  His work also appears in Mordekhai alamish, ed., Mikan umikarov, antologya shel sipure yidish beerets yisrael (From near and from far away, anthology of stories in Yiddish in Israel) (Meravya, 1966).  Prior to his death, he was preparing for publication a collection of stories.  He died Peta Tikva.

Sources: Mordekhai alamish, ed., Mikan umikarov, antologya shel sipure yidish beerets yisrael (From near and from far away, anthology of stories in Yiddish in Israel) (Meravya, 1966); Avrom Kleyn, in Yisroel shtime (Tel Aviv) (January 11, 1967).
Yekhezkl Lifshits


DOVID-LEYB SHRENTSEL


DOVID-LEYB SHRENTSEL (b. July 13, 1895)[1]
            He was born in Zlatshev (Zolochiv), Galicia, the son of Emanuel Goldshmid.  Until age ten he attended religious elementary school, later a middle school.  He served in the Austrian army.  He was active in the Labor Zionist party and wrote for party organs.  He published a booklet Oysn hartsen (From the heart), poems of youth (Zolochiv: Kesher, 1918), 32 pp.  Dov Sadan states that it had to be included in an anthology of Yiddish literature in Galicia.  “Arye” Shrentsel was the author of Der kos (The cup) (Warsaw, 1931); this may be the same author.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; catalogue of “Kult-bukh” (Warsaw, 1934).
Berl Cohen



[1] This birthdate follows Zalmen Reyzen; Pinkhes galitsye (Records of Galicia), p. 258, gives a date of October 1877.