Thursday, 23 November 2017


DOVID MENTSHES (b. ca. 1901)
            He was born in Kutne (Kutno), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, leaving early to take up tailoring.  He lived in Belgium, Paris, London, and for many years in Buenos Aires.  From 1948 he was in Israel.  He wrote for: Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw, Proletarisher gedank (Proletarian idea) in New York, and Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) and Unzer tsayt (Our time) in Buenos Aires.  In book form: Mentsh un goyrl (Man and fate) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1969), 350 pp.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 380.


ARN MENDELEVITSH (August 1907-February 13, 1985)
            He was born in Vilna.  He graduated from a senior high school and worked as a teacher in Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) schools.  In 1934 he ran off to Soviet Russia.  In 1939 he graduated from the law faculty of Moscow University.  He returned to Vilna in 1947, and from 1959 he was in Lodz, before making aliya to Israel in 1962.  He wrote for: Emes (Truth) in Moscow, Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw, Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York, Lebns-fragn (Life issues) in Tel Aviv, and Yerusholaimer almanakh (Jerusalem almanac).  He died in Tel Aviv.

Source: Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (March 1985).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 380.

Friday, 17 November 2017


MEYER-BOREKH MENDELSBERG (April 17, 1890-March 1, 1955)
            Also known as M. Matlin, he was born in Zegzhe (Zegrze), Warsaw district, Poland.  His father was a purveyor for the Tsarist army and ran a tavern.  In his youth Mendelsberg was captivated by socialist ideas and became a member of the Zionist Socialist Party.  In 1912 he made his way to the United States and worked in a shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts.  Around 1916 he moved to Chicago where he worked in the production of women’s purses.  After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he returned to Russia and was active in the party of the “Fareynikte” (United socialists).  In late 1918 he came back to Warsaw, where he served as secretary to the central committee of the Fareynikte in Poland.  He wrote articles for Unzer veg (Our way), “central organ of the Jewish socialist labor party in Poland” (for which he served as editor for a time), and also for Unzer vort (Our word) in Warsaw (1919-1920).  Around 1922 he was secretary for the Warsaw Jewish journalists’ association.  In 1924 he returned to the United States and worked in New York in his former trade.  He was active in the union of the “pocket book makers” (serving as secretary for the union for a time), in the Sholem Aleichem Folk Institute, in the Socialist Party, and in IKOR (Yidishe kolonizatsye organizatsye in rusland [Jewish colonization organization in Russia]).  He was also a devoted leader in the Freeland League and an enthusiastic territorialist until the last days of his life.  He published (also under such pseudonyms as A. Laykhter and Matlin) articles in: Afn shvel (At the threshold), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Sotsyalistishe shtime (Socialist voice), and union publications.  His articles in the union newspapers also appeared in English.  He died in New York.

Sources: Z. Khabotski, A. Khrablovski, Miriam Mendelsberg-Kharberg, and Nosn Khofshi, in Afn shvel (Mexico City-New York) (March-April 1955); oral information from Dr. Ezriel Naks in New York.
Zaynvl Diamant

Thursday, 16 November 2017


SHLOYME MENDELSON (March 30, 1896-February 9, 1948)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  On his father’s side, he was the great-grandson of the eminent Warsaw rabbi, Shloyme-Zalmen Lifshits, author of Ḥemdat shlomo (Solomon’s precious gift) (Warsaw, 1836); on his mother’s side, he was a grandson of the Koyler Rav, Avigdor-Leybush Levental.  His father Hershl Mendelson was a son-in-law of Shaye Prives, the affluent Hassidic intimate of the Gerer rebbe.  Shloyme Mendelson (named after his grandfather) was orphaned at an extremely early age on his father’s side and was raised in the home of his grandfather, Meyer Mendelson, in a strictly traditional Jewish environment.  At age three he started attending religious elementary school; at six he was already starting to study Talmud, even leading the prayers at the conclusion of reading a tractate.  At thirteen he was already a master of the Talmud, paying visit to the Gerer Rebbe, and later (unbeknownst to his family) he began to turn his attention to secular subject matter and in 1910 entered M. Krinski’s eight-level business school.  He would come to class there in his long capote, and at the school’s front gate he would change clothes, so that those inside would not discover who he was.  After graduating from school with distinction, he entered Warsaw University.  Initially he was in the medical faculty and later switched to law.  In 1920 he was expelled from the university for leading an action of Jewish academic youth, who were demanding that Jews be assured national rights in voluntarily joining the Polish military.  After this break in his studies, Mendelson devoted himself thoroughly to community-pedagogical work and became one of the leaders of the Yiddishist movement in Poland.  Prior to this, in 1915, he was a cofounder of a dormitory for abandoned Jewish children and introduced Yiddish in the institution as the language of instruction.  In 1916 he began working in the elementary school “Ḥinukh yeladim” (Children’s education), run by Sh. Gilinski, and subsequently over the course of five years he worked as a teacher of Yiddish literature and Jewish history in private Polish Jewish middle schools.  Politically he was associated at the time with the Folks-partey (People’s party), led by Noyekh Prilucki.  He was a witty speaker and writer for the party.  From early 1917 he was contributing to the organ of the Folks-partey, Dos folk (The people), for which he composed ideological and programmatic articles.  The artisans’ union at the time stood close to the Folks-partey.  When in 1919 it began to bring out a Yiddish-language journal, Di hantverker shtim (Voice of the artisan), Mendelson became editor of it.  He sat on the central council of the Folks-partey.  He was the party’s emissary to the Warsaw Jewish community and the Warsaw city council.  After H. D. Nomberg’s departure from the Polish Sejm, Mendelson was set to take over his Sejm credentials, but due to a dispute over principles, he refused to do so and in 1921 completely seceded from the Folks-partey.  Seven years transpired thereafter, until the decision matured for him to become an active leader of the Bund, a party for which he had over the course of many years felt close.  He joined the Bund in 1928.  The most important area of Mendelson’s activity was the secular Jewish school system.  In October 1919 he had participated in the cultural conference in Warsaw, at which was worked out the foundations for the future Jewish school movement that later formed in Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization).  He served as one of the three chairmen at the conference and the speaker on two issues: teachers’ courses and the coming school conference.  He was elected onto the editorial board of the pedagogical journal that was to be published.  He was in the organizing bureau that prepared for Passover 1920 a subsequent meeting of cultural and educational associations.  At that meeting, he was elected onto the provisional committee of the projected “Tsisho for Poland, Lithuania, and Byelorussia.”  At the same time the “Central Dinezon School Committee” was organizing teachers’ courses, at which Mendelson gave lectures on Yiddish and methods for teaching Yiddish.  He was active at that time with the inter-party organization “Shul-bukh” (School-book), which was engaged in preparing teachers to adapt to the character of the new school.  When Shul-bukh named a special orthography and terminology commission, Mendelson was on it along with Noyekh Prilucki, Vladimir Medem, and Y. M. Weissenberg, among others.  The first school convention, at which Tsisho was found (June 1921), found Mendelson on the leadership of the “independent school faction” which was represented at the convention by sixty-three delegates.  Aside from his role as an organizer and his pedagogical activities at various conferences, teachers’ conventions, and pedagogical courses, Mendelson was among the most productive contributors to publications of the Jewish school movement.  His articles in Di naye shul (The new school), Shul un lebn (School and life), Shulvegn (School ways), and Eltern-tribune (Parents’ tribune) were among the foundational essays for the ideological platform of the secular Jewish school system.  Not only on pedagogical issues did he write.  In Dos folk (1917) he also wrote about current problems, issues of Yiddish culture, literature, theater, and general community matters.  He was a contributors to: Bikher-velt (Book world) in Warsaw (1922-1928); Der vokhnshrift far literatur un kultur (Weekly writing for literature and culture), Foroys (Onward), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Unzer tsayt (Our time), and Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm)—all in Warsaw; Tog (Day) and Unzer gedank (Out idea) in Vilna; and other publications.  He was also the author of a series of projects, texts, theses, etc. for the field of history and literature in the Jewish school.  In 1920 he edited the publication of Dr. Shloyme Etinger’s Mesholim (Proverbs), for which he wrote a long piece about Etinger (Warsaw: Nayer Publ., 1920).  With Kh. Sh. Kazdan, he translated Shimon Dubnov’s Nayste geshikhte fun yidishn folk (Recent history of the Jewish people), which the publishing house Kultur-lige (Culture league) in Warsaw began to publish.  Mendelson often served as the envoy for the Jewish school system in Poland to the broader Jewish world.  In 1924 he served as a Tsisho delegate to an international congress of history teachers in Berlin, where he gave a speech on the subject of history in secular Jewish schools in Poland.  This performance was carried further to Paris, and there he had the opportunity to arouse general interest for this sort of school.  In 1937 he organized a pavilion for secular Jewish culture at the World Exposition in Paris.  At the solemn opening of the pavilion, he gave a speech in Yiddish.  On his own terms Mendelson was an active leader of the Bund.
            In 1933 he was sent as a representative by the central committee of the Bund in Poland to the United States, where he administered a broad program for the Bundist movement.  In 1938 he was elected onto the central committee of the party and was enrolled on the Bundist list for the Warsaw Jewish community council and the city council.  Like numerous other active leaders in the Jewish political and cultural movement, the outbreak of WWII forced him to leave Warsaw.  After a series of wanderings, he arrived in Vilna.  While the Communists were in power there, he had to go into hiding.  In October 1939, when Vilna went over to Lithuania, the possibility emerged to do something, and Mendelson—together with Kh Sh. Kazdan and Sh Gilinski—renewed their activities for the school movement.  He was also among the administrators of YIVO there.  The second time the Communists gained control of Lithuania (summer 1940) created a new situation, and in compliance with a decision of the party, Mendelson (together with Dr. Sherer) made his way to Switzerland.  With help from the Jewish Labor Committee, from there he came to New York in the summer of 1941.  In his extraordinarily active community life, a new chaptered now opened up.  He soon became popular as a great orator.  He wrote pieces for: Unzer tsayt, Tsukunft (Future), Der veker (The alarm), and Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education)—in New York; Foroys in Mexico City; Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris; and Veker (Alarm) in Brussels; among others.  YIVO in New York published his two speeches: Vi azoy lebn poylishe yidn in di getos (How Polish Jews are living in the ghettos) (New York, 1942), 30 pp.; and Der vidershtand in varshever geto (The resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto) (New York, 1944), 40 pp., and in Spanish as La resistencia desesperada en el ghetto de Varsovia (Buenos Aires, 1944) by the local YIVO.  When on assignment for the coordinating committee of the Bund in Los Angeles, he suddenly died of a heart attack.  Doctors had warned him against excessive exertion, which he had taken on, but his duty disparaged all such warnings.  He died on February 9, 1948, a half hour before he was scheduled to deliver his second speech about Perets.  In his writings which survive him, there are chapters of an unpublished work on national-cultural autonomy—a work that he began in America.  This work is rich in materials about various “autonomies” which people were beginning to realize after the revolution of 1917 in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, Poland, and elsewhere.  Mendelson’s literary bequeathal is scattered over dozens of journals, periodicals, and anthologies.  In one sentence, Viktor Shulman, the longtime secretary of the Bundist periodical, characterized Mendelson’s written success as follow: “Mendelson’s literary-journalistic works excelled in their concise style—short, matter-of-fact sentences, simplicity, clear, cool logic, but fully charged with temperament, ardor, and dynamism.”  A portion of his literary writings was reissued in the collection Shloyme mendelson, zayn lebn un shafn (Shloyme Mendelson, his life and works) (New York: Unzer tsayt, 1949), 492 pp.  In the section “from Sh. Mendelson’s pen,” there are included the following sub-sections: “Literature and writer,” sixteen essays; “Secular Jewish schools,” six essays; “Zionism and community-cultural issues,” five essays; “Impressions,” twenty-one essays; “Fifty years of the Bund,” nine essays—altogether over sixty pieces, which constituted only a portion of his many-sided literary output.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Y. Yeshurin and A. Brumberg, bibliographical listings; Mendelson, A yor nokh der aveyde (A year after the destruction) (Paris, 1949), 55 pp., with articles by E. Sherer, L. Blit, Leybetsher, E.Novogrudski, Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Y. Y. Trunk, P. Shvarts, Khayim Leyb Fuks, and M. Perenson; the anthology Shloyme mendelson, zayn lebn un shafn (Shloyme Mendelson, his life and works) (New York: Unzer tsayt, 1949), with essays by V. Shulman, E. Sherer, Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Y. Y. Trunk, and L. Finkelshteyn; Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhutrnal (New York) (March 26, 1950); Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodz (In Warsaw and in Lodz) (New York, 1955), pp. 42-43; M. Mandelman, in Lite (Lithuania) anthology, vol. 1 (New York, 1951), p. 1348; S. Kahan, Meksikaner viderklangen (Mexican echoes) (Mexico, 1951); Kahan, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (August 3, 1963); Z. Turkov, Fragmentn fun mayn lebn (Fragments from my life) (Buenos Aires, 1951), pp. 191-203; Frants Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected writings) (New York, 1952), see index; Y. Rotnberg, in Foroys (Mexico City) (February 1953); D. Naymark, in Der veker (New York) (February 15, 1953; March 1, 1958); Y. Y. Trunk, Poyln (Poland), vol. 7 (New York, 1953); Y. Sh. Herts, Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish socialist movement in America) (New York, 1954), see index; B. Shefner, Novolipye 7, zikhroynes un eseyen (Nowolipie 7, memoirs and essays) (Buenos Aires, 1955), pp. 145ff; Shefner, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (February 16, 1958); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Fun kheyder un shkoles biz tsisho (From religious and secular primary schools to Tsisho) (Mexico City, 1956), see index; Kazdan, Mentshn fun gayst un mut (Men of spirit and courage) (Buenos Aires, 1962), pp. 253-80; Khone Gotesfeld, in Forverts (New York) (July 5, 1959); M. Vaykhert, Varshe (Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1961), see index; Y. Gar, and F. Fridman, Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1962), p. 248; M. V. Bernshteyn, in Forverts (March 16, 1963); Z. Davidzon and M. Mandelman, in Foroys (August-September 1963); Y. Varshavski (Bashevis), in Forverts (June 27, 1964); P. Vald, Geshtaltn fun yidishn velt-folk (Images of Jewish people of the world) (Buenos Aires, 1964).
Mortkhe-Velvl Bernshteyn


MEYER MENDELSON (August 24, 1894-February 13, 1961)
            The brother of Shloyme Mendelson, he was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a Hassidic rabbinic family.  On his father’s side, he was the great-grandson of the eminent Warsaw rabbi, Shloyme-Zalmen Lifshits, author of Ḥemdat shlomo (Solomon’s precious gift) (Warsaw, 1836).  On his mother’s side, he was a grandson of the Koyler Rav, Avigdor-Leybush Levental.  His father Hershl Mendelson was a son-in-law of Shaye Prives, the affluent Hassidic intimate of the Gerer rebbe.  Meyer Mendelson (named after his grandfather) was orphaned at an extremely early age on his father’s side and was raised by his mother in a home with a strongly traditional Jewish environment.  Until age sixteen he studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall, and he later attended a Polish high school.  He then left home, moved to Russia, worked in a paper factory in Homel (Gomel), Byelorussia, and conceived an interest in chemistry which he went on to study at universities in Vilna, Berlin, and Paris.  Over the years 1920-1922, he lived in Vilna, at which point he was already a Bundist, working for awhile as a teacher in a secular Jewish school and as secretary for the Jewish people’s university in Vilna.  In 1922 he left for Berlin, and from 1925 until WWII he was living in Paris, where his home at 24 Rue Bonaparte was the address for Yiddish writers, artists, and cultural leaders from various countries.  Among his closest friends were: Sholem Asch, Zalmen Shneur, and Ozer Varshavski, among others.  He was active in the Parisian Bund and in cultural institutions.  In 1937 he was one of the organizers of the exhibition of secular Jewish schools run by Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) in Paris.  In 1940 he moved to the United States.  He worked as a chemist in factories in Peabody, near Boston, and in New York, which was his place of residence.  For many years he worked in New York for a large factory making chemical products for the American navy, and in the factory he produced several dozen chemical inventions and received state patents for them—the patents became the possession of the factory.  In New York Mendelson was active in the organization of the Bund and was a member of the “central bureau of the Bund organization in the United States and Canada.”  He went on assignment for the Bund to Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Mexico.  He served as vice-chairman of the committee of the Bund’s archives named for Frants Kurski in New York.  He wrote articles on science and literature and published them in: Di naye shul (The new school) in Warsaw (1922)—among others, a piece in issue 6 entitled “Di romantic un di visnshaft” (Romanticism and science); Shul-vezn (School system) in Vilna-Warsaw; Parizer veker (Paris alarm) and Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Paris (1931-1939), in which, among other items, he published an overview of modern French literature.  Over the years 1957-1960, he was in charge of a section, “Fun yidishn lebn in amerike” (From Jewish life in America), for Unzer shtime.  In Unzer tsayt (Our time) in New York, he placed work on French literature, such as: “Z. P. Sarter” (Jean-Paul Sartre), “Visnshaft un literatur” (Science and literature), “Visnshaft un ideologye” (Science and ideology), and “Albert kami” (Albert Camus), among others.  Together with A. Reinhartz, he translated Wilhelm Ostwald’s textbook Di shul fun khemye, ershter araynfir in khemye (The school of chemistry, first introduction to chemistry) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1924), 219 pp., which was used in secular Jewish schools in Poland.  He died in New York.  Among his surviving manuscripts are works on philosophy and Marxism, also notes on Kabbala.  He belonged for many years to a Masonic Lodge and assumed a prominent role there.  His wife, Dr. ALBERTA SHALITA, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, whom Mendelson married in New York, published her work from time to time in Unzer tsayt.  Above the document room in the Bund’s archives in New York hangs a bronze plaque to the memory of Meyer Mendelson.

Sources: Y. Yashunski, in Bikher-velt (Warsaw) 7 (1928); Y. Y. Trunk, Poyln (Poland), vol. 7 (New York, 1953), p. 146; Shloyme Rozenberg, Sholem ash fun der noent (Sholem Asch close up) (New York, 1948), pp. 122, 155, 205, 631; Y. Rotenberg, in Foroys (Mexico City) (August 1958); Unzer shtime (Paris) (February 22, 1961); “Ershte yortsayt fun meyer mendelson” (The first anniversary of the death of Meyer Mendelson), with appreciations by Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Sh. Rozenberg, Dr. Karl Horovits, and Y. Kharlash, Unzer tsayt (March-April 1963); Arbeter ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1962), p. 248.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YOYSEF (JOSÉ) MENDELSON (November 1, 1889-July 24, 1970; 1891-1969?)
            He was born in Tsherkas (Cherkasy), Kiev district, Ukraine.  His father, Hillel Mendelson, was an ordained rabbi, but not wishing to devoted himself to the rabbinate, he turned his attention to business and was a Talmud teacher.  Yoysef received a Jewish education with his father.  Early on he acquired the reputation of a prodigy.  At age thirteen he traveled to Kremenchug to study in the yeshiva of the “great anti-Hassid” (Rabbi Eliezer Epstein) and later on his own at the synagogue study chamber.  He studied modern Hebrew, Russian, and general subject matter with private tutors, and as an external student in Cherkasy and Zolotonosha he passed the examinations and received his high school diploma in 1910.  Because of the numerus clausus, he was unable to enter university, and he thus left Russia and in January 1912 arrived in Argentina.  He became a Hebrew teacher in a YIKO (Jewish Cultural Organization) school in Palasios (Mozesville), mastered Spanish, and soon became the director of the school.  While still in his youth in Russia, Mendelson began writing and publishing correspondence pieces in the provincial Russian press.  In Mozesville he started writing in Yiddish and debuted in print with a feature piece about Perets Smolenskin in the Zionist monthly journal Idishe hofenung (Jewish hope) in Buenos Aires (December 1912).  Together with Z. Brokhes, he edited the journalistic-literary weekly Der kolonist (The colonist), which appeared in Domingez, Entre Rios Province, in which he wrote (also using such pen names as Ben-Hillel, A. Cherkaski, Nemo, and Dizi) articles, features, and essays on Yiddish and Spanish writers.  In April 1917 he began contributing to the daily Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, in which he (under the pseudonym Borekh der Griner [Borekh the greenhorn]) ran a column  entitled “Laykhte shmuesn” (Light conversations).  Over the years 1923-1929, he served as editor of the newspaper, and over the course of twenty-seven years he published essays, literary criticism, legends drawn South American folk epics, and articles of popular scholarship on Jewish learning and Jewish history, as well as articles on topics of the day.  He translated for the newspaper from world literature a large number of stories, novels, essays, and poems, among them: Vincente Blasco Ibáñez, Luna Benamor; Pierre Benoit, Le Puits de Jacob (Jacob’s well); Kasanov, The Russian Revolution; Émile Zola, Vérité (Truth); Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities; Daniil Mordovtsev, Nashi piramidy (Our pyramids) and Irod (Herod); and stories by such Spanish writers as Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, among others.  Among his translations published in book form: Manuel Gálbez, In a forshtodt (In a suburb [original: História de arrabal (Story of a suburb)]) (Buenos Aires: Yidish, 1933), 119 pp.; Alberto Gerchunoff, Borekh spinozas libe (Baruch Spinoza’s love [original: Los amores de Baruj Spinoza (The loves of Baruch Spinoza)]) (Buenos Aires: Sociedad Hebréica Argentina, 1933), 92 pp.  Over the period 1919-1921, he studied chemistry at the University of La Plata.  He was the editor of the first collection of young Yiddish writers in Argentina: Af di bregen fun plata (On the shores of the Plata [River]) (Buenos Aires, 1919), 192 pp., for which he wrote an introduction entitled “Undzer svive un unzer geshtalt” (Our environs and our image).  Together with Yisroel Helfman, in 1921 he edited the monthly journal Argentine (Argentina)—only three issues appeared in print (July, August, and September).  For a time he also edited, with P. Kats, the organ of Argentinian Labor Zionism, Di naye tsayt (The new times).  He contributed work as well to: the socialist periodical Der avangard (The avant-garde); the monthly Der shpigl (The mirror); the Zionist weekly Di idishe velt (The Jewish world); the Hebrew-language monthly Habima haivrit (The Hebrew stage), edited by M. Oleysker; and the monthly for literature, art, and cultural issues, Dorem-amerike (South America), edited by Kh. B. Bloshteyn; among other Jewish publications in South and North America.  He also edited Rashi-bukh, tsum naynhundertstn geburts-yor (Rashi volue, on the 900th anniversary of the year of his birth) (Buenos Aires: Committee to celebrate the 900th birth year of Rashi and the 800th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, with the Zionist Federation of Argentina, 1940), 350 pp., with contributions by twelve authors.  Mendelson’s piece in this volume was “Rashi, zayn lebn, virkung un geshtalt” (Rashi, his life, influence, and image), pp. 21-125.  The essay was divided into three parts: “Rashi in der umshterblekhkeyt” (Rashi for all times); “Lebn, svive un perzenlekhkeyt” (Life, environment, and personality); and “Untern tseykhn fun ershtn kreytstsug” (Under the sign of the First Crusade).  This essay also appeared in Spanish and a portion of it in Hebrew.  Another piece by Mendelson appeared in this same volume (under a pen name of Y. Ben-Hillel): “Rashi in der legendografye” (Rashi in hagiography).  On Mendelson’s fiftieth birthday, a committee from the community brought out a volume of his earlier published works under the title Amol in a halbn yoyvl (Once in a half jubilee) (Buenos Aires, 1943), 510 pp., with a preface by the jubilee committee and a foreword and afterword by the author.  He was co-editor and principal contributor to the Spanish-Yiddish monthly Judaica in Buenos Aires.  Among his writings in Spanish: 50 años de colonización judía de argentina (Fifty years of Jewish colonization in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1939), 315 pp.  He contributed two pieces to the jubilee volume honoring the twenty-fifth anniversary of Idishe tsaytung: “A yoyvl yidish lebn” (A jubilee of Jewish life), pp. 49-98; and (under the pen name Y. Ben-Hillel) “Gest un shlikhim in undzer yishev” (Guests and messengers in our settlement).  In 1943 he became director of the Buenos Aires Hebrew-Yiddish teachers’ seminary.  In 1953, after thirty-six years of contributions to Idishe tsaytung, he withdrew from active participation.  He translated from Hebrew Zalman Shazar’s Or ishim (Light of personalities) into Yiddish as Likhtike perzenlekhkeytn (Buenos Aires: Kiem, 1963), 297 pp.  In 1960, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, people dedicated articles to him in the Yiddish press in Argentina and North America.  He died in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Dr. Y. Miklishanski, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 18.1 (1941), pp. 103-6; Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentina (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), see index; N. Khanin, A reyze ariber tsentral un dorem amerike (A trip through Central and South America) (New York, 1942), pp. 246-47; Moyshe Shtarkman, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (August 11, 1944); N. B. Minkov, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1944); Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), pp. 514-34; bibliographical listing in Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine, pp. 926, 934; Y. Botoshanski, Mame yidish (Mother Yiddish) (Buenos Aires, 1949), see index; Botoshanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopye (General encyclopedia), vol. 2, “Yidn 5” (New York, 1957); Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (December 8, 1954; November 8, 1960); “Yoysef mendelson, yidisher shriftshteler un dertsier in argentine a benshivim” (José Mendelson, Yiddish author and educator in Argentina, a septuagenarian), Keneder odler (Montreal) (December 14, 1960); Yivo-biblyografye 1925-1941 (YIVO bibliography, 1925-1941) (New York: YIVO, 1943); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955).
Zaynvl Diamant

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


            He was born in Mohilev (Mogilev), Byelorussia.  He later worked as a teacher in Odessa.  He was one of the first to write in the Hebrew press on economic questions.  He published a collection of articles, entitled Bama nivashea (How to be saved) (St. Petersburg, 1883), 48 pp., concerned with improving the economic standing of Jews in Russia.  He also contributed to the Russian Yiddish press and composed a pamphlet in Yiddish entitled Di kvalen zikh zelbst tsu helfen (The sources of self-help) (Odessa, 1894), in which he attempted to campaign among the Jewish population for the idea of cooperative economic institutions.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2.