Wednesday, 26 July 2017


            He was a Hebrew teacher in the Ploiesti.  He published textbooks for Romanian Jewish schools.  Under the pen name Yimer, he published in Ploiesti, Romania, a theatrical piece entitled Ester oder asimilisten un tsienisten (Esther or assimilationists and Zionists) in 1901, in a highly Germanized form and in the style of the playwright Yoysef Lateiner and Moyshe Hurvits.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 366.]


IZAK MOSKOVITSH (b. ca. 1892)
            He was born in Jassy (Iași), Romania.  In 1909 he joined the Jewish socialist movement.  He served as editor of Der veker (The alarm) in Jassy (1915-1916).  He contributed to the Bundist-oriented press in Romania, such as: Dos naye lebn (The new life), Di naye tsaytung (The new newspaper), Der shtral (The beam [of light]), and Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper)—in Czernowitz.  He was last living in the state of Israel

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Psevdonimen in der yidisher literatur (Pseudonyms in Yiddish literature) (Vilna, 1939); information from Dr. Y. Kisman in New York; Shloyme Bikl, Eseyen fun yidishn troyer (Essays of Jewish sorrow) (New York, 1948), pp. 141-42.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Slutsk, Minsk district, Byelorussia.  Until age five he was mute, but thereafter he began to speak.  At age seven he had already acquired a name for being a brilliant child, with a marked inclination for preaching before people.  At age twelve he went to study in the Mirer Yeshiva.  At age fourteen he lost his father and went to study in Paritsh with the local rabbi, Yekhiel-Mikhl Volfson, author of the text Sefat hayam (Edge of the sea).  Around 1875 he arrived in Pinsk and worked thereafter as a teacher in the Talmud-Torahs of Pinsk and Karlin.  In 1881, after the pogroms and the Tsarist decrees against Jews, he began his work as a preacher and with time became a well-known sermonizer, first in Pinsk where he exerted an influence of Pinsk youth, among whom was the subsequent first president of the state of Israel, Dr. Chaim Weitzman.  Maslyanski also traveled around the cities and towns of Pinsk district, giving sermons about Ḥibat Tsiyon (Love of Zion).  It so happened that, due to a denunciation, he was arrested in the town of Noblye (?), near Pinsk, but his numerous followers persuaded the authorities to release him.  In 1887 he and the members of his household settled in Ekaterinoslav.  There, he also took up teaching and spoke in synagogues on the Sabbaths and holidays.  Together with Menakhem-Mendl Usishkin, he founded there a division of the illegal Zionist organization “Bene Tsiyon” (Children of Zion).  Sent by this organization, he made a professional voyage through the major Jewish communities in Russia.  He was such a big success in Odessa that Moshe-Leib Lilienblum, Aḥad-Haam, and Dr. Leo Pinsker proposed to him that he completely leave his teaching position and take up professional campaigning for the movement.  Maslyanski accepted the suggestion and undertook a speaking tour through southern Russian, Lithuania, Zamut, Courland, Bialystok, Warsaw, and Lodz, where he was arrested by the Tsarist gendarmerie, but the rabbi of Lodz, R. Elye-Khayim Mayzel, interceded on his behalf, and he was set free.  In 1895 he left Russia.  He traveled to Western European communities, spoke in Königsberg, Memel, Berlin, Rotterdam, London, Leeds, Manchester, Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Paris, and then set off for the United States.  His name so far preceded him in America that, when he went to give his first sermon at the Bet Midrash Hagadol in New York, he encountered in the surrounding streets such an immense crowd that the police had to carry him into the synagogue by hand.  A little later, he worked out a plan to strengthen Judaism in America which he presented to the Educational Alliance on New York’s East Side.  His program consisted of: “Americanize the older among the Jewish immigrants and enhance the Jewishness of their children.”  Jacob Schiff and Louis Marshall came to the East Side to hear him make his case.  Maslyanski’s program struck a chord with them, and from 1898 he was employed as a speaker for the Educational Alliance, where he would for decades on Friday evenings give his sermons.  He was the “national preacher” in America as well.  He began writing while in Russia, in 1881, for Haboker or (Morning’s light), edited by A. B. Gotlober, Hamelits (The spectator), and Hatsfira (The times).  With the assistance of Louis Marshall, Friedrich Stein, and Cyrus Sulzberger, in 1902 he founded the major daily newspaper in Yiddish and English, Di idishe velt (The Jewish world), with M. Bukanski as the editor of the Yiddish division and Joseph Jacobs of the English.  After two and one-half years, the newspaper had to close down because of disputes with his Westernized Jewish partners.  Maslyanski also contributed to in New York to Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal).  In book form, he published: Maslyanskis droshes fir shabosim un yamim-toyvim (Maslyanski’s sermons for Sabbaths and holidays) (New York, 1908-1909), 3 vols., appearing later in various editions, and in an English translation by Edward Herbert as Sermons (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1926), 345 pp.; Moyshe veyisroel, eyne fun di fortrege fun dem ṿelt-berihmten folks redner (Moses and Israel, one of the sermons of the world-famous speaker) (New York, 1899), 30 pp., with an introductory poem in Hebrew by Yitsḥak Rabinovits of Kovno.  On Maslyanski’s talent and impact, there was published the booklet Hayitshari (The determined one), published by his adherents Moyshe Zablotski and Yoysef Mazel (Manchester, 1895), 71 pp., including a biographical sketch of Maslyanski, written by Zablotski, and a series of letters, poems, and florid language to his honor, concerning which the Hebrew press had earlier made known; among other personalities: R. Isaac Elchanan, R. Shmuel Mohilever, Yitskhok-Yankev Vaysberg, Y. L. Gamzu, and others.  He made a trip to the land of Israel in 1921, and his impressions were published in Morgn-zhurnal.  In 1924 he published Maslyanskis zikhroynes, fertsig yor lebn un kamfn (Maslyanski’s memoirs, forty years of life and struggles) (New York), 365 pp., which began with childhood and ended with his notes (in the form of a diary) of his trip to Israel.  This volume included a preface, in the form of a letter, by Ruvn Brainin.  He also published three volumes in Hebrew, Kitve maslyanski (Maslyanski’s writings) (New York, 1929), vol. 1, 335 pp., vol. 2, 306 pp., vol. 3, 298 pp.  He died in Brooklyn.  Thousands of Jews attended his funeral.  The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York established a fund on the centenary of his birth: “Zvi Hirsch Masliansky Award in Homiletics.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Bentsiyon Ayzenshtat, Dor rabanav vesofrav (Generation of rabbis and writers), vol. 5 (New York, 1903); M. Ribalov, Sefer hamasot (Book of essays) (New York, 1928), pp. 238-40; Ribalov, in Hadoar (New York) (June 15, 1943); M. Dantsig, in Tog (New York) (May 24, 1931); D. Eydelsberg, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 19, 1931); A. Oyerbakh, in Morgn-zhurnal (May 26, 1931); D. Daniel and Sh. Shpayzhendler, in Hadoar (May 10, 1935); Y. D. Ayzenshteyn, Otsar yisrael (Treasury of Israel) (Berlin, 1935); Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1940); Niger, in Toyznt yor pinsk (1000 years of Pinsk), ed. Dr. B. Hofman-Tsvien (New York, 1941), pp. 328-30; A. R. Malachi, in Hadoar (January 15, 1943); Miriam Shamer-Tsunzer, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 33 (1943); Dr. M. Reyzin, in Tsukunft (January 1945); L. Shpizman, in Geshikhte fun der tsienistisher arbeter-bavegung fun tsofn-amerike (History of the Zionist labor movement in North America), vols. 1 and 2 (New York, 1955), see index; Y. Tsuzmer, Beikve hador (In the footprints of a generation) (New York, 1957), p. 145; Kh. R. Rabinovits, in Sefer hayovel shel hadoar (Anniversary volume for Hadoar) (New York, 1957), pp. 248-51; A. Tsaytlin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (August 2, 1957); D. Pirski, in Hadoar (Kislev 20 [= December 9], 1960); Pinkas slutsk uvenoteha (Records of Slutsk and its children) (New York-Tel Aviv, 1961/1962), pp. 25, 101-3, 138, 308; obituary notices in the Jewish press; Y. Ḥ. Loyntal, in Hadoar (Iyar 16 [= May 10], 1963); Who’s Who in American Jewry, vol. 3 (New York, 1938-1939); Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7 (New York, 1942); Lucy Dawidowicz, in Jewish Social Studies (New York) (April 1963).
Zaynvil Diamant

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


YOYEL MASTBOYM (JOEL MASTBAUM) (February 27, 1884-April 3, 1957)
            He was born in Mezritsh (Międzyrzecz), Shedlets (Siedlce) district, Poland.  He received a Jewish education fit for a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and something of a general education as well.  While still quite young, his family settled in Siedlce.  At age fifteen he became a house painter.  In the stormy years of 1904-1905, he joined the revolutionary movement under the influence of his older brother Yudl who was active in the PPS (Polish Socialist Party [Polska Partia Socjalistyczna]), was arrested by the Tsarist authorities, and was exiled to Siberia where he died.  He later depicted the revolutionary movement in his novel Fun roytn lebn (From the red life).  At that time he began to write.  He then went with his writings in hand to Warsaw to visit Y. L. Perets, but his written work did not find favor with Perets.  Tsvi Prilucki, the editor of Der veg (The way), the first Yiddish daily newspaper in Warsaw, published Mastboym’s sketch “Yirakhmielke dem shoykhets” (Yirakhmielke, the ritual slaughterer’s son) on the recommendation of his son Noyekh Prilucki.  The writers Hillel Tsaytlin and Dovid Frishman befriended him, and Frishman himself translated and published Mastboym’s work in Reshafim (Sparks) and Haboker (This morning)—both in Warsaw.  At that time, Mastboym wrote a great deal and published his stories and sketches in a variety of newspapers and anthologies, among them: Unzer lebn (Our life), Moment (Moment), Goldene funken (Golden sparks) edited by Prilucki, Yidishe yugend (Jewish youth) edited by Dr. A. Mukdoni, and Fraye teg (Free days) in 1911, among others—all in Warsaw.  His first collection appeared in 1912: Skitsen un bilder (Sketches and images) (Warsaw: Velt-biblyotek), 75 pp.  That same year he also published his first novel: Fun roytn lebn (Warsaw: Di tsayt, 1912), 171 pp., second edition (1921).  At that time he was closest to the young writers who assembled around Dovid Frishman.  During WWI he published in various newspapers in Poland stories and impressions from the war and German occupation.  His dramatic poem in one act, Ohn a melodye (Without a melody), appeared in 1917 (Warsaw: Gitlin), 28 pp., in which the author—inspired by Vispyanski’s Khasene (Wedding) and Perets’s Baynakht afn altn mark (Nightime in the old market)—attempted in a symbolic manner to express the emotional standing of Jews who were stunned by events in the war.  As early as 1912 he brought out a collection entitled Poylens klangen (Sounds of Poland) (Warsaw), 150 pp., published later in a second edition under the title Fun poyln (From Poland) (Warsaw: Di tsayt, 1920), 154 pp.—with contributions from: A. M. Vaysenberg, Fishl Bimko, Shiye Perle, Avrom Zak, Uri-Tsvi Grinberg, Yisroel Shtern, and others.  In this collection, Matsboym himself penned: “Shtet un shtetlekh” (Cities and towns), from a trip through Siedlce, Kalish (Kalisz), Sieradz, Vlotslavek (Włocławek), Lask (Łask), Fabianice, Plotsk-Mazovyetsk, Old Gombin (Gąbin), and both new and old Lodz, among other sites, as well as characterizations of the musicians and artists: Khanekh Glitsenshteyn, Dovid Herman, B. Benson, M. Shneur, Leo Lyav, and M. Kipnis, and a speech of his, “Di yidishe froy in poyln” (The Jewish woman in Poland).  Over the years 1919-1922, he spent time in London with his sister Basheve.  He became acquainted there with the life of Jews in England and described his impressions in Moment and Ilustrirte vokh (Illustrated week) in Warsaw.  In London he contributed to the daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times), edited by Morris Meyer.  After returning to Poland, he published writings in: Hayom (Today), Moment, Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), Lodzer folksblat (Lodz people’s newspaper), Nasz Przegląd (Our overview), Nowy dziennik (New daily), Chwila (Moment), Bikher-velt (Book world), and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), among others.  In those years Mastboym was associated with the Labor Zionists, and he gave speeches on their behalf in the Polish provinces.  In the company of locals from town organizations, he especially enjoyed making a big hit among the town youths.  He published in that time period the following books: In der fremd un andere dertseylungen (Abroad and other stories) (Warsaw, 1920), 164 pp.; Dos mazldike fishele (The lucky little fish) (Warsaw, 1921), 17 pp.; Maritas glik, dray doyres, roman (Marita’s happiness, three generations, a novel) (Warsaw, 1923), 441 pp., third edition (1926); Nokhumkes vanderungen (Nokhumke’s wanderings) (Warsaw, 1925), 243 pp.—this novel begins in a Polish town and ends in Buenos Aires; Salamandra (Salamandra), on the life of the Jewish glassworks owner and his workers (Warsaw, 1926), 163 pp.; Naye mentshn, roman (New people, a novel), about pioneer life in Poland (Warsaw, 1926), 181 pp.; Galitsye, varshe (Galicia, Warsaw) (Warsaw, 1929), 187 pp.; Di lukhes fun a tsigayner (The tablets of a Gypsy) (Warsaw, 1932), 197 pp., second edition (Warsaw, 1933).  That year (1933) Mastboym made aliya to the land of Israel, where his works were translated into Hebrew and published in Davar (Word) and Haolam (The world).  The first volume of his autobiographical writings, entitled Mayne shturmishe yorn (My stormy years), was published in Buenos Aires in 1950 (171 pp.).
            In the summer of 1939, Mastboym paid a visit to his relatives in Poland, and there he was caught by the outbreak of WWII.  He was forced to remain for a short time under the Nazi occupation, though he succeeded in escaping from Poland, and he made his way back to Israel.  He wrote up these experiences of his in the Hebrew press.  They were later published in book form under the title Sheshim yom bepolin shel hitler (Sixty days in Hitler’s Poland) (Tel Aviv: Davar, 1940), 133 pp.  In 1951 a local committee was established in the state of Israel to celebrate Mastboym’s fifty years of literary activity and to publish his works in Hebrew.  In Hebrew he published: Bamapakha, roman erets-yisrael beshelosha ḥalakim (In the furnace, a novel of the land of Israel in three parts) (Tel Aviv, 1935); Darka shel marita, roman (Marita’s way, a novel) (Tel Aviv: Masada, 1941), 204 pp.; Ḥalil hatsoanim (The Gypsies’ flute) (Tel Aviv, 1935), 214 pp.; Varsha 1939, sefer hazikaron (Warsaw, 1939, a remembrance volume) (Tel Aviv, 1940/1941), 220 pp.; Haḥayim haadumim (The red life) (Tel Aviv, 1941/1942).  His work Der koyekh fun der erd (The power of the land), brought out by the jubilee committee (London, 1951), 293 pp., was also published in a Hebrew translation by Yaalov Eliav as Koaḥ haadama (Tel Aviv: Yavne, 1950).  This was the first volume of his Israel trilogy which reflected the years 1933-1948.  He also wrote a volume of memoirs about past Jewish life in Warsaw, in which Jewish literary life occupies a special place, initially published serially in Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv, and in Di idishe shtime (The Jewish voice) in London, under the title Afn leyter (On the ladder) and later in a Hebrew translation by Elyahu Maytus as Al hasulam, pirke ḥayai hasoarim (On the ladder, chapters from a difficult life) (Tel Aviv, 1954/1955), 368 pp.  Considered a writer who brought so much to literature, the World Jewish Congress decided to present him with an award for his contributions to Jewish culture.  The date of bestowing the honor was set as April 23, 1957, but he did not live to see it.  He died in Tel Aviv.  “Mastboym is an original phenomenon,” wrote Zalmen Reyzen, “in Yiddish literature.  Careless and confused in form, with a remarkable incapacity sometimes literally for inaccurate and corrupted style, often unable to control the materials with which he is dealing, yet he has his own tone, a deeply original and quaint one, fresh and alive, alien to every literary influence, which gives his work its distinctive charm.  Highly musical, as Mastboym has a fine ear for the dark world of sounds, images, smells, and colors, and in his entire maladroitness, in the wild mixture of naïve childishness and sophisticated modernity, there pulses a real or long dreamt of life, expressed in a many-colored mosaic of memoirs, experiences, dreams, and visions.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 1039-40; Shmuel Niger, in Dray doyres (Three generations) (Warsaw, 1920), pp. 262-73; Niger, in Di tsukunft (New York) (June 1921; May 1924); Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937), pp. 336-37; Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945), pp. 126-30, vol. 3 (Montreal, 1948), pp. 254-55; Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946), p. 93; N. Mayzil, Tsvishn khurbn un oyboy (Between destruction and construction) (New York, 1947), pp. 215-16; Mayzil, Noente un eygene, fun yankev dinezon biz hirsh glik (Near and one’s own, Yankev Dinezon and Hirsch Glick) (New York, 1957), pp. 125, 285; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), pp. 161, 205; Shlomo Shreberk, Zikhronot hamotsi laor (Memoirs of a publisher) (Tel Aviv, 1954/1955), pp. 156-57; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), pp. 200-17; Fuks, Arbeter-vort (Paris) (July 7, 1952); Fuks, in Folk un velt (New York) (June 1957); N. Grinblat, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 8 (1951); Grinblat, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (March 20, 1953); Y. Kaspi, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 36 (1952), pp. 361-62; Kaspi, in Sefer yizkor lekehilat shedlets (Remembrance volume for the community of Shedlets [Siedlce]) (Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires, 1956), p. 280; Kaspi, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (March 1958); G. Vaysman, in Di tsukunft (October 1953); Vaysman, in Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (June-July 1957); A. Maytus, in Letste nayes (January 9, 1953); Maytus, in Di tsukunft (October 1957); A. Zak, in Di idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (July 12, 1953); Zak, , In onhoyb fun a friling (At the beginning of a spring) (Buenos Aires, 1962), see index; E. Almi, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (March 1957); Almi, in Letste nayes (May 17, 1957); Almi, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (March 15, 1958); Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (April 17, 1957); Y. Shpigl, in Di goldene keyt 28 (1957); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 12, 1957); D. Naymark, in Forverts (New York) (April 28, 1957); A. Lis, Heym un doyer, vegn shrayber un verk (Home and duration, on writers and work) (Tel Aviv: Y. L. Perets Library, 1960), pp. 66-70; Avraham Shaanan, Milon hasifrut haḥadasha (Dictionary of modern literature) (Tel Aviv, 1959), col. 492; Dov Sadan, Avne zikaron (Milestones) (Tel Aviv, 1961/1962), pp. 148-51; Mortkhe Khalamish-Flint, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 9, 1962); A. A. Roback, The Story of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1940), p. 243; Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7 (New York).
Zaynvl Diamant

Monday, 24 July 2017


            The sister of Yoyel Mastboym, she was born in Mezritsh (Międzyrzecz) or possibly Shedlets (Siedlce), Poland.  Under the influence of her older brother, Yudl, she joined the revolutionary movement when quite young and was active in the Polish Socialist Party (PPS [Polska Partia Socjalistyczna]).  In 1912 she made her way to London.  She published poetry and stories in a variety of Yiddish-language newspapers and periodicals, among them: the monthly Yugend-shtrahlen (Youth beams [of light]) in 1915; Dos naye leben (The new life), an anthology, in London (1916); and the daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times), edited by Morris Meyer—all in London.  In book form, she brought out a poetry collection: Durkh zun un volkn (Through sun and cloud) (Warsaw: P. Braubard, 1923), 35 pp., which included several short stories as well.  In the later 1920s she became ill and was brought to a London institution for the incurable.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, under the biography of Yoyel Mastboym; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 1039-40; information from Y. Fishman and Y. Leftwich.
Zaynvl Diamant


LEYVI-YITSKHOK MAS (MASH) (1877-July 31, 1929)
            He was born in Podolia.  He studied with itinerant elementary school teachers and later secular subject matter in Odessa with private tutors.  In his youth he was enthralled by the revolutionary movement, and was a Labor Zionist, a Zionist Socialist, and a Bundist.  In 1902 he was arrested in Pinsk and thrown in prison.  In 1905 he moved to Argentina, had a furniture business in Avellaneda, a suburb of Buenos Aires, and at the same time published stories and articles in: the weekly Unzer vort (The word) in 1913; the monthly Der avangard (The avant-garde) in 1915; and Der tog (The day) in 1914-1915; among others.  Over the years 1915-1922, together with Mortkhe Stolyar, he co-edited the daily Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, in which, aside from articles, he published (under the pen name Shevna) short stories and impressions.  He was sent as a delegate of the Buenos Aires Jewish community in 1921 to the conference on Jewish emigration in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  He took the occasion to visit Warsaw and other Polish Jewish centers.  After returning to Argentina, he resigned from the newspaper and settled in a Jewish colony.  His poetry and prose work were published in: the anthology Af di bregn fun plata (On the banks of the Plata) (1919); the monthly Argentine (Argentina); Di idishe handls-vokh (The Jewish business weekly) in 1925, edited by B. Olshanski and B. Shekhter; Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (1944), pp. 344-60; and the jubilee publications of Di idishe tsaytung—all in Buenos Aires.  In 1929 he paid a visit to Buenos Aires from the colony, suddenly fell ill, and a short time later died.  “L. Mas was not only a talented writer and journalist,” wrote M. Regalski, “but he was also a concerted man of the community; with his straightforward, pure pen, he served the community and was the educator of the still young and unconsolidated Jewish community.”  To honor his memory, there was established in the Buenos Aires Jewish hospital a library in his name.  On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death, the H. D. Nomberg Jewish Writers’ Association attached a separate tablet to his headstone.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Y. Botoshanski, in the anthology Argentine (Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1938), pp. 72, 74, 75, 85; Botoshanski, in Yorbukh tsht”v fun der yidisher kehile in buenos ayres (Yearbook for 1954/1955 of the Jewish community of Buenos Aires), pp. 228-29; Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentine (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), pp. 73, 95, 96, 97, 150, 181; Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), pp. 455-60 (see also the bibliographic listing there on p. 921); P. Kats, Geklibene shriftn (Selected works), vol. 7 (Buenos Aires, 1947), pp. 45-47; M. Regalski, in Yorbukh tsht”v fun der yidisher kehile in buenos ayres, pp. 45-47; Regalski, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (July 23, 1954).
Zaynvl Diamant

Sunday, 23 July 2017


LEYZER MONFRID (LAZARUS MONFRIED) (August 1885-October 14, 1955)
            He was born in Shadove (Šeduva), Kovno district, Lithuania.  At eight years of age he began studying to play the fiddle with a town musical group, later with a teacher in Shavel (Šiauliai), where he also studied Jewish subject matter.  At fifteen he went to Warsaw and studied there at the conservatory.  The editor of Der yud (The Jew), Dr. Yoysef Lurye, introduced him to Avrom Reyzen, and he began to publish poetry in Der yud, Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper), Der fraynd (The friend), Der tog (The day), and Epelberg’s Yontef bleter (Holiday sheets) which he later, around 1903, began publishing himself.  In 1901 he completed his first composition, text and music for the poem Tsiens fon (Banner of Zion).  For a time he was also active as a director in the Warsaw choral school, “Shaare tsiyon” (Gates of Zion), and in a singing group which later was transformed into the well-known “Hazemir” (The nightingale).  After the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, he emigrated to join his father in South Africa, where he published in the Yiddish periodicals: Hakokhav (The star), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), and Der afrikaner (The African), and he also wrote correspondence pieces for European and American newspapers.  Together with his parents and siblings, in 1907 he moved to the United States.  For a time he was a frequent contributor to Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) and other periodicals, in which he published poetry, stories, feature pieces, and journalistic articles.  He also wrote in English.  He edited: the weekly Der lets (The clown) in New York (1908); the weekly Di idishe shtime (The Jewish voice) in Cincinnati (1911); Idishe drama un familyen-zhurnal (Jewish drama and family magazine) in New York (1913); Di muzikalishe velt un teater-zhurnal (The musical world and theater journal) in New York (1923); and Der idishe familyen-zhurnal (The Jewish family journal), “monthly publication in Yiddish and English for the entire family,” in New York (1941-1942).  During WWII he dedicated a prayer to the American armed forces: Servicemen’s Prayer, which Congress authorized to be published in the Congressional Record (Washington, D.C.) (April 1945).  In book form: Freylikhkeytn, perl fun humor un satire (Cheers, pearls of humor and satire) (New York, 1944), 160 pp.; Unter eyn dakh (Under one roof), in five parts (poetry, stories, journalism, drama, and music set to certain poems) (New York, 1949), 35 pp.; Zayt ir balibt tsvishn mentshn (Are you loved among people) (New York, 1960), 67 pp., also published in English as: Ten Steps to Social Success: Ten Spiritual Faults, from Which People Suffer Socially (New York, 1950), 72 pp.  He also authored the plays: In letsten shturm (In the last storm), in four acts; and Got fun muzik (God of music), in three acts.  He was an active member of the Jewish National Labor Alliance.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Avrom Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), part 2 (Vilna, 1929), pp. 137-38; L. Feldman, Yidn in dorem-afrike (Jews in South Africa) (Johannesburg-Vilna, 1937); E. Almi, preface to Monfrid, Unter eyn dakh (Under one roof) (New York, 1949), pp. 5-10; Sh. Slutski, Avrom Reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 5237;Sh. Tenenboym, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (September 3, 1960).
Benyomen Elis