Thursday, 26 February 2015

MOYSHE-LEYZER BELINSON (BEYLINSON, BEILINSON)

MOYSHE-LEYZER BELINSON (BEYLINSON, BEILINSON) (ca. 1835-February 8, 1908)
     He was born in Odessa.  During the Crimean War, he started up a correspondence at age twenty with figures in the Vilna Jewish Enlightenment movement concerning the publication of a Hebrew newspaper for Jews in Russia.  He also turned to L. Philippson, the editor of the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (General encyclopedia of Judaism).  He published the entire correspondence subsequently in the anthology Ale hadas (On the myrtle) in four volumes (Odessa, 1865).  As the owner of a publishing house in Odessa, in May 1871 he assumed publication of Kol mevaser (The herald).  Following a conflict with the editor of this journal, Moyshe-Leyb Lilienblum, he took over the editorship of this weekly.  He published there a number of articles, also using the pseudonym MEB”N.  A short time later, the journal went under.  In addition to a series of works that he wrote in Hebrew, he translated into Yiddish Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Judas Maccabaeus as Gibures yehuda makabi, oder nes khanike, khanike shpil, a drame in finf akten (The hero Judah Maccabee or the miracle of Hanukkah, a Hanukkah play, a drama in five acts).  He translated it from a Russian translation (Odessa, 1882).  He also adapted into Yiddish “Layesharim tehila” (In praise of uprightness) by Moshe-Ḥayim Luzzatto (Odessa, 1867), 72 pp., and Gerush shpanya (Expulsion from Spain), a novel by L. Philippson (Warsaw, 1888).  He also published Fremd-verter-bukh (Dictionary of foreign words): “to explain and to translate alien words that are used in the German and Russian languages, and also in the contemporary Yiddish (Zhargon) tongue….  A necessary handbook for all classes of people, and for those who mainly use the old Yiddish mother tongue” (from the first volume, Odessa, 1887, 33 pp.).  In 1884 he published a pamphlet in Yiddish entitled Bas-kol (Heavenly voice), in which he called on the public to manifest a greater interest in community questions.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; A. A. Robak, “Hundert yor yidishe literatur” (A century of Yiddish literature), in Yoyvl-bukh fun keneder odler (Jubilee volume for Keneder odler) (Montreal, 1932); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1.


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