Wednesday, 6 January 2016


YEHOYNESON HALPERN (April 1877-July 15, 1918)
            He was born in Zharki (Żarki), Petrikov district, Poland.  He drew his lineage from Yehonatan Eybeshits (Jonathan Eybeschütz).  He studied in religious primary schools and yeshivas until age eighteen and earned the reputation of a child prodigy.  He only began to concern himself with secular education after marrying.  He studied natural science, mathematics, and foreign languages.  He subsequently became a merchant in Jędrzejów, Kielce district, Poland.  Beginning in 1908, he wrote poetry, short stories, and, principally, dramas.  Two of his plays were published in 1913: Sheyndele in three acts; and Muter un zun (Mother and son), a one-act play—both by the press of A. Gitlin in Warsaw.  At the time these plays came to the attention of Yiddish critics and were staged by amateur circles.  Among his unpublished writings were: Der alter dikhter (The old poet), a dramatic poem in three acts; Keyn veg tsurik (No road back), a drama in two acts (translated into German by Paul Barkin); Untergehakte fliglen (Cut wings), a drama in four acts; Familye bromberg (The family Bromberg), a drama in three acts; Der geferlekher retsept (The dangerous recipe), a comedy in one act; Purim-shpiler (Purim players), a children’s comedy in three acts.  His one-act play Muter un zun was published in Cincinnati in 1923 in an English translation by Etta Block.  He also left a volume of poetry, a volume of poetry in prose, and a volume of tales.  He died in Jędrzejów.  His archive was left in the hands of his son, Dr. Yekhiel Halpern in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1 (with a bibliography).

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