Sunday, 22 May 2016

MORTKHE (MARK) VAYNSHTEYN

MORTKHE (MARK) VAYNSHTEYN (b. 1838)
            He was born in the district of Plotsk (Płock), Poland.  He received a traditional Jewish education, later becoming a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment.  He lived in Warsaw, Odessa, and at the end of his life in Vilna.  He worked as a private tutor of Hebrew and Polish.  In Odessa and Vilna, he belonged to “Ḥoveve Tsiyon” (Lovers of Zion).  He was the author of a pamphlet, Der poylisher yungerman (The Polish young man), which included: (1) “Experiences from my youth, how a Polish young man grows up”; (2) “A sad story of a girl”; (3) “A conversation between a German and Hassid” (Odessa, 1870), 28 pp.  He also authored storybooks: Der papst elkhonen (Pope Elkhonen); Yenkele yakhats (Yenkele Yakhats); Baron fon brod (Baron von Brod), “a protracted tale as he is transformed into the sixth millennium”—all (Vilna, 1872) 32 pp.  From Russian he translated N. Pruzhanski’s Di generalshe (The general’s wife), “a moving, interesting story.”  During the First Zionist Congress, he wrote a series of poems on Zionist and general national themes, some of which were included in his volume of Yiddish poetry Shire shem (Vilna, 1901), 58 pp., published under the pen name “Shimi Even.”  Among the poems are: “Mayn brokhe tsu der asife” (My prayer at the meeting) (for the Zionist Congress in Basel) and translations from Yehuda Halevi’s “Tsiyon halo tishali” (Zion, do you wonder) and of Lord Byron’s Hebrew Melodies.  He died, it would appear, in Vilna at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Archival materials from the city library (New York).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


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