URIEL VAYNRAYKH (WEINREICH) (May 23, 1926-March 20, 1967)
He was born in Vilna, son of Dr. Maks Vaynraykh (Max Weinreich) and Regine Shabad. He studied in a Jewish public school and a Jewish senior high school in Vilna. In 1940 he came to the United States. He continued his Yiddish studies in the Sholem-Aleichem Schools in New York, graduated high school, and afterward completed Columbia College in 1948. He served in the American army, 1944-1946. He was a research student at YIVO, 1947-1948, and contributed to the journal Yugnt-ruf (Voice of youth)—formerly, Ilpik [acronym for “Y. L. Perets Yugntklub”]—published by the latter (Y. L. Perets youth club) in Philadelphia. He studied in Zurich, Switzerland, 1949-1950. In 1950 he received his doctoral degree from Columbia University in general and comparative linguistics. From 1944 he was contributing to Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) and Yidishe shprakh (Yiddish language) in New York, in which he published works on linguistics and folklore. Over the years 1950-1951, he was co-editor of the English-language journal, Problems of Communism, published by the International Information Administration in the Department of State of the United States government. He contributed to Bleter far dertsiung (Pages for education), to the linguistics journal Word (which he co-edited from 1953), to Language, and to American Speech, in which he wrote about Yiddish and general language research. He was a contributor and the editor of The Field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish Language, Folklore, and Literature, published by the Linguistic Circle of New York on the “occasion of the bicentennial of Columbia University” (New York, 1954), 317 pp. From 1952 he was an instructor and from 1953 assistant professor of Yiddish language, literature, and culture in the name of Z. Atran at Columbia University. He was also a member of the linguistics circle at YIVO in New York from 1953. From 1954 on, he served as a consultant for Yiddish in the world language dictionary of the Encyclopedia Britannica and a member of the scholarly collegium of YIVO. He co-edited the journal Yidisher folklor (Yiddish folklore), a publication of the “Y. L. Cohen Folklore Club” at YIVO. He was the author of College Yiddish (in English and Yiddish), a textbook for Yiddish for adults, with a preface by Professor Roman Jakobson (New York: YIVO, 1949), 397 pp., second improved edition (1953), 399 pp.; Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems, a book concerned with bilingualism and how each of the languages influences the other, with considerable Yiddish illustrative material and with a preface by Professor André Martinet (New York, Linguistic Circle of New York, 1953), 148 pp. Together with his wife, Bine (Bina, Beatrice), he compiled Say It in Yiddish, with over 1,000 English phrases in Yiddish for travelers (New York: Dover, 1958), 183 pp., and Yiddish Language and Folklore: A Selective Bibliography for Research (The Hague: Mouton, 1959), 66 pp. In 1956 he gave lectures in English and Yiddish at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was one of main initiators and organizers of the Conference for Yiddish Research, which took place in New York, April 7-10, 1958. In the 1959-1960 academic year, he offered two courses (in Yiddish and in English) at Hebrew University. At the same time, he worked there as a Guggenheim scholar on a Yiddish language and cultural atlas. He was the compiler of: Modern English-Yiddish Yiddish-English Dictionary (New York: YIVO, 1968), 789 pp., second edition (1977). He died in New York.
Sources: Kh. Gininger, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 33 (1949), pp. 204-11; Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (November 1955); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (March 27, 1955; December 21, 1958); Shmuel Niger, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (March 28, 1955); A. Leyeles, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (April 6, 1957); Y. Shmulevitsh, in Forverts (April 5, 1958); Dr. M. Shekhter, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 33 (1959); Who Is Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 240.]