Sunday, 22 May 2016

YOYSEF BAR YITSKHOK VAYNSHTEYN

YOYSEF BAR YITSKHOK VAYNSHTEYN (b. ca. 1828)
            He was born in Berdichev, Ukraine.  He studied in religious primary school, yeshiva, and later graduated from a Russian high school.  For a time he lived in Odessa where he worked as a teacher.  In 1869 he was a teacher in a private pension for boys in Berdichev.  He led a fight against the elite of the local Jewish community with his poetry and treatises which he published under the pseudonyms “Y. V. Sh.” and “Yoysef bar Yitskhok.”  He also contributed to Kol mevaser (Herald) from 1862 to 1867, in which he published such social poems as: “Dos gildene kalb” (The golden calf), “Der oriman” (The poor man), “Hakl-bakl” (All together), “Dos farblonzhete kind” (The lost child), “Dos feygele” (The little bird), and a series of translations from Ivan Krylov’s fables.  He placed work as well in: Haboker or (Good morning), Hamelits (The advocate), and Hamagid (The preacher), among others.  According certain assumptions, Vaynshteyn would have been the author of the Enlightenment pamphlet: Alt un nay oder dor hoylekh vedor bo (Old and new, or past and present) (Odessa, 1867), 3 pp. and 52 pp., with a preface and “a word to the readers of their old acquaintance, A. B. Gotlober.”  In this work, written under Gotlober’s influence, he defended the tendencies of Russification as a means for the education of the Jewish masses and perforce their equal rights.

Sources: Alexander Tsederboym (Zederbaum), Di geheymnise fun berditshuv, a karakter shilderung der dortigen yudishn gemeynde (The secrets of Berdichev, a character description of the local Jewish community) (Warsaw, 1867), p. 53; N. Shtif, Di eltere yidishe literatur (The older Yiddish literature) (Kiev, 1929), pp. 193-94; Zalmen Reyzen, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) (November-December 1938), p. 593.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


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