Friday, 23 September 2016


LEYBL KHAIN (CHAIN-SHIMONI) (1900-July 10, 1974)
            He was born Shimen-Ruvn Vorobaytshik in Suvalk (Suwałki), not far from the German-Lithuanian border.  From his youth he was an active leader in the left Labor Zionists in Poland and Lithuania.  From 1925 he was living in Israel.  He was one of the most active labor leaders and directors of the left Labor Zionist Aḥdut haavoda (Union of labor) in Haifa.  He was a cofounder of the Jewish Writers’ Union and played an important role in the struggle for Yiddish in Israel before the founding of the state.  He was for many years a member of the labor council and city council of Haifa.  In 1937 he visited Europe on assignment for his party.  He joined Hagana in the defensive war of 1948.  In 1954 he visited North and South America on assignment for the Israeli Federation of Labor.  He debuted in print in Fraye yugnt (Free youth) in Warsaw with reportage and correspondence pieces on the lives of Jewish laborers.  In subsequent years, he contributed work to: Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw; Folks-blat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno; Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; and in Israel: Onheyb (Beginning) in Jerusalem (August 1928), Nay-velt (New world) of which he was also co-editor, Erets-yisroel shriftn (Land of Israel writings) (1937, co-editor), Undzers (Ours) in Tel Aviv, Di brik (The bridge) in Tel Aviv (May 1931-May 1938), Ḥefah (Haifa) in Haifa, Shtamen (Roots) in Tel Aviv, Naye shtamen (New roots) in Tel Aviv, Di profesyonele velt (The trade union world), Di velt (The world) in Tel Aviv, Undzer shtime (Our voice) in Tel Aviv, Arbeter-kemfer (Worker-fighter) in Tel Aviv, Undzer vort (Our word) in Tel Aviv, Unzer veg (Our way), Af der vakh (On guard), Gegn shtrom (Against the current), Frayer gedank (Free thought), Di fon (The banner), Mitn ponem tsu der virklekhkeyt (Facing reality), Yisroel-shtime (Voice of Israel) in Tel Aviv, Dos profesyonele lebn (The trade union life), and Perets-bleter (Perets pages) in Haifa (also its editor), among others.  In Hebrew: Lamerḥav (To space), Davar (Word), Darkenu (Our way), Beshaa zo (This hour), and Haloḥem (The fighter), among others—all in Tel Aviv.  In Yidishe arbeter-pinkes (Jewish labor record) (Warsaw, 1927), he published his essay, “Di poyle-tsien in lite, 1916-1920” (The Labor Zionists in Lithuania, 1916-1920), an important contribution to party history.  In Zamlbukh lite (Lithuania anthology) (New York, 1951), pp. 251-72, he published “Di yidishe natsyonale farzamlung in lite” (The national Jewish assembly of Lithuania).  He also  brought out in book form: Barg aroyf, dertseylungen funem nayem yisroel-lebn (Uphill, stories from the new life in Israel) (Buenos Aires, 1952), 172 pp.; Tog-ayn-tog-oys, roman fun erets-yisroeldikn lebn un kamf (Day in, day out, a novel of life and struggle in Israel) (Buenos Aires, 1954), 206 pp., earlier published serially in Folks-blat (Kovno, 1934); Untervegs (On the road), stories, sketches, and images (Buenos Aires, 1956), 311 pp., for which he was awarded the Tsvi Kessel Prize (Mexico City, 1957); Nekhtn (Yesterday), memoirs (Buenos Aires, 1959), 445 pp.; Gang, erets-yisroel, medines yisroel, amkho yisroel (The way: the land of Israel, the state of Israel, the people of Israel) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), 251 pp.; Batsolt, dertseylungen (Paid, stories) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1966), 256 pp.; Ongeglite erd, dertseylungen (Burning soil, stories) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1970), 337 pp.; In tigl, roman fun yisroel-lebn (In the crucible, a novel of life in Israel) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1974), 271 pp.  In his fictional writings, Khain expressed the mood and the problems of life in Israel, especially the ties between Ashkenazim and Sefardim, as well as the experiences of a young pioneer and Hagana fighter, both in the years of struggle and after the rise of the Jewish state.  He wrote also under such pen names as: L. Shimoni, L. Litvak, Aba Gutes, Sh. Ben-Aharon, and Ruvn.  He died in Haifa.

Sources: Yidishe arbeter-pinkes (Jewish labor record) (Warsaw, 1927), see index; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Naye shtamen (Tel Aviv) (1928); Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (January 28-29, 1935); N. Sapozhnikov, in Der holts-industryal (Buenos Aires) (1954), pp. 217, 226, 253, 254; Y. Freylikh, in Unzer veg (New York) (March 1955); M. Shenderay, in Di yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (January 23, 1956); A. A. Fisher, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (March 9, 1956); Y. Paner, in Heymish (Tel Aviv) (June 1956); Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 28, 1957); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Unzer veg (December 1957); M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), p. 476; Y. Ts. Sharger, in Yisroel-shtime (Tel Aviv) (December 31, 1959); P. Shteynvaks, in Der amerikaner (New York) (February 12, 1960).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 272.]

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