YUDE-LEYB KHIDEKEL (GIDEKEL) (1888-September 13, 1978)
He was born in Sharkovshtshizne (Šarkaŭščyna, Sharkovshchina), Vilna district, Lithuania. He studied in religious primary school, as well as in the Vilna, Lubavitch, and Polotsk yeshivas, and with private tutors. He later graduated from a government school for music in Nikolaev. From 1908 he was living in Argentina. He was a founder, teacher, and leader of the first Yiddish-Hebrew school in Rosario, the Jewish conservatory in Buenos Aires, and various government institutions. He was secretary-general of the local Mizrachi organization. He was for a time the director of the Jewish National Fund in Buenos Aires and treasurer of the local Zionist committee. He began his literary activities with articles in the weekly newspaper Der veker (The alarm) in Rosario (1909), which he brought out together with Mikhl Hakohen Sinai and Yitskhok Drapkin (published in the first Yiddish printing house in the Argentinian provinces, which he had established); he later published in Di yidishe velt (The Jewish world) in Buenos Aires (1925). From 1926 he was a contributor to Di yidishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, in which he published his writings on Jewish music which later appeared in book form as Negines un tfiles bay yidn in likht fun der yidisher geshikhte (Jewish music and prayer in the light of Jewish history), four volumes—the first two volumes (Buenos Aires, 1952), the last two (Buenos Aires, 1956), altogether 952 pp. He was also the author of Muzikalishe dertsiung, hant-bukh far eltern un far di vos viln lernen muzik (Musical education, handbook for adults and for those who wish to study music), part 1 (Buenos Aires, 1935), 96 pp. In addition he brought out musical album under the title Shire tsiyon (Poems of Zion), eight albums, 55,000 copies, between 1914 and 1936. He was the editor of: Mizrakhi-bukh (Mizrachi book) (Buenos Aires, 1942), 239 pp. in Yiddish and Hebrew; and Sefer haḥazanim, a hant-bukh far khazonim un bale tfiles (The cantors’ book, a handbook for cantors and prayer leaders) (Buenos Aires, 1958), 136 pp. and 32 pp. in Yiddish and Hebrew and 38 pp. in Spanish, in which he published his work “Di geshikhte fun der yidisher liturgye” (The history of Jewish liturgy) (113 pp.) as well as a biographical dictionary of cantors and Jewish composers in Argentina (60 pp.). In 1955 he visited the state of Israel, and on that occasion a “Khidekel Forest” was planted in his honor at the Hare Yehuda National Park. He also wrote under such pen names as: Leybele Sharkovshtsizner, “Yaar Khidekel,” Ben-Yitskhok, and L. Fideles. He died in Israel.
Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 921; Shmuel Niger, in Di yidishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (June 2, 1952); D. Rodashkovan, in Di yidishe tsaytung (August 6, 1952); Dr. L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (August 23, 1952; May 20, 1956); Davke (Buenos Aires) 13 (1952); A. Altshuler, in Afrikaner yidisher tsaytung (Johannesburg) (September 23, 1953); Y. B., in Di yidishe tsaytung (June 13, 1956); Sefer haḥazanim (The cantors’ book) (Buenos Aires, 1958), p. 22; Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (May 24, 1958); M. Sh. Gerushi, in Hatsofe (Tel Aviv) (Kislev 2 [= November 14], 1958); M. Ginzburg, “Dos lebnsverk fun yude-leyb khidekel” (The life work of Yude-Leyb Khidekel), Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 27, 1959); Ginzburg, in Der veg (Mexico City) (May 23, 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks