LEYBL TOYBISH (TOYBSH) (March 10, 1863-May 27, 1933)
He signed his name both Toybish and Toybsh. He was born in Bender, near Kishinev, Bessarabia. He was the father of the writer Yankev-Shmuel Toybish. He descended from a rabbinical family. One of the pioneers of the Zionist movement in Galicia, at the beginning of his community and writing activities he nonetheless stood up for the dignity of the Yiddish language. Already in 1890 he published, in R. A. Broydes’s Hazman (The times), a message to the Jewish people that they should give Yiddish as their mother tongue in the census. That same year he published an appeal, entitled “Al hayehudim bekitvam uveleshonam” (To Jews in their writing and their [spoken] language), in which he pointed out the necessity of publishing a newspaper in Yiddish, and then, just afterward, he established in Kolomaye (eastern Galicia) Di yudishe folkstsaytung (The Jewish people’s newspaper) in 1890—the first Yiddish-language newspaper in Galicia; he went on to found Folksfraynd (Friend of the people), also in Kolomaye, which was later revived in Czernowitz, Bukovina. In 1891 he was initiator of the first national Jewish conference in Galicia which in 1896 published its organ Haam (The people), and he also took part in the first Yiddish language conference in Czernowitz in 1908. Over the course of three years, Toybish published in Czernowitz a central and national Jewish organ, Yudishes vokhnblat (Jewish weekly newspaper), which frequently cooperated in the development of Yiddish literature and journalism in Galicia and Bukovina. Aside from periodicals, he published in Yiddish Theodor Herzl’s Der Judenstaat (The Jewish state). He was a popular speaker, especially beloved for his encouraging speeches against the forced quiet on Sunday for the Jews in Galicia. After the outbreak of WWI, he settled in Vienna. As a guest of the “Association of Galician Jews,” in 1924 he visited the United States, and when he returned, he published Talmudishe elementen in’m yidishn shprikhvort, mit an onhang talmudishe gefligelte verter in der yidisher shprakh (Talmudic elements in Yiddish proverbs, with an addition of Talmudic terms in the Yiddish language) (Vienna, 1928), 70 pp.; and together with Chajim Bloch, he edited the biannual anthology in German, Jüdisches Jahrbuch für Oesterreich (Austrian Jewish yearbook). For his thirtieth anniversary, his students and admirers published a brochure, Zikhroynes (Memoirs) (Vienna, 1922), 32 pp., in which can also be found his autobiography, previously published in Folkstsaytung in 1911. He died in Vienna.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Reyzen, in Yoyvl-bukh 30 yor keneder odler (30-year jubilee volume of the Canadian eagle) (Montreal, 1938); Gershom Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), see index; D. Y. Zilberbush, Skitsn (Sketches) (Vienna, 1921?), pp. 94-98; Dr. Shloyme Bikl, A shtot mit yidn (A city with Jews) (New York, 1943); Dr. Y. Tenenboym, Galitsye mayn alte heym (Galicia, my old home) (Buenos Aires, 1952), see index; Dr. M. Naygreshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955); M. Henish, in Pinkes kolomay (Records of Kolomaye) (1957), pp. 266-68; Dr. N. M. Gelber, in Pinkes kolomay (1957), pp. 70-73; Gelber, Toldot hatenua hatsiyonit begalitsiya (History of the Zionist movement in Galicia) (Jerusalem, 1958), see index.