Tuesday, 6 December 2016

AVROM-LEYB YAKUBOVITSH

AVROM-LEYB YAKUBOVITSH (February 25, 1882-January 29, 1964)
            He published work mostly under the pen name Akaviya.  He was born in Snyadove (Śniadowo), Lomzhe district, Russian Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school and in the Lomzhe and Brisk yeshivas.  In the summer of 1897 he settled in Warsaw, engaged in various forms of labor, and at the same time undertook the study of secular subjects and foreign languages.  He began his writing activities with stories in the Hebrew journal Hador (The generation) in Warsaw in 1901, edited by David Frishman, and in Luaḥ aḥiasef in Warsaw in 1902; he later switched to journalism and became a regular contributor to Tsvi Prylucki’s Der veg (The way) in Warsaw (August 1905-January 1907).  Under the pen name “Leon,” he was the principal contributor, 1907-1908, to M. Krinski’s Roman-tsaytung (Fiction newspaper), and, 1910-1911, to Y. Freyd’s Der shtral (The beam [of light])—in Warsaw—in which, aside from articles and notice, he penned translations from Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Guy de Maupassant, Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Knut Hamsun, Heinrich Heine, and others.  He was also an internal contributor to Haynt (Today) in Warsaw from its founding in 1908 and there, among other items, translated into Yiddish Camille Flammarion’s fantasy astronomical novel Di himlishe rayze (The heavenly voyage).  He also published there newspaper novels of a lighter sort (see his letter on this to M. Spektor in Fun noentn over [From the recent past] 2 [1956], pp. 54ff.).  Over the course of 1921-1922, he was in charge in Haynt of the weekly division “Literarishe geshprekhn” (Literary conversations), in which he reviewed works of Yiddish and Hebrew literature.  He contributed as well as was co-editor of Familyen-kalandar (Family calendar) in Warsaw (1911), in which he published such popular scientific works as: “Di alkhimye af a nayem shteyger” (The alchemy to a new condition) and “A visnshaftlekher skits vegn darvins teorye” (A scientific sketch of Darwin’s theory), as well as “Entdekungen un erfindungen” (Discoveries and inventions) and other work in Varshever togblat (Warsaw daily newspaper) (1915-1917); Der khoydesh (The month) in Warsaw (1921-1922), in which he published the beginning of his translation of Romain Rolland’s Jean Christophe, a critical biography of Sh. An-sky, and other writings.  He also wrote for Warsaw-based Hebrew publications: Hatsfira (The siren) in its last incarnation; Hayom (Today) in 1925; Baderekh (On the road) in 1931-1935, and its children’s supplement Bishvil yeladim (For children); Shevilim (Pathways), a children’s magazine; and Der velt-shpigl (The world mirror), 1927-1938—and he was editor of the last three of these.  He authored school booklets in Yiddish and Hebrew.  He adapted in an accessible, popular style the scientific works of V. V. Lunkevich: Erd-tsiternish un di voulkanishe berg (Earthquakes and volcanic mountains) (1906), 62 pp.; Dos lebn in a tropn vaser (The life in a drop of water) (1907), 22 pp.; Shteyn-koyln (Coal) (1907), 25 pp.; and Zalts (Salt) (1907), 38 pp.—all published by A. Bresler in Warsaw, and these appeared in numerous editions, the last under the title Populere-visnshaftlekhe folks-bikher (Popular scientific books) (Warsaw, 1910), 135 pp.; Dampf un elektritsitet (Steam and electricity) (Warsaw, 1908), 112 pp.  He also published in book form translations (all in Warsaw): Gezamlte verk fun haynrikh hayne (Selected works by Heinrich Heine), 2 volumes (1909), each 150 pp., with a biography of the author; Philipp Langmann, Bartel turazer, a drame in fir aktn (Bartel Turazer, a play in four acts), “translated by a writer” (1907), initially published serially in Roman-tsaytung (issues 1-9) in Warsaw (1907); A hendshke, a drame in dray aktn fun byernsterno bernson (A glove, a drama in three acts by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson), initially in Roman-tsaytung (issues 19-24) in Warsaw (1908); Y. B. Schweizer, Teodolinda, a shpas in eyn akt (Teodelinda, a gag in one act) (Warsaw: Gitlin, 1910), 32 pp.; Rudyard Kipling, Dos bukh fun der viste (The book of the desert) (1909), 86 pp.; Guy de Maupassant, Iveta (Yvette) (Warsaw: Gitlin, 1913), 122 pp. and Gezamlte verk (Selected works) (Warsaw, 1913), 145 pp.; Knut Hamsun, Der redaktor (The editor [original: Redaktør Lynge]) (1911), 246 pp.; Matilde Sarao, Der tsaytungs-shrayber (The newspaper writer) (Warsaw: Gitlin, 1912), 146 pp., earlier published in Der shtral; and Jack London, A shtik fleysh (A piece of steak) (Warsaw, 1914), 96 pp.; among others.  In 1935 he settled in Israel where he was active in Jewish community and cultural life, and he contributed writings to Davar (Word), Haarets (The land), Haolam (The world), Haboker (This morning), Haḥinukh (Education), the anthology Kneset (Gathering), and others.  In Hebrew he published: Zikhronot levet david (Memoirs of the house of David), written for young people; Bene melakhim (Children of kings), historical tales, 3 volumes (Tel Aviv, 1937-1938); Seder zemanim bedivre yeme yisrael (Chronological history of Israel) (1944).  From the Shtibl Publishers in Warsaw, he translated: Arthur Schnitzler, Mita (Death) and Profesor bernhardi (Professor Bernhardi); Leonhard Frank, Tov hu haadam (Man is good [original: Der Mensch ist gut]); and Jakob Wassermann, Aḥayot (Sisters [original: Die Schwestern]); and other works.  He also wrote the notes to Zygmunt Krasiński, Iridyon (Irydion).  He made a trial translation of Tanakh; only Genesis was published by “Hashaḥar” (The dawn) in Warsaw.  Among his pen names: E. Yakober, Yakobiner, Sh. N. Yakobi, A. Shraybman, L. Alyag, A. L. Y., and L. Shrayber.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol.1; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2; Avrom Reyzen, Epizodn fun mayn lebn (Episodes from my life), part 2 (Vilna, 1929), p. 34, part 3 (Vilna, 1935), p. 109; Tsvi Hirshkan, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (April 7, 1935); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 2 (Montreal, 1947), pp. 127-29; Dr. A. Mukdoni, In varshe un in lodzh (In Warsaw and in Lodz), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1955), pp. 33, 39; Y. Likhtnboym, Antologiya hasipur haivri (Anthology of the Hebrew story) (Tel Aviv, 1955), p. 519; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; M. Grosman, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), pp. 32, 42, 63-67; Kh. Finkelshteyn, in Fun noentn over 2 (1956), p. 181; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), p. 1751; A. Rimba, in the collection Haḥinukh vehatarbut haivrit beeropa (Hebrew education and culture in Europe) (New York, 1957), pp. 459-509; M. Vaykhert, Varshe (Warsaw) (Tel Aviv, 1961), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 296.]


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