YANKEV YAARI-POLESKIN (December 25, 1886-September 4, 1944)
He was born in Pereyaslav, Poltava region, Ukraine. At age fourteen he had to begin working to help his family. In 1906 he moved to Israel, and he served as a guard in Petaḥ Tikva, Rishon Lezion, and Reḥovot. Together with his friend and guard Berele Shvayger, he published a handwritten newspaper, Der pyosh (The mattock). In 1908 he was among the first residents in the workers’ settlement of Ein Ganim. In 1909 he was working in construction in Tel Aviv, later in stone-cutting in the first settlement in the Jezreel Valley: Mehavia. In 1911 he moved to the United States. He published in the Warsaw-based Moment (Moment): “Erinerungen fun a vekhter” (Experiences of a sentry). In 1914 he returned to Israel, but because of an article by him in Tsukunft (Future) in New York, the Turks deported him from there in 1915. He then returned to the United States, worked in farming somewhere in the Midwest and at the same time published articles and memoirs in Tsukunft—a number of these articles were included in his book, Ḥolamim veloḥamim (Dreamers and fighters) (Petaḥ Tikva, 1922), 348 pp., Hebrew translation by Yosef Luidor, second edition, edited by Ever Hadani (Tel Aviv, 1946), 496 pp. Under the name “Y. Yaari,” he published in: Forverts (Forward), Tog (Day), Yidishe tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people), Di naye velt (The new world), Di tsayt (The times), Jewish News, and Maccabeah, among others, in New York. In book form (Yiddish): Heldishe froyen-tipn in erets-yisroel (Heroic types of women in the land of Israel) (Vilna, 1932), 28 pp.; (Hebrew): Meḥaye yosef ḥayim brener (From the life of Yosef Ḥayim Brenner) (Tel Aviv, 1922), 200 pp.; Karl neter veyetsirato mikve yisrael (Charles Netter and his creation, Mikveh Israel) (Mikveh Israel, 1926), 62 pp.; Sir herbert samuel, netsiv yehuda harishon (Sir Herbert Samuel, the first Jewish commissioner) (Tel Aviv, 1926), 127 pp.; Sefer hayovel, limelot ḥamishim shana leyisud petaḥ tikva (Jubilee volume, marking fifty years since the founding of the Petaḥ Tikva settlement) (Tel Aviv, 1928), 675 pp.; 300 shana ḥaside umot haolam, hatsiyonut uvinyan erets yisrael (Three centuries of righteous among the nations of the world, Zionism and the building of Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1932); Elazar rokeaḥ, parashat ḥayav (Elazar Rokeach, a biography) (Tel Aviv, 1932), 124 pp.; Zalman david levontin, ḥayav ufeulotav (Zalman David Levontin, his life and deeds) (Tel Aviv, 1932), 188 pp.; Yehoshua ḥankin, haish umifalo (Yehoshua Ḥankin, the man and his undertakings) (Tel Aviv, 1933), 123 pp.; M. dizengof (Meir Dizengoff) (Tel Aviv, 1926), 192 pp.; Artur jems balfur, ḥayav ṿehatsharato (Arthur James Balfour, his life and declaration) (Tel Aviv, 1930), 194 pp.; Meraglim o gibore hamoledet? (Spies or heroes of the homeland) (Tel Aviv, 1930), 226 pp.; Zeev jabotinski, ḥayaṿ ufeulotav (Zev Jabotinsky, his life and deeds) (Tel Aviv, 1935), 192 pp.; Sefer mea shana, anshe mofet veḥalutsim rishonim beerets yisrael nemeshekh meah shana umaala (People of character and the first pioneers in Israel of a century ago forward) (Tel Aviv, 1938), 504 pp.; Pinḥas rutenberg, haish umifalo (Pinḥas Rutenberg, the man and his undertakings) (Tel Aviv, 1939), 368 pp.; Baron edmond rotshild (hanadiv hayadua) (Baron Edmond Rotschild, the well-known philanthropist), 2 vols. (Tel Aviv, 1930-1931); Nili (Nili [espionage network]), 5 volumes (Tel Aviv, 1937-1944); and a number of works under the title Ishim umeorot (People and events). He also contributed to: Haarets (The land), Doar hayom (Today’s mail), and other serials in Israel. He served as correspondent from Israel (using the name “Ben Hador”) for Haynt (Today), edited by Herman Bernshteyn in New York (1920), and for Forverts (Forward) in New York (1922-1925). He died in Tel Aviv.
Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the founders and builders of the yishuv), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 478-79; Sefer hashana shel haitonaim (The annual of newspapers) (Tel Aviv, 1947/1948); Hadoar (New York) (Kislev 30 [= December 16], 1944); Saul Chajes, Otsar beduye hashem (Thesaurus Pseudonymorum; Treasury of pseudonyms), a handbook of pseudonyms of Hebrew and Yiddish authors (Vienna: Glanz, 1933).