REKUDE (RIKUDA) POTASH (1906-May 15, 1965)
The sister of Mortkhe Narkis, she was born in Ojców in Skała. She received a traditional Jewish education. From 1924 she was living in Lodz and was a member of the Lodz young poets’ group. In 1934 she settled in the land of Israel. From 1935 until the last days of her life, she was a librarian in the art division of the Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem. She visited Europe and the United States a number of times. She began writing poetry at age sixteen for the Polish-language Świat, dwutygodnik ilustrowany (World, illustrated biweekly) in Cracow. Under the impact of the Lemberg pogrom, she switched to Yiddish. She debuted in Yiddish with “Tsvey lider” (two poems) in Lodzer folksblat (Lodz people’s newspaper) in 1922 and from that point on published lyrical and nature poetry, motifs from Palestine, novellas, children’s tales, stories, literary essays, and impressions of types of people in Jerusalem, among others genres, in: Lodzer folksblat, Lodzer tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper), Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper), Lodzer veker (Lodz alarm), and Fraytog (Friday), and in such literary collections as Shveln (Thresholds), Vegs (Paths), and Os (Letter)—all in Lodz; and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Ilustrirte vokh (Illustrated week), and Naye folkstsaytung (New people’s newspaper) in Warsaw; Di goldene keyt (The golden chain), Heymish (Familiar), Letste nayes (:Latest news), Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Lebns-fragn (Life issues), Fray yisroel (Free Israel), and Davar (Word), among others, in Israel; Tsukunft (Future), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Unzer tsayt (Our times) in New York; Kiem (Existence) and Unzer vort (Our word), among others, in Paris; Der shpigl (The mirror) and Di naye tsayt (The new times), among others, in Buenos Aires. Her first book Vint af klavishn, lider (Wind on keys, poetry) (Lodz, 1934), 46 pp., was received appreciatively by the critics; for her second book Fun kidren tol, lider (From the Kidron Valley, poems) (Lodz, 1952), 110 pp., she was crowned “the Jerusalem poetess” by Sholem Asch. Further ascent came with her book Moyled iber timne, lider (New moon over the Timna [Valley], poems) (Jerusalem, 1960), 102 pp., in which one hears the quiet voice of restored Jewish statehood, distinctively and poetically absorbing and especially painted in local colors. The last years of her life were devoted to the types of different witnesses in the state of Israel, concerning which she published a great number of stories and images in the Yiddish and Hebrew press. Portions of her dramatic mystery Skales (Cliffs) were published in a variety of venues, and that work was produced for the stage. She translated: J. Żuławski’s Wola (Will) and Farn prayz fun trern (For the price of tears [original: Za cenę łez]). Her work is represented in the anthologies: Yidishe dikhterins (Yiddish poetesses) (Chicago, 1928); and in Mortkhe Yofe’s Erets-yisroel in der yidisher literatur (Israel in Yiddish literature) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1961). Her posthumous books would include: Lider (Poetry) (Tel Aviv, 1967), 327 pp.; and In geslekh fun yerusholaim, dertseylungen (In the alleys of Jerusalem, stories) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1968), 257 pp. She had prepared for the publisher “Zibn kheynen” (Seven charms), Jewish types and figures in Israel, but it had not been published at the time of her sudden death in Jerusalem.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1928); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), see index; Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), pp. 304-6; Y. Turkov, in Folksblat (Tel Aviv) (November 24, 1960); Yankev Glatshteyn, Mit mayne fartogbikher (With my journals) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1963), pp. 69-75; Y. Ts. Shargel, in Yisroel shtime (Tel Aviv) (November 10, 1963); Shaye Shpigl, in Folksblat (May 26, 1965); L. Rokhman, in Al hamishmar (Tel Aviv) (Sivan 20 [= June 20], 1965); Arye Shamri, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 53 (1965), pp. 18-24.
Khayim Leyb Fuks
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 423.]