KHAYIM FINKELSHTEYN (JAIME FINKIELSZTEIN) (May 5, 1911-2000)
He was born in Brest-Litovsk, Lithuania. He received a secular Jewish education in Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) schools, while at the same time studying in traditional subject matter in a religious primary school. In his youth he became active in Jewish associations and cultural life, mainly in the Labor Zionist youth movement and later in the Labor Zionist party. In 1930 he moved to Argentina, continued his education, and became a teacher in secular Jewish schools, and he one of the most active leaders of local Jewish school curricula. He was a member of the principal leadership of the Central Jewish School Organization. He served as chairman of the Vaad haḥinukh (Education council) in the Buenos Aires Jewish community and was among the main leaders of the institutions of higher education (middle schools, teachers’ seminaries, academies, full day schools, the Ramat Shalom school, and the like). He took part in the world congress for education of UNESCO. He was a member of the international Labor Zionist Aḥdut haavoda (Union of labor) and served as general secretary of the Argentinian organization. He made several visits to the state of Israel and gave speeches before virtually every Jewish community around the world. From 1931 he published hundreds of articles on education, Zionism, cultural problems, literary essays, political commentaries, and other journalistic writings in: Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Fraye yugnt (Free youth), and Yugnt-fon (Youth banner) in Warsaw; Arbeter vort (Workers’ word), Unzer vort (Our word), Unzer shul (Our school), Shul-bleter (School pages) of which he was also editor, Di prese (The press), and Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), among others, in Buenos Aires; Nay-velt (New world), Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Folk un tsiyon (People and Zion), and Haḥinukh (Eudcation), among others, in Israel; Arbeter vort in Paris; Proletarisher gedank (Proletarian idea), Unzer veg (Our way), and Bleter far yidisher dertsiung (Pages for Jewish education), among others, in New York. He contributed as well to: Mulye-bukh (Volume for Mulye) (Tel Aviv, 1955); Sefer zerubavel (Zerubavel book) (Tel Aviv, 1959); Erets-yisroel in boy un kamf (The land of Israel in construction and struggle) (1959); Yitskhok lev, zayn lebn un shafn (Yitskhok Lev, his life and work) (1959); Sefer sh. rotenberg (Volume for Sh. Rotenberg) (Tel Aviv, 1961). He also wrote introductions to a number of volumes. He adapted and compiled several Yiddish textbooks, among them: Lernbukh far yidish farn dritn grad (Textbook for Yiddish for the third level), with Y. Plotnik. He also published in the Spanish-language Jewish press. His books include: Analitishe lern-program far a zeks-klasiker tsugob-shul (Analytic educational program for a six-level supplementary school), with a foreword by Dr. Y. Kovenski (1943), 293 pp.; Ikuf, daya un yidish folk (IKUF, Daya, and the Jewish people) (Buenos Aires, 1956), in Yiddish and Spanish; Vizye, vort un vor (Vision, word and reality) (Buenos Aires, 1967), 517 pp.; Der goen fun poltave, aroysgegebn tsu der 50-ster yortsayt fun ber borokhoṿ (The sage of Poltava, published for the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Ber Borokhov) (Buenos Aires, 1967), 45 pp. From 1968 he was living in the state of Israel.
“Khayim Finkelshteyn,” wrote Yankev Zerubavel, “is a political figure with a broad vision, and he responds to contemporary events exclusively in their implications for the future; a pedagogue, a Marxist, he looked for the root and tried hard to penetrate deeply into the past, from which the present reality is interweaved. He has before his eyes the architecture of the entire edifice, but he does not skip over and omit any single brick in making suggestions for the foundation of the building.
“He writes about community and political matters, on literature, and with distinctive zeal on issues concerning education. His style is concentrated, vivid, and exacting. He is popular in writing and orally, as well as at the same time grounded and persuasive.”
Sources: Y. Shapiro, in Yivo bleter (New York) 1 (1944); V. Bresler, Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 921; Sh. Rozhanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye, “Yidn 5” (New York, 1957), p. 374; F. L. Goldman, in Unzer veg (New York) (November 1961); Y. Rimun, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (August 18, 1964); Y. Horn, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (May 4, 1965); B. Tsvaytser, in Idishe tsaytung (May 7, 1965); Y. Zerubavel, in Folksblat (Tel Aviv) (May 10, 1965); Zerubavel, in Unzer veg (New York) (June-July 1965); G. Sapozhnikov, in Unzer vort (Buenos Aires) (July 14, 1966); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1965), p. 257.
Khayim Leyb Fuks