ARN-MATISYOHU (MATESL) FRIDMAN (November 22, 1892-August 23, 1917)
He was born on the Yanushpol estate, Kiev district, Ukraine. He was the son of the Adzad Rebbe, Avrom-Shiye-Heshl, from the famed rabbinical line of R. Yisroel Ruzhiner. He was raised in the Adzad and Bohush rebbes’ courts, and he was to become their successor. A student influenced him to take up self-study, and he abandoned the court and departed for Czernowitz. One theory is that he anonymously wrote in the Bucharest socialist Romania Muncitoare (Romanian workers). He was active initially in the socialist and Zionist movement. He was allegedly the cofounder and secretary of “Histadrut lasafa velatarbut haivrit” (Federation of the Hebrew language and culture) in Romania. He fought there for Jewish culture and for Yiddish—see his article in Hatikva (The hope) in 1916, signed with the single letter “F.” In his years in the synagogue study chamber, he wrote in Hebrew. From 1914 he wrote primarily in Yiddish. He belonged to the young writers’ group (Y. Botoshanski, Y. Groper, F. Y. Valdman, M. Rabinovitsh, and Khane Levi)—the first in modern Yiddish literature in Romania. He placed work in the anthology Likht (Light), using such pen names as: Arn, M. Khashmenoy, F. M. Arn, and A. M. Talmudi. Over the years 1915-1916, he signed his work—such as “Der kunst-khush bay yidn” (The artistic sensibility of Jews) and “Oysn tog-bukh fun a natur-mentsh” (From the diary of a nature-man), among others works: Arn or M. Khashmenoy. He also contributed to Der hamer (The hammer) in Brăila (1916), as well as in other venues. He died of typhus in Pashkan (Pașcani), Moldova. His remaining manuscripts, among them the drama Der rebbe r’ ber (The Rebbe Ber) and parts of an autobiography, were destroyed by his rabbinical family after his death.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Y. Botoshanski, in Di vokh (Riga) (December 23, 1923); A. Laks, in Bukareshter zamlbikher (Bucharest anthology) (Bucharest, 1947); Shloyme Bikl, Rumenye (Romania) (Buenos Aires, 1961), pp. 197-99; V. Tambur, Yidishe-prese in rumenye (The Yiddish press in Romania) (Bucharest, 1977), pp. 152-56.
Khayim Leyb Fuks