Thursday, 9 May 2019

MIKHL-LEYVI RODKINSON


MIKHL-LEYVI RODKINSON (1845-January 6, 1904)
            Born in Dubrovne (Dubrowna), Mohilev district, he was a Hebrew author of Hassidic and rabbinic texts and the publisher-editor of Hebrew periodicals—initially in Königsberg, Berlin, and Hamburg, and ultimately in New York.  His true surname was Frumkin, brother of Yisroel-Dov Frumkin.  His achievement for Yiddish was Kol laam, politish literarishes vokhenblat fir izraeliten (The people’s voice, political and literary weekly newspaper for Israelites), first issue (Königberg) on December 12, 1876, with an earlier trial issue (June 6, 1876).  It was published for three years with some interruptions.  At the time it was the sole Yiddish organ for Jews in the Russian empire to whom he would send it from Germany.  The journalistic-literary level of the periodical was very low.  Rodkinson proposed Mendele Moykher-Sforim to be its editor, but nothing came of it.  He tried to save his weekly by changing its name to Kenigsberger izraelit (Königsberg Israelite)—first issue, September 12, 1879—but it also soon closed down.  The same happened with his Yiddish supplement Der antseyger (The reporter) to his Hebrew Haḥozeh (The seer) in Berlin (1881-1882) and his attempt to revive the Yiddish weekly in Hamburg as the organ of the shipping company with strong campaigning on behalf of immigration to the United States.  Rodkinson’s own articles were not of high journalistic value.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967); Morris Winchevsky, Erinerungen (Experiences) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1926), pp. 18-23, 37ff; Sh. L. Tsitron, Geshikhte fun der yudisher prese prese fun yor 1863 biz 1889 (The history of the Yiddish press from the year 1863 until 1889) (Vilna, 1923); Tsitron, Dray literarishe doyres, zikhroynes vegn yidishe shriftshteler (Three literary generations, memoirs of Yiddish writers) (Vilna, 1920), p. 168; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York); American Jewish Yearbook (1904).
Berl Cohen


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