Monday, 1 July 2019


HERSH RAYTMAN (March 9, 1808-January 10, 1866)
            He was born in Tarnopol (Ternopil), Galicia (another theory has it as Budzanov [Budaniv], Ukraine, in 1910).  In the 1840s he was a teacher in the Yoysef Perl school in Tarnopol.  From 1854 until his death, he was director of the Jewish school in Brod (Brody).  He wrote poetry—especially popular was his poem Der kittel (The male white robe).  Only the first part of it was published (Vienna: P. Berdiner, 1863), 48 pp.  The end remained in manuscript and was destroyed in fire.  This poem was structured in the form of Friedrich Schiller’s “Das Lied von der Glocke” (The song of the bell).  In place of Schiller’s bell caster, however, there was a seamstress who, in sewing the kittel, depicts the most important moments in Jewish life, in which the kittel plays a role.  Alfred Landau comments: “We see the marriage, the death, the Passover seder, the oath, Yom Kippur, the prayer leader at the synagogue lectern.…  The poem preserved a purely Jewish character.  The poet had the honor of reaching Schiller’s heights by means of everyday Yiddish language and gave the work a triple significance: as a poetic work of art, as a devoted and heartfelt illustration drawn from Jewish life, and as an example of the Eastern Galician dialect.”  Raytman also penned a play, using the pen name H. Sh. R. N., which Dr. Max Weinreich identified as: Der ziveg, oder vos s’iz bashert, dos iz bashert (The match, or what is destined is destined), a play in five acts, 46 pp. with 2½ pp. of notes.  He died in Brod.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 6 (Mexico City, 1969); Alfred Landau, in Yidishe filologye (Warsaw) (1924), pp. 211-12; Max Weinreich, Arkhiv far der geshikhte fun yidishn teater un drame (Vilna-New York) 1 (1930), pp. 177, 180-85; Yivo-bleter (Vilna) 9.1-2 (1936); Yisroel Tsinberg, Di geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur (The history of Yiddish literature), vol. 8, part 1 (New York, 1966), p. 259, vol. 9, pp. 102-3.
Yekhezkl Lifshits

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