Tuesday 6 May 2014


JACOB (YANKEV) ADLER (December 12, 1874-December 31, 1974)
Born in Dinov (Dynów), Galicia.  Studied in religious schools until age fifteen, as well as with a Talmud teacher.  He emigrated to the United States in 1890 and worked initially in a factory in New York.  He made his debut in the Forverts (Forward) in 1897 under the name Nesher with two short workers’ poems.  From that point, he contributed publications sporadically to fifty-four different magazines and newspapers, among the more important: Forverts, Varhayt (Truth), Morgen-zhurnal (Morning journal), Fraye arbiter shtime (Free voice of labor), Tsukunft (Future), Yugnt (Youth), Literatur un lebn (Literature and life), Amerike (America), Yidisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Kundes (Prankster), Kibetser (Joker), Der beyzem (The broom), Fraye shtunde (Free hour), Der arbiter (The laborer), Fraye gezelshaft (Free society), Dos naye lebn (The new life, New York), Di tsayt (The time, Washington), Arbeter-fraynd (Friend of workers, London), Yidisher arbeter (Jewish worker, Krakow), Folks-fraynd (Friend of the people, Sanok [Galicia]), Roman-tsaytung (Novel news, Warsaw), and Yidishe velt (Jewish world, Vilna).  His humorous pieces—chief among them being “Yente telebende” and “Moyshe kapoyr,” among others—made him extremely popular among newspaper readers.  Among his works of poetry was Lider-zikhroynes fun der alter heym (Poetic memoirs from the old country), which contained in them something of folk poetry.  Among his books were the following: Zikhroynes fun mayn heym (Memoirs of my home) (Boston, 1907), 67 pp.; Freylekhe minutn (Cheerful moments), two vols. (New York, 1914), 600 pp., second edition (New York, 1919); Yente un andere shtiferayen (Yente and other pranks) (New York, 1914), 256 pp.; Moyshe kapoyr (New York, 1919), 106 pp.; Lider (Poems) (New York, 1924), 360 pp.; Zoln yidn lakhn (Jews should laugh), selected humorous writings (New York, 1933), 175 pp.; Lakht, yidn, lakht (Laugh, Jews, laugh) (New York, 1933), 174 pp.; Vaynendike fleytn (Crying flutes) (Lakewood, NJ, 1933), 100 pp.  His shorter publications include: Felder blien (Field abloom), Der gefangener foygl (The captive bird), Gezangen (Songs), and Ven ikh bin a keyser (If I were an emperor).  Among his dramas: Yente, a comedy; and Shayke bal-agole (Shayke the wagon-driver), co-authored with B. Botvinik, a comedy performed in the United States and Tel Aviv.  He edited: Dos fraye feld, literarishes zamelbukh (The free domain, a literary collection) (Brooklyn, NY, 1908), 18 pp.; Bronzvil un ist nuyork progress (Brownsville and East New York progress), a weekly newspaper for unaffiliated readers (Brooklyn, 1912-1919); Troymen un virklekhkeyt, literarishes zamelbukh (Dreams and reality, literary collection), co-edited with Y. Slonim (New York, 1909), 64 pp.; Der yidisher gazlen (The Jewish thief), with Moyshe Nadir (New York, August 1910-February 1911).  He used the following pseudonyms: B. Kovner, Khoyzek Aleyn (Mere mockery), Nilus (The Nile), Koyheles (Kohelet, Ecclesiastes), Sh. Lapatsan, Nit Keyn Griner (Not a greenhorn), An Ofn Oyg (An open eye), A Mekhutn (A relative by marriage), Der Lets (The clown), A Galitsyaner (A Galician), and Khoyzeks Eynikl (Mockery’s grandchild).  He was living in South Gulfport, Florida, where he died.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Algemayne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), vol. 1; Shmuel Niger, “Lider-zikhroynes” (Poetic memoirs), in Tog (August 10, 1925); Moyshe Nadir, Teg in mayne universitetn (Days in my universities) (New York, 1935), pp. 213-20; Y. Entik, Yidishe poetn (Jewish poets), vol. 2 (New York, 1927), pp. 173-278; Y. Rolnik, Zikhroynes (Memoirs) (New York, 1954), p. 163; B. Botvinik, in Forverts (November 10, 1934); H. Rogof, in Forverts (February 1935), and in his Der gayst fun “forverts” (The spirit of the Forward) (New York, 1954), pp. 257-59; M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (January 23, 1950); B. Tshubinski, in Fraye arbeter shtime (January 1, 1954).

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