YISROEL (ISRAEL) EFROS (June 15, 1891-January 4, 1981)
Born in Ostrog (Ostróg), Poland, to a father who was a Maskil and an early Zionist. He was a student at the Mirer yeshiva. At age thirteen he emigrated with his parents to the United States, where he attended Solomon Schechter’s Rabbinical Seminary. He graduated from New York University and other American institutions of higher learning. He was a Hebrew poet and researcher. He was a professor of Hebrew language and literature at Hunter College in New York, and a former dean of the Department of Semitic Studies at the University of Buffalo. He published in Hashiloach (The shiloah), Gilyonot (Sheets), and Hadoar (The mail), among other serials. Together with Dr. Even-Shmuel Koyfman, he compiled an English-Hebrew dictionary. As a lyricist, he occupies an honored place in Hebrew poetry in the United States. He wrote in Yiddish for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), and others. In 1946 he and H. Leivick visited the German camps of survivors. He published his impressions in Morgn-zhurnal and later brought them out as a book with the title Heymloze yidn, a bazukh in lagern in daytshland (Homeless Jews, a visit to the camps in Germany) (Buenos Aires, 1947), 240 pp. For his books, Zahav (Gold) (New York, 1942) and Goral u-fitom (Fate and suddenly) (Jerusalem, 1954), he received the Louis Lamed Prize. He was living in Israel from 1955 and died in Tel Aviv. A memorial volume was published in his honor: Yisrael efrat, meshorer vehoge (Yisroel Efros, poet and thinker) (Tel Aviv, 1981), 278 pp.
Sources: Menachem Ribalov, Ahisefer (Hebrew literature) (New York, 1943); Kh. Toren, Sifrutenu ha-yafah (Our beautiful literature) (Jerusalem, 1953), vol. 3, pp. 197-225; Y. Tverski, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1945); Who Is Who in American Jewry (New York, 1955); M. Waxman, A History of Jewish Literature (New York, 1938), vol. 4.