Monday 15 September 2014


DOVID ORKIN (b. 1884)
Born in a village near Tukum (Tukums), Courland.  His father was a well-to-do businessman and a ritual slaughterer.  After the expulsion of the Jews of Zamut from Courland (1889), his family turned up in the Lithuanian town of Layzeve (Laižuva).  He studied with tutors until his bar mitzvah, and thereafter at the yeshivas of Vekshne (Viekšniai) and Zhager (Žagarė), among others.  By age sixteen he had mastered ritual slaughtering from his father, and he worked as slaughterer and inspector in various towns; later he gave up slaughtering and became a teacher.  In 1905 he emigrated to the United States, but he was unable to adjust to life there, and he returned to Layzeve where he opened a modern religious elementary school.  He married in 1909.  During WWI, he was a bookkeeper for a St. Petersburg factory.  He returned to Courland after the Russian Revolution and worked as a business commissioner in Libave (Liepāja), Latvia.  His first publications transpired in New York (1905-1906) with a poem in Forverts (Forward), which he signed “Yehude” (Judah), and with “Thoughts and Spirits of Shop Life” in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor).  From 1925 he was a contributor in Riga to Kol-boy (Catchall), Liboyshe shtime (Voice of Liepāja), Liboyshe nayes (News of Liepāja), Fraytig (Friday), Folk (People), and Frimorgn (Morning), and in New York to Kundes (Prankster) in which he published feature pieces and satirical poems under the pen name: Nirko, Leboy, and Zukhmikh.

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