MORTKHE (ABA) BIRNBOYM (1877-1934)
He was born in Shereshev (Sharashova), Grodno region, to wealthy parents. In 1890s, he settled in Warsaw. He was the founder of the publishing house “Mayselekh” (short stories) which had become famous with its textbooks for younger and older children—at the time the only teaching material for Jewish schools. Birnboym was active in the revolutionary movement of the early twentieth century in Russia-Poland, and he was a teacher in the school for girls of Puah Rakovsky, his wife, in which Yiddish had already been introduced as a subject. He was a member of the pedagogical commission of the Peretz Children’s Home in Warsaw. He participated in the Czernowitz language conference on 1908, and he fought for Yiddish during the German occupation during WWI. Among his books: Khrestomatye far dervaksene (Reader for adults), part 1, for evening and Shabbat schools (Warsaw, 1907), 184 pp. (reprint, 1912, 160 pp.); Folks-shule (Public school), with David Kassel, a textbook for beginners, vol. 1 (Warsaw), 105 pp.; Praktishe yudishe gramatik, elementarkurs: ortografye, etimologye un sintaksis (Practical Yiddish grammar, beginning course: orthography, etymology, and syntax) (Warsaw, 1917, 1919), 2 parts, 179 pp.; Yidishe geshikhte fun velt-bashafung biz di shoftim (Jewish history from the creation of the world until Judges), with Moyshe Taytsh, part 1 (Warsaw, 1917); Mayn bukh, lernbukh farn tsveytn shulyor (My book, textbook for the second year in school) (Warsaw, 1921), 181 pp.; Naturvisnshaft, luft un vaser (Natural science, air and water), with David Kassel, part 1 (Warsaw, 1920), 100 pp.; Kinder fraynt, khrestomatye farn 2tn shulyor, ilustrirte (Children’s friend, a reader for the second school year, illustrated) (Warsaw, 1916), 195 pp.
Sources: Shriftn far psikhologye un pedagogik (Writings om psychology and pedagogy), vol. 1 (Vilna, 1933); Puah Rakovsky, Zikhroynes fun a yidisher revolutsyonerin Memoirs of a Jewish revolutionary) (Buenos Aires, 1954), pp. 96-164; Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), vol. 5 (New York, 1944); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Di geshikhte fun yidishn shulvezn in umophengikn poyln (The history of the Jewish school system in independent Poland) (Mexico, 1947), see index.