Sunday 22 March 2015


BOREKH BERNARD (April 15, 1901-February 26, 1953)
This was the adopted name of Borekh Grinberg, born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania.  His father, Shmuel-Yoyel (son of R. Yeshehayu of Kamenits, a town near Brisk), died when he was young, and his mother, who was much younger than her husband, saw that he had a traditional Jewish education.  He received no systematic secular education.  In 1921 he moved to the United States, where he engaged in business.  In 1930, Kletskin Publishers in Vilna brought out his first dramatic work, Yehuda Tanakhi (a comedy in four acts), 100 pp., with a motto: “The Jewish Agency, a smile.”  It was to have been published in 1928 in Vilna with the subtitle, “Der nayer meshiekh” (The new Messiah).  According to A. Mukdoni (in Morgn zhurnal [Morning journal]), this work “brought forth the idea of a false Messiah…a modern Shabetai Zvi….  The play is one of a kind.”  The author’s name on this work was given as Bernard Borekh Grinberg.  His second work (still signed “Grinberg”) appeared in 1931 in Vilna: A yidishe tragedye, drame in dray aktn (A Jewish tragedy, a drama in three acts), 160 pp., which Bloch Publishing Co. brought out in an English translation (New York, 1934) with the author’s name now given as “Baruch Bernard.”  In 1933 Farlag Mizrekh in New York published his Yehuda tanakhis heldn-lebn (Yehuda Tanakhi’s heroic life), 95 pp., a long poem in three parts.  The book only contained the first part, and it was dedicated “to a beautiful, noble soul, to Anna R. Katsner” (his wife).  Writing in Morgn-zhurnal, P. Viernik wrote of this work: “An intensive, lyrical expression….  It sets a tone on a level of poetic beauty with Friedrich Nietzsche and Walt Whitman.”  On the last page of the book, there is enumerated a list of other works by him: Der kholets (The pioneer), “a drama in four acts and four scenes” (New York: Farlag Nehhemye, 1927), 128 pp.; Rebe rov ber, der gefalener (Rebbe R. Ber, the fallen man), “a dramatic poem”; Biznes, komedye (Business, a comedy), a “drama” in three acts (New York, 1936); Penelope, a one-act play for children.  In 1937 “Di feder” (The pen) publishing house, an imprint of the journal Di feder, in New York brought out Bankrot (Bankrupt), a “drama in three acts” (107 pp.).  From to time, Bernard published articles in Morgn-zhurnal in New York.  He visited Israel in 1947.  His wife continued to live in New York after his death.

Sources: Jüdische Rundschau 7 (1926); D. Vinograd, in The Jewish Forum (New York) (January 1935) concerning Di yidishe tragedye which appeared in a special imprint; M. Dantsis, in Der tog (New York) (February 15, 1947); Haolam haze (Jerusalem), no. 511.

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