MENACHEM MENDEL BRAYER (March 9, 1922-2007)
He was born in Strusov-Tarnopol, Poland. His father’s name was Yoysef. From his childhood years, he was living in Ştefăneşti, Romania, where Brayer’s father took over from his own father the position as rabbi. He acquired his first Jewish education from his father, and he gained his love of the Yiddish language and modern Yiddish literature from his father as well. His general and Jewish elementary schooling took place in Ştefăneşti, high school in Jassy, and yeshiva in Kishnev. His first publications appeared in Undzer tsayt (Our time) in Kishnev, correspondence pieces and short articles. In 1948 he emigrated to the United States. While in Romania, he published in Undzer tsayt, Darkenu (Our way), and Hapoel hamizraḥi (Mizrachi labor)—in Yiddish and Hebrew. He also wrote for Romanian newspapers. In America: Tsukunft (Future), Tog (Day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Forverts (Forward), Nyu-yorker vokhnblat (New York weekly newspaper), and Literarishe heftn (Literary notebooks), and for Goldene keyt (Golden chain) in Tel Aviv. He published reviews, poems, images of Jewish life, treatises on Yiddish dialects and etymology, and on prayer and the counting of the omer. He edited Levana (Moon), a Hebrew-Yiddish-Romanian monthly serial (Bucharest, 1945-1948); and he co-edited Darkenu, a Hebrew-Yiddish serial (Bucharest, 1946-1948). He was active in Romania in student organizations and in various Zionist associations.From 1941 he was in the concentration camps of Transnistria and Dobrudzha (near the Black Sea). He was liberated in 1944 by the Russian Army. He studied at Jassy University. In 1947 he was at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he received his master’s degree. In 1949 he received his Ph.D. from Yeshiva University in New York. He specialized in Semitic languages. From 1948 he lectured at the seminary of New York’s Yeshiva University.