Saturday 31 October 2015


            He was the author of Der gelt shidekh (The money match).  No specimens of this work remain to establish the year of publication, the number of pages, or the place of publication.

Sources: Noyekh Prilucki, Mame loshn (Mother tongue) (Warsaw, 1921), p. 123.


MORTKHE DANTSIS (1885-August 14, 1952)
            He was born in Mezhichev, Podolia, and he studied in a Talmud-Torah and in the teachers’ course of study at the “Khevre mefitse haskole” (Society for the promotion of enlightenment [among the Jews of Russia]) in Odessa.  In 1905 he emigrated to the United States.  In the last years of his life he was a leading member of the American Zionist Revisionists.  He began publishing in Galician Yiddish newspapers.  He later published poems, stories, and articles in: Forverts (Forward), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Tsayt-gayst (Spirit of the times), Tsukunft (Future), Dos naye lebn (The new life), Der kibetser (The joker), and Kundes (Prankster).  He co-edited: Yidishe bine (Yiddish stage), Der firer (The leader), Varhayt (Truth), Idish togblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Haynt (Today), and Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people) in New York.  He was editor of: Teater velt (Theater world), illustrated monthly, published by R. Perelmuter and Co. (New York, 1908); Dzhoyrzi moskito (Jersey mosquito); and Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) which appeared from April 15, 1915 to August 6, 1915.  He also edited, with Y. Haykin, Naye yontef bleter (New holiday leaves) (New York) which commenced publication on November 13, 1936.  He was in addition editor of Bafrayung (Liberation), a weekly newspaper of the National Jewish Council for a Free Israel, which commenced publication on July 18, 1947 and went through 1949.  He also edited Tog (Day) in New York.  He died in New York.  Among his books: In shtrom fun revolutsyon, psikhologisher etyud (In the current of revolution, psychological study) (New York, 1907), 51 pp.; Heymland (Homeland) (New York, 1936), 271 pp.; Eygn likht (One’s own light), a travel description and memoir, published after his death, with a foreword by Aharon Kap (New York, 1954), 375 pp.  He demonstrated writerly ability in many fields, even poetry.  In the final years of his life, he wrote in Tog a weekly article, “Lekoved shabes” (In honor of the Sabbath), which excelled with its beautiful scholarly Yiddish style and with Hassidic stories and fables.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. Kh. Zhitlovski, in Tog (New York) (April 11, 1931); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog (September 29, 1931); Sh. Z. Tsukerman, in Tog (December 12, 1932); S. Kahan, Meksikaner viderklangen (Mexican echoes) (Mexico, 1951); Dr. Sh. Margoshes, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 11, 1954); A, Glants, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (December 19, 1954); A. Leyeles, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (December 25, 1954); N. Sumer, in Oyfsney (New York) 18 (1957); Sh. Rozhanski, in Di idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (August 19, 1952).


MOYSHE DANTSIGERKRON (MOSHE RON) (August 16, 1909-July 10, 1985)
            He was born in Warsaw.  He studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall, and he was assistant to his father, the community cantor in the small Gerer synagogue.  He studied Hebrew and secular subjects in a Tarbut school.  At an early age he joined the Zionist movement.  In 1925 he chaired the Zionist youth organization in Mokotów (Monketov), near Warsaw.  He also worked as a reporter for Zionist and community matters for Haynt (Today) in Warsaw.  In 1927-1928, he worked on the central council of the Zionist Organization in Poland.  Over the years 1929-1930, he was a contributor to Nowe Słowo (New word), organ of the Zionist Organization in Poland.  He also placed pieces in: Hayntike nayes (Present news); the weekly newspaper Velt-shpigl (World mirror); Dos yidishe land (The Jewish land) in Warsaw; Forverts (Forward) in New York; Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris; Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv); and from time to time Davar (Word) in Tel Aviv.  He was sent as a correspondent for Haynt in 1935 to Israel.  He corresponded as well from there for other Yiddish newspapers and magazines in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, England, and the United States.  With the outbreak of WWII, he became a contributor to the Hebrew evening newspaper, Yediot aḥaranot (Late news), in Tel Aviv.  In 1952 he visited the United States, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.  He was an administrator of Agudat Haitonim, the association of Hebrew journalists.  He was the author of Darke bamamlakha hasheviit (Ways of the press) (Tel Aviv, 1982).  He was living in Tel Aviv, where he died.

Sources: David Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 1905-6; B. Kutsher, Geven a mol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955); L. Leneman, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 9, 1958); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955); Who Is Who in Israel (Tel Aviv, 1952).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 189.]

Friday 30 October 2015


            He was born in Sosnovits (Sosnowiec), Poland, into a Hassidic family which was followers of the Aleksander rebbe.  He studied in religious primary school, synagogue study hall, and secular subject matter with private tutors.  He later became an employee in a commercial firm.  He began publishing poetry in the anthology Yung zaglembye (Young Zagłębie) 1-4 (1936) in Sosnovits, a journal he co-edited with Tevye Boym and Leyzer Shikman.  He participated in a poetry contest run by the journal In zikh (Introspective) in New York (1937), and therein published his poem “Gedank” (Thought).  He also contributed to Os (Letter) (Lodz-Warsaw, 1938-1939), Nayes folksblat (New people’s newspaper) in Lodz, Zaglembyer tsaytung (Zagłębie newspaper) in Bendin (Będzin), and Shlezish-zaglembyer tsaytung (Silesian-Zagłębie newspaper) in Katowice, among others.  During the Nazi occupation he was in the Sosnovits ghetto, where despite suffering and hunger he wrote a great deal, especially satires and rhymes.  In the summer of 1943, he was deported to Auschwitz, and there he was murdered by the Nazis.

Source: Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (January 31, 1947).


AVROM DANTSIG (AVRAHAM DANZIG) 1748-September 12, 1820)
            He was born in Danzig (Gdańsk), into a family that descended from generations of rabbis.  In his youth he left home to study in the yeshivas of the great minds of the time: Yoysef Liberman (Joseph Liebermann) and Yekhezkel Landau, the “Noda beyehuda” (“known in Judah”), and his son.  At age eighteen he received rabbinic ordination.  He did not, though, wish to become a rabbi for wages.  He then settled in Vilna where he took up commerce to support himself.  Due to a fire in 1804, he was impoverished and took a position as a rabbinical judge in the Vilna rabbinical court.  He was the author of such popular legal texts, among others: Ḥaye adam (Life of man) (1810); Ḥokhmat adam (The wisdom of man) (1914); and Binat adam (The understanding of man) (1815), all published in Vilna, in which he imparted in popular language with Yiddish glossary the decisions from the Shulḥan arukh (Set table).  His religious texts—in particular, Ḥaye adam—were among the most widespread in Jewish towns of Poland and Lithuania, and in large numbers and numerous printings also published in Yiddish.  Among his Yiddish writings were his will and Di tfile fun mekhile-betn (The prayer for begging forgiveness), both of which appeared in Beys avrom (Home of Avraham) (Königsberg, 1839), published by his children.  His asking forgiveness, which he carried over into his will, so that it would be published and distributed among the mourners at his funeral, read as follows: “It is well known to the children of Israel that no man escapes sin.  One man is compared to his fellow man, in particular with speaking ill of another, and no repentance is achieved until the injured party pardons the other.  I thus forgive all men and women and children, whether a dignified or not, a domestic servant or anyone else, only that they be from the race of Israel for me to offer my apology.  I may have also spoken poorly, or done something shameful, or behaved haughtily, or, heaven forfend, done something wrong involving money matters, which always between one man and his colleague requires greater forgiveness, and on the condition that I forgive and you need have pity on me should I, heaven forfend, be punished, in particular the one who does not forgive will be punished.  Now, if I did someone an injustice in a monetary matter, and the rabbis or the rabbinical court passed judgment, then he has the right, should I not apologize to him, either to forgive or demand payment from my inheritance or from my religious texts, and may the blessed One hear from heaven.
            “If I might, householders and merchants, should I, heaven forfend, do some injurious in some way, so that the rabbis, as everyone knows, pardon me, so too for everyone in every claim and compromise that I may have contaminated, may they forgive me.”

Sources: Sh. Y. Fuenn, Kirya neemana (Faithful city) (Fürth, 1818), p. 232; Otsar yisrael (Treasury of Israel) (New York), vol. 4; M. Bernshteyn, in Argentiner yivo shrift (Buenos Aires) 6 (1955).

Khayim Leyb Fuks

Thursday 29 October 2015


YITSKHOK-NAKHMEN DONSKI (1898-December 30, 1938)
            He was born in Kovno, Lithuania.  He graduated from a high school in St. Petersburg.  He studied philosophy in St. Petersburg and in Berlin.  In 1923 he received his doctor of philosophy degree, and in 1933 he received a Master’s degree in international law from the University of London.  From his earliest years, he was active in the Zionist movement.  He was chairman of the Tarbut Center, and a member of the executive of the “Society to Spread Higher Education among the Jews” and of the “Jewish Historical-Ethnographic Society” in Lithuania, among other positions.  He wrote a number of philosophical works and current events articles in English, Russian, Lithuanian, Hebrew, and Yiddish collections, journals, and newspapers.  He was a contributor to the Yiddish press in Lithuania and in France.  He published in the anthology, Gedank un lebn (Thought and life) (Kovno, 1935), two works entitled: “Der kolektiv un der individ” (The collective and the individual) and “Der rambam un moderne filosofishe problemen” (The Rambam and modern philosophical issues).  He died in Paris.  He left in manuscript a work entitled “Di antshteyung un antviklung funem yidishn tip in der lite” (The rise and development of the Jewish character in Lithuania).

Sources: Yor-ayn, yor-oys (Year in, year out) (Kovno, 1939), pp. 192-93; A Shtaynberg, in Zamlbukh lite (Anthology Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), pp. 408, 1111.



            This was the literary name of Mortkhe Meyerovitsh, a dramatist, born in Dvinsk (Daugavpils), Latvia, into a poor family.  He studied in religious elementary school and in a Talmud Torah, but he had to leave to go to work at a young age to support himself and then to wander across Russian.  He lived in many cities, working as a laborer, a clerk, and a teacher.  As a “bezhenets” (Russian, “refugee”), homeless because of WWI, in 1917 he turned up in the Urals, and then wandered on further through Russia and ultimately arrived in Moscow in 1921.  There he studied in the academy of education and later graduated from the literature department of the Second Moscow University [now, Moscow State Pedagogical University].  His first, long story was published in the Moscow journal Shtrom (Current) in 1924, “In a tsayt aza” (In such a time), which dealt with the “refugees” from the war years and the aid organizations for them.  The literary critics welcomed the successful debut of the young prose writer. In the newspaper Der emes (The truth), the editor-in-chief Moyshe Litvakov, who was ordinarily a severe critic, published a praiseworthy article about the story. The critic Yekhezkl Dobrushin also offered a positive response. That same year Daniel published stories in the Kharkov journal Di roye velt (The red world). In the Moscow collection Nayerd (New land), which appeared in 1925, he placed one further story, “Rakhmiel der nakht-shoymer” (Rakhmiel, the night watchman). “Danyel Meyerovitsh,” as he signed his name, was recognized by everyone as one of the most significant Yiddish authors of prose. His volume of stories, Afn shvel (At the threshold), was published in 1928; it concerned the role of the intellectual or the artist in revolution.  There were also interesting chapters in this work about the Vilna “Poplaves” (a street in Vilna).

            He enjoyed distinctive success in 1930 for his long story “Yulis Simelyevitsh,” dedicated to the six men of the Jewish workers’ council in the Vilna underground, who in January 1919 committed suicide with their leader Yulis Simelyevitsh to avoid falling into the hands of the Polish Legions, when the latter surrounded the building they were in. The story proved to be quite a sensation, and Daniel reworked it into a play that he titled Fir teg (Four days) and which was staged in every Yiddish theater in the Soviet Union and abroad. In Moscow, Mikhoels played the lead role of Yulis.

            Also featured in his work were the Civil War—In a tsayt aza, Rakhmiel der nakht-shoymer, Yulis, and Zyamke kopatsh (Zyamke Kopatsh), among others—the problems of intellectuals and their ties to the Revolution—Afn shvel—and cultural history—Derfinder un komedyant, yohan gutenberg (The inventor and the comedian, Johannes Guttenberg) and Shloyme maymen (Salomon Maimon). Characteristic of his work is a certainty and an audacity in the realm of artistic method and form, engrossed psychology, masterful and detailed painting. He died in Yalta in the Crimea.

Among his books: Rakhmiel der nakht-shoymer (Kharkov: State Publ., 1925), 62 pp.; Af der zibeter linye (On the seventh line) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers of the USSR, 1928), 16 pp.; Afn shvel (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1928), 112 pp.; Dovidl krumfisele (Little lame David) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers of the USSR, 1928), 32 pp.; Leybke berlintshik (Little Leybe from Berlin) (Moscow: Central Publ., 1929), 29 pp.; In a tsayt aza (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers, 1929), 183 pp.; Forshtet (Suburbs), stories (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers, 1930), 289 pp.; Yulis, gesheenish (Yulis, the event) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 151 pp.; Fir teg, yulis: heroishe tragedye in dray aktn (Four days, Yulis: Heroic tragedy in three acts) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1932), 71 pp., staged as well in the United States; Tsu zavodishe toyern (To the factory gates) (Kharkov: Kinder farlag, 1932), 98 pp.; Poplaves tantst (Dancing on Poplaves St.) (Kiev-Kharkov, 1932), 15 pp.; Freydike shtet (Joyous cities) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1933), 25 pp.; Der otryad (The detachment) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 24 pp.; Geklibene verk (Collected works) (Kharkov: Literatur un kunst, 1933), 430 pp.; Yulis, gesheenish, for schoolroom (Moscow: Emes, 1933), 149 pp.; Shiler un broyt (Pupil and bread), a drama (Kiev, 1933); Dertseylungen un noveln (Stories and novellas), vol. 2 (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1935), 288 pp.; Zorki hot geredt (Zorki has spoken), children’s story (Kharkov: Kinder farlag, 1935), 18 pp.; Dertseylungen (Stories) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 64 pp.; Gorki hot geredt (Gorky spoke), children’s stories (Odessa, 1936), 19 pp.; Der sof fun a yunger libe (The end of a young love), a story (Moscow: Emes, 1937), 31 pp.; Derfinder un komedyant, yohan gutenberg, a drama in four acts (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1937), 91 pp.; Di shpil heybt zikh on (The play begins)—his plays: Zyamke kopatsh (Kiev: Kinder farlag, 1936), 105 pp., Derfinder un komedyant, and Fir teg—(Moscow, 1937), 210 pp.; Oktyabr-fayern (October fires), stories (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938), 208 pp.; Di letste teg fun pyotr lukomski (The last days of Pyotr Lukomski), a story (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 32 pp.; A tate, tsvey vagonen mel (A father, two wagons of flour), stories (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 38 pp.; Mayn goldene kindheyt (My golden childhood) (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 201 pp.; Der heldisher brivtreger (The heroic letter carrier), stories (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 42 pp.; Ale verk (Collected works), two volumes (Moscow: Emes, 1940); Shloyme maymen, a drama (Moscow, 1941).

His work was also included in: Almanakh fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Almanac of Soviet Yiddish literature); Af barikadn, revolyutsyonere shlakhtn in der opshpiglung fun der kinstlerisher literatur (At the barricades, revolutionary battles in the lens of artistic literature) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1930); Der arbeter in der yidisher literatur, fargesene lider (The worker in Yiddish literature, forgotten poems) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1939); Osher shvartsman, zamlung gevidmet dem tsvantsik yortog fun zayn heldishn toyt (Osher Shvartsman, collection dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of his heroic death) (Moscow: Emes, 1940); Deklamator fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Declaimer of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow, 1934); Der veg fun farat, kamf kegn bundizm un menshevizm in der yidisher proletarisher literatur (The way of betrayal, the struggle against Bundism and Menshevism in Jew proletarian literature) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1932); Sovetishe vaysrusland, literarishe zamlung (Soviet Byelorussia, literary collection) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935); Komyug, literarish-kinstlerisher zamlbukh ([Jewish] Communist Youth, literary-artistic anthology) (Moscow: Emes, 1938); Far der bine: dertseylungen, pyeses, lider (For the stage: stories, plays, poems), with musical notation (together with Yekhezkl Dobrushin and Elye Gordon) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1929); Lenin un di kinder (Lenin and the children) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934); Shlakht (Battles) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932).

Sources: M. Litvakov, In umru (Disquiet), vol. 2 (Moscow, 1926), pp. 159-80; Y. P. (Yankev Pat), in Folks-tsaytung (Warsaw) (March 27, 1931); Y. Dobrushin, In iberboy, literarish-kritishe artiklen (Under reconstruction, literary-critical articles) (Moscow, 1932), pp. 137-59; In iberboy, literarish-kritishe artiklen (Under reconstruction, literary-critical articles) (Moscow, 1932), pp. 137-59; “M. danyel” (on the fifth anniversary of his death), Eybikeyt (Moscow) (February 1, 1945); H. Tsivin, “M. danyels sheferisher veg” (M. Danyel’s creative path), in Afn visnshaftlekhn front (On the scientific front), vol. 1-2 (Minsk, 1932), pp. 118-37; M. Olgin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (November 20, 1932); M. Mizheritski, in Farmest (Kharkov) (April 1937); D. Bergelson, in Forpost (Birobidzhan) 2 (1937); M. Kitay, in Oyfboy (Riga) (June 1941); A. Gutman, in Der veg (Mexico) (March 8, 1941); A. Pomerants, Inzhenyern fun neshomes (Engineers of souls) (New York, 1943), 36 pp.; N. Y. Gotlib, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 30, 1953).

Aleksander Pomerants

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 188-89; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 92-94.]


YOYSEF DANILAK (1900-June 10, 1951)
            He was born in Radzin (Radzyń), near Warsaw, Poland, into a poor working family.  In his youth, he moved with his parents to Mezrich (Międzyrzec), and there he received a Jewish and a secular education in religious primary school, synagogue study hall, and with private tutors.  He later became a Yiddish teacher, and a leader and educator in an orphanage.  In 1923 he came to Canada, as an escort for a ship carrying adopted Jewish orphans, and there he remained.  Until 1947 he was an active leader in community Jewish affairs, a school director, and a teacher in Toronto and Montreal, as well as a lecturer on Jewish cultural issues and literature.  From 1947 until his death, he was among the most active contributors to the Jewish Public Library in Montreal.  His writing work began in Mezrich.  He was one of the founders of the Yiddish serial, Mezritsher vokhnblat (Mezrich weekly newspaper), and its editor, in which he published stories, children’s tales, children’s plays, and articles on pedagogical questions.  He also contributed to: Shedletser vokhnblat (Shedlets weekly newspaper), Voliner vokh (Volhynia week) in Rovno, Mezritsher tribune (Mezrich tribune), Mezritsher arbeter shtime (Voice of Mezrich labor), Mezritsher kleynhendler (Merrich retailer), Mezritsher lebn (Mezrich life), Arbeter shtime (Voice of labor), and Podlasher tsaytung (Podlaski newspaper) in Biała Podlaska.  In Montreal he published in Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) reportage pieces, feature essays, and humorous sketches.  A number of his children’s plays were staged under his direction by children from the Jewish schools in Mezrich and later in Canada.  He died in Montreal.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Y. Horn, Mezritsher zamlbukh (Mezrich anthology) (Buenos Aires, 1952), pp. 424-25; M. Ravitsh, in Biblyotek-bukh, 1914-1957 (Library book, 1914-1957) (Montreal, 1957), pp. 103-4; M. Edelboym, Di yidnshtot mezritsh (The Jewish city of Mezrich) (Buenos Aires, 1956); Sefer radzin (The book of Radzyń) (Tel Aviv, 1957), p. 342.

Wednesday 28 October 2015


YOYSEF DANOVSKI (JOSEPH DANOWSKY) (July 10, 1885-August 7, 1944)
            He was born in Jedwabne, Lomzhe region, Poland, the son of a teacher of Torah, Avrom-Arn (Avraham-Aharon) Danovski.  He received both a traditional Jewish and a secular education.  He studied in religious primary schools and in the yeshivas of Lomzhe, Slobodka, and Maltsh (Malecz), and with the help of teachers prepared to pass the examinations for the sixth level of senior high school in Mariopol, Suwalk district.  He received rabbinic ordination from R. Klatskin.  He later moved to study in Germany and lived for a time in Berlin.  He graduated from a teachers’ institute in Frankfurt-am-Mainz.  He studied philosophy and received his doctorate of philosophy.  He wrote for the Russian newspaper Birzhevie vedomosti (Stockbroker’s gazette) and for the German Rundschau (Review).  In 1922 he emigrated to the United States and settled in New York.  He was an Orthodox rabbi in the “Yeshivas Toras Chaim of Harlem” in Manhattan and in “Young Israel” in the Bronx, a teacher of languages, a lecturer, and he gave Talmud classes in the New York yeshiva Tiferet Yerushalayim.  Under his own name and under the pseudonyms Y. D. and Dan-ski, R. Danovski published essays, stories, adaptations, and translations from world literature in Tageblat (Daily newspaper) and Amerikaner (American) and in Hebrew in Hayom (Today) and the Hebrew column in Amerikaner in New York.  He was the author of such religious texts as: Haḥayim vehamavet (Life and death) (New York, 1940), 93, 24 pp.; and Torat haavot (The Torah of our forefathers), among others.  In Yiddish he published: Seyfer toyre un khokhme (The Torah and wisdom), “which includes: (a) sermons for all Jewish holidays; (b) sparks, aphorisms, and flashy ideas; and (c) scholarly problems on various themes” (New York, 1933), 142 pp.; Yoyre derekh al halokhes sheḥita (Showing the way to the laws of ritual slaughter) (New York: 1946?), 23 pp.; Di filozofye fun lebn (The philosophy of life) (New York, 1940), 46 pp.  His commentaries were on the whole written in a correct Yiddish and, in a foreword to the last of these works, he expressed why he as an Orthodox rabbi had concerned himself with popular philosophy, and he referred to an entire string of religious, Jewish thinkers, such as Yehuda Abarbanel and others, who engaged with philosophy.  He died in New York.

Source: Sh. A. Tiktin, in Hadoar (New York) (Elul 12 = September 1, 1944).

Zaynvl Diamant


            He was born in Pułtusk, Poland.  He was one of the Pleiade of Yiddish poets in Poland between the world wars, who demonstrated in their poetry the decline of the Jewish town (shtetl) and the prospective destruction that was coming.  He began publishing in the 1930s.  In book form, he published two booklets: Trit in der nakht (Step in the night) (Warsaw, 1933), 64 pp.; and Khaotishe teg (Chaotic days) (Warsaw, 1934), 56 pp.  He was killed by the Nazis.  Other biographical details are unknown.

Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (February 6, 1932); N. Mayzil, in Haynt (Warsaw) (July 5, 1935); “Yizker” (Remembrance), in Yidishe shriftn, an anthology (Lodz, 1946); B. Heler, Dos lid iz geblibn, lider fun yidishe dikhter in poyln, umgekumene beys der hitlerisher okupatsye, antologye (This poem remains, poems of Yiddish poets in Poland, killed during Hitler’s occupation, anthology) (Warsaw, 1951); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 4824.



           He was the author three short books in Yiddish: Der royter tayvl (The red devil), “a moralistic story (after [Heinrich] Zschokke)” (Warsaw, 1909), 96 pp.; Gots kasirer (God’s treasurer), “a remarkable novel (after Zschokke)” (Warsaw, 1912), 62 pp.; and Der ashmeday, oder der shreklekher kholem (The demon king, or the horrible dream) (New York, n.d.), 41 pp.  No biographical information is known.


            He was born in Rajgród, Poland.  He studied in religious elementary schools, graduating in 1913 from the Vilkovishk (Vilkaviskis) high school with distinction.  At age thirteen he was drawn into the labor movement.  He settled in Bialystok and became the manager of a secular Jewish public school.  In 1921 he was secretary of the commission for the support of orphans, later administrator of the lead bureau of the Bialystok society for the support of orphans, TOZ (Towarzystwo Ochrony Zdrowia [Society for the protection of health]).  He was at the same time a member of the management of ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades).  From 1925 he was vice-president of Yisho (Jewish School Organization).  In 1926 he edited the journal of the Bialystok orphan center Farn yidishn kind (For the Jewish child).  His co-editors were Rashel Rabinovitsh and Volf Hefner.  He contribiuted to Byalistoker almanakh (Bialystok almanac) (1931).  He died in the Bialystok ghetto.

Sources: Byalistoker yorbikher fun yivo (Bialystok yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (1926), p. 327; Byalistoker leksikon (Bialystok handbook) (1935).


Tuesday 27 October 2015


KHAYIM DOMB (b. 1912)
            He was born in Bielsk (Bielsk Podlaski), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, and over the years 1917-1926 in a Jewish school.  From 1926 to 1930, he was a student in the Vilna Jewish Teachers’ Seminary, and later in Shmuel Tsharno’s Seminary.  At that time he belonged to the group Fraye shriftn (Free writings), a free socialist circle, and he was active in circles concerned with individual psychology.  In 1932 he graduated from the Hebrew-Polish Teachers’ Seminary of Dr. Sh. Y. Tsharno in Vilna.  Due to chicanery on the part of the Polish regime, in 1934 he was working illegally as a teacher in the Vilna special Jewish school for intellectually challenged children, run by Vite Levin.  He later worked as a teacher in Jewish schools in Bielsk, Vilna, and Ignalina.  In 1938 he moved to Warsaw.  He worked there as a teacher in Jewish schools, and he also taught Yiddish to a group of assimilated Jews.  He also wrote a report for YIVO.  From an accidentally saved copy, this report was published in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (New York) (January-February 1941), pp. 88-92.  In September 1936 he was selected in the second round to be a YIVO research student and he wrote a study on the topic of “Yerushedikeyt un svive vi sibes fun hintershtalikeyt bay kinder” (Heredity and environment as reasons for backwardness in children).  It was published in Yivo-bleter 12.4-5 (Vilna), pp. 409-19.  His poem “Greber lid” (Miner’s song) appeared in Unzer hofenung (Our hope), edited by Y. M. Vaysenberg, in Warsaw (December 1, 1926).  He was killed by the Nazis.

Sources: N. Berg, in Unzer tog (Vilna) (June 1937); Yivo-bleter (New York) 26 (1945), in the section “Yizker” (Remembrance); L. Bayon, in Lerer yizker-bukh (Remembrance book for teachers) (New York, 1954), pp. 123-24, 229.


LEYZER DOMANKEVITSH (October 10, 1899-June 20, 1973)
            He was born in Krushnevits, Poland, into a Hassidic family.  He studied in religious elementary school, yeshiva, and secular subject matter with private tutors.  As a young man, he left for Lodz where he lived until 1931 and there worked as a private teacher of Hebrew.  In 1931 he moved to France where he worked in a variety of trades.  He was active in the Zionist labor movement, primarily in the cultural sphere, a lecturer and a speaker, and a member of the European bureau of the Jewish Culture Congress.  He began writing in Hebrew and published children’s poetry in Haḥaver (The friend) and Haperaḥim (The flowers) in Warsaw (1916).  He later published essays on literary issues in Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw (1924).  All through this time, he was also writing in Yiddish, but he published little of it.  Over the years 1945-1949, he served as literary editor of the Parisian serial, Arbeter vort (Workers’ word), in which he published articles on Yiddish literary and cultural issues.  From 1949 he was a member of the editorial board of the daily newspaper Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris, for which he wrote on a daily basis articles, essays, and features.  He was also co-editor of Kultur-yedies (Cultural information) in Paris (1949-1952) and of Parizer almanakh (Parisian almanac) (1955).  In book form, he published: Fun aktueln un eybikn, eseyen (From the real and the eternal, essays), concerning philosophical and Jewish issues as well as treatises on Yiddish literature which he characterized with a peculiar approach to the problems of literature and culture; Tseshotene kerner, eseyen (Scattered grain, essays) (Paris: Jewish Cultural Congress of France, 1961), 57 pp.; Verter un vertn (Words and worth) (Tel Aviv: {Peretz Publ., 1965}, 327 pp.; Netsekh yidishkeyt, eseyen, tsum ondenk (The endurance of Jewishness, essays, in remembrance) (Paris: 1980), 336 pp.  He also wrote under the pen names: L. D., L. Nakhumi, and A. Vov, among others.  He was living until his death in Paris.

Sources: Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (August 27, 1954); Glatshteyn, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (September 6, 1954); M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (June 14, 1954); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tsukunft (New York) (February 1955); Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957); M. Dluzhnovski, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (March 1958).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 187.]


GUSTAF HERMANN DALMAN (June 9, 1855-August 19, 1941)
            He was an evangelical theologian, Hebrew language researcher, and archeologist.  He was born in Niesky, Prussia.  He was professor of theology at Leipzig University.  He authored a number of important works in the fields of ancient Jewish history and languages.  He demonstrated his connection to Yiddish and the importance of Yiddish literature in the foreword to his edited collection, Jüdischdeutsche Volkslieder aus Galizien und Russland (Judeo-German folksongs in Galicia and Russia) (Berlin, 1891), 74, 8 pp., and in Berit am (Covenant of the people), a missionary monthly journal in Yiddish (Leipzig, 1893-1928), in which he published a number of articles “on the tongue of holiness” (Hebrew) wherein he apologized: “Our journal is published in Yiddish, and many Jews despise the language as a diseased tongue which is inadequate for matters of religion, but the Yiddish language is also becoming a tongue of holiness”; and he finished by saying “people can laugh in the Yiddish language which makes fun of Jewish history.  This language is a genuine child of Jewish history, a child of much suffering, persecution, and tears, and never an illegitimate child who would become an adult without a profound education and true scholarship.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Encyclopaedia Judaica (Berlin, 1929), vol. 5; The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York, 1941), vol. 3.


MENAKHEM-MENDL DOLITSKI (March 13, 1856-February 26, 1931)
            He was born in Bialystok, the son of Zev-Volf, a scholar and a ritual slaughterer.  He studied in a school run by the father of Dr. L. Zamenhof, in a synagogue study hall, and foreign languages on his own.  At age seventeen he married, and lived with his in-laws while studying literature of the Jewish Enlightenment.  Due to his weak state of health, he was for a time under treatment in Meran, Tyrol, and took the opportunity to visit Perets Smolenskin in Vienna.  By that time he had published in Hashaḥar (The dawn), edited by Perets Smolenskin, his first poem in Hebrew—“Likui shne hameorot” (Two eclipses)—which makes fun of two Hassidim who hold a competition between themselves.  When he returned from Meran, for a short time he worked as a traveling agent for Smolenskin’s weekly newspapers, Hamabit (The observer) and Hamabit leyisrael (The observer of Israel).  Later he worked as a Hebrew teacher in Bialystok and in Kiev where he survived a pogrom.  From that time forward, his early Zionist activities commenced.  In 1882 he was working as a Hebrew teacher in Moscow and secretary to K. Z. Visotski (Wissotzky), whose biography he would write: Mofet lerabim (A model for the many) (Frankfurt, 1892), 26 pp.  He published Zionist-themed poems in Hebrew in Kneset yisrael Community of Israel).  He suffered a great deal in Moscow during an expulsion, because he lacked residential rights.  He left Russia in 1892 and came to New York.  For a short time he worked in a sweatshop, and he later opened a cafeteria and worked as an itinerant teacher.  In a poem entitled “Aliya veyerida” (Ups and downs), he portrayed this period as a poet becoming a man who chases after a loaf of bread that was so often absent from his house and as his wife and children go hungry.  He began writing for Di yudishe gazetn (The Jewish gazette) in New York in 1892, in which he published his first Yiddish poem, “Fun tsofn land” (From the north land) (this poem was later republished by M. Shtarkman in Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) (Tel Aviv) 17 (1953).  He also published in Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) and in Morgn zhurnal (Morning journal) many novels, poems, and fables.  His newspaper novels (some written under the pseudonym M. Volfovitsh) number more than forty.  He also published in Tsukunft (Future), and he edited Di tsayt (The times), “a monthly journal for literature, entertainment, and Yiddish interests” (New York, 1897-1898), nos. 1-10.  A number of his novels came out in book form, such as: Shtarker fun ayzn, oder der gekroynter bandit (Stronger than iron, or the crowned bandit) (New York, 1894), 846 pp., reprinted (New York, 1920), vol. 1, 352 pp., vol. 2, 353 pp.; Der gebildeter merder oder dem henkers zun (The cultivated murderer or the hangman’s son), nine volumes (Chicago, 1897), 1456 pp.; Di finstere hershaft biz minister mirski (The sinister regime to Minister Mirsky) (New York, 1904), 846 pp.; Skhus oves oder gronem der bal-tshuve, roman fun yidishn lebn in rusland (Merits of the ancestors or Gronem the penitent, a novel of Jewish life in Russia) (New York, 1912), two volumes.  In 1907 in the Yiddish theater in New York, his play Di kharote (The regret) was staged.  In Hebrew a collection of his stories was published in book form, Mibayit umiḥuts (At home and abroad) (New York, 1908), 184 pp.  Also: Milḥemet ha-teḥiya (The war of rebirth) (New York, 1911), 464 pp.; Kol shire menaḥem mendel dolitsḳi (All the poetry of Menkhem Mendl Dolitski) (New York, 1895), 64 pp.; Haḥalom veshivro (The dream and its destruction) (New York, 1904), 42 pp.; Shire menaḥem (The poems of Menakhem) (New York, 1900), 183 pp.; Neginot sefat tsiyon (Melodies in the language of Zion) (New York, 1904), 64 pp.; and Shire tsiyon (Poems of Zion).  Early, in Europe, he also published a number of letter-writing manuals in Hebrew, with letters by Mapu and Smolenskin.  His Yiddish novels were sensationalist with underworld heroes, seducers, and the seduced.  These novels lacked much literary value but were enormously successful among the mass readership.  For this reason he abandoned his literary activity.  However, every Sunday he wrote for Morgn zhurnal a poem, and in his last years he also published fables.  He died in Los Angeles, California.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; Yosef Klausner, Yotsrim uvonim (Creators and builders) (Tel Aviv, 1925-1929), pp. 247-57; E. Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943), p. 90; Pinkes (New York) 1 (1927-1928), p. 260; Yorbukh fun amopteyl (Annual from the American branch [of YIVO]), vol. 1 (New York, 1938), pp. 256-80; M. Ribalow, Sefer hamasot (Essays) (New York, 1928), pp. 68-74; A. Sh. Hershberg, Pinkes byalistok (Records of Bialystok), vol. 1 (New York, 1949), p. 235; M. Aronson, in Morgn zhurnal (New York) (March 26, 1950); E. R. Malachi, in Hadoar (New York) (Shevet 2=January 20, 1950); A. Ben-Or, Toldot hasifrut haivrit haḥadasha (History of modern Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1951), pp. 44-47; M. Ḥizkuni (Shtarkman), in Metsuda 7 (1953); Y. Likhtnboym, Hasifrut haivri (Hebrew literature) (Tel Aviv, 1955); Y. K. Miklishanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn H” (New York, 1957), p. 146; A. Tsentsiper, Paame hageula (The time of redemption) (Tel Aviv, 1951).

Sunday 25 October 2015


Y. L. DOLIDANSKI (1868-May 8, 1935)
            He was born in a colony in the Vilna district, and he studied in Vilna.  He published in Hamelits (The advocate), Hamagid (The preacher), Hatsvi (The gazelle), and Der yud (The Jew), among others.  He moved to England.  In 1896 he was editor of the weekly newspaper Der yidisher ekspres (The Jewish express) in Leeds.  He later lived in London where he established a daily newspaper, Der yidisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal).  In 1906 he emigrated to the United States and became a contributor to Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper).  He wrote political articles and acquired a reputation with his notices concerning American Zionist conferences.  He translated into Yiddish a speech by Y. Zangwill on YIKO (Jewish Cultural Organization), delivered on May 16, 1903 (London, 1903), 47 pp., under the title Baron hirsh milyonen (Baron Hirsch’s millions).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; A. R., in Hadoar (New York) (May 17, 1935).


TSODEK DOLGOPOLSKI (July 30, 1879-1959)

            He was a prose author, playwright, and poet, born in Horodok (Haradok), a town near Vitebsk, Byelorussia, to poor parents.  He studied in religious primary school, but at a young age he went to work as a brush maker.  In his early youth he joined the Bund.  He read a great deal and studied autodidactically.  In the late 1890s, he took a prominent position in the illegal Bundist organization.  In 1901 he passed the examination to be a teacher, founded a Jewish school in his hometown, which became an educational center for local working youth.  He began writing in 1898.  At the time he published correspondence and reportage pieces on workers’ lives in the Yiddish press, such as the illegal trade organ of the brush makers, Der veker (The alarm).  He later contributed to: Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Der shtral (The ray [of light]), Lebn un visnshaft (Life and science), and other periodicals.  After the Revolution he placed written work in the Soviet Yiddish periodical press in Minsk, Kharkov, and Kiev, under the pseudonym A. Horodoker. He published stories, novels, and plays. He dedicated his books and plays to the rise of a new Soviet state of affairs. At the end of the 1930s, he was sent to the Gulag. After being freed, he lived in Byelorussia and Leningrad.

           “Dolgopolski was from beginning to end a writer of manners,” wrote B. Orshanski.  “In his stories and humorous sketches, as well as his plays and novels, everywhere the best and strongest places and chapters were those in which he depicted customs.”

Among his books: Bilder fun shtetl (Portraits of the shtetl), a collection of plays (Vilna: B. A. Kletskin, 1913), 111 pp.; Dem zeydns kloles (Grandfather’s curses), a children’s comedy in one act (Moscow: Central Jewish Commissariat, 1919), 31 pp.; Ba geefnte toyern (By open gates), a novel (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1928), 191 pp.; Af der linker zayt, funem nayem lebns-shteyger (On the left side, from the new way of life) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1928; Moscow-Kharkov-Minsk, 1931, 66 pp.; Mashines gerangl (Machines battle), a play in five acts (Minsk: Central People’s Publishers, 1930), 99 pp.; Biz dem letstn (Till the last one), a play in eight scenes (Minsk:, Byelorussian division, 1931), 42 pp.; Af sovetisher erd (On Soviet soil), stories (Moscow-Kharkov-Minsk: Central People's Publishers, 1931), 127 pp.; Mit mayn pen in hant (With my pen in hand), poetry (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1932), 112 pp.; Zayd (Silk), a novel (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1933), 244 pp.; Kolvirtisher trivaks (Collective farm’s sealing wax), a one-act play (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1933), 19 pp.; Agit-poyezd (Agit-procession), a story (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935), 162 pp.; Geklibene noveln (Collected fiction) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1936), 256 pp.

He translated Aleksey Arbuzov, Zeks gelibte, komedye in dray aktn (Six beloved, a comedy in three acts) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1936), 66 pp.  His work was included in: Atake, literarishe-kritishe artiklen (Attack, literary critical articles) (Minsk); Der veg fun farat, kamf kegn bundizm un menshevizm in der yidisher proletarisher literatur (The way of betrayal, the struggle against Bundism and Menshevism in Jew proletarian literature) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1932); Sovetishe vaysrusland, literarishe zamlung (Soviet Byelorussia, literary collection) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935); Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Declaimer of Soviet Jewish literature) (Moscow, 1934).

Sources: B. Orshanski, Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolutsye (Yiddish literature in Byelorussia after the revolution) (Moscow, 1931), p. 207; M. Vitkin, Af sovetisher erd (On Soviet soil); Shtern (Minsk) (September 1933); H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (Brooklyn, 1950), p. 64; M. Mizheritski, in Di royte velt (September-October 1931).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 187; and Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 96.]


TSVI-HIRSH DAKHOVITS (DACHOWITZ) (October 15, 1885-November 16, 1953)
            He was born in Sokole, near Vilna, Poland, into a rabbinic family.  He studied in the yeshivas of the Chofets Chaim and Volozhin, and received ordination from the latter.  In 1922 he emigrated to the United States and served as a rabbi in a Lubavicher synagogue in Brooklyn (1923-1953).  He was popular as an orator.  He was a co-founder of yeshivas and institutes for religious Jews in Poland and America.  For many years he served as vice-president of Agudat Harabonim (Organization of rabbis), an association of Orthodox rabbis in America.  He published articles in the Yiddish and Hebrew press on Jewish issues and primarily on Jewish education, among them in Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw, as well as Dos idishe vort (The Jewish word) and Morgn zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York.  In book form, he authored religious texts in Hebrew and Yiddish: Peri shelomo (The fruits of Solomon) (New York, 1926), 149 pp.; Hegyoni vesarapi (Logical and thoughtful) (New York, 1929), 156 pp.  He died in New York.

Sources: P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (June 13, 1926); Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 20, 1953); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1955), p. 147.


            He was born in Pinsk.  In 1905 he emigrated to the United States for the first time, returned, and then in 1908 again came and remained in America.  He wrote articles and did translations from Russian and Yiddish for the English-language socialist daily newspaper The Call.  In Yiddish he published in Morgntsaytung (Morning newspaper), edited by B. Faygnboym in New York.  He also edited branch publications in Yiddish of the New York Workmen’s Circle and contributed to the technical editing of the anthology Toyznt yor pinsk (1000 years of Pinsk) (New York, 1941).

Source: Toyznt yor pinsk (New York, 1941), see index.


            He was born in Jassy (Iași), Romania.  He edited the weekly Yidishes folksblat (Jewish people’s newspaper) in Jassy (November 1, 1895-1898), the continuation of the weekly Dos folksblat (The people’s newspaper) which appeared initially in Bucharest from July 1891 until November 1895 and later in Jassy.

Sources: Sh-s Roman, in Filologishe shriftn (Vilna) 3 (1929), p. 531; Dr. Y. Shatski, ed., Zamlbukh, lekoved dem tsvey hundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936) (New York, 1937), p. 302.

Saturday 24 October 2015


            He was born in Warsaw, Polamd, eldest son of the Warsaw Jewish community leader, Leybush Davidzon, and grandson of the community rabbi for Warsaw, R. Khayim Davidzon.  He received a traditional Jewish and a secular education.  He graduated from a Russian high school and went on to study medicine in Warsaw and Berlin Universities.  He graduated as an oculist.  From his early student days, he was one of the most active community and Zionist leaders in Poland, a pioneer in national and Zionist thought among academic youth in Warsaw, and a co-founder and chair of the semi-legal Jewish student corporation “Sifrut” (Literature) in Warsaw (1894).  He was also the secretary for the seventh Zionist Congress in The Hague, vice chairman of the Zionist conference in Helsinki in 1906, and among the leaders who proclaimed active Diaspora actions, the so-called “Kegnvart-arbet” (Work in the present).  He was a close friend of both Y. L. Peretz and Nokhum Sokolov.  He was a man with a profound sense of his social heritage, put himself at the service of the Jewish people, and as such he sacrificed virtually his entire personal life.  During the election campaign for the third Russian Duma in 1906, he was among the main leaders of the Jewish election committee in Warsaw, and assisted in the failure of the reactionary and anti-Semitic Polish candidates.  At the same time he led the fight against assimilation in the Warsaw Jewish community and he worked to make that community a democratic one.  He was one of those whom Peretz attracted when he was building a Yiddish theatrical society, and he was a member of the artistic council (1912).  During the years of WWI, he served as a military doctor on the Russian front, and during his stay in Kislovodsk (Kavkaz) he developed a large national effort which led to his being elected chairman of the local Jewish community.  He returned to Poland in 1919 and was soon selected to be chairman of the Zionist Organization in Warsaw.  He was also a member of the central committee of “Et livnot” (A time to build) and a founder and chair of the national Jewish club which brought unity to Polish Zionism.  He began his journalistic and publicist activities in the first Zionist periodical in Polish: Glos Żydowski (Jewish voice) in Warsaw (1902), which he edited.  He was also a contributor to Rassvet (Dawn) and Voskhod (Sunrise), and of other Zionist and ethnic publications in Russian and Polish—as well as in Yiddish with Der fraynd (The friend), Haynt (Today), and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and of the periodical press in Warsaw and in the hinterland.  He published current events articles and interesting impressions from his travels to Israel.  He was the author of a pamphlet in Polish (1912, 32 pp.) on the Jewish community of Warsaw.  He spent the last years of his life as director of the Jewish Academic Home in Warsaw.  He died in Warsaw.

Sources: Zakmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; E. N. Frenk and Y. Kh. Zagorodzki, Monografye-biblyotek tsu der geshikhte fun yidn in poyln, di familye davidzon (Monograph-library toward the history of Jews in Poland, the Davidzon family) (Warsaw, 1924); Dr. R. Feldshuh, Yidishe gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish community handbook) (Warsaw, 1939); Dr. A. Mukdoni, Y. l. perets un dos yidishe teater (Y. L. Peretz and the Yiddish theater) (New York, 1949); Dr. Y. Shatski, Geshikhte fun yidn in varshe (History of Jews in Warsaw), vol. 2-3 (New York, 1953); M. Turkov, Di letste fun a groysn dor (The last ones of a great generation) (Buenos Aires, 1954).

Khayim Leyb Fuks


MIKHL DAVIDZON (1883-December 2, 1941)
            He was born in Nay-Konstantin, Podolia district, Ukraine, into an elite, rabbinical family.  In his youth, he moved with his parents to Lyeve (Leova), where his father was hired to serve as rabbi.  He studied in religious primary school, synagogue study hall, and with his father’s help to deepen his knowledge of Hassidism and Kabbala.  Living at that time in Leova was the Hebrew writer Yehuda Shteynberg, and the young Davdizon was a frequent visitor of his.  At that time, he began writing poetry in Hebrew, which at Steynberg’s recommendation was published in Haolam (The world).  Shteynberg also guided him in the study of secular knowledge.  At the time of the Kishinev pogrom, 1903, he was studying in a local high school and was one of the more active leaders of Jewish self-defense.  He was thus placed in police custody and later was compelled to leave Russia.  He lived for a fair amount of time in Germany and studied technology at Göttingen University.  He was the founder of the local student organization “Hatikva” (The hope), which in 1907 staged his Hebrew translation and direction of Dovid Pinski’s Di mishpokhe tsvi (The family Tsvi).  In 1909 he returned to Russia.  During WWI he lived in Warsaw, later in various cities in Russia and Ukraine.  He was in Odessa and Kiev, where he in 1919 he helped create the Children’s Home, predecessor of the “Kultur-lige” (Culture league) of Kiev.  In 1923 he left Russia and lived in Western Europe.  He emigrated to the United States in 1924 and settled in Chicago where he worked as a Hebrew teacher and was a member of the circle surrounding the journal Kultur (Culture), 1925-1926.  At the end of 1938, he moved to New York and until his death was a Hebrew teacher in yeshivas.  He published poetry and translations from world literature in Der shtral (The ray [of light]) and Fraynd (Friend) in Warsaw, Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people) in St. Petersburg, as well as in a great number of Yiddish periodical and literary publication in Russia and in Poland.  He placed pieces in: Haolam, Hayom (Today), and Hameorer (The awakener) in London, in which he published, in addition to poetry, translations from Yiddish literature, such as a drama by Perets Hirshbeyn.  He contributed to the Shtibl publishing house, for which he translated in Hebrew various works, such as: “Dos pastukh fayfl” (The shepherd’s pipe [original: “Die Hirtenflote”]), and the dramas: Kabale un libe (Intrigue and love [original: Kabale und Liebe) and Di royber (The robbers [original: Räuber]) by Friedrich Schiller.  In America he published poetry in various publications, such as Kultur in Chicago.  Among his books: In veldl, kinder-drame in tsvey aktn (In the woods, a children’s drama in two acts), with illustrations by Todres Geler (Chicago, 1926; second edition, 1938), 138 pp.  This play was staged earlier in Hebrew under the direction of Kh. N. Bialik (Odessa, 1918).  He also wrote Der lyever rebe, historishe drame in fir aktn (The Leova rebbe, historical drama in four acts) (Chicago, 1935), 208 pp.  This play, which he describes in his own foreword as a “free adaptation,” elicited a literary polemic.  Davidzon lived alone and in his last year became quite devout.  He also wrote under the pen name “M. Ben-David.”  He died in the middle of the street as he was walking from work at the Bensonhurst Yeshiva, Brooklyn, New York.

Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (November 21, 1926); K. Marmor, in Frayhayt (New York) (June 17, 1926); E. R. Malachi, ed., Igrot david frishman (Letters of David Frishman) (New York, 1927); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (Winter 1936); Dr. L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (June 12, 1935); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (June 26, 1935); Tog (December 2, 1941); Morgn-zhurnal (December 2, 1941); Hadoar (New York) (December 5, 1941); A. Almi, in Tog (December 20, 1941); Y. Rapoport, Tropns toy (Dew drops) (Melbourne, 1948), pp. 34-35; Leye Mishkin, in Pinkes shikago (1952).

Khayim Leyb Fuks

Friday 23 October 2015


            This was the adopted name of Yisroel Movshovitsh.  He was born in Yaneve (Jonava), Lithuania.  He studied in the yeshivas of Grodno and Slobodka.  In 1888 he emigrated to the United States, where he worked as a Hebrew teacher.  In 1895 he graduated from City College in New York.  In 1902 he received his doctorate from Columbia University for a work on parody in Yiddish literature.  He was one of the most important researchers in the field of Jewish learning in America.  He was also a professor at a number of universities and a teacher of Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, as well as a guest lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  His most important work was the four-volume Otsar hashira vehapiyut (Treasury of poetry and liturgical hymns) (New York, 1924-1934), 418, 490, 544, 499 pp., with an index to 35,000 poems and hymns and 2,843 authors.  Aside from other work, he was also editor and translator into English of Sefer shaashuim (Book of delights) by Yosef Zabara of the twelfth-thirteenth centuries (New York, 1914), 197 pp. (Hebrew edition appeared in Berlin, 1925).  He published as well: Sefer milḥamot hashem, kolel ṭaanot hakerai salmon ben yeruḥim neged rav saadya gaon (Wars of the Lord, including the claims of the Karaite Salmon ben Yeruḥim against R. Saadya Gaon) (New York, 1923), 132 pp.  Into English he translated the liturgical poetry of Solomon ibn Gavirol in Pinkes (Records) (New York) 1 (1927-1928); and in Yivo bleter (Pages from YIVO) (Vilna) 13.2-4 (1938), pp. 322-54, he wrote “Nokhbiblisher literatur fun glaykhvertl” (Post biblical aphoristic literature).  He also contributed periodical writings in English, Hebrew, and German on Judaica.  He edited Essays and Studies in Memory of Linda R. Miller (New York, 1938), 286 pp.  His work, Sidur rav saadya gaon (The prayer book of Rav Saadya Gaon) (Jerusalem, 1941), 438 pp., which he compiled with Sinḥa Assaf and Issachar Joel, appeared posthumously.  He died in New York.  His final publication to appear was Otsar hameshalim vehapitgamim (Treasury of fables and aphorisms) (Jerusalem, 1956/1957), 250 pp.

Sources: Dr. Y. Shapiro, Otsarot, sefer hayovel shel hadoar (Treasuries, jubilee volume for Hadoar) (New York, 1926), pp. 54-58; M. Vintshevski, in Tsukunft (New York) (August 1908); Shalom Spiegel, Yisrael davidzon, leyovel hashishim (Israel Davidson, on his sixtieth birthday) (New York, 1930), 16 pp.; Hadoar (New York) (May 23, 1930; June 30, 1939); Dr. Sh. Bernshteyn, in Hadoar (July 19, 1940); A. M. Hamerman, in Haarets (Tel Aviv) (October 16, 1957); Yehuda Ratshabi, in Moznaim (Tel Aviv) (Kislev 1957); Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York, 1948), vol. 3; Davidson and Carrie Dreyfuss, Out of Endless, a memoir of Israel Davidson (New York, 1946), 198 pp.


YOYSEF DAVIDZON (JÓZEF DAWIDSOHN) (September 28, 1880-1947?)
            He was born in Warsaw and studied medicine in Berlin and Würzburg.  He took a prominent position as a Zionist leader and member of the Polish Senate (1919-1922).  He was the publisher of and contributor to such Polish Jewish newspapers as: Nasz Kurier (Our courier), Nasz Przegląd (Our review), and Przegląd codziennej (Daily overview), among others.  He also wrote a great deal in Yiddish on Zionist and general topics for the daily Yiddish newspapers in Poland.  In 1934 he departed for Israel where he assumed an important place in community life there.  He was also the author of Gminy Zydowskie (Jewish community) (Warsaw, 1931), 110 pp.

Sources: R. Feldshuh, Yidisher gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish community handbook) (Warsaw, 1939), p. 734; Entsiklopediya shel galuyot (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora) (Tel Aviv, 1953), pp. 512-13; Berl Kuczer, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index.


FROYM DAVIDZON (EFRAIM DAVIDSON) (June 21, 1899-June 27, 1964)
           He was born in the village of Dombroven (Dumbrăveni), near Soroka (Soroca), Bessarabia.  His father, Sheftl, was a businessman and mohel.  He studied in religious primary schools and on his own mastered secular subject matter.  From his youth he worked as a Hebrew teacher in Romania and Bessarabia.  From 1930 he was living in Israel, where he worked as a teacher in Ramat Gan.  He was active in a number of cultural institutions in Israel and a co-founder of the society of folklore “Yeda Am” (Folklore).  He made a trip to the United States in 1952.  He began writing humorous sketches and feature pieces in Yiddish in the Yiddish press in Bessarabia and Poland.  He published in Undzer tsayt (Our time) in Kishinev, in Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and elsewhere.  In Hebrew he published in Israeli humorous publications, such as: Keyad hamelekh (Plentiful) and Mehodu vead kush (From India to Ethiopia).  He was the author of such Hebrew-language children’s books as: Hedad aliti! (Raise a cheer!) (Tel Aviv, 1938), 60 pp.; Tsilume reḥovi (Photographs of my street); and the Hebrew-language humor anthology, Seḥok pinu (Laughter from the mouth) (Tel Aviv, 1951), 515 pp., with a foreword by Dov Sadan.  This anthology includes a large selection of humor from Yiddish literature, with biographies of the represented Yiddish writer.  He died in Ramat-Gan.

Sources: Moyshe Shtarkman, in Dos idishe folk (New York) (March-May 1952), pp. 44-47; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 5 (Tel Aviv, 1952), pp. 2278-79.

Thursday 22 October 2015


            He was born in Vilna, Lithuania, into a well-to-do family.  He graduated from a Russian high school.  He became active among Jewish socialists in Vilna and took part in the “Zhargonishe komitetn” (Yiddish committees [distributing written materials to laborers and creating libraries].  In 1894 he moved to Berlin and studied economics in university there.  He was a member the following year of a Zionist democratic student circle (together with Bal-Makhshoves and Y. Ayznshtat).  In 1896, when Dovid Pinski founded in Berlin the publishing house of “Tsayt-gayst” (spirit of the times), he was one of Pinski’s close associates.  After 1908 he was attached to Iskra (Spark) and had a negative relationship with Jewish culture.  After the Revolution, he returned to Russia and was active there among the Bolsheviks, but in 1920—as recounted by A. Litvak—he switched to join the Mensheviks in Kiev.  At that time he was preparing for publication his study in Yiddish, “Onheyb fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung” (Beginning of the Jewish labor movement), a portion of which he read before the Kiev “Kultur-lige” (Culture league), which was subsequently lost.  He began his writing activities with an adaptation of Darwin’s pamphlet, Di eybike milkhome in der natur, darvinizmus (The eternal war in nature, Darwinism), a popularization of Darwin’s idea of the struggle for existence (Berlin: Tsayt-gayst, 1896; second edition, Warsaw, 1897), 48 pp.  He was also the author of a popularization of Darwin’s book on sexual selection: Di natur iz di beste shatkhnte (Nature is the best matchmaker).  He also published in Russian in Iskra and in Zarya (Dawn) polemical articles against the national program of the Bund, using the pseudonyms “Yevrey” (Jew) and “K. K.”  He died in Kiev.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2 (see under the biography of Dovid Pinski); A. Litvak, Vos geven (What was) (Vilna, 1925), pp. 108-9; Leninskii sbornik (Leninist collection) 2, 3, 4, 5 (Moscow, 1925), see indices.



            He was born in Radom, Poland, into a Hassidic family.  He received a rigorous religious education in elementary school and yeshiva, and with private tutors he studied secular subject matter.  Until WWII he lived in Radom.  He was the owner there of a small factory that made ritual fringes; he was active leader in “Tseire agudat yisrael” (Agudat yisrael youth) in Radom; and he was active as a lecturer and speaker for the Orthodox educational institutions “Beys Yankev” and “Toras Chaim.”  He published articles in the Orthodox, Yiddish-Hebrew youth press.  In 1932 he became editor of the quarterly publication Der radomer gayst (The Radom spirit), 26 pp., “organ for those interested in reinforcing Torah, religion, and faith in our city of Radom.”  He published in it on contemporary issues, biographies of rabbis from Radom, Hassidic aphorisms, and the like.  He also wrote under the pen name “A radomer.”  He was in the ghetto during WWII.  He was active there in the illegal religious teaching institutions.  He died a martyr during the ghetto liquidation at the end of August 1942.