Monday 16 May 2016


KHAYIM VAYNER (December 2, 1901-March 16, 1952)
            He was born in Pogrebishtsh (Pogrebishch), Kiev district, Ukraine, into the family of a cantor and ritual slaughterer.  He studied in religious primary school and with private tutors, later attending high school in Odessa.  During the pogroms in Ukraine, he escaped to Berlin, studied literature and philosophy at the university there, and at the same time served as secretary to Dr. Shimen Bernfeld and later to Kh. N. Bialik.  In 1925 he moved to the United States, became a Hebrew teacher there, and was an active leader in “Tseire-tsiyon” (Young Zionists) and the Labor Zionists.  He worked as secretary for “Rabbi Tseir” (Dr. Kh. Tshernovits) and for the American section of the Hebrew Pen Club.  He began writing Hebrew poetry in his youthful years, later publishing articles on theatrical matters, travel narratives, and folklore treatises, such as a series of memoirs concerning Bialik—entitled “Bialik shebeal pe” (Bialik orally)—in: Tsukunft (Future), Di feder (The pen), Literarishe velt (Literary world), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Forverts (Forward), and Tog (Day)—in New York.  For a time he published travel accounts of Western Europe and Israel in: Dos vort (The word) in Warsaw; Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; Di shtime (The voice) in Mexico City; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; and other serials.  In Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) 3.1 (1932) in Vilna, he published his essay “Lider fun ukrainer heymlose in besarabye” (Songs of Ukrainian homeless in Bessarabia), which was published separately in Vilna (1933), 6 pp.  He also placed pieces in: Hadoar (The mail) and Bitsaron (Fortress) in New York—he served as secretary for the latter until his departure for Israel in 1951; Davar (Word), Hapoel-hatsair (Young laborer), and Haarets (The land), among others—in Tel Aviv.  He assisted in the compilation and editing of Volkovisker yizker-bukh (Wołkowysk remembrance volume) (New York, 1949).  In the anthology Yisroel (Israel) (New York, 1950), he published a piece concerning the daily press in the state of Israel.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: M. Aynhorn, preface to Volkovisker yizker-bukh (Wołkowysk remembrance volume) (New York, 1949); Bitsaron (New York) (February-March 1952); Forverts (New York) (March 17, 1952); Hadoar (New York) (March 21, 1952); N. Kantarovitsh, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 351.

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