YITSKHOK-ZEV VENDROVSKI (1856-December 17, 1918)
He was born in the town of Rozhanke, Vilna district, where his father Yankev-Perets was rabbi. He studied with his father and in yeshivas in Lithuania and received rabbinical ordination from R. Yitskhok Elchonon in Kovno, but he did not wish to make a career out of the rabbinate and took up business. In 1895 he moved to Argentina and became rabbi to a Baron Hirsch colony there, but he soon left the rabbinate due to persecution from the administration and moved to Buenos Aires where he devoted his attention to pedagogy and published articles in the local Yiddish press. In 1896 he moved to New York where he was employed as a cantor and rabbi by the “Ḥaye adam anshe minsk” (Congregation of Jews from Minsk), and he became active in the community in the religious sector of Jewish life. He was the founder of the Agunah Society which accomplished a great deal for lonely Jewish women whose husbands had abandoned them. His writing life began with a letters from Argentina that were published in Hatsfira (The siren) and Hamelits (The advocate). He later contributed articles on education and stories to various publications in Yiddish and Hebrew in Argentina, among them to: Mikhl Hacohen Sinai’s Idish-argentiner vokhnblat (Yiddish Argentinian weekly newspaper), among others. In New York he was a regular contributor to: Di yudishe gazeten (The Jewish gazette) and Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), for which he served as a proofreader and published travel narratives about Argentina, articles, short stories, and ran the division “Answers from the editorial board.” He also contributed to Shomer’s Di natsyon (The nation) in New York (1901-1902) and Haivri (The Jew), as well as other publications in Yiddish and Hebrew in America. He authored the religious works: Minhage bet-yaakov (The customs of Jacob), in which he explained, in Hebrew and Yiddish, the reasons and origins of various Jewish customs (New York, 1897), 117 pp., second enlarged edition (New York, 1911), 140 pp.; Leket yitsḥak (Gleaning of Yitsḥak) (New York, 1914), a text on the essence of the Talmud. He contributed as well to the English-language Jewish and general English press in America. He also wrote under the pen names: An emeser yid (A truthful Jew) and Y. Z. V., among others. He died in New York and left in manuscript several works in both Hebrew and Yiddish.
Sources: Ben-Tsien Ayzenshtadt, Ḥakhme yisrael beamerika (Wise Jewish men in the United States) (New York, 1903), p. 42; Sh. H. Gotlib, Ahale shem (The Jewish people) (Pinsk, 1912), p. 305; Froym Daynard, Kehilat amerika (American community) (St. Louis, Missouri, 1926), pp. 83-84; Bet eked sefarim; obituary notices in Morgn-zhurnal and Forverts: both (New York) (December 18, 1918).
Khayim Leyb Fuks