Monday 29 August 2016


SHLOYME-YOYSEF (SHLOMO YOSEF) ZEVIN (1888[1]-February 27, 1978)
            He was born in Kazimerov, Minsk district, Byelorussia, into a rabbinical family which drew its lineage back to the Maharal of Prague [Judah Loew ben Bezalel].  He studied in religious elementary school and in the Yeshivas of Mir and Bobruisk.  In 1904 he became rabbi in Kazimerov, later serving as rabbi in Klimov and Novozybkov, Chernigov district, Ukraine.  During WWI he developed an intensive activity in Jewish community life in Ukraine.  In 1919 he was a member of the Jewish National assembly in Ukraine, later (1920) its general secretary.  He was also secretary of the All-Russian Rabbinical Conference (under the Soviets) in Korosten.  He helped the Lubavitcher Rebbe found covert religious elementary schools.  In 1934 he moved to Israel and for a time was a lecturer in the Mizrachi rabbinical seminary.  Beginning in 1906 he published hundreds of essays and treatises on a variety of issues covering practically the entire periodical press in Hebrew and Yiddish, including: Hamodia (The herald) in Poltava (1910-1915), from December 1914 in Yiddish; Haboker (This morning) and Hayesod (The foundation) in Israel; Haynt (Today), Moment (Moment), Unzer lebn (Our life), Der yud (The Jew), Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper), and Der mizrakhi-veg (The Mizrachi way)—in Warsaw; Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; and Unzer veg (Our way) in Paris; among others.  He was the author of such religious texts as: Ishim veshitot (Personalities and methods) (Tel Aviv, 1952), 281 pp.; Leor hahalakha (In the light of Jewish law) (Tel Aviv, 1957), 335 pp.; Sipure ḥasidim (Stories of the Hassidim) (Tel Aviv, 1955), 549 pp.; Hamoadim bahalakha (The holidays in Jewish law) (Tel Aviv, 1955), 379 pp.; and many more.  For his two-volume collection of writings, Sofrim vesefarim (Authors and books) (Tel Aviv, 1959), he received the Israel Prize for 1959.  He was editor of the collections: Aḥdut (Unity) (Kiev, 1921); Tora (Torah) (Slutsk, 1925), with Rabbi Y. Abramski.  He was editor (with Rabbi Meir Berlin) of Entsiklopedya talmudit (Talmudic encyclopedia) (Jerusalem).  He also wrote under such pen names as: Sh.-F and Eḥad Harabanim.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Sh. N. Gotlib, Anshe shem (Great men) (Pinsk, 1912), p. 162; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Jerusalem, 1941); M. Ginzburg, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (August 25, 1957); A. B. Yidur, in Panim el panim (Jerusalem) (Iyar 14 [= April 22], 1959).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[1] Translator’s note. The text being translated gives “December 1882” as Zevin’s birth date, but most other sources give 1888.


            He hailed from Lithuania.  In 1890 he came to the United States.  He lived in Philadelphia and New York.  He published recreational novels and translations in such serials as: Di yidishe velt (the Jewish world) in Philadelphia; and Yudishe gazette (Jewish gazette) and Folks-advokat (People’s advocate) in New York.  In book form he published several adapted works from Jules Verne, such as Der geheymnis inzl, oder aropgefaln fun himl (The mysterious island or fallen from heaven [original: L'Île mystérieuse]), “an interesting historical story (New York, 1895), 204 pp.; Teksers shtrof, oder nord gegen sauth (Texar’s revenge, or North against South [original: Nord contre Sud] (New York, 1895), 134 pp., with a preface that is rather typical of Jules Verne’s writings.

Source: Elye Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943), p. 90.


            He was born in Lemberg, Galicia.  He studied in Brod (Brody) and other Galician cities.  He translated into a folksy Galician Yiddish, Mishnayes af yidish (kav venaki) (The Mishna in Yiddish, small in size but trustworthy), proceeding alphabetically: “The Mishna states: Ner neshama (Light of the soul [Yahrzeit candle]), each person should have from all manner of names to study at an anniversary of a death and letters of the soul…”  The text also has some prayers in Yiddish that one would say at the side of a sick person when he sends forth “the soul” (Lemberg, 1896), 80 pp.  In its day it was an important text for the simple everyday Jew who was able through commentaries in Yiddish to study the Mishna to the memory of those close to him on their death anniversaries.  We offer here a short extract from his translation from Mishna Yoma, chapter 4: “Every other day the priests would ascend the altar by the stairs on the east side and return on the west side, and today, Yom Kippur, the High Priest goes up and down in the steps in the middle.  Rabbi Yehuda says: The High Priest always washes his hands and feet with the laver, and today [he uses] the golden flask.  Rabbi Yehuda says: The High Priest always uses the golden flask to wash his hands and feet.”
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in the village of Lopushnia, near Rohatyn, eastern Galicia, into a family of Jewish land owners.  He studied in the Berzhaner Synagogue and with the rabbinical judge in Stryj.  In 1892 he moved to Lemberg, and he went on to study philosophy, natural science, literature, and art history at the Universities of Lemberg and Berlin.  From his early years he was consumed with collecting Jewish folksongs, sayings, and folktales.  He began his writing activities with stories that he published in Folks-fraynd (Friend of the people) in Kolomaye (1890), and thereafter, in addition to stories, he published bibliographic notes and articles on the Jewish folksong, biographies of famed writers, and the like in: Literarishe togblat (Literary daily newspaper), Drohobitsher tsaytung (Drohobycz newspaper) (1906), and Der tog (The day)—in Cracow; A. Kleynman’s Kalendarn (Calendars) in Lemberg; and Avrom Reyzen’s Eyropeishe literatur (European literature); as well as in Hatsofe (The spectator) in Warsaw and other Hebrew periodicals.  He later wrote primarily in German and Polish, publishing a great deal on ethnography and folklore in the journals: Am Urquell (At the source) (1889-1891), Globus (1891-1892), Wisła, miesięcznik geograficzno-etnograficzny (Vistula, geographic-ethnographic monthly) (1894), Archives Israélites, and others.  Among other materials, he also published numerous Jewish tales, collected from the mouths of the people, tales about the blood accusation (the last of these was included in a book by Professor Hermann Strack, Der Blutaberglaube bei Christen und Juden [The blood superstition among Christians and Jews], 1891).  Of his more important works, we should note a Polish study on “The materials for ethnography of eastern Galician Jewry” which includes a large collection of sixty Jewish folktales, songs, remedies and cures, sayings, and the like.  He participated closely with Ignatz Berstein work, Yudishe shprikhverter un redensarten (Jewish sayings and proverbs) (Warsaw, 1908), for which he assembled and revised the portion dealing with Galicia.  He also contributed to Noyekh Prilucki’s folkloric publications in Warsaw.  He was for many years (1895-1907) a contributor to: Israelita in Warsaw, in which he published treatises on general Jewish and specifically Talmudic sayings with notes appended to the texts; to Ost und West (East and West) in Berlin; and to Wiener Morgenzeitung (Vienna morning newspaper), in which he published series of Jewish folktales with historical and philological notes, editorials, as well as monographs and obituaries for Yiddish and Hebrew writers and scholars.  He was the author of a number of books in German: Der Wald: Schauspiel in vier Aufzügen (The woods, a drama in four acts) (Berlin, 1914), 112 pp.; Morija und Golgotha (Moriya and Golgotha), a polemical pamphlet (Berlin, 1915), 24 pp.; Der Weltkrieg und das Schicksal des jüdischen Volkes (The world war and the fate of the Jewish people) (Berlin, 1915), 144 pp.; Die polnische Judenfrage (The Polish Jewish question) (Berlin, 1916), 160 pp.; Rumänien und seine Juden (Romania and its Jews) (Berlin, 1918), 2 vols.; a novel about “Judgment Day” (1920); Philosophie des Pogroms (Philosophy of the pogrom) (Berlin, 1923), 55 pp.; Bolschewismus und Judentum (Bolshevism and Judaism) (Berlin, 1923), 84 pp.  Segel was considered the person responsible for uncovering the forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  He discovered that the author of the Protocols was a Russian anti-Semite named Sergei Nilus and that the Protocols appeared first in Russian (Paris, 1903-1905) and were later translated into other languages.  He clarified all this in his book: Die Protokolle der weisen von Zion kritisch beleuchtet (Critique of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) (Berlin, 1924), 233 pp.  He also contributed to the liberal German press with articles opposing anti-Semitism.  He translated into German a number of works from Hebrew and Yiddish literature.  He wrote under such pen names as: Bar-Ami, B. Sifra, Lektor, B. Mirsh, A. Ben-Ezra, B. Volf, Dr. S. Shiffer, B. Rohatyn, and others.  Until 1930 he lived in Berlin, thereafter settling in Częstochowa.  He died in Bad Piestany.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; S. Wininger, Grosse Jüdische National Biographie (Great Jewish national biography), vol. 5, p. 491; Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), p. 95; Z. Shazar, Or ishim (Light of personalities) (Tel Aviv, 1955), pp. 172-80.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


            He was born in Dukla (Duklya), Galicia.  He was a well-known preacher, Talmud scholar, and mathematician.  He was the author of religious texts (in Hebrew): Tel talpiyot (Mount of trophies) (Lemberg, 1892); Misped tamrurim (Bitter lamentation), a sermon on the death of the Belz Rebbe, Yehoshua Rokeaḥ (Kolomaye, 1894), 22 pp.; Or haḥakhama (The light of wisdom) (Muncacz, 1896); Ḥakhama vebina (Wisdom and knowledge); Bina leatid (Knowledge for the future); and other works equipped with partial explanations in Yiddish.  He also published: Zegners praktisher rekhenmayster (Zegner’s practical calculating expert), book 1, “an easy method for studying arithmetical calculation” (Premishle, 1901), 96 pp.; Zegners praktisher rekhenmayster, book 2, “including mathematical calculations for self-education, geometry, stereometry (measurement of bodies), logarithms, physics, calculating the lunar eclipse, algebra, and the like, as well as several ways to calculate without assistance” (Premishle, 1902), 96 pp., with a foreword in which he explains that the goal of his works is “to understand the Rambam [Moses Maimonides], may his memory be for a blessing, in his judgments on Sukkah and Eruvin or in his More nevukhim (Guide of the perplexed), because not everyone has learned trigonometry.”  Other details about his life remain unknown.

Sources: Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), p. 149; Bet eked sefarim.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Sunday 28 August 2016


YISRAEL ZMORA (May 7, 1899-November 4, 1983)
            He was born in a village near Belz, Bessarabia.  He studied in religious primary school, in a yeshiva in Odessa, and later secular subject matter and foreign languages.  From his youth he was active in the Zionist movement.  He settled in Israel in 1925.  He visited Romania in 1926 on assignment for the Jewish National Fund.  In 1958 he visited the United States.  He debuted in print with poetry in Hebrew for the collection Peraḥim (Flowers) in Lugansk (Luhansk), later contributing articles and critical essays to: Haolam (The world) in Berlin-London, the monthly Yeshurun (Jerusalem) in Bucharest, Unzer tsayt (Our time) in Kishinev, and Tshernivitser bleter (Czernowitz leaves), among others.  From 1925 he was a contributor to: Haarets (The land), Ketuvim (Writings), Turim (Ranks), Moznaim (Scales [one of its editors]), Davar (Word), and Hatsofe (The spectator), among others—in Israel.  He founded the publishing house of “Miḥaverut lesifrut” (From friendship to literature) which published six times each year selected works from older and younger Hebrew literature.  He contributed as well to the anthologies Yaḥdav (Unity) in Tel Aviv.  In book form, he published several collections of critical essays on writers from various eras.  He published as well under the pen names: Y. Ze, Y. Haromar, and Y. Hamuzar.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopediya leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1949), pp. 1362-63; Forverts and Tog-morgn-zhurnal (both: New York, April 16, 1958); M. Yafe, in Haboker (Tel Aviv) (Elul 20 [= September 5], 1958); Y. Kahan, in Hapoel hatsair (Tel Aviv) (June 2, 1959); Y. Hurvits, in Haarets (Tel Aviv) (June 5, 1959); Y. Urland, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (July 17, 1959).


            Pen name of Z. Gordon, he lived in Nay Zhager (Žagarė), Lithuania.  He was the author of Der blinder eydes (The blind witness), “a frightful story encountered in America in years past.  And, because it is very interesting, I have translated it from the Viennese newspaper in which was written.  It should be read in full, and I swear by heaven and earth that nothing has been hidden from view” (Vilna, 1878), 16 pp.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1.


SHAYE ZLOTNIK (May 20, 1893-March 11, 1943)
            He was born in Zhichlin (Żychlin), Poland.  His father Meyer was the rabbi in Głowaczów, Radom district.  His brother, Rabbi Yude-Leyb Zlotnik, was the well-known Jewish folklore research who wrote under the names Yude Elzet and Yude Avide (Yehude Avida).  He studied in religious primary school and in synagogue study hall in Radom, where he received ordination into the rabbinate at seventeen or eighteen years of age.  Privately he studied secular subject matter and became a businessman.  He was president of Mizrachi, later chairman of the anti-Nazi committee in Radom.  When the Nazis occupied Radom, he remained there with his family (he had seven children), was confined with all the other Jews in the ghetto, and then shot on the Heroes Day Action—Purim, 1943.
            Zlotnik began to collect old Jewish witticisms, jokes, and aphorisms in the 1920s.  After revising the materials that he had amassed, he wrote substantially about hem in a variety of Yiddish and Hebrew periodicals.  He also published essays and modern sermons in: Moment (Moment) and Unzer ekspres (Our express) in Warsaw; Forverts (Forward) and Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York; Shikago kuryer (Chicago courier) in Chicago; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; and in the Hebrew serials, Haolam (The world) and Hatsfira (The siren).  Among his books: Moderne droshes (Modern sermons) (Warsaw: Alt-Yidish, 1929), 112 pp.—with the name of the author on the frontispiece as: Rabbi Shaye Zlotnik (H. Y. Zahavy)—an effort to explain the old events of the ancient religious Jewish life in light of Jewish life in contemporary times, the sermons are linked primarily by Jewish holidays, in part though also with current matters, such as: “Building on the land and of the people,” “The sword and the text” (concerning contemporary demoralization), and the like; Leksikon fun yudishe khokhmes, gute verter fun kluge yuden (Lexicon of Jewish witticisms, bon mots from wise Jews), “collected from oral sources and adapted,” part 1 (Warsaw: Brider Voitsikevitsh, 1929), 72 pp. (reissued in 1931); Yontoyvim folklor (Holiday folklore), “popular phrases…concerned with our holidays,” part 1 (Warsaw: Brider Feder, 1930), 100 pp.; Khumesh-folklor (Pentateuch folklore), “all popular phrases, aphorisms, witticisms, anecdotes, and popular expressions drawn from the Five Books of Moses,” part 1 on Genesis (Warsaw, 1937), 73 pp., part 2 on Exodus and Leviticus (Warsaw, 1938), 73 pp., part 3 on Numbers and Deuteronomy (Warsaw, 1938), 86 pp.  Already confined to the ghetto in 1941, he wrote a book on Jewish ethics.  The manuscript of this book was kept hidden by a Gentile who later feared that possession of it would be dangerous and he burned it.

Sources: M. Flakser, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), p. 379; oral information from Zlotnik’s daughter, Mrs. Pasternak, in the Bronx, New York; Genazim (Archives) (Tel Aviv, 1972/1973), 81: 479.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 265.]


AVROM ZLATIN (January 16, 1881-March 13, 1941)
            He was born in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.  He studied in religious primary school, yeshivas, and with private tutors.  In 1906 he moved to the United States and engaged in a variety of jobs.  For many years he was a leader of the Jewish National Workers’ Alliance.  He was active in the trade union campaign of the Histadrut, in the Labor Zionist Party, in the Jewish Congress, in the Jewish Bakers’ Union, and the like.  He published articles on labor issues in: Di tsayt (The times) and Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter).  Over the years 1924-1939, he edited the weekly newspaper Idishe bekers shtime (Voice of Jewish bakers) in New York, in which, aside for editorial articles, he published feature pieces.  He died in New York.

Sources: A. Goldberg, in 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), ed. Dr. Y. Shatski (New York, 1937), p. 247; A. Feder, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (January 17 and March 21, 1941); Forverts, Tog, and Morgn-zhurnal (all New York) (March 14 and 18, 1941).


HILLEL ZLATOPOLSKY (1867/1868-December 11, 1932)
            He was born in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.  He was later one of the richest sugar manufacturers in Kiev.  When he was very young, he joined the lovers of Palestine movement among Jewish youth of that time, later associating with the Zionists until the end of his life.  He was a member of the Zionist Action Committee.  In the era of the Uganda crisis in 1903, he was a sharp opponent of the Uganda project and was part of “Tsiyoni Tsiyon” (Zionists for Zion).  He was one of the founders of the Jewish National Fund.  In 1910 he founded the society Tarbut in Kiev.  In 1915 he supported Zhabotinsky’s “Jewish Legion.”  After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he immigrated to France where he successfully built sugar factories and was even honored as an honorary legionnaire by the French government.  He died in Paris of a bullet shot by a former director of one of his factories in France.  He published initially in Hatsfira (The siren) in 1887, later (after 1898) in Hamelits (The advocate) as well as in other Hebrew-language publications.  He wrote mainly about Zionist matters.  In Yiddish he wrote the pamphlet: Di organizirung fun di yudishe folks-koykhes (The organization of the Jewish people’s strength) (London, 1920), 20 pp., a propaganda booklet for the building of Israel.  He also placed articles in Parizer haynt (Paris today), edited by A. Alperin, on various topics, including Lubavitcher Hassidism which he research for a time and in which he demonstrated considerable interest.  He founded and financed the publishing house Amanut (Artistry) and supported “School-and-culture” (Shulkult) schools in Paris.  His daughter Shoshana Persits was a member of the Knesset in Israel.  His grandson Gershom Schocken was the editor of Haarets (The land) in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Evreiskaia entsiklopedia, vol. 7; Forverts (New York) (December 12, 1932); Der tog (New York) (December 13, 1932); Ruvn Brainin, in Der tog (December 15, 1932); Rassvet (Paris) (December 11 and 18, 1932); V. Zhabotinsky, in Rassvet (December 18, 1932); N. Herman, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 5, 1933); Hadoar (New York) (December 16, 1932; February 3, 1933); Y. Hadas, in Der veg (Mexico City) (December 22, 1957); oral information from A. Alperin in New York.


YANKEV ZIPER (YAAKOV ZIPPER) (October 10, 1900-April 15, 1983)
            The adopted name of Yankev Shtern, he was born in Shebreshin (Szczebreszyn), near Zamość, Poland.  From his early childhood he lived in the town of Tishivits (Tyszowce), near Lublin, where his father, author of a number of Hebrew-language religious works, was the ritual slaughterer, kosher examiner, and rabbinical judge.  He studied in religious elementary school, and later Talmud with commentaries with his father.  He studied Polish and German with private tutors.  In 1919 he left Tyszowce and lived illegally in Volhynia.  During the Bolshevik attack on Poland (summer 1920), he was sentenced by Poles to be shot, but he was saved thanks to bail provided by Jews of the town of Hrubishev.  He was an active member of “Heḥaluts” (The pioneer), Tseire-Tsiyon (Young Zionists), and the right Labor Zionists.  He was a member of the Culture Commission of the professional association in Ludmir (Volodymyr Volynskyy), Volhynia; later, he was a member of the Jewish National Workers’ Alliance in America.  From 1925, he was working as a Yiddish and Hebrew teacher in Canada and director of the Montreal Jewish Peretz School.  From 1930 to 1934, he served as director of the Winnipeg Peretz School, and afterward once again was a teacher in Montreal.  He debuted in print with a short piece entitled “Tsu shaleshudes” (The third Sabbath meal) in Polyeser shtime (Voice of Polesia) in Brisk (Brest) in 1923.  He subsequently published stories, poems, and articles in: Shprotsungen (Young sprouts) and in Hebrew in Hakokhav (The star)—in Warsaw; Unzer shtime (Our voice) in Chelm; Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees) and Der khaver (The friend)—in Vilna; Brisker vokhnblat (Brisk weekly newspaper) and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Dos idishe vort (The Yiddish word) in Winnipeg; Lid (Poem) and Bekher (Cup) in Los Angeles; Kultur (Culture), Shul-pinkes (School records), and Oyfbroyz (Spurt) in Chicago; Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Vancouver; Di vokh (The week), Idish (Yiddish), Tsukunft (Future), Oyfkum (Arise), Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), Kinder tsaytung (Children’s newspaper), Vayter (Further), Afn shvel (At the threshold), and Bitaron (Fortress), among others—in New York; Haolam (The world) in Jerusalem; Hatsofe (The spectator) in Tel Aviv; Argentiner beymelekh (Little Argentinian trees) in Buenos Aires; Proletarisher gedank (Proletarian idea) in Toronto; Oyfgang (Arise) in Bucharest; and more.  Among his books: Geven iz a mentsh, finf mayses funem lebn fun r. yisroel bal-shem tov, der besht (He was a man, five tales from the life of R. Yisroel Bal-Shem Tov, the Besht) (Montreal: Ḥaverim, 1940), 167 pp., also appeared in a Hebrew edition as Ish haya baarets, ḥamisha sipure maasiyot shebahen mesupar miktsat ḥayaṿ shel r. yisrael ben eliezer hamekhune habesht (Tel Aviv, 1955); Af yener zayt bug (On the other side of the Bug [River]) (Montreal: Ḥaverim, 1946), 283 pp., in Hebrew as Meever hanahar bug (Tel Aviv, 1957), 367 pp.; Tsvishn taykhn un vasern (Between lakes and waters) (Montreal, 1961), 428 pp.; Kh’bin vider in mayn khorever heym gekumen (I’ve returned again to my devastated home) (Montreal, 1965), 80 pp.; In di getseltn fun avrom (In the tents of Abraham) (Montreal, 1973), 156 pp.; Fun nekhtn un haynt (Of yesterday and today) (Montreal, 1978), 347 pp.; Araynblikn in yidish-literaraishn shafn (Insights into Yiddish literary creation) (Montreal, 1983), 329 pp.  He was editor of: Kanader vokhnblat (Canadian weekly newspaper) in Montreal (1926-1927); Pinkes tishivits (Records of Tyszowce) (Tel Aviv, 1970), 324 pp.; with Kh. Shpilberg, Kanader yidisher zamlbukh (Canadian Jewish anthology) (Montreal, 1982), 499 pp., 172 pp. in English.  He used such pen names as: Y. Sh-n, Alef, Yitskhok Shternberg, and Y. Gitles.  He served as a delegate to the second World Jewish Culture Congress in New York in 1959.

Sources: Kh. M. Kayzerman, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (December 27, 1940); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (May 1941); Y. Entin, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (September 19, 1941); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 1941); Y. Y. Sigal, in Keneder odler (February 11, 1946); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (October 21, 1946); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1949); L. Shpizman, in Geshikhte fun der tsienistisher arbeter-bavegung fun tsofn-amerike (History of the Zionist labor movement in North America) (New York, 1955); Sh. Belkin, Di poyle tsien bavegung in kanade (The Labor Zionist movement in Canada) (Montreal, 1956); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), no. 320; Gita Avigdor, in Moshe (Tel Aviv) (September 20, 1957); M. Ungerfeld, in Hatsofe (Tel Aviv) (Sivan 22 [= June 21], 1957); Y. Medresh, in Keneder odler (September 25, 1959); Y. Rabinovitsh, in Keneder odler (November 2, 1959).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 265.]


RUVN-MIKHL ZISKIND (b. May 17, 1890)
            He was born in Plotsk (Płock), Poland, into an elite family.  Until age thirteen he studied in religious elementary school, thereafter in the new Plotsk synagogue study hall, and later graduating from the Plotsk high school.  He left Poland in 1908, settled in London, and studied in university there.  In 1914 he became rabbi and preacher at a London synagogue.  He left the rabbinate in 1917 and became a merchant.  He began writing about Jewish topics in the anthology Hameasef (The collector) (Alexandria, Egypt, 1905); and later he wrote for Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw and for other serials.  He debuted in Yiddish with poems on ethnic themes in Di tsayt (The times) in London (1914).  He later published poems, stories, and articles in Di tsayt, Abend-nayes (Evening news), Dos yudishe lebn (The Jewish life), Der yudisher ekspres (The Jewish express), Yudishe post (Jewish mail), Yugend-shtralen (Youth beams [of light]), Der folks-veg (The people’s way), Jewish Chronicle, and Sunday Times—all in London.  In book form he published: a volume on the essence of Jewish philanthropy in English and German (1926); and Mikhls lider (Mikhl’s poetry) (London, 1927), 96 pp.  He also wrote under the pen names: Ben-Zakkai, Ben-Zishe, and Aleksandroni, among others.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen-arkhiv (Zalmen Reyzen archive) (YIVO, New York).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


NOSN ZISKIND (b. September 10, 1906)
            He was born in Stropkov, Slovakia.  He received a fervently religious education.  After WWI he moved to the United States with his parents, studied in the yeshiva of Rabbi Yitskhok Elchonon, later in City College of New York and Columbia University; he also studied in Marburg and Berlin (Germany), in Vienna (Austria), and graduated with a Ph.D. in 1942.  From 1948 he was associate professor of Germanic and Slavic languages at City College.  He was connected with YIVO (Yiddish Scientific Institute) from 1934.  He published work in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (New York) 6 (1934), pp. 157-65; 10 (1936), pp. 151-58; and in the journal Yidishe shprakh (Yiddish language) (New York) 13 (October-December 1953), pp. 97-108: “Batrakhtungen vegn der geshikhte fun yidish” (Reports on the history of Yiddish).  At the conference on Yiddish research in New York in April 1958, he read a paper entitled: “Yidish religyeze terminen fun nit-loshn-koydeshn opshtam” (Yiddish religious terms of non-Hebrew-Aramaic derivation).  He was last living in New York.

Sources: Yivo-biblyografye 1925-1941 (YIVO bibliography, 1925-1941) (New York: YIVO, 1943), nos. 1345, 1527; Konferents far yidish-forshung (Conference for Yiddish research), report of the organizing committee (New York, 1958); Shmuel Niger, in Tog morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 23, 1958); Directory of American Scholars, 2nd edition (Lancaster, Penn., 1951).
Zaynvl Diamant


MORIS ZISKIND (January 15, 1872-September 5, 1958)
            He was born in Kovno, Lithuania, to a father who was a cantor.  He studied in Rabbi Hershl’s yeshiva in Slobodka.  In 1889 he moved to the United States, lived for a time in New York, then moved to Chicago where he was a cigar maker.  From 1905 he was active in the Jewish labor movement, was among the funders of the first trade unions in Chicago, helped to establish the first Yiddish-speaking branches of the Socialist Party, and later was active in the Jewish Socialist Federation, the Workmen’s Circle, and the Jewish Labor Committee.  He debuted in print in the Baltimore weekly newspaper Der izraelit (The Israelite) in 1891, in which he published a description of his voyage to the United States.  He later published articles in Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in New York and in Filadelfyer yudish prese (Jewish press of Philadelphia), a daily newspaper (1904).  In Chicago he wrote for: Yudisher kuryer (Idisher kuryer—Jewish courier) and Yudisher arbayter velt (World of Jewish labor), the first socialist weekly, which Ziskind had helped to found in Chicago.  He also edited the socialist weekly Der nayer dor (The new generation) in 1905.  In addition, he published in Forverts (Forward) and Tsukunft (Future) in New York.  From 1920 he was the labor editor of the daily Chicago edition of New York’s Forverts.  He also wrote under the pen names: Bar-Kokhba, Ben-Yisroel, and Shapse Golem, among others.  He died in Chicago.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; M. Khizkuni, in Pinkas shikago (Records of Chicago) (1952), p. 77; Y. Sh. Herts, Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish socialist movement in America) (New York, 1954), see index; Y. Sigal, in Forverts (New York) (September 6, 1958); H. Shneyd, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (October 1958); Yedies fun yivo (New York) (December 1958).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


YUDE-LEYB ZISELMAN (August 1, 1885-Summer 1943)
            He was born in Pinsk, Byelorussia, to a father who was a ritual slaughterer and a prayer leader.  Until age thirteen he lived in Makhnovka (Makhnivka), Ukraine, and thereafter in Bialystok.  In 1906 he moved to the United States, where he worked as a laborer in Providence, Rhode Island, at the same time studying the violin.  He later became a teacher of violin.  In 1909 he began to write for Forverts (Forward) in New York.  He published poems, humorous sketches, and stories in verse and prose in Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Der kundes (The prankster), Nay-idish (New Yiddish), and Di feder (The pen)—in New York.  In 1920 he edited the monthly journal Der humanist (The humanist) and the one-off publication Der shtifer (The brat), published by the “Musical Association of the Workmen’s Circle” in New York.  He composed music and notations for the texts of Yiddish poets.  He also wrote under the pen names: Profesor Shpilfoygl, Shmeykhlzohn, and Leonshtik.  He died in Los Angeles.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Toyznt yor pinsk (1000 years of Pinsk) (New York, 1941), p. 320; The Providence Jewish Chronicle (April 25, 1919).


TANYE ZISMAN (April 30, 1897-January 8, 1983)
            She was a poet who was born in Odessa.  She graduated from a Russian high school and studied music.  In 1922 she moved to Romania and settled in Bricheva (Briceva).  She supported herself by giving piano lessons.  In 1924 she moved to Paris.  She wrote poems at first, but she only began to publish them from 1953 in: Parizer tsaytshrift (Parisian periodical), Naye prese (new press), Unzer eynikeyt (Our unity), and Unzer kiem (Our existence)—in Paris; Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York; Goldene keyt (Golden chain) in Tel Aviv; and Parizer heftn (Parisian notebooks).  She also penned articles on art and wrote book reviews.  In book form: Lider (Poetry) (Paris, 1961-1977), 2 parts.  Concerning the first volume, Yankev Glatshteyn wrote: “In her successful poems, she possesses a personal tone and even stature that transcends the narrow coquettish tone of average women’s poems in our poetry.”  She died in Paris.

Sources: Rivke Kope, in Unzer vort (Paris) (September 10, 1977); Kope, Intim mitn bukh (Intimate with books), vol. 2 (Paris, 1983), pp. 115-20; Yudes Kalman, in Naye prese (Paris) (October 15, 1977); Yankev Glatshteyn, Prost un poshet (Plain and simple) (New York, 1978), pp. 271-77.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 264-65.


SHIMEN-DOVID ZINGER (June 25, 1903-November 20, 1973)
            He was born in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, near Lodz, Poland, into a Hassidic family.  He was raised by his grandfather, an Aleksandrov Hassid, and he studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study hall.  In 1920 he joined his father in the United States.  He studied for a time at the University of Pittsburgh.  He worked for many years as a teacher of Yiddish.  He debuted in print in 1925 with poems in the Paterson (New Jersey) literary journal Zeglen (Sails)—four issues appeared—that he brought out with Moyshe Frid, A. Shlamovitsh, and Dovid Fefer.  He later contributed poetry and stories to Di feder (The pen), Oyfkum (Arise), and other serials in New York.  He later turned to become a literary critic.  His first essay about Moyshe Broderzon appeared in Di feder (New York, 1925), and from that point on he published articles and essays on literature and theater in: Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Tsukunft (Future), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Brikn (Bridges), Oykum, Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), Forverts (Forward), Der tog (The day), Unzer tsayt (Our time), Zayn (To be), and Unzer veg (Our way)—all in New York; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), and Foroys (Onward) in Warsaw; Kultur (Culture) in Chicago; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto; Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia; Foroys in Mexico City; and Dos vort (The word) in Buenos Aires; among others.  From 1957 he served as literary editor of the monthly journal Unzer veg, in which he regularly published work on Yiddish literature.  In book form: Dikhter un prozaiker, eseyen vegn shrayber un bikher (Poets and prose writers, essays on writers and books) (New York: Educational Dept. of Workmen’s Circle, 1959), 336 pp.  He also edited the anthology Tshenstokhov (Częstochowa) (New York: United Częstochowa Relief Committee, 1958), 336 pp.  He was living in New York, where he died, and working as a teacher at the Workmen’s Circle.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928); H. Akerman, in Refleksn (New York) (April 1932); Y. Y. Sigal, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (July 6, 1945); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (November 12, 1952); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tsukunft (New York) (March-April 1955); Der Lebediker, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 5, 1956); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (NewYork) 3 (1957), p. 258; Kh. Pat, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (February 1958); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (May 24, 1959); P. Shteynvaks, in Keneder odler (August 3, 1959); Y. Zilberberg, in Der fraynd (New York) (September-October 1959); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Tsukunft (October 1959); Sh. A., in Omer (Tel Aviv) (Ḥeshvan 18 [= November 19], 1959); Y. Navon, in Omer (November 20, 1959); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (April 3, 1960).


MENDL ZINGER (June 30, 1890-September 10, 1976)
            He was born in Brod (Brody), eastern Galicia.  He studied in religious primary school and in synagogue study hall, as well as secular subjects with private tutors.  He lived in Israel, 1909-1911.  He studied for two years in a religious teachers’ seminary in Jerusalem.  He traveled on assignment for the world association of Labor Zionists to various countries in Europe and in the United States.  He was a member of the Vienna Jewish community council.  He served as a member of the secretariat of “Muetset Poale Ḥaifa” (Labor board of Haifa) and a friend of Vaad Hapoel Tsiyoni (Zionist General Council) and of Mapai (Workers’ Party in the Land of Israel).  In 1906 he wrote correspondence pieces for Lemberger togblat (Lemberg daily newspaper), edited by Moyshe Kleynman, and later was a contributor to Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish worker) in Lemberg, to Nosn Birnboym’s (Nathan Birnbaum’s) Daytshe vokhnshrift (German weekly writing) in Austria (on the eve of WWI), Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people) in New York, Unzer vort (Our word) in Cracow-Warsaw, and to the Labor Zionist Party press in various countries and various languages.  In 1921 he established in Cracow the party organ Arbayter-vort (Workers’ word).  Over the years 1923-1934, he edited the organ of the Labor Zionists in Austria, Der jüdische Arbeiter (The Jewish worker) in Vienna.  He founded and edited (1924-1925) the weekly Naye tsayt (New times) in Vienna, which appeared for roughly one year.  Among his pen names: Hameshorer, M. Ben-Yankev, M. Avi-Ori, L. Kantor, and Menakhem.  He was one of the founders of the publishing house “Der kval” (The source) in Vienna, wrote articles about Sholem-Aleykhem and Yankev Dinezon for the series of pamphlets, “Finf niftorim” (Five deceased men [Sholem-Alekhem, Y. L. Perets, Mendele Moykher-Sforim, S. S. Frug, and Y. Dinezon]) (Vienna: Der kval, 1919).  Among his books: Fun mayn heymland, zikhroynes un bilder fun erets-yisroel (From my homeland, memoirs and images from the land of Israel) (Vienna: M. Hikel, 1919), 57 pp.; Dernokh, a bild in eyn akt (Thereafter, a scene in one act) (Lemberg: Arbet, 1923), 32 pp.; Der Weg des jüdischen Arbeiters zum Sozialismus (The way of the Jewish laborer to socialism) (Vienna: Zukunft, ca. 1930), 112 pp.; Die blutigen Ereignisse in Palästina (1929) u. der internationale Sozialismus (The bloody events in Palestine in 1929 and international socialism) (Vienna: Zukunft, 1930), 100 pp.; editor of Ber Borochow, Sozialismus und Zionismus, eine Synthese (Socialism and Zionism, a synthesis) (Vienna: Zukunft, 1932), 398 pp.; Gegen den Strom (Against the current), with Shalom Wurm (Vienna: Heḥaluts, 1933/1934).  In Hebrew: Beyaarot hakarmel (In the forests of the Carmel) (Haifa, 1937); Lean muadot pne rusya sovyetit? (Whither is the image of Soviet Russia going?) (Haifa, 1939); Ben milḥama leshalom (Between war and peace) (Haifa, 1941); Likrat nitsaḥon (Toward victory) (1942); Nisayon shenikhshal (Failed attempt) (En Ḥarod, 1944), 61 pp.; Bereshit hatsiyonut ha sotsialistit (The beginning of socialist Zionist) (Haifa, 1957), 454 pp.  He settled in Israel in the 1930s, living in Haifa.  He was a close personal friend of Dovid Pinski, after the latter settled on Mt. Carmel in 1948, and looked after him especially in his last years when Pinski was suffering from a helpless illness until his death in 1959.  Zinger died in Haifa in 1976.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1936/1937), p. 218; Sefer hashana shel haitonaim (Journalism yearbook) (Tel Aviv, 1949/1950), p. 256; Dov Sadan, Kearat egozim o elef bediha ubediha, asufat humor be-yisrael (A bowl of nuts or one thousand and one jokes, an anthology of humor in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1953), see index; Dr. M. Naygreshl, in Fun noentn over (New York) 1 (1955); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), pp. 182-83.
Zaynvl Diamant

Saturday 27 August 2016


MULYE ZINGER (b. 1918)
            He was born in Sarny, Ukraine.  He graduated from a Jewish public school and later became a laborer.  He published poems on social and national motifs in Volkovisker lebn (Wołkowysk life), Voliner prese (Volhynia press), and elsewhere.  He published in book form: Yunge reyd (Young speech), poetry, with a foreword by the author (Sarny, 1938), 52 pp.  Since WWII there has been no further information concerning him available.

Source: Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (January 14, 1938).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Friday 26 August 2016


MEYER-VOLF ZINGER (ca. 1840-ca. 1913)
            He was a teacher in Tarashtshe (Tarashcha), Kiev district, Ukraine.  He published in Hebrew: Mazal maḥkim (Luck makes one smart), one hundred rhymed riddles for the young (Warsaw, 1879), 43 pp.; and Mishle krilov (Krilov’s fables), 2 parts (Warsaw, 1885), 216 pp. and 236 pp., a second edition appeared in 1892 in Warsaw.  In Yiddish he published: Der ziten lerer oder basni krilov (The moral philosophy of Basni Krilov), “translated into pure zhargon [i.e., Yiddish] by Meyer-Zev Zinger” (Berdichev, 1888), 80 pp.  “A poor translation,” wrote Zalmen Reyzen, “of these well-known fables.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; M. Osherovitsh, in Forverts (New York) (April 20, 1945); Sh. Khurvits, “Fun folk tsu folk” (From people to people), Forverts (May 19, 1945).
Zaynvl Diamant


TSVI-HIRSH ZILBERTSVAYG (March 31, 1870-November 18, 1948)
            The father of Zalmen and Nosn Zilbertsvayg, he was born in Ozorków, near Lodz, Poland, into a wealthy family which drew its lineage back to the Malbim [Meyer Leybush ben Yekhiel Mikhl Wisser, 1809-1879] and to Leyvi-Yitskhok of Berdichev.  He studied in religious primary school, synagogue study hall, and with private tutors.  From early in life he was a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment, but at the same time very religiously observant.  He dealt in textiles and also maintained a business in religious books.  He played a major role in the Ḥibat-Tsiyon (Love of Zion) movement, and he was a cofounder and later the Lodz secretary of Mizraḥi in Poland.  In 1926 he moved to Israel and worked himself on his “Garden and Neighborhood of Montefiore” near Tel Aviv.  He was a cofounder (with Aba Kasman, Avrom Tenenboym, and Y. Unger) of Lodzer nakhrikhten (Lodz notices) (1907), in which he ran the regular section entitled “Bakol mikol kol” (In all, from all, all).  He was also for many years the Lodz correspondent for Hamelits (The advocate) in Odessa, later for Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw, and others.  He also placed pieces in Der telegraf (The telegraph) in Warsaw.  In Israel he published such religious works as: Anfe tsvi (Tsvi’s branches), Et asher shamanu vanedaem (What we heard and knew), Bemaabrot haḥayim (The transit points in life), and Hani mele mea’aliyuta (Here with full advantage), in which he treated various issues of Jewish tradition and Jewish life in the Diaspora and in Israel.  He published as well under the pen name: Tsviya.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Zalmen zilbertsvayg, yoyvl bukh (Jubilee volume for Zalmen Zilbertsvayg) (New York, 1941), pp. 6-8; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopediya leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1949), p. 1437; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York) 3 (1957), pp. 199, 258.


LEV (LEYB) ZINGER (1899-1957)

            He was a current events writer, demographer, and historian, born in Romny, Ukraine.  He graduated from high school and in 1925 from the economics department of Moscow State University.  That year he began working in the Central Statistics Administration of the Soviet Union.  Over the years 1926-1930, he was a contributor to the joint economics-statistics commission of the central management committee of ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) in Moscow as secretary of the labor bureau and later in the statistics planning division of Gezerd (All-Union Association for the Agricultural Settlement of Jewish Workers in the USSR), in the Scientific Association of Eastern Studies, in the Scientific Research Institute of Nationalities, and in the library of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.  He was evacuated to Siberia during WWII, and he was a member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.  After the war, he worked in the Aleksandr Pushkin State Museum of Painting.  In 1947 he defended in Moscow State University a dissertation entitled “Socio-Economic Assessments in Solving the Jewish Question in the USSR,” and he was given the title of “candidate in historical science.”

            As a Soviet Jewish historian, he spent twenty years devoted to research into the socio-economic history of the Jews in the Soviet Union, and his works were published in the Soviet press.  He was the author of: “Der tsolbashtand un di geografishe farshpreytung fun der yidisher bafelkerung fun fssr” (The numerical composition of the Jewish population of the USSR), in Yidn in fssr (Jews in the USSR) (Moscow, 1929); Di yidishe bafelkerung inem sovetn-farband (The Jewish population in the Soviet Union) (Moscow, 1932); Yidn proletaryer in fssr (Jewish proletariat in the USSR) (Moscow: Emes, 1933), 160 pp., which includes chapters entitled “Yidn-proletaryer in fssr in yor 1931” (Jewish proletariat in the USSR in 1931) and “Di struktur fun der yidisher arbetershaft in fssr” (The structure of Jewish labor in the USSR), with a supplement entitled “Der kvalifikatsye-grad fun di yidishe arbeter in bazundere unternemungen” (The qualifying degree of Jewish laborers in special undertakings); Der natsyonaler bashtand funem proletaryat in fssr (The ethnic composition of the proletariat in the USSR) (Moscow, 1934).  His works were full of statistical tables concerning leather workers, printers, food-industry workers, needle trades workers, chemists, timber workers, and more.  He compiled (with B. Engel): Yidishe bafelkerung fun f.s.s.r., in tabeles un diagrames (The Jewish population of the USSR, in tables and diagrams), volume 5 of Materyaln un oysforshungen (Materials and investigations), published (under the editorship and with a foreword by Z. Mindlin) by the Central People’s Publishers of the USSR, with financial assistance from ORT (Moscow, 1930), 25 tables and diagrams; Dos banayte folk (tsifern un faktn vegn di yidn in fssr) (The renewed people, figures and facts concerning Jews in the USSR) (Moscow: Emes, 1941), 124 pp.—“The task that we place here in this work,” they state in the foreword to this work, “constitutes the socio-economic totals of the redemption of the so-called ‘Jewish question’ in the Soviet Union.”  In 1932 he also published his book in Russian under the title Evreiskoie naselenie v Sovetskom Soyuze (The Jewish population in the Soviet Union) (Moscow: Ecponomic division of state publishers, 1932), 170 pp.  In the September 1948 issue of Tsukunft (Future) in New York was a notice about his book, Dos oyfgerikhte folk (The restored people), the socio-economic transformation of the Jewish population in the USSR (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 80 pp.

Sources: Nayerd (Moscow) (September 1933); N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband in 1934 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1934) (Minsk, 1936), p. 1; A. D. Miral, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (May 27, 1947).

Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 264; 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. 153.] 


LEYBUSH ZINGER (1906-1939)
            He was born in Lutsk, Volhynia district, Ukraine.  He received a traditional Jewish education.  In 1933 he moved to Brazil.  He lived in São Paolo, where he was one of the founders of “Heḥaluts” (The pioneer).  He wrote poetry and stories about the old country and about immigrant life in Brazil.  He frequently contributed to Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in São Paolo, edited by Kh. Frankental.  He died in São Paolo.  On the thirtieth day following his death, a group of friends brought out a collection of his poems and stories entitled Akordn in der shtil (Musical chords quietly) (São Paolo, 1939), 64 pp.

Sources: A. Lipiner, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), “Yidn 5” (New York, 1957), p. 394; Lipiner, in Der veg (Rio de Janeiro) (November 3, 1956); Lipiner, in Dos idishe vort (Winnipeg) (April 15, 1957); written information from Rosa Palatnik (Rio de Janeiro).
Zaynvl Diamant


YISROEL-SHIYE ZINGER (Y. Y. ZINGER, I. J. SINGER) (November 30, 1893-February 10, 1944)
            He was born in Biłgoraj, Lublin district, Poland.  His father, Pinkhes-Mendl Zinger, was a great scholar, an author of a number of religious texts, and for a time rabbi in Leoncin, near Warsaw, later serving as a rabbinical judge in Warsaw and subsequently in Dzików (Dzhikov), Galicia.  His mother Basheva was the daughter of the rabbi of Biłgoraj.  Until age seventeen Zinger studied Talmud, Tosafot, and other commentators, including Yore dea (one of the sections of Shulḥan arukh)—with itinerant teachers, in Radzymin with the rebbe, in the Ger Yeshiva in Warsaw—and at the same time, he was surreptitiously reading books in Hebrew, later in Yiddish as well, while trying his hand at drawing, painting, and writing.  At eighteen years of age, he left home, moved to Warsaw where he worked as a machine repairer, an office worker, a retoucher for the writer and photographer Alter Katsizne (Kacyzne), and an unskilled laborer as well.  As an external student at the time, he studied Polish, Russian, German, and other secular subjects.  With the outbreak of WWI in 1914, in order not to go to war which went against his convictions, he hid out in an artist’s atelier of the later well-known sculpture Abraham Ostrzega in Warsaw, and there he turned his attention to painting and writing Hassidic stories.  He suffered from want and hunger, and worked for a time for the Germans to repair a bridge.  At that time the Orthodox leader Nokhum-Leyb Vayngot was preparing to publish an Orthodox newspaper, and he was looking for newspaper writers within Orthodox circles.  He got wind of Zinger, the son of the rabbinical judge from the Krochmalna area (of Warsaw), and wrote and sent after him to ask if he had a sketch of Jewish life.  “It need not be Orthodox, but it only must not be heretical,” he cautioned.  Zinger then placed in Vayngot’s weekly, Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word), a sketch about an older woman, and this was his literary début.  Later in the same newspaper he published a series of other stories, and he translated a novel by the German writer Lehmann which was built around the biography of Rabbi Juselmann.
            After the Revolution in Russia, Zinger (early 1918) left for Kiev where he published a series of novellas in the Kiev Yiddish daily newspaper Di naye tsayt (The new times), which had begun publication in September 1917, and in the collections Baginen (Dawn) and Oyfgang (Arise) in Kiev (1919).  He also worked for the newspapers as a proofreader and carried the papers to the post office.  Under the influence of the “Kiev Group” of writers, he composed his dramas Erd-vey (Earth-woe) and Dray (Three).  When Denikin’s troops seized Kiev in 1919, Zinger wrote his story “Perl” (Pearl) which marked a change in his subsequent literary road.  He initially had no success with the story: in early 1920 he traveled to Moscow and offered it to Dovid Bergelson for a literary anthology that the latter was planning to publish.  Bergelson liked the story and arranged for Zinger to read the story before the Moscow Yiddish writers, but the story was not a hit among them.  Litvakov stated simply that it was “unprintable.”  At the end of 1921 he returned to Warsaw and published his story in Ringen (Links), a journal for literature, art, and criticism (Warsaw, 1921-1922), edited by M. Vaykhert.  Initially “Perl” did not engender any particular interest in Warsaw, but Ab. Kahan noticed it and republished it in Forverts (Forward), wrote an enthusiastic essay about it, and from that point (1923) Zinger not only published in Forverts (in New York) his fictional works, but he became a regular correspondent to the newspaper for Poland, and he published (under the pseudonym G. Kuper) hundreds of correspondence pieces, descriptions, and events from Jewish life in Poland.  In 1924 on assignment for Forverts, he visited Galicia, and in a long series of articles described local Jewish life.  Over the years 1922-1928, he was thoroughly absorbed in the emerging Jewish cultural and literary life in Poland, took an active part in virtually all local literary publications, anthologies, and periodicals, and was one of the initiators and avid supporters of Ringen.  Together with Perets Markish, Nakhmen Mayzil, Alter Kacyzne, and Meylekh Ravitsh, in 1924 he was a co-editor of Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw, and he was one of the founders and (with Perets Markish) co-editors of the journal Khalyastre (Gang) (Warsaw, 1922—only one issue appeared).  He traveled through Poland in 1926, and he published his impressions from the trip in Haynt (Today) in Warsaw.  He also closely contributed to the Warsaw publishing house of Kultur-lige (Culture league) of B. Kletskin.  Zinger also published stories, literary critical articles, and book reviews in such Warsaw publications as Bikher-velt (Book world), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), and Varshever almanakh (Warsaw almanac), and Tsukunft (Future) in New York.  He made a trip to Soviet Russia in 1926, and after returning (late 1927) he came out (in Literarishe bleter, no. 43) with a call to Yiddish writers in all lands that they convene a world conference following the example of the Czernowitz Language Conference of 1908.  “Such a congress,” he wrote at the time, “would be of immense moral significance.  Afterward, as we establish a rapprochement among ourselves, we will be able to create bonds between ourselves and the world, between ourselves and the Yiddish press, between ourselves and Yiddish readers, between one country and the next….”  He was in 1928 one of the principal initiators of the planned revival of the journal Di yidishe velt (The Jewish world) through Kletskin publishers, and he (together with Perets Markish, Nakhmen Mayzil, and Meylekh Ravitsh) edited the first issue of the journal, but with the second issue he withdrew from the journal.  He had experienced at the time a personal crisis caused by attacks on him in a number of Yiddish newspapers, and with an open letter in Folkstsaytung (Warsaw) he withdrew from fictional writing altogether.  In the next few years, he did indeed fulfill this “vow” and devoted himself solely to newspaper work for Forverts in New York and Haynt in Warsaw, but a rendezvous with Ab. Cahan in 1931 in Berlin changed his mood, it would appear, and on June 4, 1932 he began to publish in installments in Forverts his novel Yoshe kalb (Yoshe Kalb [calf])—approximately at this time he also published it in Haynt.  This work depicted a slice of Jewish life from Galician rabbinical courts in the latter half of the nineteenth century, but the types and figures of this life in 1930s Jewish Poland were more than anything else living, realistic figures and had an immense impact on actual Jewish life.  The novel aroused great enthusiasm among the masses of readers on both sides of the Atlantic, but at the same time many malicious critics, such as those coming from the side of religious Jewry, as well as Yiddish writers who believed that the author in this work had sinned in comparison with pure artistic creation.  In 1931 Yoshe kalb was staged by Maurice Schwartz and performed to great success in his Yiddish Art Theatre in New York and on tour in North America.  The success of its dramatization was so enormous that in New York alone it played continuously for two consecutive seasons.  In August 1931 Zinger traveled to the United States and attended the performance of Yoshe kalb In New York.  In 1932 he published in the monthly Globus (The globe) in Warsaw his play Savinkov ([Boris] Savinkov) which was staged in the Warsaw Polish theater under the direction of Leon Schiller.  After the death of his older son Yankev in 1933, Zinger settled in New York and published serially in Forverts his novels: Di brider ashkenazi (The brothers Ashkenazi), Khaver nakhmen (Comrade Nakhmen), Di mishpokhe karnovski (The family Carnovsky), and a novel of American Jewish life entitled In di berg (In the mountains).  He also wrote pieces for Tsukunft and Svive (Environs), edited by K. Molodovski, in New York, among other journals.
            Zinger’s works in book form include: Erd-vey, a drama in three scenes from the era of the war, revolution, and pogroms in Ukraine (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1922), 55 pp.; Perl un andere detseylungen (Pearl and other stories) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1922), 245 pp., second edition (Vilna: Kletskin, 1929), 257 pp.; Leymgrubn (Clay mines) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1924), 38 pp.; Af fremde erd, ertseylungen (On alien soil, stories) (Vilna: Kletskin, 1925), 278 pp., second edition (1930); Shtol un ayzn, roman (Steel and iron, a novel), a novel from the period of WWI, the Russian Civil War, and the Revolution in Russia (Vilna: Kletskin, 1927), 346 pp., second edition (1928); Nay-rusland, bilder fun a rayze (New Russia, impressions from a trip) in the Soviet Union (Vilna: Kletskin, 1928), 246 pp., second edition (Warsaw: Kh. Bzhoza, 1939); Yoshe kalb, a novel published by the author (Warsaw, 1932), 341 pp., with other editions (Buenos Aires: G. Kaplanski, 1933), 255 pp., (Warsaw: Kh. Bzhoza, 1937), and (New York: Matones, 1956), 238 pp.; Di brider Ashkenazi, a novel in three volumes from the history of the Jewish community in Lodz and the contribution of Jews to the construction of the local textile industry—part 1, “Geburt” (Birth), 328 pp.; part 2, “Koymens in himl” (Chimneys in the sky), 288 pp.; part 3, “Shpinvebs” (Cobwebs), 272 pp.—(Warsaw: Kh. Bzhoza, 1936; New York: M. N. Mayzel, 1937; New York: Matones, 1951), dramatized by Maurice Schwartz and staged with great success in his Art Theatre in New York and on tour in Europe and in Latin American countries (it was also translated in English, Dutch, and Spanish and elicited great enthusiasm among critics throughout the world)[1]; Friling un andere dertseylungen (Spring and others stories) (Warsaw: Kh. Bzhoza, 1937), 223 pp.; Khaver nakhmen, a novel in three parts (New York, 1938), 447 pp., dramatized by Zinger himself and staged by Maurice Schwartz’s Art Theatre; Di mishpokhe karnovski, a novel from the era of Hitler (New York: Matones, 1943), 518 pp., also dramatized and staged by Maurice Schwartz’s Art Theatre; Fun a velt vos iz noshto mer (From a world that is no more), memoirs of Zinger’s childhood years, published earlier in Forverts under the title “Emese pasirungen” (True events) (New York: Matones, 1946), 267 pp., with a bio-bibliographical introduction by Arn Tsaytlin; Vili (Willy), abridged and interpreted by Zalmen Yefroykin (New York: New York Workmen’s Circle Middle School, 1948), 111 pp.; Dertseylungen (Stories) (New York: Matones, 1949), 349 pp.  In Hebrew: Yoshe egel (Yoshe the calf), translated by Menaḥem Zalman Wolfowski (Tel Aviv: Devir, 1936), 235 pp.; Haaḥim ashkenazi (The brothers Ashkenazi), translated by David Sivan (Tel Aviv: M. Nyuman, 1953), 594 pp.  Also translated into Hebrew was Di mishpokhe karnovski (as Bet karnovski), translated by M. Lipson (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1945/1946), 479 pp.; and a volume of his stories entitled Mishene evre havisla (From both sides of the Vistula), translated by Shimshon Meltser (Jerusalem: Hameasef, 1945), 269 pp.  In English: The Sinner (translation of Yoshe kalb), translated by Maurice Samuel (London: Victor Gollancz, 1933), 318 pp., (New York: Liveright, 1933), 314 pp.; Blood Harvest (translation of Shtol un ayzn), translated by Morris Kreitman (son of Esther Kreitman) (London, 1935), 344 pp.; The Brothers Ashkenazi, translated by Maurice Samuel (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1938), 642 pp.; East of Eden (translation of Khaver nakhmen), translated by Maurice Samuel (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1939), 402 pp., (London: Putnam & Co., 1939), 470 pp.  In Polish: Yoshe Kalb (Warsaw: Roy, 1934).  Zinger translated from the Polish Jerzy Żuławski’s drama in four acts: Shapse tsvi (Shabbatai Tsvi [original: Koniec Mesjasza (The end of the messiah)]) (Warsaw: Di tsayt, 1923), 144 pp.—it was staged with great success by Sigmund Turkow in Warsaw and by Maurice Schwartz in New York.  Zinger contributed to a great number of newspapers, journals, and periodical publications in various countries.  His writings were included in Yiddish readers and textbooks, as well as in anthologies in Yiddish, Hebrew, English, and other languages.  In 1960 the publisher Matones in New York reissued Khaver nakhmen in a new edition (336 pp.).
            Zinger died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in New York.  He was the older brother of the writer Yitskhok Bashevis and younger brother of the novelist Esther Kreitman.  “Y. Y. Zinger was prose master,” wrote Meylekh Ravitsh, “of the first rank.  His art of building an architectonic novel was virtually unmatched in Yiddish literature.  His rich, exacting, though sparsely idiomatic language had a classical quality.  In his major works—Comrade Nakhmen, The Brothers Ashkenazi, and The Family Carnovsky—he masterfully brought to expression the issues of his time….  Also, as an essayist Zinger made lasting accomplishments.  I note only one essay by him: ‘Tsvey-toyzentyoriker toes’ (Two-thousand-year-old error), Tsukunft (1939).”
            (Translator’s note: Many more editions and translations of his work have appeared in recent years.  See also the excellent study by Anita Norich, The Homeless Imagination in the Fiction of Israel Joshua Singer (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991—JAF).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; Y. Shtern, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (February 18, 1927); Shtern, Lider un un eseyen (Poems and essays) (New York, 1956), pp. 248-50; N. Mayzil, Noente un vayte (Near and far), vol. 2 (Vilna, 1926), pp. 233-39; Mayzil, in Haynt-yubiley-bukh, 668-688, 1908-1928 (Jubilee volume for Haynt, 668-688, 1908-1928) (Warsaw, 1928); Mayzil, in Forverts (New York) (September 25, 1932); Mayzil, in Literarishe bleter (October 11, 1935); Mayzil, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (March 1944); Mayzil, Forgeyer un mittsaytler (Forerunner and contemporary) (New York, 1946), pp. 372-91; Mayzil, Geven amol a lebn (Once was a life) (Buenos Aires, 1951); Mayzil, in Amerike in yidishn vort (America in the Yiddish word), an anthology (New York, 1956), see index; M. Vaykhert, Teater un drame (Theater and drama), vol. 2 (Vilna, 1926), pp. 30-34; Vaykhert, in Di yidishe velt (Vilna) (May 1928); Perets Markish, in Shtern (Minsk) (March 1927); Yud Beys (Yitskhok Bashevis), in Literarishe bleter (January 7, 1927); Bashevis, in Forverts (May 7, 1955); Bashevis, Mayn tatns bezdn shtub (My father’s rabbinical court) (New York, 1956), pp. 151, 162, 254-59, 277-88, 295, 301-2, 308, 315; A. M. Fuks, in Literarishe bleter (March 11, 1927); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (May 1924); Niger, in Bikher-velt (Warsaw) (May 1928); Niger, in Tog (New York) (November 6, 1932); Niger, in Tsukunft (February 1933; December 1933; December 1936; June 1937); Niger, in Tog morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 21, 1954); Niger, Habikoret uveayoteha (Inquiry and its problems) (Jerusalem, 1957), p. 530; A. Litvak, in Der veker (New York) (June 9, 1928); A. Leyeles, in In zikh (New York) 3 (1928); Leyeles, in Tog (April 17, 1954); Y. Rapoport, in Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (August 4, 1932); Rapoport, in Tsukunft (March 1949); Oysgerisene bleter (Torn up pages) (Melbourne, 1957); Y. Entin, in Tsukunft (November 1932); Entin, in Pyonern-froyen (New York) (April 1944); A. Tsaytlin, in Globus (Warsaw) 6 (1932); Tsaytlin, in Blegishe bleter (Antwerp) 6 (21) (1937); Tsaytlin, preface to Zinger’s book, Fun a velt vos iz nishto mer (From a world that is no more) (New York, 1946), pp. 5-12; Tsaytlin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (February 26, 1960); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 11, 1932; May 19, 1933; May 17, 1935); Ab. Cahan, in Forverts (May 21, 1932); H. Rogof, in Forverts (April 23, 1932; June 9, 1932; December 1, 1932); Rogof, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) 13-14 (September 1954); Rogof, Der gayst fun forverts (The spirit of the Forverts) (New York, 1954); Y. Botoshanski, Portretn fun yidishe shrayber (Portraits of Yiddish writers) (Warsaw, 1933); Botoshanski, in Der veg (Mexico City) (June 21, 1947); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog (February 22 1933; February 27, 1933); Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (November 18, 1954); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (February 16-17, 1934; January 10, 1952); Ravitsh, in Tsukunft (October 1939; March 1944); Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1 (Montreal, 1945); Ravitsh, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (May 14, 1954); Ravitsh, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (Rosh Hashanah issue, 1957); Ravitsh, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 35 (1959), pp. 114-45; Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Unzer veg (New York) (December 15, 1941); Bikl, in Zamlbikher (New York) 6 (1946); Bikl, Shrayber fun mayn dor (Writers of my generation) (New York, 1958), pp. 317-27; D. Eynhorn, in Forverts (February 19, 1944); Y. Y. Zinger, in Forverts (June 7, 1942); Y. Y. Trunk, in Poylishe yidn (Polish Jews), yearbook (1942); Trunk, in Tsukunft (March 1944); Trunk, Di yidishe proze in poyln in der tekufe tsvishn beyde velt-milkhomes (Yiddish prose in Poland in the era between the two world wars) (Buenos Aires, 1949), pp. 108-20; Trunk, Poyln, zikhroynes un bilder (Poland, memories and images), vol. 7 (New York, 1944), p. 101; B. Rivkin, in Epokhe (New York) 13-14-15 (1944); Rivkin, Undzere prozaiker (Our prose writers) (New York, 1951), pp. 264-73; R. Omri, preface to Mishene evre havisla (From both sides of the Vistula) (Jerusalem, 1945); Sh. Saymon (Solomon Simon), Kinder-yorn fun yidishe shrayber (The youths of Yiddish writers), vol. 2 (New York, 1945), pp. 145-208; Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske 13, fun farbrentn nekhtn (13 Tłomackie St., of scorched yesterdays) (Buenos Aires, 1946), pp. 16, 97, 220; Moyshe Shtarkman, in Hadoar (New York) (May 23, 1947); N. Y. Gotlib, in Keneder odler (April 14, 1947); Y. Opatoshu, in Zamlbikher 7 (1948), pp. 453-59; Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York) (1949); Sh. Perlmuter, Yidishe dramaturgn un teater-kompozitorn (Yiddish playwrights and theatrical composers) (New York, 1952), pp. 306-11; Y. Mestl, 70 yor teater-repertuar (Seventy years of theater repertoire) (New York, 1954), see index; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), pp. 174, 175, 212, 266; E. Almi, In gerangl fun ideyen, eseyen (Struggling with idea, essays) (Buenos Aires, 1957), pp. 122-25; H. Lang, in Forverts (November 7, 1959); Dr. A. A. Roback, The Story of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1940), pp. 304-9; The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 9 (New York, 1943).
Zaynvl Diamant

[1] English by Maurice Samuel and later by Joseph Singer (The Brothers Ashkenazi); Spanish: Los hermanos Ashkenazi; Dutch by Alice Schrijver (De gebroeders Aschkenazi).  Also in Italian translation by Claudio Magris (Il fratelli Ashkenazi); French by Marie-Brunette Spire (Les Frères Ashkenazi, roman); Hebrew by David Sivan (Haaim ashkenazi); Norwegian by Finn Halvorsen (Brødrene Ashkenazi); Russian by Velvl Tchernin (Brat’ia Ashkenazi); Polish by Maria Krych (Bracia Aszkenazy); German by Gertrud Baruch (Die Brüder Aschkenasi: Roman); Hungarian by Dezsényi Katalin (Az Askenázi fivérek); Swedish by David Belin (Bröderna Aschkenazi, roman); Danish by Peter Christiansen (Brødrene Askenazi). (JAF)