Sunday 28 August 2016


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.]

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