Thursday 22 September 2016


            He was born in Amdur, Grodno district, Russian Poland.  He studied in religious primary schools and in the Grodno yeshiva.  Under the influence of Yiddish literature, primarily that of A. M. Dik’s chapbooks, at age fourteen he left the yeshiva, became a village teacher to support himself, and there taught himself German and Russian, with assistance from Bloshteyn’s grammar and Paperna’s textbook; he later acquired French, Latin, and Greek.  He also excelled in mathematics.  In 1885 he moved to Warsaw and continued his self-studying.  In 1893 he sat for the examinations to become a teacher and worked in Jewish educational institutions in Grodno.  In 1912 he settled in Vilna where he worked as a teacher of Hebrew in Cohen’s High School, and from 1916 a teacher of Hebrew and of general subject matter at the Hebrew high school of Dr. Yosef Epshteyn.  He published a number of works—largely in the field of Hebrew linguistics and Bible criticism—in Hashiloa (The shiloah) between 1898 and 1914.  He brought out a Hebrew collection of translated songs, entitled Haneginot (Melodies) (Vilna, 1921), in which he included the poetry of Avrom Reyzen, M. Rozenfeld, M. Varshavsky, and Sh. Frug, works by European poets, and also folksongs.  He compiled in Hebrew a textbook of cosmography, Kosmografya, o ikare hatekhuna (Cosmography, or its main features) (Tel Aviv, 194?), 228 pp.; and he published Torat haḥibur vehasidur shel halashon haivrit (Rules of composition and arrangement in the Hebrew language) (Vilna, 1929).  He translated for the Yiddish theater in Vilna a number of operas and operettas, such as: “Di vayse lilye” (The white lily), “Di nakht fun libe” (The night of love), “Graf luksemburg” (Count Luxembourg), and “Di freylekhe almone” (The merry widow), among others.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1.
Yankev Kahan

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