Wednesday 7 September 2016


            He was born in Kishinev.  He studied in religious primary school and later in a Hebrew high school.  He graduated from the Kishinev art school and studied painting at the Bucharest art academy.  He was active in leftist circles.  During WWII he was in the Soviet Union.  From 1948 he was living in Czernowitz, and in 1973 he made aliya to Israel where he worked as a teacher.  He debuted in print with poetry in Onzog (Portent) in Kishinev (1931).  He later wrote for: Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow, Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw, Naye prese (New press) in Paris, Yidishkeyt (Jewishness) in London, Dorem-afrike (South Africa) in Johannesburg, and Goldene keyt (Golden chain), Bay zikh (On one’s own), Letste nayes (Latest news), and other Israeli publications.  His work was represented as well in Aravot baruaḥ, antologiya shel sofre besarabiya (Willows in the wind, anthology of Bessarabian writers) (Tel Aviv, 1981).  He also wrote in Russian.  His book-length works include: Ru in ruinen, lider un baladn (Quiet in the ruins, poems and ballads) (Tel Aviv: Menorah, 1975), 174 pp.; Fun heymishn brunem, lider un baladn (From a familiar well, poems and ballads) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1976), 153 pp.; In grinem tol, lider un baladn (In a green valley, poems and ballads) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1978), 123 pp.; Shotns in midber, lider un baladn (Shadows in the desert, poems and ballads), with a long introduction by Dov Sadan (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1979), 190 pp.; Zibn fun eyn shif (Seven from one ship) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1982), 93 pp.; Shtern afn yarid (Star over the market) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1985), 187 pp.  He published popular ballads on the theme of the Chelm tales.  “Khayim Zeltser truly revealed himself to us overnight,” wrote Y. Yakir, “as a talented, idiomatic poet, who drew on the living wellsprings of folk sources.”

Sources: Sh. Kants, in Bay zikh (Tel Aviv) 5 (1975); Y. Ts. Shargel, Fun onheyb on (From the beginning) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1977), pp. 239-44; N. Gris, in Afn shvel (New York) (January-March 1980); Y. Ḥ. Biletski, Bikehal ḥakhamim: ani, ata veḥelem (In the community of the wise men: I, you, and Chelm) (Tel Aviv: Gazit, 1981), pp. 24-27, 134-35, passim.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 267-68, 543.

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