Wednesday 21 September 2016


            He was born in Sharkovshtshizne (Šarkaŭščyna, Sharkovshchina), Vilna district, Lithuania.  In 1884 he moved with his parents to Gluboke (Glubokoye or Hlybokaye).  He studied in religious primary school and in the Vilna and Minsk yeshivas.  In 1896 he moved to the United States, settled in Baltimore, and worked in a print shop, while at the same time graduating from a commercial school.  In 1908 he completed medical school in Baltimore, became a well-known psychiatrist, and assumed prominent positions in Baltimore hospitals.  He was also active in B’nai Brith and in the Zionist Organization.  He began writing stories in his student years, which were initially published in Di fraye prese (The free press) in Baltimore (1898), edited by Yoysef Barondes (Joseph Barondess).  He served as the Baltimore correspondent for the New York-based Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) and Yudishe gazetten (Jewish gazette), in which (aside from stories and medical articles) he also serially published recreational fiction, his own and translations from Russian, German, and English.  He additionally contributed to: Toglikher herald (Daily herald), Folks-advokat (People’s advocate), and Forverts (Forward)—in New York.  From 1903 he was a contributor to the magazine Jewish Comment in Baltimore, in which he published as well English translations from the work of Y. L. Perets, Sholem-Aleykhem, Sholem Asch, Mendele, and other Yiddish writers.  (This aroused a reaction from Sholem-Aleykhem; his letters to Khidekel can be found in the YIVO archives in New York.)  Khidekel was the editor and publisher of Familyen-magazin (Family magazine) in Baltimore (1899-1901) and Baltimorer veg-vayzer (Baltimore guide) (1901-1910), which in its sixteen-page supplements carried both his own and the popular novels he translated.  Some of these novels were later published in book form: Flikht un libe (Duty and love) (1899-1900), 920 pp.; Di beroybte (The victim [of robbery]) (1901-1902), 964 pp.; Di dray element (The three elements), a historical novel of the revolutionary movement in France at the end of the nineteenth century with descriptions of the life of P. Kropotkin, Louise Michel, and others (Baltimore, 1900-1902), 716 pp.  The reworked novels include: Eugène Sue, Di yerushe, oder geheymnise fun di yezuitn (The inheritance, or the secrets of the Jesuits [original: Le Juif errant (The wandering Jew]) (1898-1899), 728 pp.; Ludwig Berndt, Der fervildeter first (The feral ?? [original (probably): Kaspar Hauser, der Findling fun Nürnberg (Kaspar Hause, the foundling from Nuremberg)]) (1901), 1691 pp.  Khidekel regularly published in English, usually in medical journals.  He was the author of a string of fictional medical writings in English, and ones of purely scientific content, as well as on Jewish topics: Letters of a Greenhorn, The Social Outcast, and others.  He published as well under such pseudonyms as: M. Zilberman and Mekhaye Nahar.  He died in California.

Sources: Zalmen reyzen-arkhiv (Zalmen Reyzen archive) (New York, YIVO); Elye Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943), p. 93; Who’s Who in American Jewry (New York, 1938-1939), p. 164.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


  1. Library of Congress has the English spelling of his name as Maurice Chideckel. This was the spelling he used on his letterhead. I don't know where LoC got 1876 as his birth date, though. 1880 is correct.