Saturday 15 October 2016


            He was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a wealthy family of followers of the Jewish Enlightenment.  In 1885 he was already well known as a publisher of religious texts.  In 1887 he opened in Warsaw print shop which continued in existence until 1913.  He was also a writer in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Polish.  “The Warsaw publisher Tursh [Thursch] works on behalf of the community,” noted Y. L. Perets; “when the type and press are empty, he writes something himself or repairs a volume of Shakespeare and brings it out into the light of the sun.”  Tursh was the author of the Hebrew works: Avne bad (Stones of the olive press) (Warsaw, 1885); Bar hadaya o ḥalom hertsl (Bar Hadaya [the dream interpreter] or Herzl’s dream), a pamphlet opposing Zionism in general and against Dr. Herzl and Max Nordau in particular (Warsaw, 1899), 78 pp.; Ḥokhmat maharal miprag (The wisdom of the Maharal of Prague) (Pyotrikov, 1911), 58 pp.; Hod malkhut (Majesty), translated into Russian by Professor Khvolson and the author thereupon received a letter of praise from the Russian throne); Malkhut bet-david, toldot david melekh yisrael (Kingdom of the House of David, history of King David of Israel) (Warsaw, 1914), 61 pp.; Mozne tsedek (Scales of justice) (Warsaw, 1895); Kol shpinoza mikivro (The voice of Spinoza from the grave); and others.  He signed his works with the names: T. Bernard and B. Tursh.  In Yiddish he published the book: Milkhome fun shpanya mit amerika oder der yudishe treyst af di inkvizitsya, roman (Spain’s war with America or the Jewish consolation for the Inquisition, a novel), a “very interesting, scholarly novel of the contemporary war,” by T. Bernard (Warsaw: Duberish Tursh, 1898), 224 pp.  This book was written in a Germanized Polish Yiddish; the plot is built around the Spanish-American War and includes citations taken from Hatsfira (The siren) and Hamelits (The advocate), from the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, Jewish Enlightenment literature, Midrashim, and even the New Testament.  He also published in both Hebrew and Yiddish the biblical dramas: Rus, a teater-forshtelung in finf akten, tsu erklehren dos tayerikayt fun dem yudishn gloybn, un di gothayt fun dem yudishn folk (Ruth, a theatrical performance in five acts, to explain the preciousness of Jewish beliefs and the divinity of the Jewish people) (Warsaw: B. Tursh, 1906), 72 pp.; Bas-sheva, zeyer a vundersheyne teater forshtelung in fir aktn, tsu lernen dem menshn dos er zol zikh opfern far di menshhayt (Queen of Sheba, truly a magnificent theatrical performance in four acts, to teach one that one should sacrifice oneself for mankind) (Warsaw: B. Tursh, 1906), 64 pp.; Dine bas yankev, a biblishe drame in fir aktn (Dina, daughter of Jacob, a biblical drama in five acts), “Hebrew author Duberish Tursh, translated by Avner, part 1 (16 pp.), price of 7 kopeks (Warsaw: Vigoda, 1910).”  In the prefaces to his theatrical pieces, the author apologized that, inasmuch as these were to be staged in Yiddish theaters, which were subject to leading theater goers astray from the proper path, he still pleaded for the composition of such plays, which would arouse his faith and his good manners.  The precise date of his death remains unknown.

Sources: B. Gorin, Di geshikhte fun yidishn teater (The history of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1918), p. 242; Y. L. Perets, Ale verk (Complete works), vol. 10 (New York, 1920), pp. 262, 268, 279; Ben-Tsien Ayzenshtadt, Dor rabanav vesofrav (A generation of rabbis and authors), vol. 2 (Vilna, 1900); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Kh. D. Fridberg, in Bet eked sfarim; Dr. Y. Shatski, Geshikhte fun yidn in varshe (History of the Jews in Warsaw), vol. 3 (New York, 1954), pp. 255, 270; Shatski, documents in the archives in YIVI (New York).
Zaynvl Diamant

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