BETSALEL YUKHT (1898-November 11, 1960)
He was born in Vladimir-Volinsk (Volodymyr Volyns’kyi), Ukraine. He studied in yeshivas, later in the Vilna Jewish teachers’ seminary. In 1926 he completed the Jewish pedagogical course of study in Warsaw and thereafter worked as a teacher and a school administrator in Ivye (Iwie, Iwye), Vilna district, Kovel (Kovle), Ozdutich, and other places in Volhynia. In the 1930s he made his way to Brazil. For fourteen years, he ran the Dinezon School in Bahia, and for another thirteen he was director of the Perets School, the Mendele School, and the Liessin School in Rio de Janeiro. He worked with the cultural institutions in leftist circles, and later, after the liquidation of Yiddish cultural in Soviet Russia, he abandoned those groups. He was a writer and a translator. He placed work in: Unzer shtime (Our voice), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), and Idishe prese (Jewish press) in Rio de Janeiro. He dramatized for the Yiddish theater Sholem Asch’s Kidesh hashem (Sanctification of the name), which was staged by Zigmund Turkov and his troupe. In the anthology of the Yiddish writers’ circle in Brazil (which Yukht had, incidentally, helped to found)—Unzer baytrog (Our contribution) (Rio, 1956), pp. 199-212—he published chapters from his Yiddish translation of Rambam’s More nevukhim (Guide of the Perplexed), with an introductory word about Rambam (Maimonides) and his school of thought. In Pinkes kovel (Records of Kovel) (Buenos Aires, 1951), pp. 207-12, he published memories of Kalmen Lis and the literary family in Kovel. He died in Rio de Janeiro. He left behind in manuscript the full translation of More nevukhim, a Yiddish grammar, poems, and children’s plays.
Sources: Foreword to Unzer baytrog (Rio, 1956), p. 6; Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (February 23, 1959); obituary notice in Idishe tsaytung (Rio) (November 13, 1960); P. Palatnik, in Idishe prese (Rio) (December 11, 1960); Z. Turkov, Di ibergerisene tekufe, fragmentn fun mayn lebn (The interrupted era, fragments from my life) (Buenos Aires, 1961), pp. 341-63; written information from his wife Leah Yukht in Rio (1961).
Khayim Leyb Fuks