Wednesday 5 April 2017


Y. E. (YITSKHOK ELIEZER) LEYZEROVITSH (1883-September 23, 1927)
            He was born in Kovno, Lithuania.  He studied in Kovno yeshivas and earned a reputation as a child prodigy, before receiving ordination into the rabbinate.  He was later captivated by the Jewish Enlightenment and passed the examinations as an external student for the high school course of study.  He began writing in Hebrew and in Yiddish at the same time, published in 1904 in Tog (Day) in St. Petersburg, and later was a regular contributor to Tsayt (Times) in Vilna, later (1910) for Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) in Riga and for Unzer leben (Our life) in Warsaw.  He was among the first contributors to Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, from which he acquired considerable popularity as a journalist.  His weekly feature, entitled “Vokh-gedanken” (Thoughts of the week), using the pseudonym Izidor Lazar, were among the most widely read sections of the newspaper.  He later moved to Leipzig, Germany, studied medicine, and from there wrote for Haynt and other newspapers and publications.  He also contributed work to Nayer morgenblat (New morning newspaper) in Lodz, in which he published stories on Jewish historical themes and contemporary features, and he ran the children’s division of the newspaper.  In 1913 he sent to Haynt from Kiev reports and impressions of the Beilis Trial.  He also placed writings in: Roman-tsaytung (Fiction newspaper) in Warsaw; Dos yudishe folk (The Jewish people), edited by Yoysef Lurye, in Vilna; and Petrograder togblat (Petrograd daily newspaper), among others in Yiddish.  In Hebrew: Reshafim (Sparks), Hamelits (The advocate), Hatsofe (The spectator), Hador (The generation), Haam (The people), Hatekufa (The epoch), and Hakeshet (The rainbow), among others.  He was the author of a series of textbooks in Hebrew, among them: Gemara lematḥilim (Talmud for beginners).  His books in Yiddish include: Der veg tsum eybigen glik, a politish-ekonomisher etyud (The road to eternal happiness, a study in politics and economics) (using the pen name Lasar Ignis) (Warsaw: Bikher far ale, 1905), 39 pp.; Di velfishe khasene (The wolfish wedding), a ballad (Warsaw: Yehudye, 1913), 29 pp.; a series of folktales entitled “Fun’m alten kval” (From the ancient source)—including: Der oytser, a vunderlikhe geshikhte (The treasure, a wonderful story) (Petrograd: Khayim, 1918), 48 pp.; Kadesh nokh a lebedigen, a mayse nefeyle (Kaddish for one alive, a story of a stillborn) (Petrograd: Khayim, 1918), 56 pp.; Der zindiger, a mayse noyro (The sinner, a fearful tale) (Petrograd: Khayim, 1919?), 30 pp.—Ferlofene shotns (Covered in shadows), “images and happenings of yesteryear,” vol. 1 (Paris: Oytser), 123 pp. (also available as a free supplement to Idishe shtime in Kovno).  He also compiled, following Graetz and other sources, the first volume of Di yudishe geshikhte (Jewish history), edited by Hillel Tsaytlin (Warsaw: Velt-biblyotek, 1910), 369 pp.  During the years of WWI and the Russian Revolution of 1917, he was in Russia.  He left the Soviet Union in 1920.  He lived for a time in Kovno, where he contributed to Idishe shtime.  He later, around 1922, made his way to Berlin, and from there he wrote correspondence pieces of “light material” to Forverts (Forward) in New York.  He moved to Paris around 1923 and there wrote for Parizer haynt (Paris today) and continued corresponding for Forverts.  He also published stories in Tsukunft (Future) in New York (1924), Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and elsewhere.  He published under such pen names as: Avi-Ver, Y. Glazerman, and A. Y. Berlovitsh.  He died in Paris.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; M. Y. Freyd, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (December 2, 1927); N. Finkelshteyn, “Yizker” (Prayer for the dead), in Haynt-yoyvl-bukh, 1908-1938 (Jubilee volume for Haynt, 1908-1938) (Warsaw, 1938); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in the anthology Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), pp. 1076-77; N. Y. Gotlib, in Lite, p. 1110; M. Sh. Shklarski, in Lite, p. 1291; Y. M. Sherman, in Lite, p. 1362; Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Fun noentn over (New York), vol. 3 (New York, 1957), p. 200; Y. Likhtnboym, Hasipur haivri, antologya (The Hebrew story, an anthology) (Tel Aviv, 1955); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; obituary notices in the Yiddish press following Leyzerovitsh’s death.
Zaynvl Diamant

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