YANKEV LEYZEROVITSH (November 2, 1893-April 25, 1967)
The brother of Moyshe Leyzerovitsh, he was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania, the son of an itinerant preacher. He studied in religious primary school, and later in 1908 was a student at a school for painting in Vilna; thereafter, until 1912, he attended an art school in Odessa, while at the same time completing his secular education as an external student. For a time, he lived in Warsaw, from whence (summer 1913) he made his way to the United States. Over the years 1915-1919, he was director of a school for orphans, later a teacher in the Sholem-Aleichem Schools and secretary of the Sholem-Aleichem Folk Institute in New York. He worked as a typesetter and proofreader, 1930-1955, for the Frayhayt (Freedom) in New York. He began writing poetry for Unzer leben (Our life) in Warsaw (1910), and later was a contributor to Gut-morgen (Good morning) in Odessa (1912-1913), in which he published humorous sketches and translations. He contributed to A. Shteynman’s Yugend-kraft (Youthful vigor) in Warsaw (1912) and Der ashmodai (The Ashmodai) in Berlin (1912-1914), among other serials. In America he began writing for Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people) in New York (1913-1915), while at the same time publishing in: M. Dantsis’s Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) (1913-1915); Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor); Der kundes (The prankster) (from 1914); Der idisher gayst (The Jewish spirit) (1915); Tsayt-gayst (Spirit of the times); and Der kibitser (The kibitzer); among others—all in New York. He served as assistant editor of Millers vokhenshrift (Miller’s weekly writing) in New York (1917), in which he was also in charge of the section “Humor and satire.” Over the years 1917-1925, he was editor of the children’s section of Amerikaner (American) and of the journal Kinder-velt (Children’s world) (1924-1926)—both in New York. From 1930 he was a regular contributor to Frayhayt, where, aside from articles and ordinary newspaper items, he published satirical features in verse and translations from novels and stories from foreign literatures, such as: Howard Fast, Mayne heldishe brider (My heroic brothers [original: My Glorious Brothers]; D. Toli (?), Shling un shlang (Idle); and others as well. His work also appeared in Hamer (Hammer) in New York and Vokhenblat (Weekly newspaper) in Toronto, among other newspapers. He was co-editor of the humorous periodical Der royter hon (The red rooster) in New York (1930). He also wrote under such pen names as: Yankele Brisker and Zeyde Yankev.
Sources: M. Olgin, in Frayhayt (New York) (February 12, 1933); Amerike in yidishn vort (America in the Yiddish word) (New York, 1955), see index; Ikuf-almanakh (New York, 1961), p. 556.
Khayim Leyb Fuks
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