Wednesday 13 September 2017


            He was born in Smorgon (Smarhon’), in the Vilna region.  Until age fourteen he studied with itinerant elementary school teachers in the local state schools and in the synagogue study circle in Oshmene (Oszmiana), later in the Oshmene yeshiva.  At age seventeen he went to Vilna, studied in Parnas’s circle and in the Kirzhnersher synagogue, “eating days” [room and board provided various days of the week by families in the local Jewish community], and surreptitiously probing secular books in the Strashun Library; and he turned to general education via the correspondence course of Yankev Mark’s bookkeeping, Faynshteyn’s “Mnemonics,” and Kosode’s calligraphy—later, he became an assistant bookkeeper in Vilna.  From time to time, he published correspondence pieces in: Hatsfira (The siren), Hamelits (The spectator), and Hazman (The times); and aphorisms in the journal Hakeshet (The rainbow).  In 1904-1905, he published sketches, short stories, and feature pieces in Yitskhok Subalski’s Hadegel (The banner).  In Yiddish he wrote for: Y. L. Perets’s Di yudishe biblyotek (The Jewish library) in 1903/1904; Vortsman’s Di yudishe tsukunft (The Jewish future) in 1904; Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in 1905; Yudishe ilustrirte tsaytung (Illustrated Jewish newspaper) in Cracow in 1909; Ikor (Yidishe kolonizatsye organizatsye in rusland [Jewish colonization organization in Russia]) in Canada in 1934.  Under the pen name Khayim, in 1906 he published in Vilna a humor journal entitled Vilner vitsblat (Vilna newspaper of jokes).  After the outbreak of WWI, he was evacuated from Vilna to Nizhny-Novgorod, where after the Revolution of 1917 he was a plenipotentiary of cooperative organizations and at the same time was employed in literary work.  Under the name Y. M. Dobrusyev, he wrote hundreds of articles in the Soviet press concerning a variety of economic and political questions.
Leyzer Ran

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