YANKEV MAZEL (November 29, 1879-September 13, 1954)
He was born in Kletsk (Klieck), Minsk district, Byelorussia, into the family of a poor tailor. Until age fourteen he attended religious elementary school, and later the yeshiva of Nyesvizh (Niasviž). Over the years 1896-1899, he lived in Warsaw, and he was employed there in various trades. From the summer of 1899 until the end of 1902, he lived in London. In 1903 he arrived in the United States. During his first years, he worked as a Hebrew teacher in various Talmud Torahs. He was cofounder of the first association of Hebrew teachers in New York and of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), as well as secretary of Dr. Magnes’s Jewish Kehillah in New York. He gained a great deal of regard for aiding Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. In 1919 he traveled to Poland as a representative of HIAS. He was in America during WWI, organizing a campaign to assist Jewish refugees throughout the world. His literary-journalistic activities began in Dos folk (The people) in London (1899), later contributing to: Der yudisher ekspres (The Jewish express) in London; Der veker (The alarm) in Leeds; Yugend-velt (Youth world) (1906); Romantsaytung (Fiction newspaper) and Teater-velt (Theater world), among others, in Warsaw. He was later, for many years, news editor of Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) and Der amerikaner (The American) in New York. He was a partner with Dovid Pinski in “Pinski-Mazel Press” in New York. He contributed work as well to the Labor Zionist newspaper Di tsayt (The times) in New York (1920-1922), in which, among other items, he published reportage pieces on Poland after WWI. He also wrote for Dos yudishe folk (The Jewish people), Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), and other serials in New York. He wrote under such pen names as Y. Mayzl. He died in Chicago during a visit to his family.
Sources: Ben-Tsien Ayzenshtadt, Sefer letoldot yisrael beamerika (History of Jews in America) (New York, 1917), p. 36; D. P., in Di tsayt (New York) (June 19, 1921); Tog-morgn-zhurnal and Forverts (both, New York) (September 15, 1954); Y. Lifshits, in Yivo-bleter (New York) (1962), p. 284.
Khayim Leyb Fuks