MORTKHE MISHKIN (June 25, 1894-April 9, 1949)
He was born in Slonim, Byelorussia, into a family of rabbis and scholars. His father was the supervisor of the Slonim yeshiva. He studied with his father, as well as in the Mir and Slobodka yeshivas, and he later graduated from a pedagogical course of study in Grodno. Over the years 1919-1921, he studied in the rabbinical school of Rabbi Hildesheimer in Berlin and for a time in the rabbinical seminary in Breslau. In 1925 he came to the United States and became director of a yeshiva on the [Lower] East Side in New York, as well as secretary of the society Adas Yisroel. He began writing (under the pen name “M. Ben-David”) in Grodner moment (Grodno moment) in 1923, and later he published Hassidic tales and essays on religious topics and translations in: Dos naye leben (The new life) in Bialystok; Grodner moment; Mesoyre bleter (Pages from tradition) and Beys-yankev-zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal) in Lodz; Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; and Slonimer vort (Slonim word); among others. In the United States, he published in: Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and Der amerikaner (The American)—in New York; Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia; Der idisher kuryer (The Jewish courier); and Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; among others. Portions of his writings are included in the remembrance volumes: Horodets, a geshikhte fun a shtetl, 1142-1942 (Horodets, a history of a town, 1142-1942) (New York, 1949); Seyfer biten (Volume for Byteń) (Buenos Aires, 1954); and Sefer slonim (Volume for Slonim), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1962). Among his books: Fun der rabonisher velt, mayses, anekdotn, toyres, mesholim un sikhes-khulin shel talmide-khakhomim (From the rabbinical world: Tales, anecdotes, teachings, fables, and small talk of scholars) (New York, 1928), 318 pp.; Kool khsidim veshivkhe bal shem tov, vunderlikhe mayses fun rebe yisroel bal shem tov un zayne talmidim, oykh sforim miraboyseynu hakdoshim genumen fun farsheydene mekoyrim (The community of Hassidim and praises for the Bal Shem Tov, wonderful tales of Rebbe Yisroel Bal Shem Tov and his students, also religious texts of our blessed rabbis taken from various sources) (New York, 1928), 181 pp.; Agodes fun talmud un medresh far shul un hoyz (Homiletical material from the Talmud and midrash for school and home) (New York, 1932), 318 + 11 pp., second edition (1935); Sipure haari veshivḥe r’ ḥaim vital, vunderlikhe mayses fun dem ari, zeyere hanhoges un mides toyves (Stories of the Ari and Rabbi Khayim Vital, wonderful tales of the Ari, his students, their behavior and good manners) (New York, 1933), 188 pp.; Reter un ferreter, roman fun lebn fun der yidisher yugnt in poyln un erets-yisroel, fun di teg fun dem velt-krig biz der hayntiker tsayt (Savior and traitor, a novel from the life of Jewish youth in Poland and the land of Israel, from the days of the world war until the present time) (Warsaw, 1937), 336 pp.; Droshes far ale (Sermons for everyone) (New York, 1929), 316 + 3 pp. He translated from the German original Doktor yelineks droshes (Dr. Jellinek’s sermons) (New York, 1930), 158 pp. He also published under such pen names as: B. Parnas, Ben-Dov, and M. Mishkan. He died in New York.
Sources: P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 12, 1931; February 4, 1933); Sh. Z., in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (December 4, 1937); Morgn-zhurnal (April 10, 1949; April 12, 1949); Hadoar (New York) (April 29, 1949); Sefer slonim (Volume for Slonim), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1962), see index; Y. Shmulevitsh, in Forverts (New York) (February 24, 1963).
Khayim Leyb Fuks