Thursday 29 March 2018


            He was born in Zbarzh (Zbarazh), Galicia, where his father (Arn Polyak) was a religious judge.  Until age ten he studied with his father and then until age seventeen in a yeshiva in Bród (Brody).  Under the influence of followers of the Jewish Enlightenment in Bród, he left the yeshiva and began studying secular subject matter.  He lived in Bród until 1827, supporting himself as a private tutor, while at the same time studying at the Warsaw Lycée.  At the time of the Polish uprising of 1831, he left for Berlin, studied medicine at university, and received his doctor’s degree in 1834.  He then returned to Warsaw and until his death practiced as a doctor in a local hospital and privately.  At the end of 1843, at the request of the Warsaw health department, he translated from Polish into Judeo-German, under the title Marpe leam (Healing the people), several brochures about hygiene which were distributed for free among the poor Jewish population.  He authored medical books in Hebrew and Polish, among them: Rofe hayeladim, kolel etsot tovot veneemanot lishemor beriut hayeladim (Children’s doctor, including good advice and loyalty to keep children healthy), “the pediatrician,” “a textbook for how to prevent children’s diseases” (Warsaw: 1847), 64 pp., second edition (1876), with a preface which includes his autobiography in Hebrew.  He also authored: Refuot yeladim (Pediatrics) (Warsaw, 1850); and Orot aim (Lights of life) (1853)—both works in Hebrew with Yiddish explanations.  He also prepared for publication Dr. M. Levin’s Refuot haam (Medicine for the people), a volume about hygiene (Lemberg, 1851), with his annotations in “the spoken language, Judeo-German.”  As Dr. Yankev Shatski put it, “Dr. M. Studentski over the course of forty years was the idol of the Warsaw Jewish poor and often, instead of taking remuneration for a visit, he would give his patient the Yiddish booklets on hygiene and health, as a gift.”  He died in great poverty in Warsaw.

Sources: The Jewish Encyclopedia (London-New York, 1903), p. 572; Dr. Yankev Shatski, Geshikhte fun yidn in varshe (History of Jews in Warsaw), vols. 2 and 3 (New York: YIVO, 1948-1950), see index; Bet eked sefarim.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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