Sunday 11 March 2018


YEKHEZKL SOYBER (SAUBER) (1864-September 26, 1936)
            He was born in Nay-Zhager (Žagarė), Lithuania, where his father was headmaster of a yeshiva and rabbinical judge.  He studied in religious elementary school, with his father, and in the Volozhin, Mir, and Slobodka yeshivas.  In 1885 he came to the United States, lived for a time in New York and Pittsburgh, and he later settled in Philadelphia.  He worked as a peddler and a business agent, and he engaged in other trades, while at the same time he was one of the pioneers of Jewish community and cultural life in Philadelphia.  After 1915 he was living as well in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and he published poetry and translations from Russian poetry in Der yudisher herald (The Jewish herald), later contributing to: Folks-advokat (People’s advocate), Yudishe gazetten (Jewish gazette), Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Forverts (Forward), and Der groyser kundes (The great prankster), among others, in New York; Folksfraynd (Friend of the people) in Pittsburgh; Idisher kempfer (Jewish fighter) in Philadelphia-New York; Di idishe shtime (The Jewish voice) in Cleveland; Der yidisher kuryer (The Jewish courier) in Chicago; and the Hebrew language serials Hapisga (The summit), Hatoran (The duty officer), and Hamesila (The roadway), among others.  From 1916 until the last days of his life, he was a regular contributor to Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia, in which he published poetry, fables, features, and stories of religious Jewish life in Lithuania of old.  He was the author of Gezamelte fabeln un poemen, original un bearbaytet nokh khilov un andere (Collected fables and poems, original and adapted following Krylov and others), with a foreword by the author (New York, 1915), 207 pp.  He died in Philadelphia.  He left behind in manuscript translations of Russian poetry (Pushkin, Lemontov, Fet, Nekrasov, and Nadson).

Sources: M. Frihman, Fuftsik yor idish lebn (Fifty years of Jewish life in Philadelphia) (1935); Di idishe velt (Philadelphia) (September 27 and 28, 1936), p. 596; American Jewish Yearbook (1937).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

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