Thursday 12 April 2018


KADISH-YEHUDA SILMAN (December 12, 1881-December 17, 1937)
            He was born in Butrimonts (Butrimonys), Vilna district, Lithuania.  He studied in the Slobodka yeshiva and in the Vilna Gaon’s house of study.  He began writing around 1899.  He published poetry, feature pieces, and articles for Hamelits (The advocate), and from that point in time he contributed stories, critical essays, and children’s plays to a variety of Hebrew-language periodicals.  He wrote under more than fifty pseudonyms.  In Jerusalem where he lived from 1907, he brought out: historical pamphlets in Hebrew; an anthology entitled Lekhu neranena, shivim shire-am (Go and sing, seventy folksongs) (Tel Aviv, 1927/1928), 80 pp.; a collection of stories entitled Sansanim, shneim-asar sipurim (Twigs, twelve stories) (Jerusalem, 1929), 170 pp.; and Ivrit ḥaya, sefer limud hadibur haivri ligedolim, a lehr-bukh far dervaksene vi tsu reden hebreish (Hebrew lives, a textbook for adults to speak Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1929), 220 pp.  He also placed work in: Haarets (The land) in Tel Aviv, Doar hayom (Today’s mail) in Jerusalem, Hadoar (The mail) in New York, and Haolam (The world) in Vilna.  He participated in the community life of the new settlement.  He served as secretary of the “Merkaz hamorim” (The teachers’ center) and cofounded the Hebrew high school in Jerusalem where he worked as a teacher for about twenty years.  In Yiddish he only published a feuilleton in a local newspaper (under the pen name “A realist on kneplekh” [A realist without buttons]) and an article in Warsaw’s Veg (Path) (under the pen name Ester).  From Yiddish to Hebrew he translated: two plays by Yankev Gordin, Haelohim, haadam vehasatan (God, man, and devil [original: Got, mentsh un tayvl] in Jerusalem’s Haḥerut (Freedom), which also appeared in book form (Jerusalem, 1914/1915), and Elisha ben avuya (Elisha, son of Avuya [original: Elishe ben abuye]) (Jerusalem, 1916)—both plays were staged in Hebrew theaters in the land of Israel; Dovid Pinski’s Hamashiaḥ hailem (The mute messiah [original: Der shturmer meshiekh] in Tel Aviv’s weekly Hayishuv (The settlement), which also appeared in book form in 1925; S. D. Rivkin’s novel Dam vadin, sipur miyeme alilat hadam bevelizsh (Blood and judgment, a story from the era of the blood libel in Velizh [original: Der velizher blut-bilbl]) (Tel Aviv, 1933), 183 pp.; over fifty Yiddish folksongs sung in the land of Israel; and poems by Avrom Reyzen—“May ko mashme lon” (What does it all mean?), “Hemerl” (Hammer), and “Dos gebet” (The plea)—and by Shimon Frug, among others.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 355-56.
Yankev Kahan

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