Sunday 27 May 2018


YITSKHOK IVRI (b. December 29, 1900)
            He was born in Ostrolenke (Ostrołęka), Lomzhe district, Russian Poland.  He studied with his father (a scholar who had rabbinical ordination), in religious primary school, and in the Lomzhe yeshiva.  At age six he was already demonstrating acting talent, and at sixteen he ran away from home to be able to act in the theater.  During WWI (1915), he made his way with his parents to Lomzhe and began writing poetry there.  His first poem, “Dos fidele veynt” (The fiddle cries), written when he was fourteen, later appeared in one of his volumes of poetry.  In 1928 his poetry was published in Velt-shpigl (Mirror of the world) in Warsaw.  From 1926 he appeared on stages in a variety of provincial theaters in plays by Perets Hirshbeyn, Avrom Goldfaden, Yankev Gordin, and others.  In 1932 he made his way to the United States and became a contributor to Davar (Word).  A portion of his poems that were translated into Hebrew were published in Davar, Ketuvim (Writings), and Bemaale (On the way up) in Israel.  His original Yiddish poems were published in the Warsaw Yiddish-language newspapers: Moment (moment), Dos vort (The word), and Letste nayes (Latest news), among others.  His published books include: A bikhl lider (A little book of poems) (Vilna, 1931), 48 pp.; Ben dam ledam, shire shekia vetoḥelet (Between blood and blood, songs of sunset and feast) (Tel Aviv: Yavne, 1939), 53 pp., poems about the war; Beterem yom, shirim beivrit uveidish (Before the day, poems in Hebrew and in Yiddish) (Tel Aviv, 1952), 107 pp., in the preface to which, the author writes: “This time I am providing both Hebrew and Yiddish poems, as a symbol of the wonderful bridges on which the survivor walks and as a remembrance of the destroyed diaspora.”  He also edited the remembrance volume Sefer kehilat ostrolenka (Volume for the community of Ostrołęka), in both Hebrew and Yiddish (Tel Aviv, 1963), 580 pp., in which he included several pieces of his own work.  He was a member of ACUM (The Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel) and of the association of writers and artists.  He was last living in the state of Israel.

Sources: “Naye bikher” (New books), Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (October 2, 1931); Mr., “Poetn-poetn” (Poets-poets), Vokhnshrift far literatur (Warsaw) (November 11, 1932); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 6 (Tel Aviv, 1955), pp. 2540-41; Sh. Margoles, in Bukh fun ostrolenker kehile (Book of the Jewish community of Ostrołęka) (Tel Aviv, 1963), pp. 100-1; Y. Shmulevitsh, in Forverts (New York) (March 15, 1964).
Yankev Birnboym

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