Sunday 20 May 2018


YOYNE (JONAH) SPIVAK (January 1, 1886-February 27, 1937)
            He was born in Zhornishtsh (Zhornyshche), Kiev district, Ukraine.  He received a Jewish and a secular education in Nemirov.  In 1907 he made his way to the United States.  His journalistic activities began with Di varhayt (The truth) in New York, and he later contributed to the Hebrew weekly Hauma (The nation), Idishe arbayter velt (Jewish workers’ world), Der kunst fraynd (The friend of art), L. Miller’s weekly Kultur (Culture)—in issue no. 5 (1925), he published the essay “Agode un halokhe in der alter idisher literatur” (Homiletics and Jewish law in old Jewish literature).  He also placed work in the Chicago daily newspapers Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) and Idisher rekord (Jewish record); he served for eight years as literary editor of the latter, and in it he and Zh. Laybner were in charge of the section “Kinder-vinkl” (Children’s corner).  From 1919 he was a contributor to the Chicago edition of the Forverts (Forward), in which he published “Di lebns-bashraybung fun shloyme maymun” (The autobiography of Solomon Maimon).  He dramatized for the Yiddish stage George Eliot’s novel Daniel Deronda.  He also wrote the plays Afn dorf (In the village) and Dos naye lebn (The new life), both performed (1919-1920) at Chicago’s Empire Theater.  In book form: Danyel deronda (Daniel Deronda), a play in four acts, adapted from George Eliot’s novel (Chicago, 1913), 87 pp.; R’ nakhmen braslaver in geshtaltn fun zayn “mayse mit di zibn betler” (Rabbi Nakhmen of Bratlav in images from his “Tale with the seven beggars”), preface by Shmuel Niger (Vilna: B. Kletskin, 1932), 163 pp.  He also wrote for the journal Shikago (Chicago) and for the Hebrew monthly Dorenu (Our generation), edited by Solodar, in Chicago, in which he published the memoirs of Yoysef-Khayim Brener.  He also had in manuscript a dramatization of Perets’s Monish (Monish), which was said to have been staged in Chicago in 1937.  He was a leader in Workmen’s Circle and excelled in his idealism in community work.  He also wrote under the pen names: Yahanus, izkuni, Y. S-ki, Miriam Tobias, Ish Yisroel, Y. Darius, Eks, and Y. Zinger. He died in Chicago.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 10, 1932); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (June 5, 1932); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (October 28, 1932; January 3, 1935); Sh. Feygin, in Di tsukunft (New York) (April 1933; April 1937); M. Indrits, Indritses yontef-bleter (Chicago) (March 1937); obituary notices in Vilner tog (Vilna) (March 5, 1937), Hadoar (New York) (March 5, 1937); Samuel A. Blumenfeld and Sh. Zamd, in Shikago (Chicago) (March-April 1937); Y. L. Gruzman, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (April 1937); Sh. M. Bluemnfeld, in Hadoar (May 21, 1937); Kalmen Marmor, Mayn lebns-geshikhte (My life story), vol. 2 (New York, 1959), p. 694; Arbeter-ring boyer un tuer (Builders and leaders of the Workmen’s Circle) (New York, 1962), pp. 279-80.
Benyomen Elis

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