MOYSHE-MORTKHE EPSHTEYN (February 24, 1875-February 5, 1955)
He was born in Slonim, Byelorussia. He studied in yeshivas and perfected his learning through self-study. From 1893 to 1905, he worked as a Hebrew teacher in Odessa, was a community leader there, and served as secretary of the Bene-Tsiyon (Children of Zion). In the United States, he was a cofounder of Mizrachi. He began writing about educational problems for Hamelits (The advocate) in Odessa (using the pen name “Melamed Belo Talmidim” [Teacher without students]) in 1897. Later, in Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw, he published a series of articles entitled “Yisrael veteudotav” (Israel and its missions). He was a regular contributor to: Yudishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Dos idishe likht (The Jewish light) for which he also ran the children’s section, Der id (The Jew), Di idishe tsukunft (The Jewish future), Hayom (Today), Haivri (The Jew), Hatoran (The duty officer), and Hadoar (The mail)—in New York; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) and Der veg (The path) in Canada; Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Cleveland; and Idishe velt in Philadelphia. He also wrote for English-language Jewish periodicals in America. His books include: Moyshe un dos folk, oder goles un bafrayung (Moses and the people, or dispersion and liberation), 2 parts (New York, 1910), 110 pp.; Di idishe neshome (The Jewish soul) (New York, 1921), 96 pp. He was the founder of the “Tashn-broshurn-biblyotek” (Pocket pamphlet library). In this framework, he published twenty-four volumes in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English in a series called “Nature and Science in the Torah,” among them Der sod fun hoshaynes (The secret of willow twigs) (New York, 1921), 24 pp., Unzere shpayz-gezetse (Our food laws) (New York), 24 pp., and Taares hamishpokhe (Marital fidelity) (New York), 24 pp.; and Der veg tsu retung (The road to salvation) (New York, 1928), 96 pp.; and Redes, droshes un artiklen (Speeches, sermons, and articles) (New York, 1929), 96 pp. In 1930 he made aliya to the land of Israel, and there he contributed to the press, primarily the religious press. He placed work in: Haarets (The land), Hamizraḥi (The Mizrachi), and elsewhere. He also published books in Hebrew. He died in Tel Aviv. He left a number of works in manuscript.
Sources: Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1940); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lechalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), pp. 3145-46; David Yosifon, in Entsiklopediya shel hatsiyonut hadatit (Encyclopedia of religious Zionism) vol. A-D (Jerusalem: Mosad ha-Rav Kuk, 1958), pp. 174-75; G. Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit badorot haaḥaronim (Handbook of modern Hebrew literature), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1965); Arkhiv fun kalmen marmor (Archives of Kalmen Marmor), in YIVO (New York).
Khayim Leyb Fuks