SHIMEN (SIMON) ERNST (b. Tisha b’Av, July 28, 1898)
He was born in Cracow, into a family that drew its pedigree back to the Ḥatam Sofer [1762-1839] and the Ropshitser Rebbe, R. Naftaly Tsvi Horowitz [1760-1825]. In 1912 he made aliya with his parents to the land of Israel. He studied in the yeshiva “Lishkat harabanim” (The chamber of rabbis), near the “Shaar hashamayim” (The gate of heaven) yeshiva. He received permission to officiate as a rabbi from R. Pesaḥ Tsvi Frank. He was taken with the Jewish Enlightenment and studied in a teachers’ seminary run by the German-Jewish aid group Ezra. In 1918 he was hired to be the librarian at the Tel Aviv municipal library “Shaare tsiyon” (Gates of Zion), and he later became the head librarian there. In 1921 he began his teaching-journalistic activities in the daily newspapers Haarets (The land) in Tel Aviv and Doar hayom (Today’s mail) in Jerusalem, and the monthly journal Mizraḥ vemaariv (East and West), edited by Avraham Almaliaḥ. He wrote about books, religious texts, and authors. He published articles, reviews, and biographical sketches in Hebrew and Yiddish newspapers throughout the world; among others, he placed work in: Haynt (Today) in Warsaw; Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Forverts (Forward), Der amerikaner (The American), Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people), and Hatoran (The duty officer) in New York; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto; and Darom (South) and Der shpigl (The mirror) in Buenos Aires. For a time he worked as the Israel correspondent for ITA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency). In the first volume of Arkhiv far geshikhte fun yidishn teater un drame (Archive for the history of the Yiddish theater and drama) (New York: YIVO, 1930), edited by Yankev Shatski, he wrote the long study, “Tekstn un kvaln tsu der geshikhte fun teater, farvaylungen un maskaradn bay yidn” (Texts and sources for the history of Jewish theater, entertainment, and masquerades) (pp. 5-37). He contributed to the encyclopedia of the Talmud, edited by Dr. Mordechai Margoliyot, to the Eschkol encyclopedia (German volumes), and to the Izrael encyclopedia. His books include: Sefer haisha (Woman’s book) (Tel Aviv, 1931), 251 pp.; Meotsar bediḥa (From the treasury of jokes) (Tel Aviv, 1933), 140 pp.; Sofre yisrael hasandalim (Israeli writers in sandals) (Tel Aviv, 1934), 230 pp.; Sefer yaavits (Book of [Zeev] Jawitz) (Tel Aviv, 1934), 44 pp.; Sefer hayovel shel yishai adler (Jubilee volume for Yishai Adler) (1945/1946). Among his pen names: Ben-Yakir, Gur-Arye, Sh, Halevi, Sh. Levinson, and Sh. Z. Ariel. He was last ling in Tel Aviv.
Sources: Gershon Bader, Medina veḥakhameha (The state and its sages) (New York, 1934), p. 27; Y. Vohlman, in Tog (New York) (March 12, 1931); M. Osherovitsh, in Forverts (New York) (January 19, 1932); P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 1, 1932); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 983-84; Omer (Tel Aviv) (June 7, 1961); G. Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit badorot haaḥaronim (Handbook of modern Hebrew literature), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1965).