Wednesday 10 October 2018


KHAYIM FYALKOV (ca. 1873-February 29, 1920)
            He was born in Motele (Motal’, Motol’), Pinsk district, Poland, a cousin of Dr. Chaim Weizmann.  He was orphaned on his father’s side at a very early age and was raised in the home of the Weizmanns.  In Pinsk he studied Hebrew, Tanakh, and Talmud, and later (around 1895) he graduated from the Jewish teachers’ institute.  Over the course of several years, he worked as a teacher in a Russian Jewish public school in Nikolaev.  The “Khevre mefitse haskole” (Society for the promotion of enlightenment [among the Jews of Russia]) sent him to study in Germany and Switzerland.  He returned to Russia in 1905.  He soon received the position of a distinguished leader in this organization.  He sympathized with the Yiddishist experiments in schools and supported the idea that the Jewish public school should be run in Yiddish.  In 1916 he organized the network of Jewish schools in the Kharkov region, and after the February Revolution (1917), he was appointed representative of secular Jewish schools in the Ministry of Education in the Kerensky government.  After the Bolshevik Revolution, he left educational work and lived in terrible conditions.  His literary work was exclusively tied up with Jewish educational issues.  In the “Mefitse haskole” publications, he placed a series of works in Russian on school affairs, teachers, librarians, and the organization of school work, among other topics.  In book form: Folks-ertsihung, formen un vegn fun oysershul-bildung (Public education, forms and ways of education outside of school) (Petrograd: Khevre mefitse haskole, 1918), 116 pp.  One should also note his extraordinary review of the monthly Shul un lebn (School and life), published in Bikher-velt (Book world) (Kiev) 203 (1919).  He died in Kiev.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; B. Dinaburg, in Shul un lebn (Kiev) 1 (1920); B. Ts. Dinur (Dinaburg), Bene dori (My generation) (Tel Aviv, 1963?); D. Hokhberg, in Kultur un bildung (Moscow) 1 (1920); Y. Rubin, in Di naye shul (Vilna) 7-8 (1920); Kh. Sh. Kazdan, Fun kheyder un shkoles biz tsisho (From religious and secular primary schools to Tsisho) (Mexico City, 1956); A. Golomb, in Shevile haḥinukh (New York) (1955/1956); Golomb, A halber yorhundert yidishe dertsiung (A half-century of Jewish education) (Rio de Janeiro, 1957); M. Avigal, in Hapoel hatsair (Tel Aviv) (Adar 19 [= March 2], 1956).
Yekhiel Hirshhoyt

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