REYZL FENSTER (April 20, 1910-October 27, 1981)
She was born in Biten (Byteń), Grodno district, Poland. In 1923 she came to Philadelphia. She graduated from a middle school and studied at the Jewish teachers’ seminary. From 1931 she was living in New York. For a time she served as secretary for the writers’ association IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association). From 1950 she was active in the National Labor Alliance. She debuted in print with a story, “Dem zeydns tilim” (Grandfather’s psalms), in Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York (1931). From that point, she published stories, sketches, travel narratives, and articles on literature and cultural themes in: Morgn-frayhayt (she was also in charge, 1940-1941, of the weekly women’s section), Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter), Tsukunft (Future), Unzer tsayt (Our times), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), Amerikaner (American), Forverts (Forward), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and Tog (Tog)—in which she published the novels in installments: Der zig fun libe (The victory of love) and Amol iz geven a shtetl (There once was a town). She also placed work in: Di naye prese (The new press) in Paris; Ikuf (IKUF) and Nay lebn (New life) in Buenos Aires; Dorem-afrike (South Africa) in Johannesburg; Folksblat (People’s newspaper) and Haynt Today) in Uruguay; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; and Pinkes biten (Records of Byteń). In book form: Zun af barg, dertseylungen (Sun on the mountain, stories) (New York: IKUF, 1951), 268 pp. She also wrote under such pen names as Reyzl Tshernis, among others. She died in New York.
Sources: Moyshe Kats, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (December 17, 1950); Y. Beylin, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (April 1951); Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 15, 1966).
Khayim Leyb Fuks
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