Tuesday 22 January 2019


ARN TSOFNAS (AARON TZOFNAT) (July 1, 1900-November 5, 1965)
            The pen name of Arn Fridenshteyn, he was born in Kartuz-Bereze (Kartuz-Bereza), Grodno district, Poland.  He received a traditional education.  In 1919 he graduated from the teachers’ course of study in pedagogy in Minsk and worked as a teacher in Jewish schools.  He began writing in 1921.  In 1922 he published lyrical poetry in Warsaw’s Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper).  He later had charge in the newspaper of a humor section entitled “Der royter gelekhter” (The red laughter), using the pen name Tsofnes Panekh.  He also contributed to the humor section of Moment (Moment) in Warsaw.  In 1925 he joined, as an internal contributor, the Hebrew daily newspaper Hayom (Today) and published satirical poems on political and social topics in his regular column “Perek shira leruaḥ hayom” (A section of poetry on the spirit of the day).  He also edited a weekly humor division entitled “Sefat ḥakhamim” (Language of sages), using the pen name Ben Ha Ha.  He also wrote feature pieces under the rubric “Min hayalkut” (From the satchel).  In 1928 he was writing features for Folkstsaytung in the section “Freylikher vinkl” (Joyous corner).  At the same time, he was contributing to Moment, he published a book of satirical poems entitled Leruaḥ hayom (The spirit of the day) (Warsaw, 1929), 148 pp.  After Hayom ceased publication, he wrote for a time for the daily newspaper Der varshever ekspres (The Warsaw express), in which he placed a daily poem “Gutmorgn” (Good morning) under the pen name Bal-Haturim.  He ran the humor section “Royter fefer” (Red pepper) and features entitled “Fun provints-korb” (From the province-basket).  Most recently, he was a contributor to Hatsfira (The siren), using the pseudonym “Orekh leshabat” (Sabbath editor).  He published a booklet of poems entitled On a zayt fun breytn shlyakh (No side on a broad road) (Pinsk, 1925).  Over the years 1929-1939, he worked as night editor for Haynt (Today) in Warsaw.  In 1939 he departed for Russia.  He returned to Poland in 1946 and worked for the Lodz newspaper Dos naye lebn (The new life).  In 1949 he left for Paris, where he co-edited the daily newspaper Unzer vort (Our word).  That same year he made aliya to Israel and settled in Jerusalem.  He was a co-editor there of Kol tsiyon legola (Voice of Zion to the diaspora).  He published poems and stories in the children’s magazines Davar leyeladim (Word for children) and Haarets shelanu (Our land).  He published features in: Davar (Word), Davar hashavua (Word of the week), and Hador (The generation).  He compiled an anthology of Yiddish prose for the Hebrew press “Nyuman” and translated two volumes of selected novellas—by Yoyne Rozenfeld and L. Shapiro.  He translated L. Kenig’s Shiva (Seven days of mourning) from English; and stories and essay from Hebrew to Yiddish for Di goldene keyt (The golden chain) in Tel Aviv, also Lenah Kikhler’s Mayne kinder (My children) from Polish to Yiddish (Paris, 1948), 330 pp.  He died in Jerusalem.

Sources: Daniel Tsharni (Charney), in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1943); Shmerke katsherginski-ondenk-bukh (Memorial volume for Shmerke Katsherginski) (Buenos Aires, 1955), pp. 138-39; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955); Y. Varshavski [Bashevis], in Forverts (New York) (June 25, 1965); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), p. 485; Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (November 7, 1955); Forverts (December 2, 1965); Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967).
Yankev Kahan

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