Sunday 31 March 2019


LEVIN KIPNIS (August 17, 1894-June 20, 1990)
            He was born in Ushomyr, Volhynia.  He attended religious primary school.  In 1913 he moved to the land of Israel to study at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.  He later studied pedagogy for two years in Germany and thereafter became a teacher in Levinsky’s Teacher’s College in Tel Aviv (1923-1952).  He debuted in print in 1911 with a poem in the children’s magazine Heperaim (The flowers), and from that point published over one hundred Hebrew books for children and edited children’s newspapers, textbooks, and the like.  He is considered the founder of Hebrew-language children’s literature in Israel.  Many of Kipnis’s poems were translated in Yiddish-language publications.  For forty years he wrote solely in Hebrew.  In the early 1950s he started writing in Yiddish for: Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine) and Kinder-tsaytung (Children’s newspaper) in New York; Argentiner boymelekh (Little Argentinian flowers) and Sholem (Peace) in Buenos Aires; and Yisroel shtime (Voice of Israel) in Tel Aviv; among others.  His work appeared as well in Shmuel Rozhanski’s Dos kind in der yidisher poezye (The child in Yiddish poetry) (Buenos Aires, 1971).  In book form in Yiddish: Untern teytlboym (Under the date palm) (New York: Matones, 1961), 160 pp.; Der nayster yontef (The newest holiday) (Buenos Aires: Central Educational Council of Argentina, 1966), 16 pp.; Untern faygnboym (Under the fig tree) (Tel Aviv, 1993), 167 pp.; Untern bokserboym (Under the carob tree) (Tel Aviv, 1993), 165 pp.; and a collection of translations from Hebrew.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1947), pp. 2103-05; Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (December 28, 1961); A. Oyerbakh, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 18, 1962); Yankev Glatshteyn, Mit mayne fartog-bikher (With my daybreak books) (Tel Aviv, 1963), pp. 112-18; Yisroel Zilberberg-Kholeva, Mentsh un folk (Man and people) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1967), pp. 282-86; Kipnis’s memoirs, in Bay zikh (Tel Aviv) (1977); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York); Iyunim beyitsirat levin kipnis (Studies in the works of Levin Kipnis) (Tel Aviv, 1982?).
Ruvn Goldberg

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