SHMUEL-YITSKHOK ROTSHTEYN (August 16, 1902-April 19, 1977)
He was an Orthodox journalist, novelist, and author of stories, born in Warsaw. He received ordination into the rabbinate in 1922. He lived for several years in Zhikhlin (Żychlin). He moved to the land of Israel in 1941 and in 1948 to the United States. He debuted in print in 1921 with a novella in Der yud (The Jew). Over the years 1922-1928, he published there a series of long stories: “Fun emek habokhe” (From the Vale of Tears), concerning the “Yevsektsye” (Jewish section [in the Soviet Union]); “Af geshroykhelte vegen” (Along stumbling roads); “Zakladnikes” (Pawnbrokers); and “In shoten” (In a shadow)—as well as feuilletons and poems. He published Hassidic stories, impressions, sketches, and poetry in: Yudishe shtime (Jewish voice) in Lodz, Dos yudishe leben (The Jewish life) in Pyotrków, Der funk (The spark) in Kishinev, Di idishe shtime (The Jewish voice) in Kovno, Vokhen-tsaytung (Weekly newspaper) in London (1937-1939), and Dos idishe likht (The Jewish light) in New York, among other serials. In 1926 he edited the Orthodox literary journal Der flaker (The flare) in Warsaw (3 issues), and, over the period 1929-September 1939, he co-edited Dos idishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper) in Warsaw. From 1948 he was co-editor of Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) and Der amerikaner (The American—editor from 1952); and in 1970 he wrote “Der sedre fun der vokh” (The weekly Torah portion) in Forverts (Forward)—all in New York. In Morgn-zhurnal, Der amerikaner, Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv, and Ilustrirte vokh (Illustrated week) also in Tel Aviv, among other serials, Rotshteyn published historical novels with a religious bent. In book form: Kantonisten (Recruits) (Lodz: Mesora, 1924/1925), 128 pp., Hebrew translation (1962); Der kodesh fun tirno (The martyr from Tirno) (Warsaw: Hakhinukh, 1926/1927), 298 pp., three printings appeared; Kvalyes, ertsehlung (Waves, a story) (Warsaw: Yeshurun, 1928/1929), 120 pp.; Durkh blut un fayer, historishe ertsehlung fun ershte epokhe fun der shpanisher inkvizitsye (Through blood and fire, a historical story of the first epoch of the Spanish Inquisition) (Lodz: Mesora, 1929), 278 pp.; Di helden fun geto (The heroes of the ghetto) (Lodz: Beys Yankev, 1932); Dos malkhesdige khsides (Royal Hassidism) (Warsaw: Khsides, 1937), 297 pp., new edition (Tel Aviv, 1972/1973), writing under the pen name Sh. Nisenzohn; Tsanzer khsides (Sanz [Nowy Sącz] Hassidism) (Warsaw: Khsides, 1937/1938), 119 pp., second edition (Brooklyn, 1974/1975), 252 pp.; Der khoze fun lublin (The seer of Lublin) (Warsaw: Khsides, 1939); Aḥiezer (Tel Aviv: Netsaḥ, 1943), 80 pp.; Sore shenirer (Sore Shenirer) (Tel Aviv, 1943); R’ menakhem zembo (Rabbi Menakhem Zembo) (Tel Aviv, 1948); Tsadikim un khsidim, a zamlung khsidishe mayses (Sages and Hassidism, a collection of Hassidic tales) (New York, 1950/1951), 272 pp. In 1965 he published in Tel Aviv his two-volume set entitled Tselav hadamim, sipurim hisṭoriyim mitekufat mase hatselav (Blood on the cross, historical stories from the era of the Crusades). His pen names: Sh. Nisenzon, Sh. Goldin, A. Zhikhliner, Sh. Yitskhok, Ben-Mortkhe, Ben-Nun, Sh. R., Shmuel Shapiro, and Shmuel Shteyn; for lighter feuilletons—Zaynvele, Shmelke, and Itsik. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Moyshe Prager, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), pp. 486-87; Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (September 26, 1964); Itonut yehudit shehayta (Jewish press that was) (Tel Aviv, 1973), see index; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 499.]