Wednesday 19 June 2019


BENYOMEN-KHAYIM RAYZ (January 31, 1863-November 23, 1933)
            A novelist and journalist, he was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania.  He studied with itinerant schoolteachers, before spending two years in Volozhin and later passing the course for middle school.  In 1881 he settled in Warsaw, where he went to work in business.  He was a commercial agent in Siberia and other distant regions of Russia.  He debuted in print with stories in Hatsfira (The siren) and Haasif (The harvest).  He also wrote short novellas and articles for the Russian press.  He began writing in Yiddish during WWI.  He published in the Aguda newspapers, Yudishe vort (Jewish word) and Yud (Jew).  His main contribution, though, was to Haynt (Today) in Warsaw.  There he placed both short and long series of stories entitled “Sibirer geshikhten” (Siberian tales), some of which appeared in book form as Sibirer geshikhten, zikhroynes fun a navenadnik (Siberian tales, memoirs of a wanderer) (Warsaw: Yakubzohn and Goldberg, 1926), 192 pp.. second edition also including Der vide (The vow) (Warsaw: A. Gitlin, 1930), 454 pp.; Der kuper-kenig fun sibir, roman (The copper king of Siberia, a novel) (Warsaw: Sh. Tsuker, 1927), 264 pp.; Der vide (The vow); In velt-fayer (In the conflagration), Di shtifkinder (The stepchildren), and others.  He also composed several plays, some of which were staged in the Warsaw Yiddish theater: A finger gotes (A finger of God), Di zekste simfonye (The sixth symphony), and Uryadnik mergavin (Constable Mergavin).  He died in Warsaw.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 6 (Mexico City, 1969); Khayim Finkelshteyn, Haynt, a tsaytung bay yidn, 1908-1939 (Haynt [Today], a newspaper for Jews, 1908-1939) (Tel Aviv, 1978), pp. 256-59; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen

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