Monday 17 June 2019


YITSKHOK RIVKIND (March 3, 1895-February 17, 1968)
            A bibliographer and cultural researcher, he was born in Lodz.  He received a traditional education and studied secular subjects privately.  For about four years he attended the Volozhin Yeshiva, before proceeding to the Ponevezh (Panevėžys) Yeshiva.  In 1917 he founded in Lodz a youth association “Der mizrakhi” (The easterner), which later spread throughout all of Poland.  He became very active in the Mizrachi movement.  In 1920 he came to the United States, and from 1923-1959 he was a bibliographer in the Hebrew and Yiddish division of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York.  JTS awarded him an honorary doctorate.  He debuted in print in 1913 in Hatsfira (The siren) and wrote an array of journalistic pieces, biographical essays, historical overviews, and mood pieces for Hebrew and Yiddish serials publications, such as: Hashaarit (The morning), Hamizrai (The East), Hatoran (The duty officer), and Hadoar (The mail); Lodger tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper) (1916-1920) and Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Lodz; Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Vilna (1920); and Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people) and Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) in America.  He later withdrew from party activity and journalism and turned to scholarly and bibliographic work in the fields of Jewish cultural history, folklore, philology, and ethnography.  In these realms, he published work in: Reshumot (Gazette), Kiryat-sefer (Library), Yad lekore (Reader’s journal), and Hadoar in Hebrew; and “Yidishe un hebreishe drukn bizn yor t”kh” (Yiddish and Hebrew publishers through 1648), Pinkes (Record) (New York) 1; “Shpil-lider bay yidn in farsheydene tsaytn” (Play-songs among Jews at different times), Tsukunft (Future) (New York) (September-October 1934); “A naye umbakante amsterdamer yidishe tsaytung fun 1781” (A New Amsterdam Yiddish newspaper from 1781), Tsukunft (January 1939); the series “Verter mit yikhes” (Words with pedigree), Yidishe shprakh (Yiddish language) (New York); “Di historishe alegorye fun r’ meyer shats” (The historical allegory of R. Meyer Shats), Filologishe shriftn (Philological writings) (Vilna) 3 (1929); “Di rekht fun ‘loshn ashkenaz’ bay din-toyres, Der vilne goen un yidish” (The rights of the “language of Ashkenaz” [i.e., Yiddish] in rabbinical court suits, the sage of Vilna and Yiddish), “Lomdisher yidish” (Scholarly Yiddish), and “Geviter khronikes” (Tempestuous chronicles), Pinkes 1 (1927/1928); a series of scholarly works in Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), among them “A. m. diks biblyografishe reshimes” (A. M. Dik’s bibliographic lists), 36 (1952), pp. 191-230.  In Shoyl Ginsburg’s Historishe verk (Historical works) (New York) 3 (1937/1938), pp. 379-416, there was published Rivkind’s “Shoyl Ginzburg-biblyografye” (Bibliography of Shoyl Ginzburg).  He also wrote in Hebrew on: Bar-Mitzvah, the Volozhin Yeshiva, “ibat Tsiyon” (Love of Zion), Bialik, and other topics.  His most important writing appeared in Yiddish: Der kamf kegn azartshpiln bay yidn, a shtudye in finf hundert yor yidishe poezye un kultur-geshikhte (The struggle against games of chance among Jews, a study of five hundred years of Yiddish poetry and cultural history) (New York: YIVO, 1946), 218 pp.; and his crowning achievement, Yidishe gelt in lebnsshteyger, kultur-geshikhte un foklor, leksikologishe shtudye (Jewish money in life style, cultural history, and folklore, a lexicological study) (New York, 1959), 303 pp.  Concerning the last of these books, Yankev Glatshteyn wrote: “This work is a great rumination, on a wide canvas, into the background of the history of Jewish morals and practices….  The achievement, as the author elicits from money the heartfelt narrative of our past, is the secret and the solution from years of creative research work, for only with creative imagination could one carve out so many livings from so little Jewish money.”  The book, as Getzel Kressel noted, is “actually a chapter in the generations-long Jewish lifestyles as reflected in literature.”  A bibliography of Rivkind’s writings was published by Mortkhe Kosover and Avrom Duker: Mina leyitsak, bibliyografya shel kitve yitsak Rivkind (Offering to Yitsak, bibliography of the writing of Yitsak Rivkind) (New York, 1949), 81 pp.  His pen names: Yitskhok Hadanieli, Ben-Borekh, and Y. R.  He died in New York.

Sources: Zalmen, Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Merḥavya, 1967); A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 21, 1932); Y. Rozental, in Bitsaron (New York) (Iyar [= April-May] 1945); Nokhum-Borekh Minkov, in Tsukunft (New York) 10 (1946); Shmuel-Yitskhok Feygin, Anshe sefer, ḥokrim vesofrim (People of the book, scholars and authors) (New York, 1950), pp. 372-89; Yankev Glatshteyn, Mit mayne fartogbikher (With my journals) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1963), pp. 485-91; Mortkhe Strigler, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (March 8, 1968); Yidishe shprakh (New York) 36 (1977), index; Khayim Leyb Fuks, Lodzh shel mayle, dos yidishe gaystiḳe un derhoybene lodzh, 100 yor yidishe un oykh hebreishe literatur un kultur in lodzh un in di arumiḳe shtet un shtetlekh (Lodz on high, the Jewish spiritual and elevated Lodz, 100 years of Yiddish and also Hebrew literature and culture in Lodz and in the surrounding cities and towns) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1972), index; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Yekhezkl Lifshits

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