YANKEV-TSVI SHARGEL (b. 1905)
He was a poet and literary essayist, born in Khelm (Chełm), Poland, the brother of Hillel Shargel. He studied with local itinerant teachers and at the yeshivas in Chełm and Odessa. In 1925 he lived in Czernowitz for a year and in 1926 set off for the land of Israel as a pioneer. In more recent times, he ran the cultural division of the Petaḥ Tikva city council. While he was in Czernowitz, he began writing impressions and correspondence pieces for various Yiddish newspapers. His first poem was published in Arbeter tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw (December 1927). In Israel he belonged to a small group of Yiddish writers, which assembled around Daniel Leybl, and he became the first secretary of the Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Club in the Land of Israel (founded 1928). He took part in the creation of the periodicals: Onheyb (Beginning) (Jerusalem, 1928), Eyns (One), Tsvey (Two), Shtamen (Roots), Di brik (The bridge), and Eygns One’s own), among others. He was a contributor and for a certain the editor of the organ of left Labor Zionism, Nayvelt (New world), which played an evident role in the development of Yiddish in Israel. Aside from the aforementioned serials, he composed poetry and wrote essays in Tel Aviv for: Unzers (Ours) in 1931, Oktyaber (October) in 1931, Yuni (June) in 1931, Bleter far literatur (Pages for literature) in 1936 and 1941, Erets-yisroel shriftn (Writings in the land of Israel) in 1937, and Nayvelt, among others. In 1954 he became literary editor for the Mapam (United Workers’ Party) periodical Af der vakh (On guard), and from 1961 of the literature page of Yisroel shtime (Voice of Israel). In addition to poetry, he wrote literary articles and did translations from Hebrew literature. He was one of the precursors of Yiddish poetry in Israel. His works include: In bloyen likht, lider (In blue light, poems) (Tel Aviv: Yiddish Writers’ and Journalists’ Club in the Land of Israel, 1937), 71 pp.; Fun vey un gloybn, lider (With sorrow and faith, poems) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1959), 160 pp.; Zunike shveln, lider (Sunny thresholds, poems) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1968), 128 pp.; Toyern in di berg, lider (Gates in the mountains, poems) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1973), 120 pp.; Harbstike troybn, lider (Autumnal grapes, poems) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1977), 113 pp.; Fun onheyb on, tsvishn shrayber un verk (From the beginning, among writers and works) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1977), 288 pp.; Kvaln arum getselt, tsvishn shrayber un verk (Wells around the tent, among writers and works), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1981), 316 pp.; Likht fun mayn gas, lider (Light from my street, poems) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1984), 132 pp. Seven of his poems appeared in Arie Shamri’s Vortslen (Roots) (Tel Aviv, 1966). The book Ale sipim, shirim (At the thresholds, poetry) (Tel Aviv, 1972), 133 pp., is a selection of Shargel’s poetry rendered into Hebrew by several translators. He translated M. Nemirovski’s Shlikhes in moskve (Assignment in Moscow) (Tel Aviv, 1973), 452 pp. In 1985 there was published: Yankev-tsvi shargel yoyvl-bukh, an opklayb fun maymorim-opshatsungen vegn shargel (Yankev-Tsvi Shargel jubilee volume, a selection of essays and treatments concerning Shargel) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh), 296 pp., in both Yiddish and Hebrew. “Shargel’s poetry possesses within it,” wrote Yanlev Glatshteyn, “not only the fruit of creative Yiddish, but of a worn, remembered, biblical one. When these poems of his are read, they have the taste of an old cantillation, make a deep impression, like the poems that he poured into an initially congealed theme.”
Sources: Yankev Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence) (Buenos Aires, 1960), p. 307; Y. Ḥ. Biltski, Masot (Essays), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1960), pp. 332-34; Avrom Lev, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (December 29, 1969); Yitskhok Kahan, Sparks and flames, descriptions, essays, and monographs) (Melbourne, 1964), 400 pp.; Afn tsesheydveg, literatur-kritik, eseyen, impresyes (At the crossroads, literary criticism, essays, impressions) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1971), pp. 279-83; Yankl Yakir, in Tsukunft (New York) 9 (1974); Dov Sadan, Toyern un tirn, eseyen un etyudn (Gates and doors, essays and studies) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1979), pp. 126-43; Moyshe Yungman, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 67; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York); Sol Liptzin, A History of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1972).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 517, 554.]