Friday 16 August 2019


YISROEL SHTEYNBOYM (ISRAEL STEINBAUM) (April 15, 1895-June 19, 1979)
            The author of textbooks, he was born in Stashev (Staszów), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school and synagogue study chamber.  He came to the United States and took up a variety of trades.  He studied at Boston College and at the Teachers’ College of Columbia University.  From 1914 he was a teacher in the Jewish National Labor Alliance, the Workmen’s Circle, and later the Sholem-Aleichem Folkshul.  He was one of the founders of the Jewish teachers’ seminary in New York as well as one of the pioneers of the modern Jewish school in America.  In 1926 he became director of the Jewish children’s colony in New Jersey, and there he later established—and ran until 1945—the first private Jewish “Home School” in America.  Over the years 1955-1970, he was secretary of the committee to publish Der groyser yidisher verterbukh (The great Yiddish dictionary) (New York, 1961-).  He settled in Miami in 1970, and there he passed away.
            He debuted in print with an article in Idisher kemfer (Jewish fighter) in New York.  He went on to contribute to: Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO), Yidishe shprakh (Yiddish language), Shriftn (Writings), Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), Di naye velt (The new world), Idishe sotsyalistishe monatshrift (Jewish socialist monthly writing), Di feder (The pen), Ertsiung (Education), and Shul un lerer (School and teacher), among others.  He mostly wrote about educational matters and reviews of textbooks and children’s literature.  He co-edited and later himself edited the journal if the Workmen’s Circle, Kinderland (Children’s land).  His books include: Shpilbukh far kleyn un groys (Playbook for children and adults) (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1921), 128 pp.; Leyenbikher far der idisher shul (Textbooks for the Jewish school) (New York: Maks N. Mayzel, 1924), 6 vols., with a variety of subsequent editions through 1937; Metodik fun ershtn yor idish, hantbukh far lerer (Method for teaching the first year of Yiddish, a handbook for teachers) (New York: Ertsiung, 1924), 127 pp.;Unzer folk, a leyenbukh far eltere kinder (Our people, a textbook for older children) (New York: Ertsiung, 1932), 416 pp.; Der vokabular farn onheyber-klas in der amerikaner yidisher shul (The vocabulary for the beginner class of the Yiddish school in America) (New York: YIVO, 1944), 78 pp.; Di geshikhte fun yidishn lerer-seminar un folks-universitet in nyu-york, 1918-1968 (The history of the Jewish teachers’ seminary and the People’s University in New York, 1918-1968) (Jerusalem, 1978/1979), 84 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Moyshe-Shmuel Shklarski, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (March 1961); Arn Glants, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 16, 1964); Yedies fun yivo (New York) 150 (1979).
Yekhezkl Lifshits

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 523.]

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