Wednesday 27 July 2022


 LEV BERINSKI (b. April 6, 1939)

            A poet, essayist, and translator, he was born in the Bessarabian town of Căușeni (now in Moldova), into the family of a tailor. His family survived WWII in Regan, Tajikistan, later in the city of Zlatoust in the Ural Mountains. In 1945, they returned to Bessarabia and settled in Chișinău, and there he studied in a Russian middle school as well as in a music school as an accordionist. At age nine, he began writing poetry in Russian. For economic reasons, the family moved to Stalino (Donets’k), Ukraine, where in 1959 he graduated from a cultural vocational school. In the 1960s, he studied in the faculty of foreign languages (German) at the Smolensk Pedagogical Institute, from which he graduated in 1968. He simultaneously graduated from the department of poetry and translation at the Maxim Gorky Institute of Literature in Moscow. Until 1974 he worked as a teacher of German in a Moscow trade school. He turned his attention to translating Yiddish poetry into Russian, and later he also translated into Russian writings by Isaac Bashevis-Singer. In 1983 he graduated from the highest level literature courses (in Yiddish) from the Literature Institute in Moscow. In 1953 at age fourteen, he debuted in the press with poems in Russian and in 1982 with poems in Yiddish. In 1991 he settled in Israel, where he published several collections of his poetry. He received literary prizes there: Hersh Segal Prize in 1992, Sara Gorbi Prize in 1993, Twentieth-Century Prize for Achievements in 1992 (Cambridge), and Itsik Manger Prize (1997). In Israel he translated into Russian a volume of poetry by Dore Taytlboym and a books of stories by Mortkhe Tsanin. His own poetry and essays have been translated into English, French, German, Hebrew, Romanian, and Georgian.

            His writings include: Der zuniker veltboy, lider un poeme (The sunny world structure, poetry) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1988), 142 pp.; Calystegia sepium (Love poetry) (Tel Aviv: Dor hahemshekh, 1995), 19 pp.; FST un RF, elfte make (FST and RF, eleventh plague) (Tel Aviv, 1994); 23 bethovens preludyes un fuges baym yam (Twenty-three preludes and fugues by the sea by Beethoven) (Tel Aviv, 1995); Fishfang in venetsye (Fishing in Venice), poetry (Tel Aviv: Leivick Publ., 1996), 198 pp.; Rendsburger mikve (The Rendsburg ritual bath) (Tel Aviv, 1994), in German and Yiddish.

Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), pp. 53-54.

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