Friday, 24 March 2017


            He was born in Dokshits (Dokshytsy), Vilna district, into a poor family.  With help from local Dokshits leaders, he made his way to Vilna, where he studied in the design school at the “Help through work” trade school and was active in the community in religious Zionist circles.  In 1927, before he departed for South Africa, he published (under the name Arye ben Arye) the pamphlet: Yidishizm un zayn tendentsyeze praktik (Yiddishism and its tendencies in practice) (Vilna: Kreynes un Kovalski, 1927), 20 pp., in which he attempted from a naïve point of view to come out against “Zhargon, which the Yiddishists give the name Yiddish and want to transform into national language.”

Source: L. Ran, in 25 yor yung vilne (Twenty-five years of Young Vilna), anthology (New York, 1955).
Leyzer Ran


ZH. (SHNEUR-ZALMEN) LEYBNER (b. September 28, 1880)
            He was born in Pantshe (Panciu), Romania, the son of a businessman.  He studied in religious elementary school and later in a high school.  Early on he became interested in literature and in Yiddish literature.  In 1898 he began journalistic activities with Bucharest’s Revista Ideei (Idea magazine), edited by P. Muşoiu, in which he also published Romanian translations of Perets, Mendele, and Sholem-Aleykhem.  In 1903 he moved to the United States and studied for two years at Industrial College in Leclaire, Illinois.  In 1904 he moved to Chicago, where together with Leon Zolotkof and H. L. Meytus he founded the Yudishe rekord (Jewish record), a weekly newspaper (1910). But his principal activity as a writer was tied to Chicago’s Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) (from 1915).  For a time he also left the newspaper, but in 1918 he returned, initially as a news editor and later as executive editor.  He wrote—using such pen names as Ben-Dovid, Shneur-Zalmen, and others—articles, sketches, and images drawn from life.  His weekly features, “Der yid mit di nislakh” (The Jew with the nuts) and “Tsharli der polismen” (Charlie the policeman), and his column “Koolshe bime” (Community pulpit), were well known among the readership.  “Leybner…writes in a fluid style…,” noted Tashrak, “possessing a striking intuition, a clear eye.”  Over the years 1933-1938, he served as editor of the Chicago weekly, Der ekspres (The express).  He translated Ronetti-Roman’s play Menashe (Manasse), which was staged in 1904 by a Yiddish troupe in Chicago.  In 1926 he celebrated in Chicago the twenty-fifth anniversary of his journalistic career.  Leybner was also president of the Chicago Y. L. Perets Writers’ Union from 1926, “Commissioner of the Style Normal Schools in Illinois,” and also know by the English name of James Bernard Loebner.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); M. Ḥizkuni (Shtarkman), in Pinkes shikago (Records of Chicago) (1951/1952); H. L. Meites, History of the Jews of Chicago (Chicago, 1924), pp. 361-64; P. P. Bregstone, Chicago and Its Jews (Chicago, 1933), pp. 334, 336-38; Who’s Who in American Jewry, vol. 3 (1938-1939), p. 678.
Zaynvl Diamant


DANIEL LEYBL (LEIBEL) (November 20, 1891-1967)
            He was born in Dembitse (Dębica), western Galicia, to a father who was a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment and a “lover of Zion” (Ḥovev-tsiyon, early Zionist).  In 1899 he moved with his family to Torne (Tornów), where he studied in religious elementary school and in a Polish public school; he later studied Talmud in the synagogue study hall.  In 1909 he entered the fifth class of high school, but one year later he was expelled “for Zionism and socialism.”  Thanks to the influence of Yankev Kener, from his early youth he was active in the Labor Zionist youth movement, and he was strongly influenced by Dr. Yitskhok Shiper.  During the census in Austria in 1910, he took part in the struggle for the rights of Yiddish.  In 1914 he was studying in Dębica and received his baccalaureate degree.  He went on to study law at the University of Vienna, but he was primarily interested in Semitic philology; he began turning his attention to Yiddish linguistics and wrote a piece on the topic of “The Vocal Composition of Prague Yiddish at the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century,” but during WWI this essay was lost.  In 1917 he debuted in print in Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish laborer) in Vienna with a polemical article against Dr. Nosn Birnboym (Nathan Birnbaum).  In 1919 he moved to Warsaw, where he became secretary of the editorial board of the Labor Zionist organ Arbayter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) and editor of the youth periodical Der yunger kemfer (The young fighter), in which he introduced most of the rules of modern Yiddish spelling.  He was an instructor in the teachers’ course of study of the Central Jewish School Organization (Tsisho) and a member of the Tsisho executive.  When the Labor Zionist party split, he remained with the left wing.  He wrote political articles, literary criticism, and treatments of topics in Yiddish linguistics.  As the sitting editor of Arbayter-tsaytung, he spent several months in the Mokotów (Monketov) Prison in Warsaw and was freed after bail of one-quarter million Polish marks was provided by the Jewish literary association and Leybl’s friends in Torne.  In 1923 on his way to Israel, he spent eight months in Berlin.  In May 1924 he made aliya to the land of Israel on a Nansen passport made out in the name of Aleksander-David—thereafter, his party name was “Aleksander.”  He worked initially in field surveying.  He was the first editor of Kol hapoel (The voice of labor), the first journal of the left Labor Zionists in Israel, and he edited the publications Eyns (One) and Tsvey (Two) brought out by the Yiddish literary association in Tel Aviv.  With the founding of Davar (Word), organ of the Histadrut Haovdim (Federation of Labor), he became proofreader and later stylistic editor of the newspaper.  He was also editor of the weekly Nayvelt (New world), published by the left Labor Zionists.  Himself a Hebrew writer and poet, he was active in the fight for the rights of Yiddish in Israel.  He was injured during an attack by extremist young Hebraists from “Gedud megine hasafa” (Battalion of the defenders of the language).  He belonged to the council of the Mifleget poalim meuḥedet (MAPAM, United workers’ party), when his own party Aḥdut haavoda (Union of labor), with the left Labor Zionists, was united with Hashomer Hatsair (The young guard).  He was a member of the control commission of Histadrut.  Over the years 1945-1948, he was a member of the secretariat of the Tel Aviv workers’ council.  In 1939 he was a delegate to the Zionist congress in Geneva, the last congress before WWII, and in 1946 to the congress in Basel, the first congress after the war.  He was also a delegate to Asefat Hanivḥarim (Assembly of Representatives).  He was a cofounder of the Hebrew journalists’ association, “Agudat Haitonaim.”  From 1956 he was friend and advisor to the Academy of the Hebrew Language and contributed to its publications, Leshonenu (Our language) and Leshonenu laam (Our language for the people), as well as Shenaton (Yearbook) of Davar, and to: Tarbits (Academy), Yediot haḥevra laḥkor haatikot (News of the society to study antiquities), and Bet mikra.  He composed lyrical poetry in Yiddish and in Hebrew—the Hebrew poems under the pen name “M. Seter”—in: Haoved (The worker) in Warsaw (1921); Haolam (The world) (1923-1924); and Hapoel hatsair (The young worker) (1925).  In book form: In grinem lompen-shayn (In the green lamp light) (Warsaw, 1922), 24 pp.  Into Yiddish he translated Stanisław Wyspiański’s Danyel (Daniel) (Warsaw: Di tsayt, 1922), 42 pp. and Wyspiański’s Rikhter (Judges [original: Sędziowie] (Warsaw: Arbeter-heym, 1922).  His Hebrew translation of Juliusz Słowacki’s Anheli (Anhelli) was published in two editions (Mitspe, 1929) and (Jerusalem: Tarshish, 1962).  He also translated into Yiddish the first act of Maria Konopnicka’s dramatic poem Prometeus un sizif (Prometheus and Sisyphus [original: Prometeusz i Syzyf].  His Yiddish research included the works: “Mizrekh-yidisher ur-dyalekt” (Eastern Yiddish’s original dialect), in the collection Unzer lebn (Our life), on the third anniversary of the death of Ber Borokhov (Warsaw, 1921); and the addendum to Max Weinreich’s “Kurlender yidish” (Courland Yiddish), in Landoy-bukh (Volume for Landau), vol. 1 of Filologisher shriftn fun yivo (Philological writings from YIVO) (Vilna, 1926).  When he withdrew from working at Davar (after thirty-two years), and more generally from party activities, as well as thereafter, on his seventieth birthday, there were published in the press essays about him.  He also edited the anthology Sefer dembits (Volume for Dębica) (Tel Aviv, 1960), 204 pp.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937), p. 304; Dov Sadan, Kearat tsimukim (A bowl of raisins) (Tel Aviv, 1950); Sadan, Kearat egozim o elef bediha ubediha, asufat homor be-yisrael (A bowl of nuts or one thousand and one jokes, an anthology of humor in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1953), see index; Torne (Tornów) (Tel Aviv, 1953/1954); Sefer hashana shel haitonaim (The annual of newspapers) (Tel Aviv, 1954/1955), p. 222; D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 1881-82; B. Kutsher, Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was) (Paris, 1955), see index; D. L. (David Lazar), in Maariv (Tel Aviv) (Tevet 3 [= January 5], 1957); M. Kaplyus, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (1957); Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958), pp. 221-22; M. Vaykhert, Varshe (Tel Aviv, 1960/1961), see index; Sh. Shakharya, in Unzer veg (New York) (November 1961); Rikuda Potash and Y. Ts. Shargl, in Di shgtime (New York) (December 1961).


            He was born in Ponevezh (Panevėžys), Lithuania.  In 1929 he moved to South Africa.  He traded goods in small sites around Johannesburg.  He published his first story in Afrikaner idishe tsaytung (African Jewish newspaper) in Johannesburg (1931), and then he went on to write a series of stories for the monthly Foroys (Onward), a publication of the Jewish cultural association in Johannesburg (1938-1939).  For Dorem-afrike zamlbukh (South Africa anthology) (Johannesburg, 1945), he wrote his longer story “Bere” (Flooded roadway).  The subject matter encompassed the lives of Blacks in the area.  He also published in Dorem-afrike (South Africa), a monthly periodical of the cultural federation in Johannesburg.  He was last living in Johannesburg.

Source: Dorem-afrike zamlbukh (South Africa anthology) (Johannesburg, 1945), p. 142.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


TSVI-HIRSH-YOYSEF LEYBOVITSH (1863-November 20, 1885)
            He was born in Botoșani, Romania.  He studied in religious primary school and yeshiva, and he then became a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment.  He was active in the Ḥibat Tsiyon (Love of Zion) movement.  He cofounded the first Zionist association Moriya in Botoșani.  He traveled around the Romanian hinterland, giving speeches on behalf of the Jewish settlement in the land of Israel.  He began writing in both Yiddish and Hebrew: correspondence pieces for Ivri anokhi (I am Jewish) in Brod (Brody) in 1881, later writing for: Ḥavatselet (Daffodil) in Jerusalem, Hamelits (The advocate) in Odessa, and the Romanian Jewish Israel (Israel).  He was editor of the biweekly serial Hatokea (The trumpeter), “a newspaper for the Jewish people” which bore the motto: “And he blows the shofar to warn the people” [Ezekiel 33.3].  He translated from French the children’s play, Shever gaon (Pride before a fall) (Czernowitz, 1881), 30 pp.  He also wrote under the pen name Tsl”tsl.  During his travels he became ill, barely managed to reach Botoșani, and died there.

Sources: Dr. M. Ernprayz, in Ivri anokhi (Brod) (December 4, 1885); A. R. Malachi, in Pinkes fun amopteyl fun yivo (Records of the American division of YIVO) (New York) 2 (1929), pp. 84-85; Sh. Roman, in Filologishe shriftn (Vilna) 3 (1929), p. 529; Dr. Joseph Klausner, Ḥibat tsiyon beromaniya (Love of Zion in Romania) (Jerusalem, 1958), pp. 167, 259; Y. Yosef Kahan, in Areshet (Jerusalem) 3 (1958-1959), pp. 336-37.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


MIKHL LEYBOVITSH (b. December 20, 1906)
            He was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He graduated from a business school and studied at the Free Polish University.  In 1923 he moved to Argentina.  He returned in 1925, continued his education in business, and then received his doctoral degree in England.  In 1938 he ran an English-language course in Warsaw for emigrants with the Warsaw HIAS, and he also held a position at the Argentinian consulate-general in Warsaw, but he then returned to Argentina and there he remained.  Politically, he was active in the Hitaḥdut (the “union” of young Zionists [Tseire-tsiyon]).  He began publishing in 1925 in Lemberg’s Folk un land (People and land); and he wrote articles for Argentinian publications of the day: Unzer gedank (Our idea), Unzer tsayt (Our time), Di naye tsayt (The new times), Unzer veg (Our way), and Pagines juveniles (Youth pages), a publication for young people in Spanish.  He served on the editorial board (1941-1942) of the daily Morgentsaytung (Morning newspaper), and he placed work as well in the journal Davke (Necessarily) and edited and published (with Y. Horn and M. Koyfman) the monthly Nay lebn (New life) (thirty-four issues over the years 1944-1946).  He translated into Yiddish from W. Somerset-Maugham, Mazoles (Destiny [original: First Person Singular]), six stories (Buenos Aires, 1954), 330 pp.  He was last living in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Volf Bresler, Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Jewish literature in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1944), p. 936; A. A. Robak, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (November-December 1954); Yankev Glatshteyn, in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (May-June 1955).
Benyomen Elis


M. LEYBOVITSH (b. ca. 1880)
            He hailed from Lithuania.  In 1900 he arrived in South Africa.  He worked as a village peddler, at the same time writing poems and publishing them in the weekly Der idisher advokat (The Jewish advocate), edited by Dovid Goldblat (Cape Town, 1904-1907).  He also contributed to Hakokhav (The star) (1903-1907) and Idishe prese (1904) in Johannesburg.  In 1908 he returned to Russia, and from that point in time there has been no further information about him.  In M. Basin’s anthology, 500 yor yidishe poezye (Anthology, 500 years of Yiddish poetry) (New York, 1917), p. 153, Leybovitsh’s poems, “Der trevler” (The traveler) and “Dos vegl” (The trail), appear in print.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; L. Feldman, Yidn in yohanesburg (Jews in Johannesburg) (Johannesburg, 1956).
Khayim Leyb Fuks