Death of Chonen Minikes Publisher of “minikes Yom Tov Bletter”: an Era in Yiddish Literature

Chonen Jacob Minikes, the publisher for over 30 years of the famous “Minikes Yom Tov Bletter”, which appeared before each Jewish holiday and provided the most popular reading matter for the Yiddish-speaking masses in America, died at the Beth Israel Hospital here yesterday.

Minikes was born in Vilna 65 years ago. He studied at the world-famous Yeshibah at Voloszhin, where he became acquainted with the late S. L. Zitron, the Hebrew writer and former editor of the “Hazman” who died in 1930. After some time he went to Germany, where he became a follower of Rabbi Israel Salanter and of Dr. Ezriel Hildesheimer. In Berlin he founded the Hebrew Union “Ahavath Zion”, and was in correspondence with Peretz Smolenkin, who published his first articles. He was also an active worker in the Shelter which was founded in Berlin by the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden for the pogrom refugees from Russia.

In 1888 Minikes went to America, where he became connected with the Yiddish Theatre. He also took a very prominent part in the organisation of the Jewish trades unions in America, and was active in various Jewish philanthropic and cultural institutions, but principally in the I. L. Peretz Yiddish writers’ Organisation.

He was best known, however, for his “Minikes Yom Tov Bletter”, which started publication in 1897, and constitute an era in Yiddish literature. The publication had a circulation of as much as 30,000 copies, and it contained contributions by practically all the best-known Yiddish writers throughout the world. Minikes himself wrote and published a great deal, articles, stories and translations. In 1916 he published an Album of Yiddish writers in America whose work had appeared in his “Bletter”.

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