Famous Yiddish Poet and Cultural Worker Eliezer Steinberg Dies in Czernowitz After Appendicitis Oper
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Famous Yiddish Poet and Cultural Worker Eliezer Steinberg Dies in Czernowitz After Appendicitis Oper

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Eliezer Steinberg, the outstanding Yiddish poet and cultural worker in Roumania, has died at Czernowitz at the age of 52 after an operation for appendicitis.

Eliezer Steinberg was born in Bessarabia in a Hassidic family. He was a stepson of Jehudah Steinberg, the great Yiddish writer, who died in 1908, and who was his father’s brother.

In 1919 he was called to Czernowitz to take over the leadership of the Yiddish cultural activity which was started in Greater Roumania. He was an indefatigable propagandist for the Yiddish language and Yiddish culture. He founded a Yiddish studio Theatre in Czernowitz, and travelled all over Roumania lecturing on Yiddish culture and Yiddish language, and on the Jewish political situation in Roumania.

In 1928, he went to Brazil, on the invitation of the administrators to take charge of the work of the Yiddish school in Rio de Janeiro.

His fables and his children’s verses are considered among the finest in the Yiddish language. He also worked on a number of Biblical subjects and folk legends. His best known work in this field is “Father Abraham”, a dramatised legend in four acts, and his “Rabbi of Berditchev” is one of the first attempts at a Yiddish opera. He also adapted for the stage Peretz’s “Night In The Old Market Place” and “The Golden Chain”.

Steinberg was a fierce antagonist of the cult of Hebraism, but he was well acquainted with the language and wrote a good deal in it, publishing children’s tales and poems in Hebrew. One of his Hebrew selections was published in 1920 by the Zionist Federation in Bucharest. He also translated a volume of old and new Hebrew literature into Yiddish, and introduced a new method of studying Hebrew through the medium of Yiddish.

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