05 January 2017

Alef-Beys • Aleph-Beis • Alphabet


YIVO Encyclopedia: "Eliezer Shteynbarg (1880–1932), Yiddish writer and educator. Born in Lipkany, Bessarabia, Eliezer Shteynbarg (originally Shteynberg) received a traditional Jewish education but independently mastered German and Russian classics. Like his cousin Yehudah Steinberg (Shteynberg; a pioneer of modern Hebrew education), Eliezer directed a private, secular school, with Hebrew as the language of instruction. From 1919 on, he lived in Czernowitz (Chernivtsi) where he ran, among other things, a Yiddish children’s theater. As the most distinguished figure in the Tshernovitser Yidisher Shulfareyn (Czernowitz Association of Jewish Schools) and in the Jewish Cultural Association of Romania (founded in 1921), Shteynbarg played a leading role in the cultural life of Romanian Jews. He lived in Brazil from 1928 to 1930, and then returned to Czernowitz. At a very young age, Shteynbarg had written children’s stories and plays in Yiddish for the students in the school he directed, as well as fables for adults. The children’s plays were inspired by purim-shpils and folk legends. In these stories, the author’s rich imagination, combined with his attention to folkloric motifs, yielded a free and poetic style. Shteynbarg also developed original teaching methods in which old heder traditions were blended with modern instructional principles. These techniques are reflected, for example, in his two textbooks, Alef-beys (Yiddish) and Alfon (Hebrew), both published in Czernowitz in 1921."

When my own heart was strained in distress and worry,
I did not withhold my last tear,
But warmed and strengthened and reinforced!

Eliezer Steinbarg

Translation by Yocheved Klausner

Courtesy: Center for Jewish History (Book), Miriam & Yosef Yagur (Artwork)