In 1889 in London his
Yiddish translation of Friedrich Lassalle's [sp]
brochure, "Dos arbayter progres," one of the first
socialist issues in Yiddish.
K. participated in the first
international socialist congress in Paris, after his
return to London for a short time was manager of "Arbayter
fraynd and raveled in February 1889 to New York, where
he was editor of the Yiddish socialist weekly page, "Arbayter
tsaytung" (1890). Here he wrote light articles, articles
about socialism, a short history of the French
Revolution (later in a strongly forgotten form published
in book forms), translated novels, and in the summer of
1891 traveled to Chicago, and after returning to new
York he began to study chemistry, but he continued to
maintain his literary work. In 1894 he became manager of
"Arbayter tsaytung" and was selected as editor of "Di
tsukunft," which he edited until October 1894, when he
became editor of the Yiddish daily socialist newspaper,
"Dos abend blat." When he was removed from office in
1899 by De Leon, K. became editor of the weekly "Folkstsaytung."
Then he went over to various periodical editions, also
including in the bourgeois newspaper, "Di yidishe velt,"
and later with the united "Morgn zhurnal." K. then
became editor of many other magazines, also including
again of "Di tsukunft," and in 1907 editor of the
monthly journal, "Di proletarishe velt," settling in
Warsaw, Poland, and then traveled around across Russia
and Galicia. He returned to America, and for four years
was the General Secretary for the "Arbayter Ring" and
joined the "Forward," where he remained as a
collaborator until his death. K. collaborated and edited
various periodical editions and issued many original
writings and translations of various works (for details
see Reisen's "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature").
According to Reisen, K.'s
statements on the Jewish national question were an
assimilator, but in fact he contributed to the greatest
extent to build the Jewish socialist literature and
press. In his personal life he was an example of
goodness, kindness and friendship.
In 1893 K. wrote theatre
critiques in New York's "Der shtadt Antseyger," which
was published under his and Sharkansky's editing.
On 20 April 1894 in the
"Thalia" Theatre through the "Social Dramatic Union,"
there was staged "Doktor libe," adapted by K. after
In K.'s brochure, "Di
shriftn fun mitsrayim," also there is an article about
Zalmen Zylbercweig writes:
"Directly, K. had
little to do with Yiddish theatre. According to his
erudition, he stood too high for the situation in which
the Yiddish theatre found itself during his literary or
journalistic activity in America. However, indirectly he
played a significant role in the history of Yiddish
theatre, not only in America, but generally. It is a
remarkable fact that in both cases, both the very
foundation of a stable Yiddish theatre in 1876 in Iasi,
as well as Avraham Goldaden's decision to dedicate
himself to the Yiddish stage, played indirectly an
important role, a side person, a mashkhil, a former
sexton in a conservative synagogue, Yitskhok Libresko,
and when K. played, indirectly, an important role in the
revolution, which in 1891 was created in the Yiddish
theatre through Jacob Gordin. Gordin recalls in his
memoirs: "The first, which gave me this thought to
become a dramaturge was H' Philip Krantz, who was in
agreement with the representative of the Yiddish stage.
My first acquaintance with them was made in a
One of the important figures
in the Russian-Jewish colony of that time was the
Jewish-Socialist writer Philip Krantz. He soon became
one of Gordin's closest friends. Although Krantz alone
was not in American very long,he already appeared to be
acquainted with the Yiddish theatre family. He knew
Adler and Kessler well, and so he fell upon a plan, that
thanks to his protection, Gordin would perhaps find
employment with the Yiddish theatre. With Krantz there
was not any question that Gordin could write for
theatre, whether he possessed the ability of a
dramaturge, because at that time writing for the Yiddish
theatre did not mean that one needed an idea, a subject,
and one knew the stage and all its laws. The Yiddish
drama of that time was the most important part of it,
that they took past plays of German, Russian or other
languages, and they freely translated, changed the
subject a bit, localized the action, and gave Yiddish
names to the heroes and -- play a play!
Philip Krantz, who knew that
Gordin was cultured in Russian and knew the Russian
drama, was therefore certain that Gordin would easily
fit into Yiddish theatre."
K. proposed Gordin for
Jacob P. Adler, and the result is that Gordin wrote his
first play, "Siberia," which on 13 November 1891 was
staged in the "Union" Theatre by Jacob P. Adler, and
this was the beginning of Gordin's fruitful dramatic
On 27 November 1922 K.
passed away in New York.
Z. Reisen -- "Lexicon
of Yiddish Literature," Vol. 2, Vilna, 1929, pp.
Zalmen Zylbercweig --
"Teater zikhrones," Vilna, 1928, pp. 5-10.
Zalmen Zylbercweig --
"Di velt fun yakov gordin," Tel Aviv, 1964, pp.