At that time he began his
literary activity in Yiddish, which reached the
highlight of his work, "Dos poylishe yingl (The Polish
Youth)," which really stormed the then-Yiddish world
with her sharp satire. "Professor" M. Horowitz
dramatized the account and directed it on Passover in
1878 in Bucharest.
Avraham Goldfaden, who is
considered a competitor to "Professor" Horowitz, recalls
in his memoirs:
"After Pesach [Passover] in
the year 1877, when the Yiddish theatre had only
survived the first winter in Bucharest, once at a
rehearsal for Once upon a time, a problem occurred to
me. (The actor) Israel Gradner and just kept telling me
a secret, that here is a man who has a new play, and he
wants to give it to me, that I would play it on the
stage. He offered me this man, and I set him a time when
he could come to me to read the play for me. On the
second day Gradner really arrived with the man, who read
to us a three-act piece with the name, "The Polish
Youth." From the beginning, I thought it was an
immortal masterpiece by the
well-known satirist Yitskhok-Joel Linetsky -- But no,
this was some kind of stupid vaudeville in three acts, a
kind of place like 'Shmendrik.' I would have been upset at
that time, but the secret the author gave me forbade me
to take the piece. The author of this piece was a
missionary, and as such was known in Bucharest."
Still in 1874 L. had in his
book (republished in 1875 in Zhitomir, and 1876 in
Warsaw) "Dos mshlkht, Kartines of Jewish life. From Eli
Ktsin Htskhkiuli. The author fin'm poylishe yingl,"
published several sketches in a dialogue form. In
particular, however, a theatrical character "Di vibores,"
in two acts (pp. 81-94).
In 1875 L. went around with
Goldfaden across Odessa, Zhitomir, Berdichev and
Vinitsye to gather subscribers for a weekly page, and
also a great deal of action, for they both went to
Lemberg, where they began a publication (23 July 1875),
a "newspaper page for the voice of Israel," under the
M. Greedenberg, L.'s
daughter, recalls about him in her memories about her
father, that three months later both partners were
brought down their families from Lemberg. Goldfaden
continued to travel around Russia gathering
subscriptions. "Linetzky managed the newspaper, but
rapid discussions began between the editors of the
literary media. Linetzky often used to sharply criticize
the disadvantages of Goldfaden's literary works,
abstaining from quite a fierce fight against
From the beginning, I thought that this was
the irresistible edit and change Goldfaden's work. The
end was that Goldfaden once departed for Russia on the
next subscriber tour, and no longer returning to
Lemberg. With the assistance of Tsederbaum, who had
connections, had Goldfaden, should the prohibition
include this "Israelik" in Russia. This led the
newspaper to crash, what was listed was almost
exclusively on Russia. Linetzky was found in a Christian
camp. Without any trouble he climbs back to Odessa."
In Odessa L. continues to be
a good friend to Goldfaden, and translates for him --
according to M. Greidenberg -- Lessing's "Natan
hakhokhem (Nathan the Wise)."
About L.'s connection with
the Odessa Jewish Theatre, B. Gorin writes:
"Another visitor was also
Yitskhok Joel Linetzky, who several years earlier
published a newspaper, together with Goldfaden. They (L.
Lilienblum) came not only to see how they play
Yiddish theatre, but with a real desire to help reform
[the Yiddish stage] and make the Yiddish theatre a
national institution. ... The Yiddish theatre in Odessa
also by Linetzky brought out a desire for the drama.
Just as he had a good sense for humor, he had expected a
random comedy from him. The fact that in Romania
Horowitz had dramatized his "Polish Youth," showed him
that he could create originals for the stage, and he
indeed began to write a play that was completed when
Goldfaden had returned to Odessa. Goldfaden and he
entire company came to hear Linetzky's creation.
Linetzky read, and Goldfaden nd the actors kept to the
sides of laughter. Suddenly Linetzky looked over. He
came to a position called in the language of stage,"apart"
or "angry." ... It came to light that the words, which
were marked in detail, revealed a secret that the other
persons on the stage had in no way dared to know, and
when they learned of it, the whole further act had no
real meaning and gained a face of strength. The
absurdity of it made the humorist so short that Linetzky
burst out laughing and exclaimed: "To old spirits! This
is stupid. In all corners of the theatre you will hear
what he says, but those who stand next to him, deaf and
blind about the minute, hear nothing and see nothing.
Well!" He closed the notebook and refused to read
further. And as much as Goldfaden did not realize it,
explaining to him that this is not good, that this is
the playwright's license, and that nothing else could be
done, did not help. What was left of that piece is
unknown. It was never published, and later he quieted
his desire for drama by translating Lessing's "Nathan
the Wise," a dramatic negotiation of faith and religions
in five appearances. Composed in German from the
well-known philosopher and poet Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.
Freely translated and adapted in the Yiddish jargon of
Yitskhok Joel Linetzky. Odessa 1884." 80 pp. 16o).
According to M. Greidenberg,
L. also worked over a small German (Schiller?) comedy, "Der
nefe als onkly (The Nephew as an Uncle?)." It is also
worth noting that L.'s songs were sung by the
Brodersingers at the beginning of the seventies.
Y. Riminik remarks about this:
"It is also not possible to
color the entirety of Linetsky's activity as a folk
poet. We know him, understand, of course, [there is] no
comparison to a Michael Gordon or Velvl Zbarzher. But is
is then a fact that a considerable part of his evils
were sung in the broad masses of people."
About L.'s musical
abilities, L.'s daughter writes; "He was a good
declamator, had good hearing, and a beautiful voice. By
himself he used to compose melodies for his songs. He
learned this way for sixty years. He nevertheless wrote
in an album of texts, and the melodies of his songs. The
album was under the name, 'Di yidishe lire,' and is
preserved in the Odessa Museum of Jewish Culture." And
he (L.) read his work artistically. He always used to
read with enthusiasm about Goldfaden, and often sang his
songs from 'Shulamis,' and that once, talking about it,
which talented Yiddish actor sang on the Odessa corners,
L. had said, "If you had come to Odessa twenty years
earlier, you would have met me in the same cellars and
Goldfaden would be singing our best songs. We have both
sung in the cellars. Many talents are lost by Jews."
In the age Linetzky was
exempt from the bitter material distress: he was held in
honor of his son, an architect, and had from time to
time published trinkets in the Yiddish newspapers in
Odessa, where he passed away on 23 September 1915.
Z. Reisen --
"Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. II, pp.
B. Gorin --
"History of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. I, pp. 147,
Sh. Niger --
Elements of Sholem Aleichem's Humor by Sholem
Aleichem, "Pincus," N.Y., 1927-28, p. 10.
R. Granovski --
Yitskhok Joel Linetzky, same, pp. 145-147,
B. [R.] Granovski
-- Yitskhok Joel Linetzky -- Interesting
Character Shtrikhen, "Forward," N.Y., 25 Nov.
Sh. Borovsky --An
umbakante iberzetsung fun linetzky's "poylishn
yingl," "Bibliolagisher Zamlung, Soviet Union,
1930, pp. 520-21.
A.R. Melachi -- A
hebreishe iberzetsung fun linetzky's "poylishn
yingl," "YIVO Bleter," Vilna, 1931, pp. 282-3.
Y.Sh. -- Notitsn
vegn linetzkin, dort, pp. 270-71.
Y. Riminik -- Tsu
der geshikhte funem "poylishn yingl," "Tsaytshrift,"
Minsk, Vol. 5, 1931, pp. 183, 186.
M. Greidenberg --
Fartseykhenungen vegn mayn foter, dort, pp.