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)


  1. This is remarkable. Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to scan and post this. Do we know anything about the people that illustrated the book - or the place that printed them?

    1. Dear Irv, thank you so much for your question, which opens the door to our Czernowitz Art Gallery, where all artists - including their biographies - are featured. All three of them came to fame in later years:


      Arthur Kolnik
      Artwork: https://goo.gl/NLYpAX
      Bio: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Kolnik

      Rubin Zelicovici aka Reuven Rubin [Irene Fishler disclosed Rubin Zelicovici's pseudonym for us.]
      Artwork: https://goo.gl/tIQX2p
      Bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuven_Rubin

      Solomon Lerner [not Josef Lerner as I erroneously stated earlier]
      Artwork: https://goo.gl/9DD31U
      Bio: http://mechnerfoundation.org/newsite/lerner.html

      Enjoy both the book and the exhibition!

  2. Verlag Kultur,
    Bei der Jidischer Kulturfederatie
    Far Romania, Bukovina, Basarabia und Transilvania
    Alef Beit fun Eliayer Steinberg
    Czernowitz 1921
    Buchdruckerei "Orient", Czrnowitz Schillergasse 5
    Illustriert fun
    Artur Kalnik,
    Rudolf Zalikevitz,
    Salomon Lerner.

    The stamp on page 3 Printed in Poland must have been added later by mistake.

    1. Thank you for translation, dear Berti!

  3. Lieber Edgar,
    Ich entziffere ung. Folgendes:

    Wenn beim Herz allein geklemmt und genagt,
    Ich mein letzten Tropfen nit gekarget (vergossen?),
    Und gewärmt und gekräftigt und gestärkt!
    Eliezer Steinberg.


    1. Nochmals ganz herzlichen Dank, lieber Berti, und liebe Grüße an Dich und die Deinen!

  4. The Chernivtsi Museum of Bukovinian Jewish History and Culture wrote:
    Dear Czernowitzers,
    Thank you for your interest in our museum. Our museum has two original Eliezer Steinbarg's Alef-Beys / Aleph-Beis / Alphabet books. But unfortunately, they are in a bad condition, with no covers. If you have any questions, you are welcome to ask. We hope for a future cooperation.
    Best regards, Kristina Kitsan