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TASHRAK (Heb. 1926–1872; תּשר״ק), most common pseudonym of Israel Joseph Zevin, a humorist and pioneer of the Yiddish press in America. Born in Horki (Belorussia), Zevin immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1880s. From 1893 until his death he was on the staff of the Orthodox daily Yidishes Tageblat in New York, and wrote under his own name and the pseudonym Yudkovitch. He became a member of the paper's editorial board and for a time served as its editor-in-chief. From 1924 he wrote, under the names Dr. A. Adelman and Meyer Zonenshayn, for the Morgn Zhurnal, also in New York. His writings – stories, feuilletons, and articles on current affairs – appeared in other American newspapers and in the foreign press. He won recognition principally for his humorous tales about the typical Jewish immigrant's adventures in the U.S. (later these appeared in book form as Y.Y. Zevins Geklibene Shriftn ("Selected Works of Y.Y. Zevin," 1906); Geklibene Shriftn ("Selected Works," 1909); and Tashraks Beste Ertseylungen ("Tashrak's Best Stories," 4 vols., 1910). He also published anthologies of aggadot, midrashim, and proverbs (Ale Mesholim fun Dubner Magid ("The Complete Proverbs of the Dubner Maggid," 2 vols., 1925); Ale Agodes fun Talmud … ("The Complete Aggadot of the Talmud," 3 vols., 1922); Der Oytser fun Ale Medroshim, ("The Complete Treasury of Proverbs," 4 vols., 1926)), which he had collected and translated into Yiddish toward the end of his life. Zevin wrote children's stories (Mayselekh far Kinder, "Stories For Children," 1919), a number of stories in Hebrew, and a posthumously published novel. From 1905 he began to write in English, mainly translating his own stories which appeared in the English section of the Tageblat and in the weekly American Hebrew. Between 1914 and 1917 he was a regular contributor to the Sunday issue of the New York Herald, and became known for his essays, interviews, and humorous pieces on New York Jewish life.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 4 (1929), 902–12.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.