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[Col. 73]

Those Who Glorified the Name of Our Town (cont.)

Meyer Matzkin [*]

        Meyer Matzkin is a Jewish artist , and this word has magic in it to the people of the city from which he came. He brought to the Western World Jewish themes as they are expressed in the best artistic technique and strong, independent representation.


Moses Our Teacher
Moses Our Teacher


One of the typical characteristics of Meyer Matzkin, who came from our city, is the expression of Jewish pride. He is almost never satisfied with merely painting a biblical or Jewish character. He sees himself obligated to show his audience the Jewish characteristics of these figures.
        In the composition of biblical subjects, he emphasizes the image of Moses in ecstasy. In this image, he found the pathos and poetry of the dream and the longing.
        Matzkin knows how to express the [feelings of] introspection and asceticism, the ecstasy and the turning inward and finally the monumental richness of the media.
        The paintings of Meyer Matzkin belong to those art works that attract every eye, because they express the esthetic values of the human soul. They bring people closer to art, because they reflect a great soul.
        The spiritual background of Matzkin's paintings is expressed in the attitude that I would call the environment of Svintsyan. The foundation of the artist's belief, the sensitive ideals that he depicts in his oil paintings follow the ideals of Svintsyan and he shows this as a great artist who glorifies the name of our city in the world.


Meyer Matzkin

Meyer Matzkin
The painter Meyer Matzkin of New York was born in 1881 in Svintsyan to his parents, Khaim and Pesya-Reyze. When they saw his talent as a painter, his parents transferred him to Vilna.
        Already in his youth he excelled in his work. He began with charcoal drawings and paintings of nature panoramas to which he gave a romantic character by adding mythological images, and with rare talent he painted human figures, for the most part in a bold style.
        In 1904, he moved with his family to the United States and settled in Brooklyn. [**] His connection to his people expressed itself in compositions of biblical and Jewish subjects. According to one critic, he painted in an original style (the Matzkin style). His images excel in powerful and dramatic movement, and he is considered a typical portraitist.
        His famous paintings used to be successfully exhibited in Pennsylvania, in the Art Academy of Philadelphia, and in the Art Institute in Chicago and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as well as in other locations in the United States.

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* This article is written in the present tense. Trans.Back
** The family of Meyer Matzkin has advised that Matzkin never lived in Brooklyn but in Boston and Roxbury, Massachusetts. Ed. Back





The Yiddish Humanities High School--The First in Poland

        “The first humanities high school in Poland for boys and girls [taught] in the language of Yiddish.” These are the words used to describe the high school in Svinstyan in the government Office of Education and it appeared in the same way in the Central Committee of Yiddish Schools: “TISHA” [*] in Warsaw, and also in the county organization : Ts. B. K. [**] in Vilna.
        Svintsyan is truly a symbol for the famous yeshiva which was founded by Rabbi Y.Y. Reines. [From that] we arrived also at the first high school of its kind in the language of the people, which became the cultural language “Yiddish” from a “jargon.” [***] It possesses a literature, a variety of newspapers, high-school and college curricula (public university) and also a chain of progressive and new cultural achievements in education --the first in the history of our people. [The high school] in our city was the first in the history of our people, but it spread also to the little towns of the surrounding area.

The Yiddish High School in Svintsyan
The Yiddish High School in Svintsyan (1922-1923)

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* This is probably an acronym for the name of the school. Trans. Back
** The initials for the name of the school in Yiddish. Back Trans.
*** A derogatory name for Yiddish sometimes used by detractors of the language. Trans. Back





[Upper left, clockwise:  railway
			station, Kochanovka Lake, teachers seminary building, Berzovka Lake.  Ed.]

[Upper left, clockwise: railway station, Kochanovka Lake,
teachers seminary building, Berzovka Lake. Ed.]



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