Kol Mevasser (periodical)

"Kol Mevasser", a Yiddish language periodical that appeared from October 11, 1862 into 1872, is considered by Sol Liptzin and others to be the most important early Yiddish-language periodical (although by no means the first: the short-lived "Die Kuranten" in Amsterdam pre-dated it by centuries).

Originally founded by Alexander Zederbaum as a supplement to his Hebrew language weekly "Hamelitz", during its last three years "Kol Mevasser" functioned independently. Unlike any earlier Yiddish publication, it circulated over a wide territory, with readers throughout Eastern Europe, but was based on the Southeastern ("Ukrainian") Yiddish dialect, indigenous to the region of its production (Odessa).

Coverage included events both in the Jewish and gentile world, and extended to science, education, history, geography, and literature. It ran biographies of famous rabbis, reviewed Yiddish writers such as Israel Aksenfeld, Shlomo Ettinger, and A. B. Gotlober, and launched the careers of generation of Yiddish writers.

In 1863 it published the first Yiddish-language fiction of Mendele Mocher Sforim, a tale called "Dos kleine mentshele" ("The Little Man"). Yitzhok Yoel Linetzky got his start in "Kol Mevasser", and it was the first to publish Yiddish poetry by Abraham Goldfaden, who, like Mendele, had already published in Hebrew.

The decade-long run and relatively professional editorial standards of "Kol Mevasser" helped to standardize Yiddish spelling and vocabulary, establish patterns of written usage, and increase the prestige of the language.

References

*Liptzin, Sol, "A History of Yiddish Literature", Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, NY, 1972, ISBN 0-8246-0124-6, especially p. 41-42.


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