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Candles of Song: Yiddish Poems about Mothers Chaim Leib Fox

Yiddish poems about mothers, in memory of my mother, Miriam Pearlman Zucker, 1914-2012.

Photo of Chaim Leib Fox

Chaim Leib Fox (Fuks) (1897-1984) was born in Lodz, Poland. He developed worldly interests even as a yeshiva student, and was soon involved with founding the Yiddish Writers’ Group in Lodz, engaged with the Bund, and then the Zionist workers movement. He began publishing articles and poems in journals and newspapers at the age of 17, debuting with poems in the Folksblatt and he published extensively after that time. He published his first book of verse Durshtike lemer (Thirsty lambs) in 1926. When war came, he fled with his expecting wife to the Soviet-controlled Bialystok and then to Kazakhstan. In 1946 he returned to Lodz and subsequently moved to Paris where in 1951 he published another volume of verse, Shoh Fun Lid (Hour of song).

In 1953 he resettled in the United States . Through the course of his lifetime he published several monographs and ten volumes, including six books of poetry. He considered his literary biography of the city of Lodz, Lodzh shel mayle, (Lodz on high) a paean to the city that nurtured and formed him. Chaim Leib spent his last active years in Montreal, Canada, where in 1980 he produced the literary lexicon, 100 Yor Yiddishe un Hebreishe Literatur in Kanade, (100 Years of Yiddish and Hebrew literature in Canada which serves as a central source of much literary research on this topic to this day. He died in New York.

Here, Mayn Mame Tsindt Likht, by Chaim Leib Fox, read by Sheva Zucker: