Chone Gottesfeld
Author and Humorist

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Chone Gottesfeld was a Yiddish writer and humorist who was born in Skala. He left Skala at the age of 18, and emigrated to New York, where he had a long career as a writer of humorous stories and plays in Yiddish.

Most of Gottesfeld’s stories first were published in the Jewish Daily Forward, at which he served as editor of the humor page. In 1964, a number of his stories were translated into English and published as the book Tales of the Old World and the New. According to the notes on the book’s flap:

In the sketches from the 'Old World,' Gottesfeld portrays the quaint and picturesque people and atmosphere of Skala, the idealists, visionaries, traders, and matchmakers --- all that was strange, funny, and tragic in that almost-forgotten way of life.
Gottesfeld also was a successful playwright. Among his best-known theatrical works were Parnasse (Livelihood), Gevalt, Ven Shtarbt Er? (Heavens, When Will He Die?) and The World is a Stage, in which he humorously complained in words and song about the triteness of Yiddish theatre. The famous Yiddish actors Maurice Schwartz and Rudolph Shildkraut were among those who directed and were featured players in Gottesfeld's dramatizations.

Gottesfeld was President of the Yiddish Writers Union for many years. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, he boarded a ship filled with refugees bound for the Holy Land and was one of the first Yiddish newspapermen to file reports from Israel. Chone Gottesfeld died in New York in 1964.

Bibliography

Gottesfeld, Chone, Abi men lebt: humoreskes (New York: Aroysgegebn fun Chone Gottesfeld Bukh-Komitet, 1948)
Brodvai und Tel Aviv (Broadway and Tel Aviv) (Buch-Komitet, New York, 1951)

“Reb Yankele Pickpocket,” in Goodman, Henry (ed.), The New Country: Stories from the Yiddish About life in America (Syracuse University Press, 2001) (the problems of a religious pickpocket who has professional pride in his work)

Tales of the Old World and the New (Thomas Youseloff publisher, New York, 1964) (a translation of Gottesfeld’s memoirs, first published in Yiddish in the Jewish Daily Forward)

Vos Ich Gedenk fun Mein Lebn (What I Remember of My Life) (memoirs in the original Yiddish)

“Chone Gottesfeld, a Playwright and Yiddish Author, Dies at 73" New York Times, January 28, 1964, p. 31

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Updated Jun 19, 2006. © Copyright 2005 Skala Research Group. All Rights Reserved.