A. N. Stencl (pronounced Shtentsel) was known in his later years as the Yiddish poet of Whitechapel. He was born in Czelad, in Poland, in 1897, and had a traditional orthodox education, learning at the Yeshiva at Sosnoviec, where his brother, Shlomo Stencl was Rabbi. In 1921 he emigrated to Germany, where he mixed in Jewish literary and Bohemian circles. He moved to London at the beginning of the war. A. N. Stencl died in 1983. His nephew, Rabbi Yonah Stencl emigrated to Tel Aviv and founded the ‘Mishnah Yomis’, a cycle of daily study of the Mishnah (collections of rulings of the oral law). The last extract on this page is dedicated to his nephew.
Yerushalayim was published in 1948, the year of the founding of the State if Israel. It consists of “songs, balads and poems”, starting with those about Jerusalem, and then the Kotel Maaravi – the Western Wall. It is a significant work of Yiddish literature – 138 pages, printed by the Naroditsky Press in Whitechapel, London, where Stencl’s Yiddish poetry periodical, “Loshn un Lebn” (Language and Life) was also printed.
Here are some extracts:
This next poem is for Stencl’s brother’s son in Tel Aviv, Rabbi Yonah Stencl in honour of Lag beOmer.