LERER, YEHIEL (1910–1943), Yiddish poet. Born in Mrozy, Poland, by the age of 16 he was considered a talmudic genius. He was introduced to Yiddish literature by his townsman and mentor, novelist I.M. *Weissenberg, with whose Warsaw literary circle he was associated. Weissenberg hailed him as the Yiddish Tagore on the basis of his first poems (Tehilim, "Psalms"), later included in the volume Shtilkayt un Shturm ("Silence and Storm," 1932), a volume characterized by religious piety and lyric solemnity. Unsuccessful in various professions, Lerer suffered from privation throughout his short life. His poem "Mayn Heym" ("My Home," 1937), about a family in a Jewish town, stressed the transformation of its traditional religious and social character under the impact of new forces. Sholem Asch called this poem a "gift of God's grace, one of the most beautiful Jewish books." Lerer was a romantic epigone during the dominance of expressionistic tendencies in Yiddish poetry. After the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, he participated in the ghetto's literary activities under various assumed names; some of his works can be found in the Ringelblum archive. In 1943, he was transported to *Treblinka, where he was killed.
lnyl, 5 (1963), 370–2; M. Ravitch, Mayn Leksikon (1945), 119–21; M. Grossman, Heymishe Geshtaltn (1953), 158–64; Yizkor-Bukh fun der Zhelekhover Yidisher Kehile (1954), 181–94; D. Sadan, in: Avnei Miftan (1962), 237–48. add. bibliography: Y. Rapoport, Oysgerisene Bleter (1957), 156–77; R. Oyerbakh, et al., Yizker Bukh fun Zhelkhov (1954), 181–94.
[Melech Ravitch /
Marc Miller (2nd ed.)]