YOFFE, MORDECAI (1899–1961), Yiddish poet, translator and literary critic. Born in Dusetos (Dusiat, near Kovno, Lithuania), the son of a village rabbi, Yoffe had both a traditional and a secular education. He began his literary career in Odessa before returning to Kovno; in 1927 he immigrated to Canada, and in 1937 to New York. Between 1953 and 1961 he moved to Israel and back to New York twice. He strove to be a literary intermediary between Hebrew and Yiddish.
His essays on Hebrew writers were collected in Ringen in der Keyt ("Links in the Chain," 1939). His translations of Hebrew poetry, to which he devoted most of his creative years, appeared in four volumes (1935, 1939, 1948, and 1958). While accurate in form, they suffer from uniformity. Yoffe's last publication was the anthology Erets Yisroel in der Yidisher Lite ratur ("Palestine in Yiddish Literature," 1961), which includes selections from 94 Yiddish poets.
Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1926), 1287–8.; lnyl, 4 (1961), 292–5; M. Ravitch, Mayn Leksikon, 3 (1958), 198–9; A. Lis, Heym un Doyer (1960), 159–63.
[Melech Ravitch /
Jerold C. Frakes (2nd ed.)]