Yacov Yosef Wall
Writer, Publicist, and Critic
Y.Y. Wall was born in Turisk in 1870 in an Orthodox Chassidic community. His father was a "Cabalist" and Wall was educated in the Cabalist tradition. As a young yeshiva student he secretly began studying languages such as Russian, French and literature. He traveled and lived in several Jewish Shtetls in southern Russia. He finished college in Baku and in 1893 married and moved to Novgorod. There a group of active intellectuals was gathering and the famous poet and philosopher Feinberg joined them and Wall soon became one of Feinberg’s closest collaborators and friend. He wrote several philosophical essays in Hebrew and Yiddish periodicals that caused debates in intellectual circles. Wall came back to Turisk as a teacher working in the Hebrew school. After one school term he went to Kiev and Baku. In Baku he founded a Hebrew school and taught the 12th grade. In 1920 he emigrated to the U.S.A. He was a scholar in Boston and New York where he taught at a Seminar for women teachers. There he was active unitl 1944 when he passed away. His first works were published in the Journals: "Hameliz and Azfira” as well as some critical essays on literature.