Morris Winchevsky (né Leopold Benzion Novokhovitch) for whom our school ("Shule") is named, is a celebrated Jewish poet and one of the founders of secular Jewish culture on the North American continent. Many of his songs and poems are as timely today as when they were written.
Born in Yanova (Kovno), near Lithuania in 1856, Winchevsky wrote articles and satire in Hebrew, German and Yiddish. In London he helped found the first Yiddish Socialist newspaper "Dos Poilishe Yidl" (The Little Polish Jew) and became its editor. At this time he began to write working class songs. In later poems, Winchevsky stressed the dignity of labour and dedicated his verses to the shoemakers, tailors and carpenters. Inspired by the working class, his songs of the late 1880's do not only describe the life of the toiler but call for a struggle for a better life. Winchevsky emigrated to the United States in 1894.
While a Maccabean spirit pervaded his calls for action, he also conveyed a deep internationalism and like the prophets of ancient times, Winchevsky was a true people's prophet. His influence can be seen in the work of such American Jewish poets as Morris Rosenfeld, Dovid Edelshtat and Joseph Bovshover. In his songs and poetry, he continued to call for militant action until his death in 1932.