|Levin Kipnis is best-known in Israel as a prolific writer of children's literature, teacher educator, and as the founder of children's theatre in Israel, earning the nickname: "King of the Children".
Kipnis is, however, possibly more famous internationally and to Hebrew Songs enthusiasts as the author of many Israeli songs, and particularly, classic children's songs for Purim and Chanukah, as well as Pesach and Shavuot.
In fact, these were just some of the 600 poems he wrote, many of which were composed specifically for pre-school children. In this sense, Kipnis laid the foundations of Israeli children's literature and proved a formative influence on the way in which Festival traditions and figures have been taught throughout the Israeli elementary education system for over a century.
Born in Ushomir, Ukraine, Levin Kipnis was initially educated at a cheder, but in between startomg to write stories in 1907 and his first publication in 1910, he began teaching and eventually finished his schooling and education in Zhitomir and Warsaw.
He was artistic, entered the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem in 1913 (in its early years), and also published his first stories in 1914. While he initially wrote in Yiddish, he had by then switched to Hebrew; in the early 1920s also began writing in German, during a period in Berlin while he furthered his art studies, before returning to pursue his publishing and educational career, primarily in Tel Aviv. He retained his professional links with Levinsky Teachers' College throughout his life and the College is the repository of his archive.
Kipnis continued to be active in education of young children and teacher education, while consistently publishing stories and poems from 1923 onwards until 1990 (200 books in all!); a number of his works were published posthumously. Only one collection was published in English in 1961 and many of his songs remain untranslated, but some of the classics are well-known throughout the world of Jewish education in the Hebrew original.
Kipnis was awarded the Israel Prize for Children's Literature in 1978.
|Levin Kipnis links|
|Levin Kipnis talks about songwriting|
|157 Levin Kipnis songs (Hebrew)|
|Biography by Lea Naor (Hebrew)|
|Special thanks to researcher and translator Gila Ansell Brauner|