Yankev Leshchinsky was born near Kiev in 1876. He received a traditional Jewish education, left for Odessa where he completed Russian gymnasium, and studied for a time at the University of Bern in Switzerland. In 1903 he became active in the fledgling Labour Zionist movement, vacillating between labour Zionism and diasporism for the rest of his life. Leshchinsky became head of the Berlin office of the New York Jewish daily Forverts in 1921 and head of the Economics and Statistics section of Vilna’s Jewish Scientific Institute (YIVO) in 1925. He remained quite optimistic about the prospects for the Jewish community in Poland until 1932-33. In those years, the mounting popularity of the antisemitic political right, boycotts of Jewish businesses, a campaign to ban Jews from universities, the near exclusion of Jews from government employment, and increasingly numerous violent attacks on Jews caused Leshchinsky to develop a more realistic and pessimistic assessment of the future of Polish Jewry, evident in the following essays.