Page 50 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
44
Sheffner and Ch. S. Kazdan. They chronicled their experiences
of the Nazi destruction of European Jewry, thus giving greater
prominence to the
Hurban
(destruction) motif, the martyrdom
and heroism of the Jewish victims.
American Yiddish literature has recently added the theme of
the rise of the State of Israel, particularly in the poetry of Ephraim
Auerbach and in the prose of Benjamin Ressler and Sh. Izban.
But because the Yiddish language has, for many years, been
frowned upon in Israel and regarded as a foreign tongue, many
Yiddish writers have not become psychologically involved to a
greater extent with the Israel motif.
American Yiddish literature kept renewing itself in the course of
the years and avoided stagnation as it maintained contact with
international Yiddish literature and American life.
American Yiddish literature was developed by men of great
intellectual and creative force. From the Eighties of the past
century until the present day around three hundred talented and
creative writers participated in the creation of an American
Yiddish literature. Among the new American Yiddish writers
there are also a few who were born in the United States and
Canada.
In the treasure-house of world Yiddish literature American
Yiddish occupies a very large place, perhaps the largest. In
America there also resided for a while one of the three great classic
Yiddish writers, Sholom Aleichem. He lived in New York during
1914-15 and died there. It was in this country that Sholom
Aleichem wrote his fine comedy
The Great Winnings
part of his
important autobiographical work
From the Fair
and the second
part of
Mottel
,
the Cantors Son.
On the occasion of the tercentenary of Jewish settlement in the
United States, American Yiddish literature appears with its
banner uplifted. It appears on the American Jewish scene breath-
ing Jewish life, calling for social justice and filled with love for the
“land of the free and the home of the brave.”