Page 99 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

Basic HTML Version

S H O L O M A L E I C H E M
F I F T Y Y E A R S L A T E R
By B. Z .
G
oldberg
F
if t y
year s
a f t e r
his death, Sholom Aleichem as a writer is
much more alive than he ever was during his lifetime. His
works are read by incomparably more people in all parts of the
world; his plays are more frequently produced in many lands;
appreciative articles are appearing in Asian languages as well as
in the tongues of Europe; his name is known literally to many
millions of people, non-Jews as well as Jews. His position in
world literature is secure.
To be sure, Sholom Aleichem was very well known during his
lifetime. When he died on May 13, 1916, in his apartment at
927 Kelly Street in the Bronx, the New York newspapers carried
long stories about the man and his works. On May 16, 1916 the
New York Times
reported that 150,000 people, old and young,
followed the bier of their beloved writer. Other newspapers car-
ried large pictures of the immense crowds, particularly of the
thousands on the cemetery grounds. The press also reported that
for three days and nights people stood in line a block long on
Kelly Street, to file past the coffin in the deceased’s living room.
Commenting editorially on Sholom Aleichem’s will reprinted
in the
New York Times,
that newspaper called it “one of the
great ethical wills in history.” The editorial quoted the first
clause of the will in which the famous author requested that he
be buried not among the rich aristocrats, but among the poor
toiling folk. It went on to say that Sholom Aleichem was “the
Yiddish Dickens, with something of the Englishman’s humor, and
such a truly infectious love of the poor, whose poverty he raised
to the condition of an art, a calling and a career; he saw no dis-
grace in poverty, rather a virtue, if not something to be proud
of . . .״
The Jewish Mark Twain
On an early visit to this country in 1906, Sholom Aleichem was
dubbed the Jewish Mark Twain in the presence of the great
American humorist himself.
93