Page 230 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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of love are among his themes. Taking his cue from the biblical
title of his book, he writes as an onlooker who has crossed Jab-
bok’s ford. There is much distilled wisdom in Halkin’s musical
and rhythmic verses. Especially noteworthy is the long poem
describing an encounter with the writer Yaakov Rabinowitz in
Nova Scotia in 1948, during the Israeli war of liberation. Halkin
movingly records as in a vision Rabinowitz’ rambling monologue
in which the Jewish future is discussed and life is affirmed.
Eisig Silberschlag (1903-
) contributed two collections of
poetry which are distinguished for their mastery of form and
their refined lyricism. Having come on the American scene some-
what later than his fellow poets, Silberschlag brought with him
an appreciation of modern European aesthetic values, which he
has sought to incorporate into his work. The Jewish tragedy,
folk motifs, Negro lore and poems on love and nature are among
his themes. He is best in some of his shorter pieces whose lines
often have an aphoristic quality. At times he is critical of the
cultural values of the American Jewish community and decries
its materialism. In his latest collection,
K im ron Yamai
(Arch of
My Days, 1959), he speaks in subdued and reflective tones and
voices the sorrow of redemption and the hope of the new life
in Israel.
Aaron Zeitlin (1898-
) came to this country from Poland
in 1939. Saved from the holocaust, he has been engaged in issuing
his collected works and has continued to draw upon mysticism
and symbolism for his inspiration. Following the publication in
Israel of a major collection of poetry in 1950, Zeitlin turned to
the dramatic poem. In
Ben ha-Esh v ’ha-Yesha
(Between the Fire
and Salvation, 1957), he explored the fateful connection between
the destruction of European Jewry and the establishment of the
Jewish State. Running like a silver cord through the volume,
which received the Ussishkin literary prize, is the unswerving
belief in the eternity of Israel. Less successful were the two poetic
dramas included in the volume
M in ha-Adam va-Maalah
(Man
and Above, 1964). Here Zeitlin dealt with some of the tran-
scendental problems of the modern Jew and modern man in
rather abstract fashion. Another poet who found refuge in
America from Poland is Elhanan Indelman (1913-
), who
came to these shores in 1947. His collection
Even L i Ekah
(I
Will Take a Stone Unto Me, 1957) contains some moving pieces
on the Warsaw Ghetto, which he revisited. Many of his poems
make use of traditional symbols and have a fine folk quality.
The final poet to be considered in this survey is Aaron Dom-
nitz (1883-
), who is one of the early pioneers of modern
Hebrew writing in America. He has garnered the modest fruits
of his literary efforts in a slim volume entitled
Shirim v ’S ippur im