Page 232 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
212
volume,
Bayit bi-Khefar
(Village Home, 1965), consists of a
series of sensitive vignettes which take us back to the life in a
White Russian village in the years preceding World War I. The
volume reflects the changes which destroyed the stability and
idyllic character of the author’s village home when it was brought
into conflict with the new society.
Another novelist and short story writer who passed away in the
60’s was Samuel Leib Blank (1891-1962), who made his mark
chiefly as an interpreter of Jewish life in Bessarabia. Excelling
chiefly in descriptive power, Blank also turned his attention to
American themes. While he dealt for the most part with immi-
grant life, he occasionally gave artistic treatment to such specific
American situations as the lynching of a Negro because of his
love for a white woman. A novel,
AI A dm a t Amerikah
(On
American Soil, 1958), portrays the light and shadow in the life
of an American Jewish family. His last collection of tales,
E tz
ha-Sadeh
(Tree of the Field, 1962), offers a romantic group of
stories describing the quest of immigrant Jews to strike roots in
the soil of the New World.
Harry Sackler (1883-
), the tri-lingual author who in the
40’s published impressive collections of historical tales and
dramas, has in recent years devoted himself to the issuing of his
collected writings. In addition to a Hebrew version of his
Festival
at Meron,
dealing with the period of Simeon Bar Yochai, he
published a biblical novel
U’Sefor ha-Kokhavim
(And Count
the Stars, 1961), which deals with the life of Abraham and is
written against the rich background of Canaanite civilization.
Still another novel,
Ben Eretz v ’Shamayim
(Between Earth and
H eaven,
1964), treats of American Jewish immigrant life. A
writer of wide scope and imaginative power, Sackler has sought
to interpret the “inner forces” which have governed the Jewish
destiny and has limned the role of leading Jewish historical
figures with depth and understanding. Also active in the area
of historical fiction has been Yohanan Twersky (1900-
), who
has continued to publish a spate of historical novels and tales
since he settled in Israel in 1947.
The veteran Hebrew writer Bernard Isaacs (1883-
) is
among those who in his short stories has been able to shift his
interest from the Old World Jewish milieu to American Jewish
life. A keen observer of the American scene, he has interpreted
the mind of both integrated and ambivalent American Jews.
Various de-Judaized types have also been portrayed by Simhah
Rubenstein in a recent short story collection.
American Hebrew
belles-lettres
have come to represent a sig-
nificant, even if minor, segment of modern Hebrew literature.