Page 235 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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2 1 5
B
ic k e l
— Y
idd ish
P
ro se
in
A
m e r ic a
Their twofold experiencing of the Jewish spiritual landscape
with its many divergent characteristics afforded them a higher
vantage point. It enabled them to see more sharply, more deeply,
and more widely the course of Jewish life, the configuration of the
Jewish present, and the direction in which Jewishness was
heading.
Viewing Eastern Europe from the American angle and with
four-eyed vision, the romanticist Sholem Asch perceived more
grandly the figure of the Tillim-Jew of Gostin, the romantic
realist Joseph Opatoshu more deeply the historic rootedness of
his Jews of Mlave, the humorist Moshe Nadir more intimately the
melancholy grotesqueness of Naraiev, and the satiric realist 1.1.
Singer more acutely and more mercilessly the Court of Nieshev.
On the other hand, when A. Raboy viewed American life and
particularly its Jewish aspect, he saw and sang of Jewish cowboys
with his Bessarabian temperament. The satirists Lamed Shapiro
and B. Glassman—the most American of Yiddish writers—inter-
preted
N ew Yorkish
and
The Golden Swamp
in the light of their
Old World background. This is equally true of the realistic-
satiric descriptions of Jewish life in the works of S. Miller, Fishel
Bimko, Jacob Glatstein, Benjamin Ressler, L. Traister, B. Alquit
and Hanan Ayalti. Because they portray as if with two pairs of
eyes, their colors are often too glaring and too revealing. At the
same time, their sharing a twofold Jewish experience renders
their satire a melody of overall Jewish anguish. Similarly, B.
Demblin in his narrative
West Side
paints the general American
environment during the Great Depression years and the shack
colonies along the Hudson with hues emanating from his Old
World background, and he projects the figure of Jim White on
a canvas woven of pious, idealistic Jewish attitudes towards life.
American Yiddish writers, looking out upon both components
of their lives, upon their two disparate environments and spiri-
tual landscapes, attained an eminence from which they could
discern more clearly not only contemporary Jewish phenomena
but also past Jewish vistas. Peretz’s dream of a “summit from
which all becomes visible” was largely realized by them, as there
came within their orbit Sephardic groups, Argentinian colonists,
Palestinian pioneers, and even Rothschild in Paris. Among nov-
elists who contributed to this thematic expansion were Shmuel
Izban (Sephardim), B. Ressler (Kibbutzniks), Yehuda Ellberg
(Holocaust), 1.1. T runk and M.I. Shelyubski (Folktales).
Some of the distinguished novelists, emigres from Poland and
Lithuania, younger brothers of the veteran narrators David Pin-
ski and Abraham Reisen, espied with their creative eyes wider
horizons of recent and remote Jewish history. Opatoshu in his
novel about Betar conjured up anew the physical and spiritual