Page 95 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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89
I
vry
— Y
e h u d a
B
u r la
ture being his support in life, his basis in life and, therefore,
his hope in life. Whenever he was in a good mood, it was
because of some good literary news. This was the source of
his great admiration and heartfelt feelings for our great clas-
sics.
Burla, although a man of a different milieu, character and inclina-
tions, apparently felt he had something in common with Brenner:
a belief in the artistic and psychological tru th of his works and
in his mission as a writer. He felt duty-bound to expose the tragedy
and cruelty of human fate.
“Naftu lei Adam”
(Struggles of Man) is one of Burla’s most
touching love stories. He describes in a highly romantic fashion
the tragic life of Rachmu, son of a welRo-do Sephardic business-
man in Damascus, who is unhappy in his marriage and falls deeply
in love with a divorced Moslem girl, Shafika. After two years of
clandestine meetings and a great deal of suffering, Rachmu is
ready to divorce his wife and marry Shafika, who agrees to accept
the Jewish faith and “stay like a sister with his first wife.” When
Shafika’s former husband and relatives find out about Rachmu,
they attack him viciously on the road, blinding him. Shafika loses
her mind and commits suicide. Rachmu becomes a second Job;
he rejects all belief and finds peace at the end of the road of total
despair.
Stories Taken from Life
In the novel
Bat Zion
(Daughter of Zion) Burla deals with a
Sephardic-Ashkenazic marriage whose offspring is Rosa Rudovitch.
Her grandfathers are an Eastern European physician and a Seph-
ardic rabbi. She grows up without tradition in a family devoid
of love and culture, bu t rich in conflicts and contrasts, and is being
educated in a French missionary school. In protest against her
family and her unhappy childhood, she marries a young, rich
Moslem. During the disturbances in Jerusalem she becomes con-
scious of her Jewish past and decides to begin a new life in a kib-
butz. This is not one of Burla’s best novels, but it confirms his
statement that none of his stories are “invented” ; they are taken
from life, either witnessed by him or heard, and retold by him
in his own way.
A lilo t Akavia
(Doings of Akavia) is an epic in two parts,
one describing the life of the hero in the mountains of Anatolia;
the other, in Jerusalem. Akavia is the incarnation of the Jewish
hero in the Orient, a man of Samsonian strength and a messianic
sense of justice, who comes early to the conviction that he has a
mission in life—to help the down-trodden and to suppress evil.
He symbolizes the prophetic ideal of justice and of Jewish heroism