Page 70 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 31

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
66
1958), issued in mimeographed form by the Hebrew University
student publishing house on the basis of his lectures.
ROLE AS T R AN S L A TO R
Tha t Halkin is singularly at home in the world of general
literature is seen not only from his critical studies of leading
representatives of European and American letters, but also from
his many published translations. Shakespearian plays and the
writings of Maeterlink, Stefan Zweig, Selma Lagerlof, W. H.
Hudson and Jack London have been rendered by him into mas-
terful Hebrew. His Hebrew version of Whitman’s
Leaves of
Grass,
published together with a comprehensive introduction,
brought him the Tschernichowsky Prize for translation. His lat-
est achievement in this field is the publication of a Hebrew trans-
lation from the modern Greek of a volume of poems by George
Seferis, the late Nobel Prize laureate.
Still another aspect of Halkin’s work, perhaps overshadowed
by his other literary activities, is his publicist writing. In his ar-
tides on American Jewry and on the role of Zionism in American
Jewish life he has espoused a radical view. He has persisted in
applying the lessons of classical Zionist thought to American
Jewry and in advocating the Zionist solution as the only hope
for Jewish continuity. Halkin’s most succinct formulation of his
approach is contained in his brochure entitled
Yehudim ve
-
Yahadut ba-Amerika
(Jews and Judaism in America, 1947). The
questions he poses concerning the creative future of American
Jewry help to account for the mood of alienation and estrange-
ment which permeates so much of his belletristic writing.
Like Israel Efros and Abraham Regelson, Halkin has become
integrated into Hebrew literature in both America and Israel.
His
oeuvre
is all the more remarkable for incorporating diverse
elements of the European heritage and the Habad atmosphere
into which he was born, of America where he matured and be-
came attuned to the main currents of modern literature, and of
Israel, where he has served as a guiding spirit in the world of
Hebrew letters. His multi-faceted literary activity authentically
mirrors the essential quest of the modern Jew for self-definition
and rootedness.