Page 81 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 31

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77
STEINBACH / A. M. KLEIN
the Messiah). Melech had remained in Russia and survived the
horrors of the Holocaust. After the liberation he wanders from
city to city, going among the poor and down-trodden. He is the
true Messiah bringing redemption, bringing the world to re-
pentance. He finally arrives in Palestine, at the height of the
exultation of the reborn Jewish state. In Safed he was shot from
ambush and his body set on fire--the Anointed, anointed with
gasoline! Klein reaches Safed in time to attend the funeral; he
had found Uncle Melech Davidson at long last. He intones the
Kaddish for his uncle, and turns away, soliloquizing: “He is one
with the soil of Israel, but here in Israel these are not really
tombs, but antechambers to new life, the mise-en-sc£ne for an
awakening.” Klein was affirming Judaism's invincible optimism:
the Kaddish is not the last word.
Klein’s creative literary output vindicates his life and his career
as a Canadian and as a Jew. He eloquently portrays the geo-
graphic, social and political condition of both French and Eng-
lish Canada, as well as the complexity of her mores and culture.
At the same time, he depicted the Jewish past and the travail of
the Jewish people, the glory and agony of Jewish history, and the
vision of the redemption that is yet to come. He blended his her-
itage as a Jew and his heritage as a Canadian into a meaningful
synthesis that rendered possible the fructification of both. And
the result—he won recognition and honor as a Canadian and
also as a Jew.