Page 146 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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ZEBULUN RAVID
Eisig Silberschlag:
On the Occasion of His 75th Birthday
H e b r e w l i t e r a t u r e
celebrates in 1978 a great event in the his­
tory of its development in America: the seventy-fifth anniversary
of Professor Eisig Silberschlag. Silberschlag is one of its great
creators on American soil, a versatile personality who has dis­
tinguished himself in a variety of fields. He has been active in
American Jewish life since he came to these shores in 1920. Then
seventeen years old, he already possessed a thorough knowledge
of the Hebrew language and its sources, as well as an inspired
ability to write poetry, for by tha t time, he already had to his
credit a number of poems in Polish and Hebrew. His great
ability to acquire languages, and through them, the various
cultures they represented, was reflected in the literary ou tpu t of
his later years.
I t did not take Silberschlag long for his Hebrew verse to see
light in America. Since his debut here, his poetry has appeared
exclusively in the Hebrew language. Silberschlag belongs to the
select group of Hebrew poets who left their imp rin t upon Jewish
life in America. Practically all of them were immigrants who
came to this country at the end of the nineteenth century, or
during the first decade of the twentieth century. Silberschlag
arrived in 1920, shortly after World War I. He was the youngest
of the Hebrew writers who were then active on the American
scene; nevertheless, he soon occupied a prom inent place among
them.
All of these writers shared common characteristics: they came
to America to restore their own life as well as the lives of their
families; all of them soon became students, some in high school
in order to properly learn the new language, others at the college
or university level; all of them felt that the opportunity to study
offered to them in America was an unusual asset, not to be
missed. Almost all of them were Yeshiva students in their old
homes, and the same devotion which they applied to the Bible
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