Page 147 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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RAVID / EISIG SILBERSCHLAG
137
and Talmud, they poured into their studies at their chosen
schools here. One should not assume that the process of transition
was an easy one for them. Some later gave poetic expression to
their feelings about this difficult period and reminisced about
their pangs of acculturation and adjustment. Although they paid
a high price in making the transition, they reaped the rewards
of exposure to Anglo-American culture and literature. I t is inter­
esting to note that after graduation from their schools, almost
all of them occupied teaching positions in the field of Jewish
education.
Of no less interest and importance was the unswerving loyalty
they demonstrated to Hebrew poetry. T he ir love of the Hebrew
language never diminished. They introduced into Hebrew liter­
ature new motifs which derived from the American experience.
They made the Hebrew language, which was in its first stages
of revival, more expansive and flexible, incorporating new idioms
and forms. The seeds which were planted in their early years of
learning in the old country bore ample fruit in their newly
adopted home. They enriched both cultures, the American as
well as the Hebrew, translating from one literature into the
other and writing new works in both.
Silberschlag soon became a respected member of this loyal
band of poets. He also devoted much of his life to Jewish educa­
tion and administration and rose to the presidency of the He­
brew Teachers College (later Hebrew College) in Boston. Judg­
ing by his literary output, it by no means appears that his edu­
cational endeavors interfered with his literary work. I t seems he
was able to establish a state of harmony between the two com­
plementary fields. One is led to think that he succeeded in reap­
ing his fruits, because his work in both was a labor of love. He
reminds us of another prolific American Hebrew writer and poet,
who also devoted all his life to Hebrew education and adminis­
tration. We have reference to Ephraim E. Lisitzky, who lived
and worked for forty years away from the mainstream in New
Orleans, bu t who nevertheless left behind him a rich Hebrew
heritage. However, their writings followed different lines of
development.