Page 75 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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GITELMAN / RUSSIAN PUBLICATIONS IN ISRAEL
6 5
culture, while others are partisan publications o f various parties
and groups. T h e re is a fair represen tation o f works o f Zionist and
Israeli leaders, and a few items by newly arrived Soviet immi­
grants.
JUDAIC MATERIALS
Judaica and religious works, areas which disappeared from
Soviet publication fifty years ago and more, are published mainly
by three organizations set up by emigres themselves, with the
financial assistance o f the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Cul­
ture and the Israeli ministries o f religions and imm igrant absorp­
tion. Shamir, Amana, and Geulim are the imm igrant organiza­
tions active in this area and they have perfo rm ed a badly needed
service in translating basic works, such as the Pentateuch, into
modern, fairly idiomatic Russian. Philosophical works, such as
those by Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel, are also
available to the Russian reader who, in most cases, has been cut off
from developments in Jewish though t in this century. A large
p ro p o r t io n o f the item s u n d e r this ru b r ic have a H abad
(Lubavitch) hasidic orientation deriving from the traditional links
between Habad and Soviet Jewry as well as from the fact tha t one
of the most prom inen t religious emigres, Professor Yirmiyahu
Branover, is a Habad sympathizer. His own religious biography is
one o f the more interesting works in this category. T h e re are now
a sufficient number o f works available so tha t the Russian reade r
can familiarize himself with all major Jewish holidays, acquaint
himself with much o f the Bible, and follow the daily and festival
prayers.
Not surprisingly, the widest range o f material is to be found in
the area o f fiction. T he coverage here is truly from the sublime to
the ridiculous, and back again. Some grea t Soviet writers —
Akhmatova, Zoshchenko, Mayakovsky — whose works are not
easily available in the USSR have been published in Israel. A few
of Israel’s better known novelists — Aharon Megged, Moshe
Shamir, Natan Shaham, and Hanoch Bartov — have been trans­
lated into Russian, giving even the non-Hebrew reader a glimpse
into some o f the best o f contemporary Israeli writing. T he re is a
small sampling o f Western contemporary literature and a wider
offering of Western “best-sellers.” Perhaps inevitably, we find at
least nine translations o f Agatha Christie mysteries and at least