Page 59 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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HOFFMAN / JEWISH SAMIZDAT
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official harassm en t o f Hebrew instruction , and translations from
Hebrew poetry and p rose . A second issue, Our Hebrew, lists the
p rog ram o f a “Hebrew Week” held in Moscow from March 5-11,
1979, and publishes some o f the reports. T h e third issue contains
an interesting interview with V. Shakhnovskii, one o f the early
Hebrew teachers in Moscow, and memoirs abou t Moshe Palkhan,
one o f the first found e rs o f u lpan courses in Moscow (vol. 23 o f
Evreiskii samizdat).
Recent sam izdat has returned to more documentary and tran s­
lated material ./ems in the USSR and Tarbut did not app ea r in 1981.
One reason for the change is the Soviet crackdown on d issent. For
example, V iktor Brailovskii, ed itor o f Jews in the U SSR , was a r ­
rested in 1980 and later exiled. Another reason for the decline in
original sam izdat works is the em igration o f many ou tstand ing
contributors and the absence, at presen t, o f replacements.
Despite the difficulties sam izdat publication has not stopped
entirely. Two cultural collections are still appear ing : Our Hebrew
and Jews in the Contemporary World, a compilation o f translated
material on Jew ish culture and institutions around the world.
O ther recent sam izdat deals specifically with legal aspects o f the
Jew ish movement. T h e se include the Moscow bulletin Emigration
to Israel, Law and Practice (Evreiskii samizdat, vols. 20 and 23) and
the Riga collection Dm i Metsiut (Hebrew for Law and Reality).15
At presen t Jew ish sam izdat and the Soviet Jew ish movement
have declined in vigor and creativity. Since it is dependen t both
on the relative m easu re o f freedom und er Soviet oppression and
on the needs o f its own readersh ip , Jew ish sam izdat’s fu tu re is
unpred ic tab le . Bu t whatever direction it will follow, Jew ish
sam izdat will continue to inform the world about the dramatic
fate o f Soviet Jew ry .
15 Two issues o f Din i metsiut, the Table o f Contents o f Jews in the Contemporary
World and “A Guide to Jewish Vilna” by Eitan Finkelshtein are in Evreiskii
samizdat, vol. 24.