Page 190 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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Jewish Literary Anniversaries, 1984
we discovered only too late that significant
anniversaries that should have been recorded in the preceding
year were omitted. At this time four names should be mentioned
in the chronological order of the anniversary: the 100th
anniversaries of Franz Kafka (born July 3, 1883, died in 1924)
and of Mani-Leib (born December 20, 1883, died in 1953), the
80th birthday ofJoseph B. Soloveitchik (born February 27, 1903),
and the 70th birthday of Alexander (Sandor) Scheiber (born July
9, 1913). Franz Kafka, the author of German novels that
portrayed the agony of modern man, and as some critics believe,
foreshadowed the Holocaust, remained through most o f his life
indifferent to his Jewish heritage; only in the years before his
death did he turn his attention to his Jewish past. His survival as a
writer he owes to his friend, Max Brod, always a committed Jew,
whose centenary we observe this year. Quite different in back­
ground is Mani-Leib, the Yiddish poet, who spent most of his
active period in the United States, but always as a Yiddish poet,
many of his verses being set to music. He was part of the Yiddish
literary establishment.
Soloveitchik and Scheiber are two scholars of different origin
and interest. Yet their works complement one another. The
former comes from the Lithuanian rabbinic tradition, supple­
mented by university studies in Germany, which has resulted in a
unique blending of these two views of life. At the present time one
of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s major works, originally published in
Hebrew, is being readied to appear in English under the title,
Halakhic Man,
which will embody his personal religion. Scheiber,
the head of the rabbinical seminary in Budapest, is not only an
important leader of Hungarian Jewry, but is also a scholar of
varied interests. He has written extensively on Hungarian Jewish
history and has published important source material in this area.
He also has been interested in Hungarian folklore. Several edi­