Page 142 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
another genre: the diary (better styled perhaps the notebook).
Hershele, the third of the triumvirate of “mad” reporters, tours
the shtetls in his air balloon, making sardonic and acid entries in
the maskilic manner at every stop of his newsman’s grand tour.
This is the longest of the ten feuilletons and it appeared over four
issues of the
Yidishesfolksblat.
The “notebook,” like the series itself,
might have gone on forever (as is also true of its creator’s more
mature fictions). Indeed, after the series proper has ended, addi­
tional
ibergekhapte briv
(intercepted letters) and fanmail from
Rabinovitsh-created readers of the series make their appearance.
We can nevertheless regard Hershele’s sixtieth entry in the tenth
feuilleton as a kind of ending. The place is Beletserkev
(+ Russian ‘Byelaya Tserkov’, literally ‘White Church’, called
Shvarts-tume
;(‘Black Pollution’;) by Yiddish-speakers); our aut­
hor at the time lived in this provincial Ukrainian town. Hershele
writes: “Ikh hob zikh nor gevolt zen mit undzer korespondent
Sholem-Aleykhem, velkher khapt iber ale undzere briv af der
post, — un vayter keynem nit, hob ikh nit gekont opzukhn:
keyner veys nit ver er iz” (I wanted to meet just our correspond­
ent, Sholem-Aleykhem, the one who intercepts all of our letters
from the post office — who else but he? — but I couldn’t find
him: nobody knows who he is.)26 The fledgling writer and jo u r ­
nalist, Sholem Rabinovitsh himself, did not yet know who
Sholem-Aleykhem was. But he, together with generations ofJews
the world over — thanks in no small measure to the Yiddish press
— eventually found out27.
References
“A fragment fun a nit-gedruktn
Ibergekhapte briv,” Dos Sholem-Aleykhem
bukh,
New York, 1926, pp. 324-325.
B e n -M o y s h e , D o y v
(pseud.,
-I-
Borokhov, Ber).
“D i
biblyografye fun
Sholem-Aleykhem ,”
Di tsukunft
21 (1916), 721-723, 801-803,
893-895, 1062-1064. (Used extensively by Reyzn in his
Leksikon
and
reprinted in Ber Borokhov,
Shprakh-forshung un literatur-geshikhte,
Tel-Aviv: Y.L. Perets. 1966, pp. 248-267.)
B e r k o v i t s ,
Y.D., “Datums vegn lebn un shafn fun Sholem-Aleykhem,”
Dos Sholem-Aleykhem bukh,
New York, 1926, p. 362.
26 Idem, p. 145.
27 I thank David L. Gold, Barbara M. Prager and Helen Winters for useful com­
ments on an earlier version of this article.