Page 164 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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ing the upheavals and pogroms of the Denikin-Petlura era. Her
poems of Jerusalem voice her affection for its streets, folkways,
and variegated population.
The most prolific of the Soviet Yiddish poets who settled in
Jerusalem was Meir Kharats. He began in 1934 as a poet of
Bessarabia, when this province was still part of Rumania. His
reputation had already spread to other Yiddish centers when
his career was interrupted by war and the Stalin purges. After
emerging from Labor Camps in 1955, he continued writing lyr­
ics, which he could only publish after his arrival in Jerusalem.
Seven large volumes of verse appeared within a decade. His
best poems depict scenes and characters of his native townlet,
a typical Bessarabian community, which though now denuded
of Jews, can be reconstructed from his picturesque verses. Other
poems deal with his flight from the invading Nazis, his wan­
derings in Asiatic Russia during the war years, his travails when
caged in post-war prisons, his re tu rn to Soviet occupied
Bukowina, his dreams of Israel, and finally his life in Jerusalem.
He writes in simple, rhymed quatrains about daily occurrences
and personal experiences. He observes keenly, records calmly,
and his lines are irradiated by charm and elegance.
Among other participants in the initial volume of the
were also Yiddish writers who had settled in Jerusalem
before the Six-Day War. The oldest of them was Z. Broches,
who had originally come to Israel in 1904 and whose reminis­
cences of early pioneering years had a romantic tinge. The
youngest was Assia, the gentle lyricist who was stimulated to
publish her first book of lyrics,
in 1972. Also
included were Yossel Harif, whose miniatures of Jerusalem mir­
rored the colorful heterogeneity of its Jewish and Arab pop­
ulation; Leib Rochman, whose autobiographic novel of the de­
cay and dissolution of Jewish survivors immediately after the
Holocaust had Kafkaesque overtones but a happy ending in
Israel; and Efraim Shidletsky, who was later to become co-editor
of the
The Jerusalem
had its counterpart in the Tel Aviv
Bei Sick,
edited by Y.J. Yanasowitch. It was founded
in 1972 and was initially projected as the organ solely of the