Page 166 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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The Conference ended by designating a World Council for
Yiddish and Jewish Culture to further this objective during the
ensuing years. Despite heroic efforts and the initiation of world­
wide Yiddish projects, the Council could not stop the decline,
but it did succeed in slowing it down in the Diaspora and even
more so in Israel.
Under the Council’s prodding, Yiddish was introduced in a
greater number of Israel’s High Schools. Grants, prizes and
awards for Yiddish books multiplied. A bilingual annual,
featured since 1983 translations of Hebrew works into
Yiddish and Yiddish works into Hebrew. A monthly,
coordinated since 1985 worldwide Yiddish activities. On
the fortieth anniversary of the Jewish State, the Council stim­
ulated the publication of an anthology on Israeli themes in the
imaginative prose and verse of fifty-nine writers residing in Is­
rael. Nevertheless, no young Yiddish poets, narrators or essay­
ists of distinction have been discovered, although an increasing
number of young scholars are being trained at Israeli univer­
sities in the fields of Yiddish linguistics, literature and folklore.
Aging poets, who began in Mandatory Palestine, continue to
create lyric volumes of excellent quality. The most distinguished
among them are Joseph Papiernikov, now in his nineties, who,
since the 1920’s, has been singing of Israel as the sunny land
of his dreams; J.Z. Shargel, now in his eighties, who for more
than six decades has enriched the Israel scene with exquisite
poems, profound critical essays, memoirs and as editor of
Mapam’s Yiddish organ
Israel Shtimme',
and I.C. Biletsky, still
in his seventies, poet, essayist, scholar, and stylistic innovator
who excels both in Hebrew and in Yiddish.
Among the pioneers of Yiddish in Israel, Abraham Lis is still
influential in the 1980’s. He is the Curator of Tel Aviv’s Sholom
Aleichem Museum and his pictorial biography of Sholom
Aleichem (1988) is his most recent achievement. Since 1949,
he has been broadcasting on Kol Israel weekly reviews of the
best Yiddish books and the most important events on the Yid­
dish cultural scene. His critical essays have been collected in
four volumes that stressed the uniqueness of Yiddish literature,
its discovery of ever new subject-matter, its penetration to ever