Page 167 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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deeper layers of the Jewish soul, and its accentuating rich folk­
ways and national themes as well as universal humanism.
More numerous than the surviving pioneers are the writers
who flocked to Israel after the Holocaust, but they too are aging
and beginning to pass from the scene, with no successors in
sight. Prominent among them since the Six-Day War were
Moshe Jungman, Shlomo Worsoger, Nachman Rapp, Freed
Weininger, Binem Heller, Shlomo Shenhud, Rivke Basman,
Hadassah Rubin, Leib Kurland, Abraham Karpinowitsh, Israel
Kaplan, Chaim Zeltzer, Moshe Gurin, Yossel Birshtein and
Yitzchak Luden.
In the 1980’s Israel was generally regarded as the strongest
bastion of Yiddish and was still attracting Yiddish writers whose
Diaspora audiences were melting away. From Panama came the
essayist Heshel Klepfish and from South Africa Levi Shalit, the
editor of the
Afrikaner Zeitung,
which ceased publication in 1985.
The former enriched Israel’s Yiddish scene in the 1980’s with
four volumes of essays on the achievements of East European
Jews, with emphasis on their literary figures. The latter, who
survived Dachau and edited
Uriser Veg,
the first organ of the
Holocaust survivors, was a pillar of strength to South Africa’s
Jews for a third of a century as publisher and editor of the
Yiddishe Zeitung,
until by 1985 he could no longer resist
the pull of Israel. There his profound, clearly conceived and
beautifully stylized essays are appearing in Yiddish and by 1988
also in the Hebrew volume
Nesiyot ve-Zikhronot.
In the 1980’s, multi-volumed prose epics of superb quality
were still being created in Israel, such as those of Elie
Schechtman and Mordecai Tsanin.
was begun in Kiev in 1965. The first two
volumes were published in a heavily censored edition in Moscow
before his aliya in 1972. In Jerusalem, he completed an addi­
tional five volumes and combined all seven volumes in an im­
mense epic of 1222 pages in 1983. In describing the experiences
of a single Russian family in realistic detail with symbolic over­
tones, he was able to embody the tribulations of Russia’s Jews
from the beginning of the twentieth century until the 1970’s.