Page 183 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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GOLDSMITH / YIDDISH BARD OF ISRAEL’S REBIRTH
1 7 5
nai was that of the renowned
Bialystoker Togtsaytung:
“A peculiar
group, these Yiddish writers in Eretz Yisrael! For Yiddishists
around the world they are null and void because they are Zi­
onists and live in Palestine. For the Zionists they aren’t kosher
because they write in ‘Zhargon’ in Eretz Yisrael.”5
Papiernikov felt that he was made for the Land with its ide­
alism and romanticism. “It was a barefoot, naked tribe that came
here to build a new world,” he said. “There was exaltation and
heroism here. I wanted to be a part of it. I became a member
of a kibbutz and worked on the highways.”6 Papiernikov’s ex­
perience as a halutz gave meaning to his life and height and
depth to his poetry. He became the poet of Israel’s pioneers
and “the most productive of the modern troubadors or bards
in the Yiddish tongue — the
minesinger
of modern Eretz
Yisrael.”7 His poetry of the halutzim reflects the struggle to
conquer the soil, the readiness to sacrifice, the dedication and
happiness of the young men and women who turned a two-
thousand-year old dream into reality.
There’s no other place, no other land
Where people dance as much and with such spirit
As here where barefoot on the glowing sand
H a lf naked groups o f workers dance in the desert,
Dance from the villages into the cities
And dancing pound the roads and highways
Paved with their strength and effort
Kneaded into the cement with their bloody sweat.
Nowhere is there a dance like the hora
When hands outstretched entwine on necks
And palms extend like leather epaulets
On shoulders of bronze youths and maidens
Who turn wildly, as i f oak trees were dancing,
And embrace their freedom with their arms,
Drawing the rocks and hills into the dance,
And animate the stony soundlessness o f centuries
To jump with them with heads held h igh . . .
(From “Nishto N o k h . . .”)
5. Quoted in J.Z. Shargel,
Kvaln Arum Getselt,
Tel Aviv, 1981, p. 208.
6. Quoted in J. Pat,
Shmuesn mil Shrayber in Yisroel,
New York, I960, p. 204.
7. M. Ravitsh,
Mayn Leksikon,
Montreal, 1958, p. 309.