Page 84 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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7 6
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Kantor’s
ha-Yom
. 3
Brief mention may be made of Joshua H.
Ravnitzky’s
Pardes
(Odessa, 1892-96), this rich but shortlived
repository containing not only Bialik’s first published poem, “El
ha-tsippor” (“To the Bird”), in the premier volume, but also
short stories in Hebrew by the Yiddish masters, Mendele
Mokher Seforim and Sholem Aleichem.
YIDDISH ALMANACS
Yiddish almanacs also figure prominently in Jewish literature.
Mendele, under his given name, Shalom Jacob Abramowitz,
edited the
Nitslikhn kalendar fa r di rusishe yudn
(Zhitomir, Vilna,
Odessa, 1876-85) as well as the Hebrew
Luah, ha-soherim
(Vilna,
1878-79). They are doubly interesting as primary sources for
the study of Mendele’s literary bilingualism and, inevitably, the
tensions between Hebrew and Yiddish as a medium for reaching
the east European Jewish masses. In 1872, Isaac Joel Linetzki,
remembered today, if at all, on the basis of a single work,
The
Polish Lad
(1869), also compiled
Der velt-luekh fun yor eyn-kesef
(Odessa, 1875), this a sharp parody of Jewish almanacs contain­
ing verse, weather predictions, jokes in question and answer
form, riddles, and anecdotal
mayses.
His shortlived
Der praktisher
folks kalendar
(Odessa, 1883-84) is also informative of the com­
peting claims and rivalry between Linetzki and Mendele for
the title of “grandfather” of Yiddish literature.
Equally important for the study of creativity in Yiddish in
this formative literary period is the appearance of Sholem
Aleichem’s
Yudishe folks-biblyotek
(Kiev, 1888-89), the first Yid­
dish literary annual which was recognized as a rallying point
for Yiddish authors and essayists and as a “gathering place for
the scattered forces and incentive for further productivity.”4
Although discontinued because of Sholem Aleichem’s bank­
ruptcy, new journals by Mordecai Spector
(Der hoyz-fraynd
) and
Isaac Leib Peretz
(Di yudishe biblyotek
), founded in 1888 and
1891, respectively, filled the literary void left by the demise of
the pioneering
Yudishe folks-biblyotek.
3. Simcha Kling,
Nahum Sokolov, Servant of His People
(New York, 1960), pp.
43-44.
4. Meyer Waxman,
A History of Jewish Literature,
2d ed., rev. and enl. (New
York, 1938-41), IV:468.