Page 46 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
34
acters as a rabbi-professor who is seeking a philosophy of synthesis,
the dissatisfied president of his congregation, the la t te r’s son who
tends to Communism, and various other types of American Jews.
One of the finest chapters is tha t entitled “New York,” inNwhich
the at tachment of the Jews to this metropolis is described. We
have in this novel a serious a t temp t to. present the inner Jewish
problem of American Jewry. As the novel stands in this first
part, it appears to be a strong indictment of American Jewish
life and must have been taken as such by readers in Palestine,
where it was published by
Am Oved
(Working People). Halkin is
also having a number of other works published in Palestine, in-
eluding his poems, a volume of translations from Walt Whitman
and an introduction to modern Hebrew poetry.
In the field of poetry there appeared a volume of significant
poems by Abraham Regelson. I t is noteworthy tha t this volume,
too, which constitutes the third of the author’s collected writings,
was published in Palestine (.
Am Oved).
The poems bear the name
El Ha-ayin v Nivka
(Unto the Cleft Void), a title taken from
Solomon ibn Gabirol’s renowned poem “The Royal Crown.”
This is in keeping with the general philosophical quality of
many of the poems which deal with some of the eternal problems
of man. Regelson transports us to another dimension,‘as it were,
to the life of primitive man, in order to describe human conflicts
and doubts. Frequently, he takes his themes from the Bible, his
longest poem being
Cain and Abe
/, a reinterpretation of the
biblical events as a struggle between two powerful forces for the
control of mankind. Some of the shorter pieces deal with Palestine
life and others bear an autobiographical stamp. The concluding
section of this notable contribution to Hebrew literature brings us
various translations from English and American literature. Men-
tion should also be made here of the brochure of satiric poems on
world Jewish events,
Tzhok b’Dema
(Laughter Through Tears),
from the pen of M. Shem (Steiner) of Chicago.
To the field of
belles-lettres
there can be added two other works
which are a departure from the ordinary type of Hebrew book
published in this country. The first is a literary note-book by
Shlomo Damesek entitled
Begorali
(My Fate). The volume is pub-
lished by
Bitzaron
, in which much of its contents first appeared,
and contains the diary of the author, who was confined to a hos-
pital for five years. Damesek writes simply of hospital life. He
depicts the suffering of the patients and describes various charac-
ters of different nationalities tha t gathered there. An unusual cor-
ner of life is treated in this small volume containing many fine
character sketches.
Berenikah
(Berenice) is the name of the other work mentioned