Page 57 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

Basic HTML Version

KABAKOF F ----AMONG RECENT HEBREW BOOKS
47
his Jewish friends with the mode of living of his rooted non-Jewish
neighbors. Together with Wallenrod’s character, we feel deep
concern over the changing picture of Jewish life.
A literary memorial to the rich life of Polish Jewry was set up
by Joseph Opatoshu in his
Hurban Polin
(The Polish Destruc-
tion — New York, Ogen, 1946). Opatoshu’s stories and sketches,
ably translated from the Yiddish by M. Lipson, are a product of
the suffering and degradation of Polish Jewry during the last war.
The book opens with a report of the author’s trip to Poland one
year before the destruction. I t tells of the hatred towards Jews
with which he met on all sides. The concluding story, in which
we are introduced to a hasid who in this country continues to
inspire his fellow-Jews from Poland with faith, gives us a measure
of hope that the heritage of Polish Jewry will not be completely
lost.
The fruits of some thirty years of poetic creativity are con-
tained in Simon Halkin’s
A l ha-Ee
(On the Isle — Jerusalem,
Bialik Foundation, 1946). In the varied harvest gathered here
we have the sensitive reactions of the poet to the last quarter
century of Jewish travail and suffering, as well as to his own inner
struggles. This is most clearly seen in such contemplative poems
as
Yohi
and
Baruch ben Neriah
, in which the problem of the world’s
evil is the main motif. In addition to various shorter lyrical
poems, we have descriptive pieces dealing with America and
Palestine as well as a group of sonnets which reflect the recent
tragedy.
Halkin is also the author of a critical and challenging brochure
entitled
Yehudim vYahadut b'Amerikah
(Jews and Judaism in
America — Tel Aviv, Schocken, 1946). In it he condemns
American Jewish thought for its unrealistic approach, and dif-
ferentiates between the loyal minority and the masses who are
losing their cultural ties with their people. Halkin decries the
tendency to theorize about the Jewish community of the future
and the failure to take into account the realities of the present.
He sees hope only in the acceptance of the full implications of
Zionist thought for America as well as other countries.
Another collection of poetry by an American is Eisig Silber-
schlag’s
Aleh
,
Olam
,
Shir
(Arise, O World, In Song — New
York, Ogen and Boston, Hebrew Teachers’ College, 1947). In
addition to a number of moving poems on the Jewish tragedy
and the ineffectiveness of American Jewish life there are also folk
motifs, Negro themes and motifs of love and nature. Poems are
also devoted to figures such as Halevi, Bialik and Tchernichowsky.
The collection brought its author the Louis LaMed award for
Hebrew literature four years ago.