Page 68 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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JEWI SH BOOK ANNUAL
58
,Jewish Caravan:
the golden peacock meets the white kid, which
in folk lullabys embarks on trade in raisins and almonds ^for
little Yankele. Eventually they end up at the mystic river
Sambatyon, where a sad voice informs them that there are no
raisins or almonds but only blood and tears. The odyssey comes
to an end at Mount Sinai where “ they weep to this day.
Considerable interest was evoked by Abraham Twerski s
volume of poems
Mosheeakhn Antkegn
(To Meet the Messiah),
with its genuinely pious themes. In
Di Lange Nakht
(The Long
Night), Eliezer Greenberg expressed his disillusionment with the
world which has reverted to the Middle Ages in the midst of the
Twentieth Century. Berish Weinstein recounted the history and
described the daily life of his native city in his too-lengthy poem
Raishe
(Rzeszow). There are powerful stanzas in this poem which
may be compared to green isles in a sea of facts. I. Goichberg,
on the other hand, specifically described his poem,
Nemirov
, as a
chronicle in verse.
Mention is also due to Meier Shtiker’s interesting
Leeder
(Poems) as well as Rosa Gutman’s
Leeder
(Poems), which are
marked by feminine charm. M. Z. Tkatch’s
Fun Dor tsu Dor
(From Generation to Generation) is a collection of stories and
legends in verse. One cannot conclude without expressing sur-
prise that in 1946 Fzra Korman had enough peace of mind to
publish his translation of Sergei Yesenin’s poems, a work which
breathes the unrest of another age and an alien environment.
East River
by Sholem Asch was not published in Yiddish until
it had become a best seller in English. I t should be pointed out,
incidentally, that some sentences and implications appearing in
the original were deleted in the English version. The work of a
great story-teller, it is marked by the imagery, tempo and human
warmth for which Sholem Asch has long been known. But it will
probably remain in the category of controversial books because
of the author’s premise that fundamentally there is but one
religion — the Judaeo-Christian — and it therefore matters but
little whether one worships as a Jew or a Catholic. Were this
merely Sholem Asch’s personal attitude, one would have no right
to criticize his individual pattern of belief. But when, as an
author, he ascribes this attitude to the orthodox Jew, Moishe
Wolf Davidovski, Sholem Asch violently distorts his hero, whom
he otherwise depicts with great love. Similar violence is noted
in numerous other cases. Sholem Asch’s maturity and mastery
are thus weakened by his theological tendentiousness. The works
of his earlier period, such as
Uncle Moses
, though more modest
in conception, are more consistent artistically.
About a year ago Sholem Asch’s collection of stories
Der
Brenendiker Dorn
(The Burning Bush) appeared. This volume