Page 82 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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Mendele Moykher Sforim’s (S. Y. Abramovich)
Fishke the Lame
(1929), the adventures of a group of Jewish beggars in their travels
through the Jewish towns and townships of imperial Russia. This
description is amplified in Leon Kobrin’s
A Lithuanian Village
(1927), translated by Isaac Goldberg, Israel Kasovich’s
The Days
of Our Years
(1929), translated by Maximilian Hurwitz and
Shmarya Levin’s
Childhood in Exile
(1929), an autobiography cov-
ering his childhood and boyhood days, rendered into English by
Maurice Samuel. A systematic portrayal of the Jewish mode of life
was presented by A. S. Sachs in
Worlds that Passed
(1928), trans-
lated by Harold Berman. Similarly, Isaac Goldberg’s collection,
Yiddish Short Stories
(1923), containing Peretz’ “Three Gifts,”
Joseph Opatoshu’s “The Judgment,” Pinski’s “A Tale of a Hungry
Man,” Asch’s “Strange Climate,” A. Reisen’s “A Game,” and L.
Shapiro’s “The Kiss,” is primarily concerned with Jewish life in
Eastern Europe. In a way, a companion volume to the preceding,
Great Yiddish Poetry
(1924), by the same compiler, also attempted
to recapture the spirit of the ghetto. Another aspect of this life,
as seen through the eyes of a child, is found in Sholem Aleykhem’s
Jewish Children
(1922) translated by Hannah Berman. Peretz’
Bontsche the Silent
(1929), translated by Angelo S. Rappoport, is a
collection of stories about inarticulate and meek people who inherit
the kingdom. S. Ansky’s
(1926), translated by H. G.
Alsberg and Winifred Katzin, a mystery play of the transmigration
of souls united in love, introduces the reader into the realm of
faith and the supernatural.
In a class by itself is Yehoash’s
The Feet of the Messenger
translated by Isaac Goldberg. I t is an account of a trip to Pales-
tine, which directed attention to the ancient Jewish homeland.
In the fourth decade of this century, Sholem Asch rose to first
position in the number of books translated into English. The
opening was made with Elsa Krauch’s translation of
a novel of a Jewish family in transition from Eastern Europe to
America and of the centripetal force exerted by the mother. In
the same year appeared
Sabbatai Zevi
, translated from the Russian
version into English by Florence Whyte and George R. Noyes, a
play about the life of the pseudo-Messiah of the 17th century, who
merged his personal ambitions of domination in the national aspir-
ations of redemption. These were followed by
Three Cities
a trilogy (in the original
Farn Mabul
— “Before the Deluge” ),
depicting life, mainly among the upper reaches of Jewish society,
in St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and Moscow immediately before and
during World War I. In
(1934, in the original
Tehilim Y id
), we have a story of faith and saintliness in a hassidic
community in the early 19th century, in which the word triumphs