Posts tagged Sholem Aleichem.



Jewish Authors in Odessa, 1910

L-R: Mendele Sforim, Sholem Aleichem, Ben-Ami, and H. N. Bialik

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H. N. Bialik

(via marxistswithattitude)

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Sholem Aleichem’s Grave


Do ligt a yid, a posheter,
Geshribn yidish-taytsh far vayber,
Un farn prostn folk hot erGeven
a humorist a shrayber.
Dos gantse lebn oysgelakht,
Geshlogn mit der velt kapores.

Di gantse velt hot gut gemakht,
Un er-oy vey-geven af tsores!
Engendering Audiences
Un davke demolt, ven der oylem hot
Gelakht, geklatsht un fleg zikh freyen,
Hot er gekrenkt-dos veyst nor gotBesod,
az keyner wl nit zen.


Here lies a simple Jew,
who wrote yidish-taytsh for women,
and for the common peoplehe
was a humorist-writer.
He ridiculed all of life,
reviled the world.

The whole world made out very well,
and he-alas-had troubles.
And precisely when his audience
was laughing, applauding, and having a good time,
he was ailing-only God knows this-
In secret, so no one would see.

Today in Yiddishkayt… March 2
Birthday of Sholem Aleichem

Sholem Aleichem’s funeral in 1916 was one of the largest in New York City history, with an estimated 100,000 mourners. In his will he told his friends and family to gather once a year “and select one of my stories, one of the very merry ones, and recite it in whatever language is most intelligible to you.” “Let my name be recalled with laughter, or not at all.” (via Yiddishkayt)

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(via Stephanie Comfort)

Russian-Jewish writer Sholem Aleichem

Today in Yiddishkayt… March 2
Birthday of Sholem Aleichem

Solomon (Sholem) Rabinowitz (שלום ראַבינאָװיץ or Соломон Наумович Рабинович) was born on March 2, 1859 not far from Kiev in the town of Pereyaslav and grew up in the nearby shtetl of Voronkov (today: Вороньків, Ukraine). Sholem Aleichem is among the few Yiddish writers recognized and loved by international audiences, during his life and still today. The Broadway musical and film version of “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on his serialized tales of Tevye the Dairyman (Tevye der milkhiger). Sholem Aleichem worked tirelessly—and successfully—to promote Yiddish literature and culture at a time when the language was still largely thought to be just “jargon.”

At first, Rabinowitz wrote in Russian and Hebrew. When he began writing more frequently in Yiddish, he adopted the pseudonym Sholem Aleichem—a common greeting in Yiddish—as a guise to conceal his identity from his relatives. His famed first venture into writing was an alphabetic glossary of his stepmother’s curses. From 1883 on, he produced over 40 volumes in Yiddish and became a central figure in Yiddish literature. Between 1883 and 1889, Sholem Aleichem wrote many light-hearted fiction sequences, often in the form of letters. It was through this satirical writing, much of it originally published in serial form in newspapers, that he quickly became an intimate household name in Yiddish families who would look forward to reading the latest installments of his work. Rabinowitz also wrote plays and works for children.

In 1914, the family moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan where he was received as a celebrity and dubbed the “Jewish Mark Twain.” (via Yiddishkayt)

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(via zolotoivek)

Poster for Jewish Luck (1925) by Natan Altman

Jewish Luck was among the first Soviet Yiddish films to be released in the US during the 1920s. Based on Sholem Aleichem’s series of stories featuring the character Menakhem Mendl (played by the famous actor Solomon Mikhoels) the film revolves around the daydreaming entrepreneur Menakhem Mendl who specializes in doomed strike-it-rich schemes. Despite Jewish oppression by Tsarist Russia, Menakhem Mendl continues to pursue his dreams and his continued persistence transforms him from schlemiel to hero as the film uncovers the tragic underpinnings of Sholem Aleichem’s comic tales. Notes Village Voice critic Georgia Brown, “The movie’s best intertitle translated from Isaac Babel’s Russian: ‘What can you do when there is nothing to do?’”

A dramatized version of the Menkhem Mendl stories was first staged by the Moscow Yiddish State Theater, under the direction of Alexander Granovsky, who later made this silent film. Jewish Luck features some of the finest artistic talents of Soviet Jewry during this period. It has been speculated that the cinematography done by Eduard Tissé inspired the filming of certain scenes in one of his later projects, Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin (particularly the famous “Odessa steps” scene of that film, the same setting as the Jewish Luck finale). The original Russian intertitles were written by Soviet Jewish writer Isaac Babel, who later became a victim of the Stalinist purges in the late 1930s.

(via The National Center for Jewish Film)

  May 15, 2012 at 04:22pm via zolotoivek

The stereotypical shtetl, which the media have reproduced time and time again, is actually based on such non-shtetl works as Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman (turned into Fiddler on the Roof), set in a Ukrainian village, and Mark Chagall’s avant-gardist portrayals of his Belorussian hometown of Vitebsk. The imagery, generated by Isaac Bashevis Singer’s prose, also complements the canonized idyll of pious, poor but industrious wise men and eccentrics, humming a klezmer song; the idyll which was from time to time interrupted by pogroms, pushing out of Russia millions of shtetl-dwellers.

Of course, these stereotypes cannot satisfy serious academic dealing with various aspects of Jewish history and culture. For instance, without a clear understanding of the East European shtetl it is impossible to interpret the life of immigrant communities who reproduced many forms of the shtetl life. Significantly, for contemporary Jewish scholars, the shtetl is not their place of birth; moreover, it is often not the place of birth of their parents or, in general, their ancestors. In other words, the shtetl is a terra incognita not only for young students but often also for their lecturers. As a result, things which are obvious to any person with first-hand experience must become a subject of painstaking research.

Gennady Estraikh and Mikhail Krutikov, 2000. (via emilylam)
  August 18, 2011 at 10:42am via emilylam

(via Stephanie Comfort)

Russian-Jewish writer Sholem Aleichem