When Mark Twain heard of the writer called ‘the Jewish Mark Twain,’ he replied, “Please tell him that I am the American Sholem Aleichem.”
Israel in Translation
Today, Mendele Mocher Sforim is known as a quiet, Bauhaus-filled street that runs from Hayarkon to just past Shalom Aleichem. Yet in the late 18th century, Mendele Mocher Sforim, or ‘Mendele the book peddler,’ was an author who depicted the world of the shtetl (village) with all of its poverty and decay. He is now considered the grandfather of Yiddish literature and one of the founders of ‘modern’ Jewish literature. He ‘wanted to be useful to his people rather than gain literary laurels,’ and his satirical, critical stories got him chased from town.
Of Bygone Days, Translated by Rayomond P. Scheindlin.
In A Shtetl and Other Yiddish Novellas, Ed. Ruth Wisse. Wayne State University Press, 1986.
Photo: The Odessa literary group in 1916; from left to right: Yehoshua Ravnitzki, Shloyme Ansky, Mendele M. Sforim, Hayim N. Bialik, Simon Frug.
Jews read the Book of Ruth during the holiday of Shavuot. Host Marcela Sulak reads Linda Zisquit’s lively translation of the first chapter.
Called ‘Lashonsky’ for his comic wit, linguistic innovations and irrepressible puns, every child in Israel knows Avraham Shlonsky’s version of the German Rumpelstiltskin fairytale: Utzli Gutzli.
Some know Natan Alterman as an Israeli poet, playwright, journalist and translator; others know his song “Kalaniot”; but few know he brought a popular species of tomato to Israel.
Yocheved Bat Miriam is unique among Hebrew language poets for holding the land of her birth and the land of her life in equal esteem.
Manger Street is a ‘crook’ of a street in North Tel Aviv – perfect for our Yiddish-speaking prankster Itzik Manger, author of ‘The Songs of the Megillah.’