Winter is the rainy season in sunny Israel, and in general we welcome the rare, rain-filled clouds. Tuvia Ruebner’s poems are full of clouds in Rachel Tzvia Back’s wonderful new translation of his selected poems, In the Illuminated Dark.
After losing his entire family to Auschwitz-Berkenau, Ruebner made it to Mandate Palestine. He married Ada Klein from his native Slovakia and had a daughter with her in 1949. A few months later Ada was killed in a bus accident that seriously injured Tuvia and forced him into clerical work on the kibbutz where he lived with his daughter. He later married pianist Galila Jizreeli, and the language of his daily life changed from German to Hebrew. They had two sons but in 1983 the younger disappeared in South America.
Ruebner’s poetry articulates this cycle of loss and regeneration. Host Marcela Sulak reads from his heartrending poem ‘The Memory’ – the memory of a boy’s family “vanishing in the mist” on a train – and from the poem ‘My Little Sister,’ in which “The blackbird became a cloud / my little sister like a cloud become. / The cloud that covers my life.”
In the Illuminated Dark. Selected Poems of Tuvia Ruebner. Translated and introduced by Rachel Tzvia Back. Hebrew Union College Press, 2014.
‘Cloud’ by Tuvia Ruebner, sung by Avitayl Pasternak
‘Mayn Shvester Khaye’ – Lyrics by Binen Heler; music by Chava Alberstein; performed by Chava Alberstein & the Klezmatics
Producer: Laragh Widdess
Technical producer: Lior Peleg