She created these lithographs to illustrate some of Sholem Aleichems (Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich) literary works. Aleichem is perhaps best known for his stories about the Russian-Jewish character Tevye and his daughters, the tales were later adapted into the play Fiddler on the Roof. The YIDDISH ART BOOK was published in 1922 (DATED) by KLAL VERLAG in BERLIN. The LITHOGRAPHS were printed by KLAL-DRUCKEREI. The book , Depicting SCENES and TYPES of the EASTERN EUROPE Jewish STETL-SHTETL , After the SHOLEM ALICHEM piece ” MOTL PEYSI THE CANTOR’S SON”. With pen name was. , meaning “Master [of] Thoughts” or “The Thinker”. Has written the PREFACE. An extra benefit , The KLAL VERLAG LOGO on the fron cover is being a GILT EMBOSSED DESIGN by an artist of the JEWISH RUSSIAN AVANT GARDE group , Whom I wasn’t able to identify. One of the group od artists. Such as EL LISSITZKY , JOSEPH CHAIKOV , MARC CHAGALL , BORIS ARONSON , NATHAN ALTMAN YISSACHAR BER RYBACK , KULTUR LIGE artists and others. On-line price up of an original copy if you can find one is up to to a few thousands of Dollars. ORIGINAL lithographic illustrated HC. No DJ as issued. Gilt and embossed LOGO of Klal-Verlag. 9.5 x 13. Very good used condition. Tears in spine with some material loss. Wear of cover edges. (Please look at scan for actual AS IS images). Book will be sent inside a protective packaging. AUTHENTICITY : This is the ORIGINAL 1922 first and only edition , NOT a more recent edition or a reprint , It holds a life long GUARANTEE for its AUTHENTICITY and ORIGINALITY. SZALIT-MARCUS, RACHEL (18941942), painter and book illustrator. She spent her childhood in Lodz. Her parents, simple working people, encouraged her artistic talent, and in 1911 sent her to Munich to study at the Art Academy. Here she met Julius Szalit, a successful Jewish actor, whom she married. Szalit later committed suicide. In 1916 Rachel moved to Berlin, where she exhibited with the artists of the Secession group and became a member of the November group, young avant-garde artists who joined forces after the November Revolution of 1918. When the Nazis assumed power Rachel Szalit-Marcus fled to France. In 1942 she was arrested and sent to a concentration camp where she died. She painted portraits, flower pieces, and still-lifes. Her best-known works consist of lithographic illustrations to books by Mendele Mokher Seforim, Shalom Aleichem, Israel Zangwill, Heinrich Heine, and Martin Buber. Rachel Szalit-Marcus geboren als Rachel Marcus 3. Juli 1894 in Chjenty, Bezirk Kaunas, Gouvernement Kowno, Russisches Kaiserreich; gestorben 1942 im Vernichtungslager Auschwitz war eine polnisch-deutsche Malerin und Graphikerin.  Ihre Eltern förderten ihre künstlerischen Ambitionen und schickten sie schon mit 16 Jahren im Jahr 1911 an die Münchener Kunstakademie ins Deutsche Reich. Hier traf sie auf die ebenfalls aus ód stammenden Maler Henri Epstein und Marcel Sodki. August 1919 in München Selbstmord beging, Quelle Deutsches Bühnenjahrbuch 1920 S. August darüber, er hatte gerade die Nachricht aus München bekommen. Er beschreibt auch eine Begegnung mit Szalit 1918. Seit 1916 lebten sie in Berlin, wo sie sich der Malergruppe Berliner Secession anschloss und in der Revolution bei der Novembergruppe aktiv wurde. In ihrer Berliner Zeit malte sie zunächst noch Landschaften, Karl Schwarz besprach von ihr 1920 eine Winterimpression und zwei Städteansichten von der Leipziger Straße und vom Leipziger Platz in der Zeitschrift Ost und West. Sie hatte zu der Zeit schon begonnen, Bücher aus der hebräischen und jiddischen Literatur ihrer Zeitgenossen Martin Buber (Die Geschichten des Rabbi Nachman), Mendele Moicher Sforim (Fischke der Krumme), Shalom Aleichem (Menschen und Szenen), Israel Zangwill (König der Schnorrer) und Chaim Nachman Bialik sowie von Heinrich Heine (Hebräische Melodien), Charles Dickens (Londoner Bilder), Fjodor Dostojewski (Das Krokodil) und Lew Tolstoi (Die Kreutzersonate) zu illustrieren und schuf dafür auch eigene Mappenwerke.  Nach der Machtübergabe an die Nationalsozialisten 1933 musste Szalit-Marcus vor dem deutschen Antisemitismus nach Frankreichfliehen. Ihre Arbeit dort wird dem Stil der École de Paris der 1930er Jahre zugerechnet.  Im Zuge der Deportationen der Juden aus dem besetzten Frankreich wurde sie 1942 in Frankreich ghettoisiert und in das Vernichtungslager Auschwitz deportiert, wo sie ermordet wurde.  Szalit-Marcus malte (Kinder-)Porträts, Blumenstücke und Stillleben. Ihr Atelier wurde bei ihrer Deportation geplündert und vernichtet, ihre Aquarelle und Ölbilder blieben bislang fast ausnahmslos verschollen.  Von ihren Buchillustrationen und Mappenwerken sind hingegen einzelne Exemplare erhalten, so dass sie mit ihren Radierungen und Lithographien heute vornehmlich als Buchillustratorin gilt. Von Edith Ziegler ; mit 12 Lithogr. Potsdam : Kiepenheuer, 1921 · Fischke der Krumme. Mappe mit 16 Lithographien auf Bütten und einer Einleitung von Julius Elias. Berlin : Propyläen, 1922 · Mentshelekh un stsenes : zekhtsn tseykhenungen tsu Sholem-Aleykhems verk Motl Peyse dem khazns yingl. Berlin : Klal-Farlag, 1922 · Heinrich Heine: Hebräische Melodien. Mit zwölf Lithographien von Rahel Szalit-Marcus ; herausgegeben und eingeleitet von Hugo Bieber. Berlin : Für die literarische Vereinigung Hesperus, 1923 · Charles Dickens: Londoner Bilder. Aus dem Englischen von Ernst Sander. Mit Steinzeichnungen von Rahel Szalit-Marcus. Berlin : Hans Heinrich Tillgner, 1923 Rachel Szalit-Marcus geboren als Rachel Marcus 3. Berlin : Hans Heinrich Tillgner, 1923 Hidden Gems in a Treasured Collection: The Works of Rachel Szalit-Marcus Posted on January 27, 2017 by thyriawilson Das Krankenzimmer or The Sick Room 1920 When the Beck Archives became home for the Lowenstein Family Holocaust Papers it was certain the collection would contain a wealth of rare and irreplaceable resources. However, mixed within the collection, surprises waited. The Lowenstein Family Holocaust Papers survived due to the foresight and determination of the familys matriarch, Maria Lowenstein. She knew how important these documents and artifacts were to the story of the familys survival and as a tool to educate others on the inhumane cruelty of the Nazi regime. Maria Lowenstein was an artist living in Berlin during the 1920s-40s. During her time there, she met and socialized with many other artists who called the Berlin art scene home. When the Lowenstein Family Holocaust Papers were donated to the Beck Archives, they included many works by Maria Lowenstein both from during the Holocaust as well as prior to and after WWII. Mixed in with Marias works, a few unrelated names graced some of the art, and those are where the hidden gems appear. She created lithographs to illustrate some of Sholem Aleichems (Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich) literary works. Szalit-Marcus was also an artist living in Berlin in the 1920s-30s. She was Jewish and fled Berlin to France in 1933 as Hitler rose to power but was ultimately apprehended and murdered at Auschwitz in 1942. The exact relationship between Maria Lowenstein and Rachel Szalit-Marcus is unknown but the presence of Szalit-Marcus works in the Lowenstein papers suggests some connection. Die Fahrt Nach Amerika or The Journey to America Circa 1920 More interestingly, three of the lithographs in the Beck Archives are dated 1920 and bear the original artists signature- not simply one that was engraved on the plate. The book for which these three lithographs were created was published in 1922 and contained scenes of Jewish life from an unfinished novel by Sholem Aleichem. An appraiser was able to authenticate the three Szalit-Marcus works from the Lowenstein Family Holocaust Papers featured in Menshelakh un stsenes as the artists originals. As a complement to the Lowenstein Family Holocaust Papers and Marias dedication to art, the Beck Archives was able to acquire a hardcover first edition of the book Menshelakh un stsenes. Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, better known under his pen name Sholem Aleichem (Yiddish and Hebrew: , also spelled in Soviet Yiddish; Russian and Ukrainian: -) March 2 O. February 18 1859 May 13, 1916, was a leading Yiddish author and playwright. The musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on his stories about Tevye the Dairyman, was the first commercially successful English-language stage production about Jewish life in Eastern Europe. The Hebrew phrase “shalom aleichem” literally means “peace be upon you”, and is a greeting in traditional Hebrew and Yiddish. Contents 1 Biography 2 Literary career 3 Critical reception 4 Beliefs and activism 5 Death 6 Commemoration and legacy 7 Published works 7.1 English-language collections 7.2 Autobiography 7.3 Novels 7.3.1 Young adult literature 7.4 Plays 7.5 Miscellany 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links Biography Solomon Naumovich (Sholom Nohumovich) Rabinovich Russian: was born in 1859 in Pereyaslav and grew up in the nearby shtetl (small town with a large Jewish population) of Voronko, in the Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire (now in the Kiev Oblast of central Ukraine). His father, Menachem-Nukhem Rabinovich, was a rich merchant at that time.  However, a failed business affair plunged the family into poverty and Solomon Rabinovich grew up in reduced circumstances.  When he was 13 years old, the family moved back to Pereyaslav, where his mother, Chaye-Esther, died in a cholera epidemic.  Sholem Aleichem’s first venture into writing was an alphabetic glossary of the epithets used by his stepmother. At the age of fifteen, inspired by Robinson Crusoe, he composed a Jewish version of the novel. He adopted the pseudonymSholem Aleichem, a Yiddish variant of the Hebrew expression shalom aleichem, meaning “peace be with you” and typically used as a greeting. In 1876, after graduating from school in Pereyaslav, he spent three years tutoring a wealthy landowner’s daughter, Olga (Hodel) Loev (1865 1942).  From 1880 to 1883 he served as crown rabbi in Lubny.  On May 12, 1883, he and Olga married, against the wishes of her father. A few years later, they inherited the estate of Olga’s father. In 1890, Sholem Aleichem lost their entire fortune in a stock speculation and fled from his creditors. Solomon and Olga had their first child, a daughter named Ernestina (Tissa), in 1884.  Daughter Lyalya (Lili) was born in 1887. As Lyalya Kaufman, she became a Hebrew writer. Lyalya’s daughter Bel Kaufman, also a writer, was the author of Up the Down Staircase, which was also made into a successful film. A third daughter, Emma, was born in 1888. In 1889, Olga gave birth to a son. They named him Elimelech, after Olga’s father, but at home they called him Misha. Daughter Marusi (who would one day publish “My Father, Sholom Aleichem” under her married name Marie Waife-Goldberg) was born in 1892. A final child, a son named Nochum (Numa) after Solomon’s father was born in 1901 (under the name Norman Raeben he became a painter and an influential art teacher). After witnessing the pogroms that swept through southern Russia in 1905, including Kiev, Sholem Aleichem left the city and resettled to New York City, where he arrived in 1906. His family[clarification needed] set up house in Geneva, Switzerland, but when he saw he could not afford to maintain two households, he joined them in Geneva in 1908. Despite his great popularity, he was forced to take up an exhausting schedule of lecturing to make ends meet. In July 1908, during a reading tour in Russia, Sholem Aleichem collapsed on a train going through Baranowicze. He was diagnosed with a relapse of acute hemorrhagic tuberculosis and spent two months convalescing in the town’s hospital. He later described the incident as “meeting his majesty, the Angel of Death, face to face”, and claimed it as the catalyst for writing his autobiography, Funem yarid [From the Fair].  He thus missed the first Conference for the Yiddish Language, held in 1908 in Czernovitz; his colleague and fellow Yiddish activist Nathan Birnbaum went in his place.  Sholem Aleichem spent the next four years living as a semi-invalid. During this period the family was largely supported by donations from friends and admirers. Sholem Aleichem moved to New York City again with his family in 1914. The family lived in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. His son, Misha, ill with tuberculosis, was not permitted entry under United States immigration laws and remained in Switzerland with his sister Emma. Sholem Aleichem died in New York in 1916. Literary career A volume of Sholem Aleichem stories in Yiddish, with the author’s portrait and signature Like his contemporaries Mendele Mocher Sforim and I. Peretz, Sholem Rabinovitch started writing in Hebrew, as well as in Russian. In 1883, when he was 24 years old, he published his first Yiddish story, Tsvey Shteyner (“Two Stones”), using for the first time the pseudonym Sholem Aleichem. By 1890 he was a central figure in Yiddish literature, the vernacular language of nearly all East European Jews, and produced over forty volumes in Yiddish. It was often derogatorily called “jargon”, but Sholem Aleichem used this term in an entirely non-pejorative sense. Apart from his own literary output, Sholem Aleichem used his personal fortune to encourage other Yiddish writers. In 188889, he put out two issues of an almanac, Di Yidishe Folksbibliotek (“The Yiddish Popular Library”) which gave important exposure to young Yiddish writers. In 1890, after he lost his entire fortune, he could not afford to print the almanac’s third issue, which had been edited but was subsequently never printed. Tevye the Dairyman was first published in 1894. Over the next few years, while continuing to write in Yiddish, he also wrote in Russian for an Odessa newspaper and for Voskhod, the leading Russian Jewish publication of the time, as well as in Hebrew for Ha-melitz, and for an anthology edited by YH Ravnitzky. It was during this period that Sholem Aleichem contracted tuberculosis. In August 1904, Sholem Aleichem edited Hilf: a Zaml-Bukh fir Literatur un Kunst (“Help: An Anthology for Literature and Art”; Warsaw, 1904) and himself translated three stories submitted by Tolstoy (Esarhaddon, King of Assyria; Work, Death and Sickness; The Three Questions) as well as contributions by other prominent Russian writers, including Chekhov, in aid of the victims of the Kishinev pogrom. Critical reception Sholem Aleichem’s narratives were notable for the naturalness of his characters’ speech and the accuracy of his descriptions of shtetl life. Early critics focused on the cheerfulness of the characters, interpreted as a way of coping with adversity. Later critics saw a tragic side in his writing.  He was often referred to as the “Jewish Mark Twain” because of the two authors’ similar writing styles and use of pen names. Both authors wrote for adults and children and lectured extensively in Europe and the United States.  Beliefs and activism Sholem Aleichem was an impassioned advocate of Yiddish as a national Jewish language, which he felt should be accorded the same status and respect as other modern European languages. He did not stop with what came to be called “Yiddishism”, but devoted himself to the cause of Zionism as well. Many of his writingspresent the Zionist case. In 1888, he became a member of Hovevei Zion. In 1907, he served as an American delegate to the Eighth Zionist Congress held in The Hague. Sholem Aleichem had a mortal fear of the number 13. His manuscripts never had a page 13; he numbered the thirteenth pages of his manuscripts as 12a.  Though it has been written that even his headstone carries the date of his death as “May 12a, 1916″,  his headstone reads the dates of his birth and death in Hebrew, the 26th of Adar and the 10th of Iyar, respectively. Death Sholem Aleichem’s funeral on May 15, 1916 Sholem Aleichem died in New York on May 13, 1916 from tuberculosis and diabetes,  aged 57, while working on his last novel, Motl, Peysi the Cantor’s Son, and was buried at Old Mount Carmel cemetery in Queens.  At the time, his funeral was one of the largest in New York City history, with an estimated 100,000 mourners.  The next day, his will was printed in the New York Times and was read into the Congressional Record of the United States. Commemoration and legacy A 1959 Soviet Unionpostage stampcommemorating the centennial of Sholem Aleichem’s birth Museum of Sholem Aleichem in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi Sholem Aleichem’s will contained detailed instructions to family and friends with regard to burial arrangements and marking his yahrtzeit. He told his friends and family to gather, read my will, and also 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, ” he added, “or not at all. The celebrations continue to the present day, and, in recent years, have been held at the Brotherhood Synagogue on Gramercy Park South in New York City, where they are open to the public.  He composed the text to be engraved on his tombstone in Yiddish: Do ligt a Id a pashutier – Here lies a Jew a simple-one, Geschrieben Idish-Daitch fur weiber – Wrote Yiddish-German (translations) for women Un faren prosten falk hot er gewein a humorist a schreiber – and for the regular folk, was a writer of humor Die ganze lieben umgelozt geschlogen mit der welt kapures -His whole life he slaughtered ritual chickens together with the crowd, (He didn’t care too much for this world) Die ganze welt hot gutt gemacht – the whole world does good, Un ehr – ohoy vey – gewehn oif zuress – and he, oh my, is in trouble. Un davka de mohl gewehn der oilom hot gelacht – but exactly when the world is laughing gecklutched un flegg zich flehen – clapping and hitting their lap, Dought er gekrenkt dos weis nor gott – he cries – only God knows this Besod, az keyner zohl nit zeiyen – in secret, so no-one sees. In 1997, a monument dedicated to Sholem Aleichem was erected in Kiev; another was erected in 2001 in Moscow. The main street of Birobidzhan is named after Sholem Aleichem; streets were named after him also in other cities in the Soviet Union, among them Kiev, Odessa, Vinnytsia, Lviv, and Zhytomyr. In New York City in 1996, East 33rd Street between Park and Madison Avenue is additionally named “Sholem Aleichem Place”. Many streets in Israel are named after him. An impact crater on the planet Mercury also bears his name.  On March 2, 2009 (150 years after his birth) the National Bank of Ukraine issued an anniversary coin celebrating Aleichem with his face depicted on it.  Vilnius, Lithuania has a Jewish school named after him and in Melbourne, Australia a Yiddish school, Sholem Aleichem College is named after him.  Several Jewish schools in Argentina were also named after him.  In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a library named BIBSA Biblioteca Sholem Aleichem was founded in 1915 as a Zionist institution but some years later Jews of left-wing assumed the power by regular internal polls, and Sholem Aleichem started to mean Communism in Rio de Janeiro. BIBSA had a very active theatrical program in Yiddish for more than 50 years since its foundation and of course Sholem Aleichem scripts were a must. In 1947 BIBSA evolved in a more complete club named ASA Associação Sholem Aleichem that exists nowadays in Botafogo neighborhood. Next year, in 1916 same group that created BIBSA, founded a Jewish school named Escola Sholem Aleichem that was closed in 1997. It was Zionist too, and became Communist like BIBSA, but after the 20th Communist Congress in 1956 school supporters and teachers split as a lot of Jews abandoned Communism and founded another school, Colégio Eliezer Steinbarg, still existing as one of the best Jewish schools in Brazil, named after the first director of Sholem Aleichem School, he himself, a Jewish writer born in Romania, that came to Brazil.  In the Bronx, New York, a housing complex called The Shalom Aleichem Houses was built by Yiddish speaking immigrants in the 1920s, and was recently restored by new owners to its original grandeur. The Shalom Alecheim Houses are part of a proposed historic district in the area. On May 13, 2016 a Sholem Aleichem website was launched to mark the 100th anniversary of Sholem Aleichem’s death.  The website is a partnership between Sholem Aleichem’s family,  his biographer Professor Jeremy Dauber,  Citizen Film, Columbia University’s Center for Israel and Jewish Studies,  The Covenant Foundation, and The Yiddish Book Center.  The website features interactive maps and timelines,  recommended readings,  as well as a list of centennial celebration events taking place worldwide.  The website also features resources for educators.  Sholem Aleichem’s granddaughter, Bel Kaufman, by his daughter Lala (Lyalya), was an American author, most widely known for her novel, Up the Down Staircase, published in 1964, which was adapted to the stage and also made into a motion picture in 1967, starring Sandy Dennis. The stories which form the basis for Fiddler on the Roof. The Best of Sholom Aleichem, edited by R. Howe (originally published 1979), Walker and Co. Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories, translated by H. A Treasury of Sholom Aleichem Children’s Stories, translated by Aliza Shevrin, Jason Aronson, 1996, ISBN 1-56821-926-1. Inside Kasrilovka, Three Stories, translated by I. Goldstick, Schocken Books, 1948 (variously reprinted) The Old Country, translated by Julius & Frances Butwin, J B H of Peconic, 1999, ISBN 1-929068-21-2. Stories and Satires, translated by Curt Leviant, Sholom Aleichem Family Publications, 1999, ISBN 1-929068-20-4. Selected Works of Sholem-Aleykhem, edited by Marvin Zuckerman & Marion Herbst (Volume II of “The Three Great Classic Writers of Modern Yiddish Literature”), Joseph Simon Pangloss Press, 1994, ISBN 0-934710-24-4. Some Laughter, Some Tears, translated by Curt Leviant, Paperback Library, 1969, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 68-25445. Novels Stempenyu, originally published in his Folksbibliotek, adapted 1905 for the play Jewish Daughters. Yossele Solovey (1889, published in his Folksbibliotek) Tevye’s Daughters, translated by F. Mottel the Cantor’s son. Originally written in Yiddish. English version: Henry Schuman, Inc. New York 1953 In The Storm Wandering Stars Marienbad, translated by Aliza Shevrin 1982, G. Putnam Sons, New York from original Yiddish manuscript copyrighted by Olga Rabinowitz in 1917 The Bloody Hoax Menahem-Mendl, translated as The Adventures of Menahem-Mendl, translated by Tamara Kahana, Sholom Aleichem Family Publications, 1969, ISBN 1-929068-02-6. Young adult literature Motl peysi dem khazns, translated as The Adventures of Mottel, the Cantor’s Son (young adult literature), translated by Tamara Kahana, Sholom Aleichem Family Publications, 1999, ISBN 1-929068-00-X. Also appeared as Mottel the Cantor’s son Henry Schuman, Inc. New York 1953 The Bewitched Tailor, Sholom Aleichem Family Publications, 1999, ISBN 1-929068-19-0. Plays The Doctor (1887), one-act comedy Der get (The Divorce, 1888), one-act comedy Di asife (The Assembly, 1889), one-act comedy Yaknez (1894), a satire on brokers and speculators Tsezeyt un tseshpreyt (Scattered Far and Wide, 1903), comedy Agentn (Agents, 1908), one-act comedy Yidishe tekhter (Jewish Daughters, 1905) drama, adaptation of his early novel Stempenyu Di goldgreber (The Golddiggers, 1907), comedy Shver tsu zayn a yid (Hard to Be a Jew / If I Were You, 1914) Dos groyse gevins (The Big Lottery / The Jackpot, 1916) Tevye der milkhiker, (Tevye the Milkman, 1917, performed posthumously) Sholem Aleichem: novelist, essayist, playwright and one of the great writers of the late-19th and early-20thcenturies. Born Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich, he created rich characters that stand out because of their humanity and their universal appeal. He was read and admired by Tolstoy and Chekhov, and by hundreds of thousands of newspaper readers who pored over his weekly installments. Published serially in the burgeoning mass medium of Yiddish newsprint, Sholem Aleichem had a close relationship with his readers, similar in many ways to popular bloggers and their readers today. His protagonists are lovable, fallible people from a traditional world, running headlong towards the brink of modernity. In his day, Sholem Aleichem was often called The Jewish Mark Twain. Like Twain, he was skilled at writing dialogue in many different voices. His Motl, Menakhem Mendel, Sheyne Sheyndel, Tevye and a panoply of other characters still pop off the page today. Sholem Aleichem wrote primarily about Eastern European Jews, and is perhaps best known for Tevye the Dairyman, upon which Broadways Fiddler on the Roof, one of the most popular shows of all time, is based. The theme song of Fiddler on the Roof is now so universal, it has been performed in Japanese, Hungarian, Hindi and even by sock puppets viewed by thousands of people on Sholem Aleichem Contents Hide Suggested Reading Author (Shalom Rabinovitz; 18591916), one of the founding fathers of modern Yiddish literature. A supreme Jewish humorist, Sholem Aleichem tapped into the energies of the East European, spoken-Yiddish idiom and invented modern Jewish archetypes, myths, and fables of unequaled imaginative potency and universal appeal. Page from an original manuscript of Funem yarid (Back from the Fair), by Sholem Aleichem, 1915. (YIVO) Born in the provincial town of Pereyaslav (Ukraine) to a middle-class family of timber merchants, Rabinovitz spent a happy childhood in Voronkov. Here he was suffused with impressions and experiences that he would later utilize artistically, sublimating memories of his tiny childhood hamlet into the literary image of Kasrilevke, the archetypal shtetl. The death of his mother, Esther, and the loss of the familys capital, truncated his childhood felicity. In spite of his habitual high spirits, depression and impotent fantasies marked Rabinovitzs pubescent years. This dark mood suffused his fictional world as a dangerous undercurrent of distress, sickness, psychosis, and death, which belied its bright surface and informed the Jewish comedy that he was to create. Although the family had a Hasidic background and Rabinovitz was given a traditional hedereducation, his father, Nokhem, was somewhat exposed to ideas of the Haskalah and encouraged his son to learn Russian and read secular books. Rabinovitz attended the local Russian secondary school, matriculating in 1876 with distinction. In 1877, he became a tutor for the children of a prominent estate owner, Elimelekh Loyev, remaining there for three years until a love affair between him and Olga Loyev, Elimelekhs daughter, was exposed. Brokenhearted but unvanquished, he ran for the elected post of crown rabbi of the town of Lubny Yid. Luben, won the elections, and resided there from 1880 to 1883. In those years Rabinovitz began his career as a writer. By 1879, he had already been a local reporter for the Hebrew weekly Ha-Tsefirah. In 1881 and 1882, his articles, focusing on issues of Jewish education, appeared in Ha-Melits, the chief journalistic organ of the Haskalah. His original intention was to become a Hebrew or a Russian writer, and his resort to Yiddish was, as he would say, accidental. He discovered an issue of the Saint Petersburg weekly Yudishes folks-blat (the only Yiddish periodical in Russia at the time) and realized that the Yiddish language and its literature appealed to the majority because of its accessibility. He was soon at work on his first Yiddish novella, Tsvey shteyner (Two Gravestones), in which he fictionalized his romance with Olga Loyev and ended his tale with the suicide of the two young protagonists. He published the story in weekly sequels (JulyAugust 1883) in the Folks-blat, but not before he and Olga overcame, in real life, the objections of Elimelekh Loyev and married. The couple moved to the town of Belaia Tserkov, where Rabinovitz worked as an agent for the Brody family of sugar magnates. His first full-length novel, Natashe (later retitled Taybele) appeared in 1884, the same year as the birth of his first child, Esther. In 1885, with the death of his father-in-law, he became the sole trustee of the Loyev estate, and a relatively rich man himself. In 1887, the young family moved to Kiev, where the budding writer dabbled in the stock market. Tevye der milkhiker (Tevye the Dairyman). Polish and Yiddish poster. Laskowa and Sons, Vilna. The poster advertises a performance of Sholem Aleichems play by the Kraków Jewish Theater, featuring Rudolf Zaslavsky. (YIVO) This enterprise did not bring about any diminution of his literary activity. On the contrary, Rabinovitz was now writing at a dizzying pace, publishing in many genres in Russian, Hebrew, and Yiddish. He also founded a literary almanac, modeled after the prestigious Russian thick literary journals of the day. The appearance of the first volume of the almanac, Di yidishe folks-bibliotek (The Jewish Peoples Library) in 1888 became a milestone in the history of modern Yiddish literature and put Sholem Aleichem at the center of its stage. By 1890, he was bankrupt. The family had to abandon its bourgeois apartment in Kiev and move to humbler quarters in Odessa. He spent several months abroad, until his mother-in-law settled with his creditors, and he rejoined the family in Odessa. Penniless and burdened with a large family, he faced a decade of hardship. The years 18831890 formed a distinct part of Sholem Aleichems career, during which he produced much work (in three languages), the majority of which was never to be included in his official oeuvre, or was thoroughly rewritten later. Sholem Aleichems literary activity during these years was divided between the gentrification and Europeanization of Yiddish literature and the writing of sequences of feuilletons. When he began writing in Yiddish, literature in that language lacked cultural status and artistic respectability. Although it had won the interest of a wide reading public in popular works of fiction such as Ayzik Meyer Diks didactic novellas, Sholem Yankev Abramovitshs Dos kleyne mentshele (The Little Man) and Di klyatshe (The Nag), and Yitskhok Yoyel Linetskis Dos poylishe yingl (The Polish Boy), it still had no sense of continuity and accumulative worth. Most of its writers hid behind pseudonyms, saving their real names for their productions in other languages. Title page of book 2 of Di yidishe folksbibliotek(Jewish Peoples Library), by Sholem Aleichem (Kiev and Berdichev: Yankev Sheftel, 1889). (YIVO) Sholem Aleichem is itself a peculiar pen name, meaning something like how do you do. The writer resolved to elevate Yiddish literature to the role of a Jewish national literature together with Hebrew. This necessitated the continuous production in Yiddish of meritorious literary works; the establishment of a literary tradition; and the cleansing of current Yiddish writing from popular shund (trash). Sholem Aleichem used his command as the owner and editor of the Folks-bibliotek to encourage writers he admired, such as Abramovitsh and Linetski, to produce new works, all the while looking out for new talent such as Y. He himself set out to create what he called the Jewish novel: a realistic text in which the erotic theme (regarded as a necessary ingredient in any roman) would be developed within the framework of contemporary Jewish society. Sholem Aleichem had internalized the values of nineteenth-century Russia and its flourishing literature as expounded by the nations chief novelists (his own favorite among them was Ivan Turgenev). He firmly believed in realistic mimesis as the chief means for achieving artistic maturity and in the novel as the genre most conducive to the evolving of such mimesis. During the years 18841889 he produced six novel-length works of fiction, among them Natashe (1884), Sender Blank un zayn gezindl (Sender Blank and his Family; 1888), Stempenyu (1888), and Yosele solovey (Yosele the Nightingale; 1889). The best example of Sholem Aleichems novelistic concept and ability at the time was Stempenyu. In this work, Sholem Aleichem unfolds an aborted love affair between a musician and a pious woman. Necessarily, the plot of such novels could not be complex or multitiered, since the authors loyalty to what he perceived as the truth of Jewish life would not allow for a full development of the erotic theme. Sholem Aleichem turned intensively to literary criticism in the 1880s in an attempt to establish a literary tradition and to purge Yiddish literature of trash. As a critic, he was invested in the process of elevating certain Yiddish writers to semiclassical status. For example, he presented Abramovitsh, Linetski, and to a certain degree Dik and Avrom Goldfadn, as the harbingers of mimetic realism. Conversely, he waged scathing critical attacks on writers he regarded as hacks. He exposed certain ones, such as the prolific romancier Nokhem Meyer Shaykevitch (known by his pseudonym, Shomer), as sensationalists vying for commercial success. The classics Sholem Aleichem projected as his own precursors. He took special pains in canonizing Abramovitsh, inventing (in his introduction to Stempenyu) the myth of grandfather Mendele as an éminence grise of Yiddish writing. Of course, the canonization of the grandfather was primarily aimed at asserting the legitimacy of the heir apparent, or the grandson: Sholem Aleichem himself. Between 1883 and 1889, Sholem Aleichem wrote many feuilletonistic sequences, often in epistolary form. Chief among these were Di ibergekhapte briv af der post (Letters Intercepted at the Post Office; 18831884), An ibershraybung tsvishn tsvey alte khaveyrim (A Correspondence between Two Old Friends; 1884), and Kontor gesheft (Office Business; 1885). He never dreamed of collecting these wild farces and satires, some of which were aimed at ad hominem targets and pertaining to the authors personal enmities. However, it was precisely through these sequences that he quickly became an intimate household name in Yiddish families. In these works, the effervescent persona Sholem Aleichem was born, playing the role of a funny devil who wreaked comic havoc wherever he went; however, this character differed greatly from the chatty omniscient narrator of the authors novels who went by the same name. In these sequences, the author abandoned realism and descriptive verisimilitude in favor of writing within the more primitive traditions of Lucian satire and epistolary parody and pastiche. Through these writings, the author offered the readers literature unbridled by almost any rules of artistic decorum. The readers loved what they read and clamored for more. Sholem Aleichem, on his part, felt most in his element when indulging in these literary pranks, and of course he savored the popularity. Scissor and Iron, Our People (Big Prize). Polish/Yiddish poster for a performance of Sholem Aleichems play Dos groyse gevins(The Big Prize; also known as Sher un ayzn[Scissor and Iron] and Unzer folk amkha [Our People]) by Rudolf Zaslavskys ensemble at the Peoples Theater, Vilna. (YIVO) In 1890, Sholem Aleichem entered a literary limbo. He no longer had the time or the financial resources to maintain the same level of literary productivity as in the 1880s. Also, with the Folks-blat folded and no similar popular Yiddish organ in existence, he had no outlet for the publication of his Yiddish works. He therefore published little and quite irregularly throughout the decade, often turning to both fiction and essay writing in Hebrew, which brought him close to the circle of the Odessa Zionist writers, whose nationalist mood and politics he shared. The only short (and unfinished) novel Sholem Aleichem managed to write in the 1890s was Meshiekhs tsaytn (The Days of the Redeemer; 1898), a piece of Zionist propaganda of slight literary merit, that directly continued, by fictional means, nonfictional propaganda brochures that he had written right after the first Zionist Congress (1897). Also, the 1890s were the years of Y. Peretzs rise to literary and cultural stardom. Overnight, Peretz became the great hope and the cultural hero of a young Yiddish intelligentsia, wrenching the initiative of modernizing Jewish culture through a modern Yiddish literature out of the hands of Sholem Aleichem. This was the source of much bitterness to which the dispossessed writer gave expression in a rather unsavory sarcastic critique of his rivals poems. Nevertheless, it was during this decade that Sholem Aleichem devised two critical literary inventions. The first, the character Menakhem Mendl, had briefly appeared in an epistolary feuilleton in 1887 as a young husband still living with his in-laws. Now Menakhem Mendl, already the father of several children, found himself in Odessa, experimented as a small-time stock investor, and forgot about returning to his family. One immediately sensed that the reappearance of Menakhem Mendl in this work marked a sublimation of the habitual hilarity of the authors earlier farces and satires. The character gained semiautobiographical importance in terms of Sholem Aleichems own disastrous penchant for speculation, as well as a depth of significance emanating from the projection of the character as a Jewish hero of a comic myth. This archetype was at once a version of the modern homo economicus, as well as a representative for henpecked Jewish manhood celebrating its freedom from repressive cultural and familial institutions. The development of this figure was of the greatest symbolic significance, and Menakhem Mendl was to follow Sholem Aleichem throughout his creative life, with new sequels of epistolary exchanges between the speculator and his wife finally occupying two volumes in the authors collected writings. Sholem Aleichems second crucial literary invention during this period was the character Tevye, a dairy supplier to the wealthy inhabitants of Boyberik (Boyre), a summer colony adjacent to the great Yehupets (Kiev). Tevye of the 1895 story Dos groyse gevins (Striking the Jackpot) was a buffoona zesty raconteur in possession of a trove of folk-sayings, funny mistranslations of scripture, and malapropisms. However, like Menakhem Mendl, Tevye possessed an inherent inability to cope with the vicissitudes of existence. Coupled with a tendency to counterbalance this passivity through a vivacious loquacity, he exposed his own shortcomings in a seductive yarn. Tevye consistently rendered the listener his ally rather than his critic, and on one level, this was a subtle revelation of the authors own manipulation of the reader through self-effacing humor. Tevye was one of Sholem Aleichems greatest achievements and he remained a fixture in his work. With new Tevye stories appearing every few years, each story reflected changing historical circumstances and added fresh subtleties to the complex icon. 51, Warsaw, 1900: playscript for Mentshn, by Sholem Aleichem, with notes by the author inserted in Yiddish and Russian. RG 107, Letters Collection, Box 16, F20. (YIVO) In 1899, the weekly Yiddish publication Der yudappeared and allowed Sholem Aleichem to earn a living from his writing. As the Yiddish reading public during this period consumed literature via the newspaper rather than in book form, he was required to produce short pieces for the newspaper on a weekly basis. He did write two short novels in this time, entitled Ver veyst? ; 1902, and Moshkele ganef[Moshkele the Thief]; 1903. While the writer himself probably regretted this state of affairs, his short pieces amounted to the very core of his oeuvre and displayed his brilliance to the best effect. Sholem Aleichems son-in-law, Yitsak Dov Berkowitz, compared his father-in-law at the time to a stoker in a locomotive throwing coals into burning furnaces, which were not to cool off for a minute, lest the train lose velocity and come to a grinding halt. Indeed, Sholem Aleichems creative train chugged through these years (18991905) at full speed. The body of work Sholem Aleichem created during these years is vast and variegated. Schematization of his publications reveals four genres: monologues, stories about children, holiday narratives, and the Kasrilevke tales. Most important were the monologues, spoken by specific characters and often addressed to a fictionalized interlocutor, such as Sholem Aleichem in the Tevye stories. The emergence of this genre was based on the success of these tales; by 1905, Sholem Aleichem had written four of the nine stories that were to add up to his Gants Tevye der milkhiker (The Complete Tevye the Dairyman). However, it was with the publication of Dos tepl (The Pot; 1901) that the monologue evolved into the writers forme maitresse. Dos tepl was succeeded by Gendz (Geese; 1902), Funem priziv (From the Draft; 1902), Gimenazye (High School; 1902), Finf un zibetsik toyzent (Seventy-Five Thousand; 1902), A nisref (Burnt Out; 1903), An eytse (Advice; 1904), Yoysef (Joseph; 1905), Khabne (1905), and the particularly complex and bewildering Dray almones (Three Widows; 1907). Superficially, each story presented a disorganized effusion of its gossipy monologist, yet beneath this veneer was a human being in great distress. Nowhere else did Sholem Aleichem succeed in yoking together comedy and tragedy as he did in these monologues, in which the tensors of spoken Yiddish as a provincial vernacular were tautly contracted and flexed in the creation of texts of universal import. Second, Sholem Aleichem wrote stories focusing on children. These were usually composed as monologues spoken by a child, whose experiences were refracted through the prism of an adult consciousness. The use of this hybrid construct often gave rise to problems of stylistic uniformity and psychological coherence, but as often resulted in thoroughly integrated narrative amalgams. Of such amalgams are the stories Der zeyger (The Clock; 1900), Di fon (The Banner; 1900), Afn fidl (The Violin; 1902), and Der esreg (The Citron; 1902). Many of these childrens stories also belonged to the category of Yontev Stories, stories published by the Jewish press on the eves of traditional Jewish holidays. Sholem Aleichem was contractually obliged to supply holiday stories to all the newspapers for which he worked. He often succeeded in fleshing out the required rudiments of this subgenre into a poignant work, as in Af Peysekh aheym (Homebound for Passover; 1903). In this story about a teacher who risks his life crossing a half-frozen river in his quest to return home for Passover, the author brought together notions regarding the Jewish calendar, the natural seasons, contemporary life, and the reenactment of the biblical myth of the crossing of the Red Sea. Napoleons oytser (Napoleons treasure). Yiddish poster advertising a Yung-teater production of a play by Sholem Aleichem. (YIVO) A final category of stories gave Sholem Aleichem the opportunity to create his Kasrilevke, the quintessential shtetl. While he previously dealt with small-town and hamlet scenes, it was only in the early 1900s that such scenes coalesced into the unified image of Kasrilevke. The self-seeking Kasriliks were plagued by dire poverty yet somehow managed to stay upbeat, always dreaming of miraculous events and redemption, as in the story Ven ikh bin Roytshild (If I Were Rothschild; 1902). By 1905, Sholem Aleichem felt overextended physically and mentally. Unable to meet his financial obligations without constantly producing new work at an unrealistic pace, he turned his hopes to the theater. In 1905, his drama Tsezeyt un tseshpreyt (Scattered and Dispersed; 1903) was staged successfully in Warsaw on the Polish stage. Emboldened by this positive reception, he planned a collaborative effort to launch a Yiddish theater in Odessa; however, his plans fell through due to the Russian authorities extreme distrust of any cultural activity that could be used as a cover for revolutionary propaganda. In October, the widespread pogroms followed by the abortive 1905 Russian Revolution prompted his departure from the tsarist empire. In December, the family crossed the border and ensconced itself inLemberg. Following the summer of 1906, he went through Geneva to London, where he spent part of the fall before setting out for New York City. In New York, the Yiddish and the American-English press greeted Sholem Aleichem as a celebrity. Dubbed the Jewish Mark Twain, the journalistic fanfare went to his head. Sholem Aleichem, insensitive to the New York Yiddish literary communitys strong sense of its own worth, made patronizing remarks, announcing the role he would play in elevating the American Yiddish theater to the European artistic level. This boasting came home to roost as Sholem Aleichems own two plays, Yaknehoz and a dramatization of Stempenyu, were flopsmuch to the schadenfreude of the local Yiddishist community. Compounding his unpopularity, Sholem Aleichem alienated the influential left-wing Yiddish press by aligning himself with conservative and traditionalist newspapers such as the Tageblat. In short, his American sojourn turned out to be a fiasco. In the summer of 1907, he departed for Europe, disappointed and resentful. Yet he took from this experience the idea for a series of stories about the mass emigration from Eastern Europe to New York in the wake of the 1905 pogroms. The immigrants struggles of acculturation were presented through the eyes of a shtetl boy named Motl. The work expounded the writers optimistic view that East European Jewry would emerge strong from the downfall of its traditional civilization and from the melting pot of assimilation. The first chapters of Motl Peyse dem khazns (Motl the Son of Cantor Peyse) were written before the authors return to Europe and continued throughout 1907. Members of the Bene Tsiyon (Sons of Zion) society with visiting writer Sholem Aleichem (second row from front, fifth from left) and composer Mark Varshavski (third from left), Berdichev now Berdychiv, Ukr. (YIVO) Unwilling to return to the tsarist empire, he stayed briefly in Geneva, then went to Berlin. Crestfallen and fatigued, Sholem Aleichem nevertheless had to produce at a steady pace if he was to earn an income. With serial publication of novels in demand, he wrote the lengthy Der mabl (The Deluge, later retitled In shturm [In the Storm]; 1907), succeeded by Blonzhende shtern(Wandering Stars; 19091911) and Der blutiker shpas (The Bloody Hoax; 1912). Returning to America in 1915, Sholem Aleichem wrote his autobiographical novel, Funem yarid (Back from the Fair), Der misteyk (The Mistake), and the second part of the Motl sequence (all three works remain unfinished). These were written very quickly in serialized form, the author always running only a few episodes ahead of the one that went to the printer. Although he would never regain the craft of his earlier works, the epistolary stories Marienbad (1911) and the new Menakhem Mendl series (1913) somewhat recaptured his earlier flair. In 1908, financial hardship and nostalgia for his East European readers drove Sholem Aleichem to tour throughout the Jewish Pale of Ukraine and Belorussia. For three months he traveled from one town to another, performing as a one-man act, which took a serious toll on his health. Diagnosed with open tuberculosis, he became bedridden, yet continued writing. Set design by Isaac Rabichev for Get(Divorce) by Sholem Aleichem, Moscow State Yiddish Theater, 1924. (Hillel Kazovsky) During World War I, Sholem Aleichem escaped from Berlin to Copenhagen. In the summer of 1915, crushed by the news of his son Mishas sudden death, Sholem Aleichem wrote a will and spoke of his own impending death. He nevertheless continued writing new chapters for both the autobiographical novel, of which the first two of the intended eight parts had been completed, and for the sequel of the Motl stories. In 1916, he fell ill and died on 13 May. Two days later, he was given a temporary burial (he was reburied in the Har Carmel cemetery in Queens, although he desired to be buried in Kiev, alongside his father). Attracting hundreds of thousands of mourners, the funeral evolved into an unprecedented demonstration of the size and cohesion of New Yorks Yiddish-speaking populationno longer a conglomerate of rootless immigrants, but rather an organized community, joined in their grief for the loss of a great artist. Sholem Aleichems legacy has been of a universal scope and significance. Since 1909, his works have been translated into dozens of languages with complete sets of comprehensive selections appearing in Hebrew and Russian. In the 1960s, his Tevye stories, having gone through theatrical productions in the United States, Soviet Russia, and Israel (including a serious cinematic adaptation by Morris Schwarz), enjoyed international success in Fiddler on the Roof, a Broadway musical classic that has played at almost every theatrical center in the world. Much impressionistic criticism of uneven quality has been written on Sholem Aleichem. In contrast, serious Sholem Aleichem scholarship is limited. The 28 volumes of the Folksfond edition published by Berkowitz between 1917 and 1925, while still the most widely used, does not encompass much more than half of the authors Yiddish output. As for the authors recorded life, only the mere rudiments of a trustworthy scholarly biography are available. The authors own semifictional rendering of the story of his early years (in Funem yarid and other writings), as well as memoirs recorded by himself, his son-in-law, his brother Volf Rabinovitz, and his daughter Marie, serve as a basis for study, yet cannot be taken as factual biography. Other biographical and scholarly sources include Uri Finkels rudimentary Sholem Aleykhem (Moscow, 1939), as well as Uriel Weinreichs study, Principal Research Sources The Field of Yiddish, vol. 278291, since updated by Khone Shmeruk (Shalom-Alekhem, madrikh le-ayav veli-yetsirato; 1990). From Sholem Aleichem in Kiev to Yehoshua ana Ravnitski, October 1903. Notes on his autobiography. Sholem Aleichem fully expects that Yiddish will play a great role in the culture of the Jewish people but that one would need to be half a prophet or a whole fool to say this out loud. RG 107, Letters Collection, Box 16, F1. (YIVO) As noted, the critical and scholarly writing on Sholem Aleichems work is quantitatively vast. Comprehensive assessments and interpretations were launched in 1908 and 1912 by the critics Bal-Makhshoves and Shmuel Niger, respectively. The former analyzed the symbolic functions of Sholem Aleichems chief characters. A perception of Tevye and Motl as illustrations of the writers benign humor vis-à-vis his harsher satire i. Menakhem Mendl informed Nigers criticism throughout his scholarly career cf. His 1928 short monograph Sholem Aleykhem, zayne vikhtikste verk, zayn humor un zayn ort in der yidisher literatur [Sholem Aleichem, His Most Important Works, His Humor and His Place in Yiddish Literature]. After the writers death in 1916, an array of critical appraisals appeared throughout the Jewish world, the bulk of which was by Soviet scholars and critics. Their work fell into three major categories: Nokhem Oyslender, Yitskhok Nusinov, Yekhezkl Dobrushin, Maks Erik, Meyer Viner, and others used a positivist-historical approach to study the evolution of the authors texts. A second category, dominated by such critics as Viner, Moyshe Mizheritsky, and Erik, was marked by Marxist theoretical concepts offering a view of Sholem Aleichems vision as an expression of the Jewish petite bourgeoisie at the turn of the century. The third category was the philological study of Sholem Aleichems language and style. Critics such as Ayzik Zaretski (1926, 1927), Khayim Loytsker (1939), and Elye Spivak (1940) laid the foundation for the understanding of the various aspects of Sholem Aleichems artistic usage of Yiddish and highlighted the stylistic virtuosity evident in his best works. After World War II, the focus of Sholem Aleichem scholarship and criticism shifted to Israel and North America. In Israel, Shmeruk continued the Positivist-Historical perspective, with his ideas, as well as the most thought-provoking ones of critic Dov Sadan, informing the work of a new generation of scholars both in Israel and in the United States. New scholarship dealt with such issues as the fictionality of the Sholem Aleichem persona (Miron, 1972); Sholem Aleichems humor and the challenges of Jewish tragic history (Ruth Wisse, 1971, 2000; David Roskies, 1984); the writers use of the monologue (Victor Erlich, 1964; Miron, 1978; Hana Wirth-Nesher, 1981; Benjamin Harshav, 1983; Ken Frieden, 1989, 1995), and many other topics. Sholem Aleichem scholarship and criticism can be said to have been opened up to post-Positivist, modernist and postmodernist views and perspectives.. Theres a reason that Tevyeparticularly in his later incarnation as a musical theater staris so beloved by audiences from Broadway to Tokyo. That reason has to do with the brilliance and heart that Sholem Aleichem lavished on his creation, forging a character that tells us something about what it means to live, to love, to struggle, and to change. Motl, Peysi the Cantor’s Son, subtitled The Writings of an Orphan Boy (; motl peysi dem khazns; ksovim fun a yingl a yosem), was the last novel by the Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem, and unfinished at the time of his death. It was published in two separate volumes. The first was headed From Home to America (fun der heym keyn amerike), relating the protagonist’s experiences in Europe, and appearing in 1907. The second was headed In America (in amerike), chronicling his life in New York City, and written in 1916. They were printed on numerous occasions in various formats and with differing orthographic conventions. A representative edition is located at Summary The novel is a first person narrative presented by a boy who, at the outset, is not quite nine years old. He is a member of a Jewish family in Kasrilevke, a fictional village in many works by Sholem Aleichem, and chronicles the daily life of his family and friends. The first volume describes the hardships, poverty, and fears that lead to a decision to emigrate to the United States. The second volume relates their experiences from the immigrant perspective. The narrative presents almost every episode in a humorous manner, even when the events are quite serious. Motls father, the villages cantor, passes away after a long illness. Motl discovers that being fatherless confers on him certain social privileges, and the more ready forgiveness of the adult community for his pranks. Although there are repeated references to Motl being an orphan, the term is not used in its present-day sense. His mother is a major figure throughout the entire work. His older brother Elyahu, recently married, tries to lift the family out of poverty through a series of get-rich-quick schemes he learns from a book, to which Motl is a willing accomplice. However, this effort does not have the desired effect. Together with a group of friends, they depart for America. (It is later told that some time after their departure, Kasrilevke was the target of a particularly severe pogrom, impelling many of the family’s neighbors to follow them to America). At first America only seems to offer new problems, in the form of the austere immigration control on Ellis Island, the sweatshops of the Lower East Side, and the labor riots that often broke out as workers took to the streets to protest working conditions. Life in New York affords Motl unanticipated new experiences (such as smoking and watching Charlie Chaplin movies), and slowly, the family begins to prosper. The very last page which Sholem Aleichem ever wrote tells of Motl and his brother getting annoyed with a man who every morning passes and looks at the paper but never buys it. The author’s death left this episode forever incomplete. Motl is described as having a natural talent for drawing cartoons sometimes getting into trouble with people feeling insulted by his depiction of them. Some episodes indicate that the author intended to have the character enter a journalistic career. English translation First English translation The novel was first translated into English in 1953 by Tamara Kahana as Adventures of Mottel, the Cantor’s Son Henry Schuman Inc. New York, also included in a bilingual edition with the same title in 1999 (Sholom Aleichem Family Publications, New York, ISBN 1-929068-00-X). On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the author’s birth in 2009, a third translation was published by Aliza Shevrin in Tevye the Dairyman and Motl the Cantor’s Son (Penguin Classics, New York, ISBN 978-0-14-310560-2). In 1922, the artist Rahel Szalit published a book of 16 lithographs to serve as illustrations to Sholom Aleichem’s text. See Rahel Szalit-Marcus, Menshelakh und stsenes: Sekhtsen tsaykhenungen tsu Shalom Aleichems Verk “Motl peysi dem khasns yingl”(Berlin: Klal-Verlag, 1922). Mottel Peysie the Cantor’s Son Motl Peise dem chazens, engl. The item “1922 Original LITHOGRAPHS Jewish YIDDISH ART BOOK Judaica HOLOCAUST Avant Garde” is in sale since Sunday, September 27, 2020. This item is in the category “Collectibles\Religion & Spirituality\Judaism\Books”. The seller is “judaica-bookstore” and is located in TEL AVIV. This item can be shipped worldwide.
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