Cover image for Classic Yiddish stories of S.Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and I.L. Peretz
Classic Yiddish stories of S.Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and I.L. Peretz
Frieden, Ken, 1955-
First edition.
Publication Information:
Syracuse, N.Y. : Syracuse University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xviii, 286 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PJ5191.E8 C53 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Two novellas by S. Y. Abramovitsh open this anthology, the first comprehensive overview of works by the three classic Yiddish authors. They describe Jewish life in Eastern Europe during the nineteenth century and introduce the reader to Abramovitsh's alter ago, Mendele the Book Peddler. Here he presents a diverse cast of characters including Isaac Abraham as tailor's apprentice, choirboy, and corrupt businessman, and Fishke traveling through the Ukraine with a caravan of beggars. Sholem Aleichem reintroduces us to Tevye the Dairyman's beloved daughters Hodel and Chava, known to everyone familiar with the musical or film fiddler on the Roof. Tevye is a gregarious storyteller who describes the pleasures of raising independent-minded daughters. We catch glimpses of inspirational rebbes and awe-inspiring rabbis. These translations breathe new life into the unforgettable worlds of Yiddish literature.

Author Notes

Sholom Aleichem (Hebrew greeting meaning "Peace be unto you!") was born near Pereyaslav, Ukraine, and settled in the United States two years before his death. The most popular and beloved of all Yiddish writers, he wrote with humor and tenderness about the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe and won the title "the Jewish Mark Twain".

One of his creations, Tevye the Dairyman, has become world famous, thanks to the highly successful Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, which is based on Sholom Aleichem's Tevye stories. Although he also wrote plays and novels, it is for his short stories and his humorous monologues that Sholom Aleichem is best remembered.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Frieden (classic Yiddish fiction, Syracuse Univ.) showcases to superb effect the short fiction of Yiddish writing's three early masters. This anthology conveys the complex culture, difficult conditions, and rich spiritual lives of eastern European Jews in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the tales are selections from Sholem Aleichem's Tevye stories and I.L. Peretz's Hasidic stories. S.Y. Abramovitsh's "The Little Man" speaks in a passionate voice against materialism, corruption, and cynicism, while Aleichem's "Hodel" and "Chava" portray the problems of revolutionary life and intermarriage. Then there's Peretz's "The Shtrayml," which depicts a religion without spirit. A running theme is the struggle between the Hasidim and their opponents; the poverty and despair of the time are always present. However, the joys of love, charity, and devotion are strongly shown in Abramovitsh's "Fishke the Lame," Aleichem's "Joseph," and Peretz's "The Rebbe's Pipe." Especially noteworthy are the first translations of authors' memoirs by their contemporaries, which conclude the book. Frieden has done an excellent editing job, and the translators deserve applause for their meticulous work. Highly recommended for Jewish studies collections.-Gene Shaw, NYPL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.