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June 25, 1965 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-06-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Vitality of Writing Lives On

A Look at Peretz's Life and Works

BY ISAAC FINKELSTEIN
This year marks 50 years since
the death of the beloved writer
and poet, Isaac Leibish Peretz.
Wherever Jews live, they commem-
orate his life and works.
Born in Zamosc, Poland, May 25,
1852 . . . he began to write in
Hebrew in 1877, his works con-
sisting of poems and short stories.
He also wrote in Polish and subse-
quently turned to Yiddish as the
medium of his art. In this he con-
tinued to the end of his life.
Peretz practiced law in his home
town sbetween the years of 1877
and 1887 and was disbarred for
political reasons. He also served
a short period in prison because of
his political views.
His first poem in Yiddish
"Monish," was published in 1888.
Modern Yiddish literature began
about the middle of the 13th Cen-
tury. Mendele Mother Sforim and
Sholem Aleichem, who came be-
fore him, laid the foundation of
realism, humor, and satire. They
described the reality of Jewish
life in Russia under the oppresive
conditions then existing. Their
characters were types from a cer-
tain social milieu.
When Peretz began to write
in Yiddish, he built a bridge be-
tween the existing Western liter-
ature and the Yiddish literature.
His poetry was written under the
influence and in the manner of
European writers. At the same
time, he retained his thematic
interest in Jewish life, idealism,
and tradition.
Already, in his first poem, "Mon-
ish," the verses and meters change
with the narrative of the poem and
the tempo of each event varies in
one form or another like a musical
score . . .
Peretz also wrote national and
lyric poetry. In one of his romantic
poems, he writes: "On your balcony
hang my eyes but they see you
not!" This style of writing was
new to the Jewish world.
The bulk of Peretz's work con-
sists of short stories, one-act plays
and several mystic and symbolic
dramas.
Peretz's style of writing is full
of dynamism, elasticity, sweet sen-
timentalism, sarcasm and satire.
He uses the conversational setting,
and sometimes his realism is
blended with the fantastic and his
concrete with the symbolic.
In the short story, "A Peaceful
Home" (Sholem Bayis), he de-
scribes a poor drayman, who barely
ekes out a living. He loves his wife
and appreciates her thriftiness in
the preparation of the Sabbath. In
the synagogue the rabbi describes
in vivid colors the Paradise which
the God-fearing will win, and the
punishment of Gehenna for the
sinners. The drayman asks the
rabbi how he, a simple, uneducated
Jew can attain Paradise. The rabbi
answers: "By doing good deeds he
will attain a seat in Paradise with
his wife as his footstool." This idea
disturbs the devoted drayman all
the way home. When he arrives,
he embraces his wife and exclaims:
"You will sit by my side in Para-
dise and God will have to • put up
with it!" Here is a realistic story
where love transcends the celes-
tial order of things . . .

Israeli Official Finishes
State Department Talks

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Moshe
Bittan, the recently appointed
head of the Israel foreign minis-
try's American division, has com-
pleted meetings with top State

Peretz achieved the highest
pinnacle of perfection in his
Hassidic stories and folk tales
(folkstimlich g e s chichten). It
these stories he unearths the
hidden currents of life which
gave the Jews strength through
their history in the Diaspora . .
Peretz wrote many poems and
short stories about the laboring
class. Of particular interest is the
poem "The Two Brothers" and the
one-act dramatic poem, "The Three
Seamstresses." Works of a larger
scope, dramatically, are "The
Golden Chain," with a messianic
message, and "At Night at the
Old Market Place."
In this last mentioned play,
Peretz succeeds in blending the
realistic with the mystic to give
symbolic meaning to the change
of time. Under the pale rays of
the moon the ghosts arise from
their graves at nightfall and each
speaks of his unfulfilled wishes
and unrealized dreams. The rhythm
of the play changes from tragic to
sad and from sad to the grotesque.
The works of Peretz are as vital
and meaningful today as when they
were first written. The message he
brings through his works is one
for all humanity. In this he is
universal.

Hartung Quotes
Arendt on Nazis'
Crime Law Views

"Crime Law and Society," pub-
lished by Wayne State University

Press, has been characterized by
its author, WSU Professor of So-
ciology Frank E. Hartung as "the
last dying cry of rationalism in an
irrational world."
He contrasts the theories of
crime and criminality and devotes
considerable attention to the psy-
chiatric and sociological elements

involved.
Offering the case of Adolf Eich-
mann as a compelling example of
the mental normality of a mur-
derer, Prof. Hartung, who also

quotes as evidence from the corn-
ments on the case by Dr. Hannah
Arendt, states:

"A more compelling example of
the mental normality of a mur-
derer is that of Adolf Eichmann.
The evidence produced at the Nur-
emburg trials showed that the
mass murders and cruelties com-
mitted by the Germans were not
for the utilitarian purpose only of
eliminating opposition to German
rule, but were part of a plan to
get rid of whole native popula-
tions. That evidence was in the
center of the trial of Eichmann in
Jerusalem. Hannah Arendt con-
cluded that the three judges of
the Israel court displayed con-
spicuous helplessness when con-
fronted with the task of under-

standing the criminal that they
had to judge. They refused to
accept the prosecutor's obviously
mistaken description of Eichmann
as being a perverted sadist. They
also refused to accept the incon-
sistent case presented by the
prosecutor. The latter wanted to
try Eichmann as the most ab-
normal monster the world had ever
seen and, at the same time, try
in him 'many like him,' and even
the whole Nazi movement and
anti-Semitism at large.' First, if
there are in fact, 'many' Eich-
manns and if Nazis and anti-Sem-
ites in general are also Eichmanns,
then the Ad•lpn Eichmann on
trial in the dock at Jerusalem

Department officials here. During could not be abnormal, no matter
his four-day visit in Washington, how monstrous. Second, it could

have been very comforting indeed
to believe Eichmann to be an ab-
normal monster, even though Is-
rael's case against him would have
Phillips Talbott and other high- collapsed under this belief. One
can hardly ask for the attention
ranking American officials.

Bittan conferred with Presidential
Special Ambassador W. Averell
Harriman, with Assistant Secre-
tary of State for the Near East

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of the entire world and gather
correspondents from all over the
earth merely to display an abnorm-

Jews in Basketball,
Baseball, Wrestling ,

Jewish Customs Delineated
in 'Emily Post's Etiquette'

By JESSE SILVER

(Copyright, 1965, JTA, Inc.)

Former Cleveland Indian third
baseman, Al Rosen, is once again
acting as a special batting coach
for his old team . . . Mike Epstein,
bonus rookie from the University
of California, has been slugging
the ball for the Baltimore Orioles.
Mike is a 6'3" 230-pound first base-
man. He hit .384 for his college
club last season. He toured Japan
during the Olympics with a squad
that played Japanese college
teams. He led that club in hitting
with a .371 average. He played
football at California and is a
lookalike for Mickey Mantle . . .
The Detroit Tigers catcher says of
Larry Sherry's chances of making
it as a starting pitcher, "He's got
the pitches to win. It's a question
of building himself up to go nine
filings" . . . Pitcher Al Koch is
getting another chance to stick
with the Washington Senators.
Koch was assigned to the Hawaii
roster during the winter. His re-
cord with Washington last season
was 3-10 . . . The old master Mel
Allen, has been signed to broadcast
Milwaukee Braves games for an
Atlanta, Ga., station. The Braves
are scheduled to move to Atlanta
next season. Mel had worked the
New York Yankee games for 26
years.
Steve Nisenson of Hofstra, by
way of Livingston, N.J., continues
to reap basketball honors. Steve
was named to the VPI little All-
America for the second straight
year. He was also named to the
ECAC all star squad. Nisenson is
considered to be Hofstra's finest
cage performer in the school's
quarter-century of basketball com-
petition. His coach thinks he could
make it in the pros. "You couldn't
use him full time," he says, "he
just isn't strong enough. But play
him for a little while and he'll get
you those dozen points" . . . Jeff
Neuman of the University of
Pennsylvania basketball squad was
among the top 10 in the nation
from the free throw line. He made
good on 112 out of 129 attempts for
an 86.8 average. Neuman from
Altoona, Pa., scored 388 points for
a 15.5 scoring average . . . Stan
Felsinger, of Columbia University,
wound up the basketball year by
leading his team in six offensive
departments. In 22 games he scor-
ed 451 points for a 20.5 average.
The six foot 1 inch guard also leads
the lions in field goals attempted
and scored, and free throws at-
tempted and scored. His team-
mate, Heil Farber, nosed Stan out
for field-goal percentage honors,
42.5 to 42.4. Farber finished the
year with an 18.8 average . . .
Tal Brody, of Illinois, was picked
to be on the All Big Ten basket-
ball first team.
At the Eastern Intercollegiate
Wrestling Association champion-
ships, held at Ithaca, N.Y. Mark
Scureman of Army wos runner-up
in the 147 pound class . . . Bruce
Jacobson of Pennsylvania took the
consolation title in the heavy-
weight class. . . . Coach Iry De-
koff's Columbia University team
won the three-weapon title of the
Intercollegiate Fencing Associa-
tion. It was Columbia's fifth three-

,

.

"Emily Post's Etiquette" will no
doubt always be among the lead-
Mg guides to usage practices and
to the usage of social traditions.
The 11th revised edition of "Eti-
quette," edited by Elizabeth L.
Post, published by Funk & Wag-
nalls (360 Lexington, N.Y. 17), is
a voluminous work. It touches on
all social subjects. It is a guide for
those planning weddings and all
types of celebrations.
To know how properly to plan
a dinner party, one would have
to turn to "Emily Post's Etiquette."
The large volume does much
more than that. It suggests how
to tip in restaurants, behavior
in public places, what to wear
and how to pack for an over-
seas trip, how to make family
life pleasant, how to use and
how to address greeting cards.
And it does much mare. It is a
guide for sports participation, it
suggests how to conduct meetings,
how to deliver a public address.
Furthermore, it has advice for
Jewish celebrants. It contains in-
formation about the naming of
newborn-babies, the brith milah
ceremony, and explains the pidyon
ha-ben for the first-born boys. Re-
ferring to the pidyon ha-ben tradi-
tion, the author states in evaluat-
ing the redemption practice:
"It became customary for a
Cohen (a-descendant of the priest-
ly tribe) to redeem the child from

dox and Reform Jewish Wed-
ings."
' It explains the use of the ChU-
pah, quotes from the service and
tells the difference between the
Orthodox and Reform practices.
"Emily Post's Etiquette" is valu-
able for young and old. It is a vast
collection of rules which could
well be called by the Hebrew term
derekh eretz, resort to the proper
ways of living, and to the accep-
table and respectable social prac-
tices.

Yiddish Education Parley
Urges Greater Welfare
Fund Aid to Schools

NEW YORK (JTA)—The fir
World Conference on Yiddish an •
Yiddish-Hebrew Education adopted
a resolution calling upon local
Jewish welfare funds throughout
the United States and Canada to
give greater support to Yiddish
and Yiddish-Hebrew schools in
their cities. About 180 delegates
from 10 countries . attended the
conference.

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up in the Jewish faith. The pidyon
ha-ben, consisting of a brief cere-
mony and a celebration, is held
in the home, informal notes of in-
vitation having been sent about ten

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• Continental Breakfast

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TO 8-2662

days previously to close friends
and relatives."

The new "Etiquette" volume
also devotes a page to "Ortho-

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42 PROOF

4/5 QUART

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SAM KOPPELMAN SAYS:

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weapon crown in Dekoff's 13 years

as coach. At the same meeting,
Howard Goodman of New York
University won his second indivi-
dual saber title. He won it for the
first time in 1963.
The women's singles tennis com-
petition at the Maccabiah Games
is shaping up as a top event. Three
possible finalists are: Julie Held-
man, seventh, ranked in the United
States; Maureen Schwartz, 19, the
Brazilian national champion for

the last three year's and Eva Dul-
dig De Jong of The Netherlands

and Australia, who is the defend-
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here for the construction of a new
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$1,500,000 wing by the Menorah
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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16—Friday, June 25, 1965
and Infirm in Brooklyn.

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