80 Friday, March 21, 1980
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
A Veritable Treasure for Art Lovers
`Chagall by Chagall' Depicts Artist's Genius
And I, whom shall I kiss?
"Chagall by Chagall" is a very big book. It is a master-
I have to find someone. All the same, I can't kiss an old
ful addition to the vast collection of art books published by
woman, a bearded man.
Harry N. Abrams Inc.
I'm looking for some beauty or other.
The mere fact that
it is "Chagall by
"Chagall by Chagall" was edited by Charles Sorlier.
Chagall" gives em- He has chosen the passages that best describe the artist, as
phasis to the fact the artist himself has defined his work and recalled impor-
that one of the most tant incidents in his life.
Chagall was born in Vitebsk, Russia, and the shtetl
tists of the genera- background is evident in many of his works.
tions tells his own
Masterfully depicted in the Sorlier-edited book are the
story. And the fas- two eras, which are the five themes in the life and work of
cinating tale is im- Chagall. The first, of course, is Vitebsk, the shtetl, the
plemented by nearly native city, the people, the life that was inspired under the
250 of the artist's Jewish religious environment. The sad and narrow streets
creative efforts, in- of Vitebsk, its synagogue, inspired Chagall to state:
cluding 77 color
"My sad and joyous town! When I was little, I watched
you from my doorstep. Here I was born for the second time."
This is not only
The Paris of the avant-garde is the second scene of
the self-portrait of Chagall's artistic maturation, about which the artist said:
Marc Chagall. It is
In Russia my pictures were without light. Arriving in
an evaluative work France, I was struck by the iridescence of color, the play of
of the 93-year-old light. We came to Paris as though driven by fate."
artist who also is a
This becomes a serious theme, with excellently
poet of merit.
descriptive reflections about France and the Parisian
Abrams book con- atmosphere.
Love, the theater and the message of the Bible are the
tains a score of
Chagall's poems other three themes. Chagall states about the Bible and the
which he had writ- influence it has upon him and his work:
For me, painting the Bible is like a bouquet of flowers.
ten in French. There
is also a poem by The Bible for me is absolutely pure poetry."
Chagall in English, The Wedding," which follows:
The Chagall writings are translated in this volume by
I like the musicians at weddings, the sounds of their
polkas and waltzes.
I hurry there too and weep beside Mama
Chagall's "The Funeral"
I like to weep a little when the badchan, chanting in his
high voice cries out:
"Bride-to-be, bride-to-be, think a little of what awaits
What awaits you?
At these words, my head gently detaches itself from my
body and weeps somewhere near the kitchens where
they are preparing fish.
Stop crying. Enough already.
People blow their noses and up go whirling clouds of
confetti, little bits of paper of different colors.
Congratulations! Good luck!
Grandfathers and grandmothers, young girls and your
men, beggars and musicians, we all stamp our feet,
clap, and join hands.
We kiss, we sing, we dance, we go round in a circle.
Remarkable about the excellently edited "Chagall by
Chagall" is the extensive bibliography of four solid pages,
containing hundreds of references to the creative Chagall
career. Then there is the 24-page chronology, detailing
the nine decades in the life of the great artist. These factors
combine to make "Chagall by Chagall" a truly great book.
These figurines are from the scores of black-
and-white pen drawings by Chagall reproduced in
"Chagall by Chagall."
Primer Enriches UAHC Hebrew Program
Enhanced with an im- ter Bet was chosen to be
pressive volume issued to the first letter in the Bi-
assist those desiring to be- ble, Alef felt hurt at being
come knowledgeable in its left out. In the Midrash,
Hebrew learning program, Alef came before God
the Union of American He- and said: 'Why did you
brew Congregations has choose the second letter
published an unusually to be the first letter in the
serviceable book. "Alef-Bet Torah?' And God replied:
"Bet stands for Bayit, the
— a Hebrew Primer."
This noteworthy book is word for home, shelter to
based on the Hebrew al- the family, protection. I
phabet and it contains de- want the people of Israel to
finitive explanations, in- know that the Torah will
cluding appropriate para- give them shelter, that only
when they learn the Torah
For the study of Hebrew and understand what is
and a knowledge of tradi- right and what is wrong will
tions relating to the lan- they know how to get along
guage, one of the most fas- in the world.
" `Alef stood with its head
cinating stories relates to
the priority given in Jewish down, ashamed of having
tradition. This parable asked to be first. Then God
therefore is of immense said to Alef: I will make you
value in approaching the the first letter in the Ten
Alef-Bet and acquiring a Commandments: I am the
Lord thy God."
knowledge of Hebrew:
"When the Hebrew let-
Basic Word List
in 'My Dictionary'
JERUSALEM — Follow-
ing the great success of the
colored alef-bet poster
"Learn Hebrew, Tongue of
the Prophets, Language of
Today" (The Jewish News,
June 29, 1979, Page 1)
comes "My Dictionary," a
Hebrew-English 500 basic
word list using the same let-
ters as in the poster.
The dictionary is the first
to have been compiled from
different available fre-
quency lists (word-counts of
spoken and written He-
brew). Each page traces the
aleph-bet from ancient He-
brew to our day, features
the standard vocabulary of
the particular letter, gives a
list of words associated with
Jewish tradition and con-
cludes with a saying from
the sages starting with the
letter in question.
"Learn Hebrew" has a
spiral binding to permit
frequent usage. It pro-
vides a new Hebrew
learning-aid for all be-
ginners, both young and
The book is published by
Rolnik Publishers — Some-
thing Different, POB 17075,
Tel Aviv, and the Hebrew
Language Division cf
World Zionist Organiza-
Department for Education
and Culture inthe Diasr—va,
POB 92, Jerusalem.
is a charge.