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February 18, 1983 - Image 72

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-02-18

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12 Friday, February 18, 1983


JPS Poetry Series Offers 71 - n New York' by Halpern

New York," the fifth volume
in the Jewish Poetry Series
sponsored by the Jewish
Publication Society, is the
first to present the work of a
Yiddish poet, Moyshe-Leyb
Halpern (1886-1932), re-
garded as one of the most
robust voices in American
Yiddish poetry.
Halpern emigrated to
New York from Eastern
Europe in 1908, where he
soon became a leading force
among the group of young
Yiddish poets who were
creating an innovative Yid-
dish poetry. During his first
years in America, he wrote

a large number and wide
variety of poems, which
were published in journals.
In 1919 he selected 95 titles
and ordered the chosen
works into "In New York,"
his first book of Yiddish
The present volume offers
a selection of poems from
that book, most of them in
English translation for the
first time, with facing Yid-
dish texts. Incorporating
about one-third of the origi-
nal, it includes the best of
Halpern's early effort and
seeks to maintain in the
selection a sense of the am-
bitious narrative that was

115 trV158,1

Halpern's intended design.
immigrant Jew's disillu-
By the early 20th Cen- sionment and loss of hope in
tury, Yiddish was finding America. The setting is
its full scope and power New York, a city depicted as
as a modern literature.
a symbolic place in which
Moyshe-Leyb Halpern the narrator contemplates,
soon emerged as one of • dreams, remembers and
its leading spirits, par- hopes. Here Halpern estab-
ticipating in the efforts of lished a new kind of narra-
the insurgent literary tive in Yiddish, combining
movement known as Di the didactic and folk-
Yunge (The Young). With element conventions of
the publication of "In Yiddish poetry with what
New York," his reputa-
he knew of American
tion was firmly estab- poetry, especially the per-
sonal voice and epic of Walt
An experimental verse Whitman.
narrative notable for its
The narrative proceeds by
thematic coherence, "In repeating versions of a story
New York" presents the in which a protagonist who

In the Golden Land

believes in an ideal con-
fronts the facts of the exter-
nal world, negating it. Hal-
pern retells this story both
on a large scale — in the five
sections of "In New York" —
and on a small scale — in
the discrete poems within
each section. Thus the voice
of one modern man repeats
the story of the eternal, rest-
less anxiety of the Jewish
people in exile. In this selec-
tion, this distinctive voice
reverberates anew.
The impressive character
of the great contributions to
Yiddish literature and to
poetry is evidenced in the

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—Mama, why, oh, why do you hold
That everything here is changed into gold,
That gold is made from iron and blood,
Night and day, from iron and blood?

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—My son, you cannot hide from a mother—
Mama finds out, mama feels, with a shudder:
You don't have enough meat or bread—
In the Golden Land you aren't properly fed.

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—Mama, does it come into your head,
That people here throw away bread?
That on an overgenerous earth,
Things may lose their golden worth?

— ?nem rt,

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—Mama, surely. you have heard
Of trains, that, racing under the earth,
Drag— us from bed at the break of dawn
And late at night bring us home again.

—Son, I don't know. It hurts deep and high.
Just yesterday when we said good-bye
You were healthy, young, and strong—
I need to see now that nothing's wrong.

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—I don't know, son, but my heart cries—
From here your face looks dark as the night
And your eyelids fall shut drowsily
Like the eyes of a man dying for sleep.

1 11

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—Mama, why do you suck my blood?
You're hurting me, and it does no good.
Why are you crying? Do you see at all
What I envision—a high dark wall?

—Why shouldn't I cry over you, my son?
God and mother both forgotten!
Now your own life is a wall that stands
Blocking your way in the Golden Land.

—Mama, you're right. We are far and gone.
A golden chain . . . and an iron chain .. .
For you, in heaven, a golden throne,
A gallows for me in the Golden Land.

Cartoonist Cited

Foundation of French
Judaism has awarded its
annual prize for distin-
guished service to culture to
Jewish cartoonist "Tim."
The 100,000 Franc
($15,000) presentation of
the award will take place
April 20.

• The translator of "In New
York," Kathryn Hellers-
tein, is an assistant profes-
sor of English at Wellesley
College. She holds a PhD
from Stanford University,
received for her doctoral
dissertation on Moyshe
Leyb Halpern, from which
this book is drawn.

Faction Squabbles Creating
Problems for Israel's Mafdal


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bilingual character of this
new JPS book. Among Hal-
pern's notable poems, re-
flecting the role of the im-
migrants, their new life in
New York, the Americani-
zation process, is "In the
Golden Land."

The Jewish News Special
IsrAel Correspondent

TEL AVIV — Yitzhak
Raffael, the son-in-law of
the late Mizrachi leader
Rabbi Jehuda Leib
Fishman (Rabbi Maimon),
has been for years one of the
outstanding leaders of fthe
Mafdal (National Religious
Party). He was a leading
member of the Jewish
Agency, Vice Minister for
Health and Minister for
Religious Affairs. In the
Mafdal he was the leader of
the Likud Wetmura group.
In 1977, on the eve of the
Knesset elections, the lead-
ers of the Young Guard, —
the present Minister for
Education Zevulun Ham-
mer, Vice Minister for
Foreign Affairs Dr. Yehuda
Ben-Meir and some mem-
bers of the Likud Wetmura
assembled in Tel Aviv and
decided to remove Raffael
from all his offices and to
omit his name from the list
of candidates for the Knes-
set elections.
They chose the former
Minister for Religious Af-
fairs, Ahron Abu Hatzeira
as new head of Likud Wet-
mura. Even the best friend
of Raffael, the former Knes-
set deputy David Glass, par-
ticipated in this act. Raffael
quit with deep regret and
abstained for many years
-from all party activities.
Four years ago the
Mafdal also put an end to
the parliamentary activi-
ties of Glass, who is a
legal expert and was
chairman of the
Judiciary Committee of
the Knesset.
Several weeks ago Glass
came to Raffael and asked to
make amends. He asked
Raffael to return to Likud
Wetmura. Raffael told him
he was ready, but does not
wish to hold any offices in
the party.
Raffael told reporters
that he was willing to re-
turn to party activity be-
cause its leadership had
caused the defeat in the last
Knesset elections two years
ago, when it lost half its
mandates. Now he wishes to
change the party leader-

Raffael has contacts with
the Lamifne group, led by
the Cabinet member Dr.
Yosef Burg, Knesset
member Abraham

Melamed, Raffael Ben-
Natan and Rabbi Moshe
Salomon, in order to get a
majority in the next inter-
nal elections of the National
Religious Party and try to
establish a coalition gov-
ernment with the Maarakh
(Labor Alignment).
Lately, some rabbis of
the Mafdal, like Rabbi
Yehuda Amital and
Rabbi Ahron. Lichtens-
tein, leaders of Yeshiva
Har Ezion, have opposed
the policy of the Mafdal
leadership in support of
Likud. and Gush
Emunim. They advocate
territorial compromises
in order to reach peace
with the Arab countries:
They say they prefer
more Jews in Israel than
more territories.
The Kibutz Hadati
movement is beginning to
oppose the policies of the
Mafdal leadership. They are
opposed to the radical opin-
ions of Knesset deputy
Rabbi Druckman and Gush
Emunim. They announced
that they would participate
in the internal elections of
the Mafdal only if the
Ministry for Internal Af-
fairs would control the elec-
tion procedure. They ac-
cused the party forgeries
-during the last election.
The Bnei Akiva move-
ment is also showing signs
of dissension and even Burg
and Ben-Meir have been
having problems with the
Gush Emunim.
In addition to these splits,
the Hasidic groups have
been sparring politically.
The Mafdal will have to
work hard to bring its house
to order before the next elec-

1983 Weizmann
Parley in Ariz.

NEW YORK — The 1983
National Weizmann Lead-
ership Conference, March
18-20 in Phoenix, will pro-
vide American and Cana-
dian supporters of I§rael's
Weizmann Institute of Sci-
ence with briefings by sci-
entists on its latest research
breakthroughs, newest
perspectives and growing
international impact.
The conference features a
program of five forums in-
cluding institute advances
in the battle against cancer,
high technology and genetic

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