FEATURED EBOOK

Lamed Shapiro (1878–1948) was the author of groundbreaking and controversial short stories, novellas, and essays. Himself a tragic figure, Shapiro led a life marked by frequent ocean crossings, alcoholism, and failed ventures, yet his writings are models of precision, psychological insight, and daring. Shapiro focuses intently on the nature of violence: the mob violence of pogroms committed against Jews; the traumatic aftereffects of rape, murder, and powerlessness; the murderous event that transforms the innocent child into witness and the rabbi’s son into agitator. Within a society on the move, Shapiro’s refugees from the shtetl and the traditional way of life are in desperate search of food, shelter, love, and things of beauty. Remarkably, and against all odds, they sometimes find what they are looking for. More often than not, the climax of their lives is an experience of ineffable terror.

This collection also reveals Lamed Shapiro as an American master. His writings depict the Old World struggling with the New, extremes of human behavior combined with the pursuit of normal happiness. Through the perceptions of a remarkable gallery of men, women, children—of even animals and plants—Shapiro successfully reclaimed the lost world of the shtetl as he negotiated East Broadway and the Bronx, Union Square, and vaudeville. Both in his life and in his unforgettable writings, Lamed Shapiro personifies the struggle of a modern Jewish artist in search of an always elusive home.

FEATURED AUTHOR

Sholem Aleichem

Sholem Aleichem

Sholem Aleichem, pseudonym of Solomon Rabinovitsh (1859–1916), was one of the preeminent classical writers of modern Yiddish literature. His literary pseudonym was derived from the Hebrew expression “shalom aleichem,” meaning “peace be with you.” He arrived in New York in 1906 (after barely escaping a pogrom the previous year) as the world’s most famous Yiddish writer. Attesting to his popularity in the New World, Aleichem’s funeral was among the largest New York had ever seen.

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Yale University Press & New Yiddish Library Authors

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    Selected by leading scholars and published by Yale University Press, The New Yiddish Library features both classic and undiscovered titles, with an emphasis on previously untranslated material. The New Yiddish Library is a joint project of the Fund for the Translation of Jewish Literature and the Yiddish Book Center.