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Bialik in the Ghettos

Roskies, David G.

Great books were being sold for a song in the ghetto streets and later would be abandoned and recycled for toilet paper. A universal Jewish culture now lay in ruins. Yet a short list of titles might still appeal to those readers living within an unfolding situation of absolute extremity, readers who hungered for an accurate description of their own historical condition. How different were those fortunate Jews in Erets Israel, that tiny handful of Zionist youth who lived at the farthest possible remove from Bialik's poem. While they have been faulted for consistently misreading "Be'ir hahareigah" (Shapira 2005), the same poem was reread by the overwhelming majority of world Jewry, who saw themselves living inside the poem.

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Jewish Theological Seminary
Published Here
November 12, 2012