Today in Yiddishkayt… November 30
Birthday of I. J. Singer, Writer
Master of Yiddish fiction Israel Joshua Singer was born November 30, 1893 in Biłgoraj. The second child of three, his elder sister was writer Esther Kreitman and his younger brother was future Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer. In his late teens, he left his parents’ religious home to pursue his writing: first in Warsaw, then in Kiev and Moscow. In 1921 he returned to Poland to join the bold young writers group “di Khalyastre (the Gang),” and wrote for the American “Forverts.” He moved permanently to the U.S. in 1934 where he died in New York on Feb. 10, 1944.
I. J. Singer • י. י. זינגערhttp://yiddishkayt.org/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/1_singer.jpg
Born in Biłgoraj, Singer spent much of his childhood in the small town of Leoncin, not far from Warsaw. The contrasts between his fervently Hasidic father and his intellectual misnagdic mother would have a lasting influence not only on his writing, but on that of his siblings, as well. Singer began publishing short fiction in 1918. He joined the avant-garde young writers in Warsaw in the 1920s and worked writing for the American Forward before he finally settling in New York in 1934.
A Yeshiva Bokherhttp://yiddishkayt.org/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/2_youngsinger.jpg
Singer received a traditional Jewish education and the first stories he wrote were tales of Hasidic life in 1915 after making a full break with religious life. Here is a photograph of Singer at 17, after the family first moved to Warsaw.
Yoshe Kalb • יאָשע קאַלבhttp://yiddishkayt.org/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/3_yoshke.jpg
The culture of Hasidic Jewish life would remain a recurring theme in Singer's work. His most successful novel, "Yoshe Kalb," published in 1932 and its depiction of Polish Hasidism is highly negative. A stage adaptation by Maurice Schwartz was a huge hit in the U.S. and later in Poland. Pictured is the 1935 Warsaw stage production starring Jonas Tukow and Diana Blumenfeld.
The Brothers Singer • די ברידער זינגערhttp://yiddishkayt.org/wp-content/uploads/slideshow-gallery/4_singers.jpg
I.J. Singer was, in his day, an extremely successful writer and his works met with great critical acclaim. Among Yiddish readers, the name "Singer" mainly refers to this master of modern Yiddish prose. In translation, however, his brother Isaac Bashevis became the leading name and representative of Yiddish literature, though his worldview is in stark contrast to his brother's. Here are the two brothers, after Isaac's arrival in New York in 1935.
Share this with your friends:
Help Us Bring 12 Students to Europe this Summer
or Help Spread the Word!
follow us on twitter
@yiddishkayt Thank *you* for what you're doing.
@yiddishkayt nishto farvos
@elivalley a groysn dank, khaver! thanks so much for the support
@OccupyJudaism thank you so much for the support and for sharing