By Yekhezkel Kotik
Originally released in Warsaw in 1913, this superbly written memoir deals a wide ranging description of the author's reports transforming into up in Kamieniec Litewski, a Polish shtetl attached with many very important occasions within the background of nineteenth-century japanese ecu Jewry. even if the lifestyle portrayed during this memoir has disappeared, the old, cultural, and folkoric fabric it comprises should be of significant curiosity to historians and basic readers alike.
Kotik's tale is the saga of a prosperous and influential relations via 4 generations. Masterfully interwoven during this story are colourful vignettes that includes Kotik's kin and acquaintances, together with rabbis and zaddikim, retailers and the terrible, hasidim and mitnaggedim, students and illiterates, believers and heretics, matchmakers and informers, and lecturers and musicians. tales of private heat and melancholy intermingle with descriptions of the increase and decline of Jewish communal associations and outlines or the relationships among Jews, Russian gurus, and varnish lords. Such occasions because the brutal decrees of Tsar Nicholas I, the abolishment of the Jewish communal board often called the Kahal, and the Polish revolts opposed to Russia are mirrored within the lives of those people.
The English variation contains a whole translation of the 1st quantity of memoirs and comprises notes elucidating phrases, names, and customs, in addition to bibliographical references to the examine literature. The booklet not just acquaints new readers with the expertise of a distinct storyteller but in addition offers a massive rfile of Jewish lifestyles in the course of a desirable era.
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Extra resources for Journey to a Nineteenth-Century Shtetl: The Memoirs of Yekhezkel Kotik
After all, we know that you are writing a second part! Amen! ” 61 “Life as It Was” 41 Kotik’s reply, completed on 23 January 1913, reached Sholem Aleichem a few days later. Kotik, stunned by the praise showered upon his book by the famed author, ﬁrst modestly replied that he felt Sholem Aleichem’s estimation and recognition excessive. Personally, he had not imagined that the memoirs of a simple Jew like himself could be of value, until on one occasion after relating some episodes from his life to his son and one of his son’s friends, they encouraged him to write.
What does he do? Write everything you know of him. Have you looked at this book? And what do you say? After all, you are a critic and have more expertise than I. I am not sure of myself. It seems to me that this is capital—is it possible that I am wrong? ” 58 It took Sholem Aleichem but two days to ﬁnish the book, according to his own testimony, reading nonstop and quickly penning a letter to Kotik (10–11 January 1913). This impressive letter, in which Sholem Aleichem doffed his hat to the memoirs’ author’s literary talent, was published by Kotik in the second edition of his memoirs and appears translated in full in this English edition as 40 “Life as It Was” well.
I hope that we will soon meet in Warsaw. The ‘world’ is working hard at it. My agent is banging on the walls for me there—May God help him. ” 88 Some two months later, Sholem Aleichem began his ﬁnal tour of Russia. His ﬁrst stop was in Warsaw in April 1914, where the Jewish public afforded him an admiring reception. Sholem Aleichem met with various Warsaw literary ﬁgures, and although we lack explicit proof, we can assume that the two met at this juncture. 89 Perhaps Sholem Aleichem was unable to avoid expressing his true opinion at this face-to-face meeting, and it may have been at his prompting that Kotik sent a copy of part three to Niger before submitting it to the press.