Sheds new light on forgotten aspects of the Hebrew-Yiddish culture clash
in the early decades of Zionist Palestine.
"To tell the story of loss is to create presence. This seems to be the cardinal rule behind Yael Chaver’s lovingly rendered world of Yiddish letters in the Yishuv. What Must Be Forgotten is a beautiful and important book, uncovering and resuscitating a part of Yishuv experience which was, as the author demonstrates, a more essential part of life than mainstream historiography would have us believe."
"This is a story worth telling, and Chaver may be the most qualified scholar in the world to tell it."
"This study sheds new, clear, and abundant light on various aspects of the Hebrew-Yiddish conflict in the Zionist Yishuv of Palestine and provides an instructive chapter in the historiography of Zionist culture. Original, insightful, and rigorous readings of the texts create a complex, innovative picture and reveal an alternative, complementary sphere of cultural creativity."
Chava Turniansky, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
"This book exhibits independent archival research of the most valuable kind, an ability to interpret the literary texts with fine attention to details of form and substance and without any sort of tendentiousness, a firm grasp of historical issues, and a subtle understanding of the complex relations between literature and ideology"
Robert Alter, author of Canon and Creativity
As Zionism took root in Palestine, European Yiddish was employed within a dominant Hebrew context. A complex relationship between cultural politics and Jewish writing ensued that paved the way for modern Israeli culture. This enlightening volume reveals a previously unrecognized, alternative literature that flourished vigorously without legitimacy. Significant examples discussed include ethnically ambiguous fiction of Zalmen Brokhes, minority-oriented works of Avrom Rivess, and culturally pluralistic poetry by Rikuda Potash. The remote locales of these writers, coupled with the exuberant expressiveness of Yiddish, led to unique perceptions of Zionist endeavors in the Yishuv.
Using rare archival material and personal interviews, What Must Be Forgotten unearths dimensions largely neglected in mainstream books on Yiddish and/or Hebrew studies.
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Yael Chaver is a professor of Yiddish in the Department of German at the University of California, Berkeley.
6 x 9, 254 pages, 10 black and white photographs, glossary, bibliography, notes, index