Tuesday 16 NovemberSholom Aleichem was probably most successful of all the Jewish writers. He was certainly the most widely read and possibly the most famous writer in his own lifetime. His name was known across the world equally as well as that of Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare. He was proud of being known as the “Jewish Mark Twain”, the creator of Tevye the Milkman of “Fiddler on the Roof” fame.
He was the chronicler of Jewish life in the pale of Russia. Without his stories there would have been no record of the “shtetl” life of the Jewish people under the Tsar. He wrote only in Yiddish and his stories were eagerly consumed in their serialised form every Friday night as families sat round their sabbath table listening to his tales being read aloud.
His own story is as full of tragedy as those of his fictionalised heroes and heroines. A well-intentioned man who let a fortune slip through his fingers and made financial decisions that were ruinous both to him and his family.
He writes with great empathy of the human condition in the tradition of the great dramatists with a universal appeal that extends beyond the Jewish community.
Despite his significant success, he lived on the edge of poverty, forced to tour the world giving readings of his works to huge audiences whilst struggling with poor health that would eventually lead to his early death. He dies in exile in America, a country his heroes dreamed of, although he himself never really settled there.
This talk will trace his journey from obscurity to fame, rags to riches and riches to bankruptcy illustrated with images and readings from his stories and novels.
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Nov 16, 2021 07:30pm - 9:00pm