YIVO | Asch, SholemBorn in Poland in , he shot to fame in the s thanks to acclaimed productions of his early plays in Polish, German, and Russian translation. Join us for a weekend program of lectures, readings, and discussions about this remarkable body of work. Lecture 1: Becoming Sholem Asch By David Mazower From radical ex-yeshiva student to provocative dramatist, bestselling novelist, and embattled prophet, Sholem Asch carved out a unique place in Yiddish literature. Theater posters, stage stills, and a wide variety of other images will be combined with unseen photos from family albums, showing the private face of this most public figure. Many of his one-act and full-length plays are set in the shtetl as well. Registration closes October 28, but space is limited, so early registration is advised.
Sholem Asch's Work
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This kit provides resources to help teachers tell the story of this play, its uniquely fraught production history, and its historical significance. Lead actor Rudolph Schildkraut, a renowned performer from Austria, stands fourth from the left, in the front; the producer Harry Weinberger stands second from the right; and the playwright, Sholem Asch, is at the extreme right. Yekel owns the brothel underneath the family's home, and Sarah formerly worked as a sex-worker herself, before her marriage to Yekel. Alternately, for teachers with more time to devote to this topic, they may read the entire play, freely available in English translation on Google Books and in the original Yiddish here , digitized by the Yiddish Book Center. Then have students read the scene silently and write down their initial impressions of the characters.
Sholem Asch also written Shalom Ash, was a Polish-Jewish novelist, dramatist, and essayist in Asch's reputation was established in with his first book of stories, In a shlekhter tsayt (In a Bad Time). Set in a brothel, the play includes Jewish prostitutes, a lesbian scene, and the hurling of a Torah across the stage.
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Sholem Asch and his Christological Works
Since his parents disapproved of these secular studies, he moved in with relatives in a nearby village, where he became a Torah instructor and for the first time encountered the lives of Polish peasants. Stimulated by his wide reading in European literature, Asch began writing himself, and in traveled to Warsaw where he received encouragement from Y. Peretz and his advice to work only in Yiddish. These early works reflected the poverty and deprivation the young Asch suffered in company with his Warsaw roommates, fellow writers Avrom Reyzen — and Hersh Dovid Nomberg — Peretz assisted these young men where he could, and was able to gain exemption from military service for Asch. In , he serialized in Der fraynd the first of his major works, A shtetl; its idyllic tone of sensuous vitality immediately placed him in the vanguard of new Yiddish writers. In a time of violent change, Asch preferred to recreate what he saw as the certainties of a traditional Jewish way of life.