The New Hebrew Culture in Warsaw


well-known “ Odessa Style” ) , left its imprint on them . As is the case for such “ style ” terms , the concept of “ Warsaw Style ” or “ Poland Style ” cannot be clearly defined . It is best described by way of contrast with those features deemed typical of the competing Odessa Style : freedom and experimentation versus strict classicism ; formalistic openness versus the demand for “ sculpted ” formalism ; the emphasis placed on emotion and on the tempests of the character’s inner world versus a stress on description and mimetic realism ; the relatively broad use of modern Hebrew versus the “ synthetic ” Hebrew style , replete with references drawn mainly from the Rabbinic literature , that was considered to be the norm in Odessa ; a connection to modern , rebellious national thought ( Berdyczewski ) versus the Odessa’s association with the positivist Zionist thought of Ahad Ha-Am . Obviously , these characteristics correspond only approximately ( and at times even deceptively ) to the variegated literary output that developed in both Odessa and Warsaw . This literary flowering reached its peak in the first decade of the twentieth century . During this decade , not only did Hebrew literary publishing grow and branch out in additional directions . So did the Hebrew press , whose volume expanded , with a greater diversity of subjects . Newspapers such as Ha-Zofeh and Ha-Boker appeared , as well as weeklies and literary compilations such as Ha-Dor and Reshafim , edited by David Frischmann and [ Yeruham ] Fishel Lachower . The editorial board of Ha-Shiloah , the bastion of Odessa’s Ahad Ha-Am spirit , moved to Warsaw , bringing Hayyim Nahman Bialik with it , for one year , as editor of the monthly’s belletristic column . Furthermore , Hebrew educational undertakings came into being , along with new Hebrew-Zionist societies , which operated in the spirit of Herzlian and post-Herzlian Zionism . The poet and educator Samuel Leib Gordon , for example , was active in Warsaw . In 1901 he founded a modern boys ’ school , in which Hebrew was the language of instruction ; he published a literary weekly for children and youth ( Olam Katan - Small World ); and he undertook the preparation of his Bible commentary for students raised in the modern Hebrew culture . In 1909 Yitzhak Halperin founded the first Hebrew kindergarten , closely followed by Yitzhak Alterman , who founded such a kindergarten a year later , in 1910 . These kindergartens served the children of Hebrew and Zionist functionaries , such as the children of Yitzhak Gruenbaum , as well as the children of the educators themselves - Uriel Halperin ( later known as the poet Yonathan Ratosh ) and Nunke Alterman , to be renowned later as Nathan Alterman . Along with the activity in the kindergartens themselves , Froebelian courses ( seminars for kindergarten teachers , named after Friedrich Wilhelm Froebel , the theoretician of kindergarten-age education ) were given , in which the leading authors lectured in Hebrew . The courses were attended by young , Hebrew-speaking women , who came mainly from Lithuania and the Ukraine , such as the ( Yiddish ) poetess Kadia Molodowsky and Hana Rubina . It was there that Rubina met theater patron and director Benjamin Zemach and actor Menahem Gnessin , who came from the Land of Israel to visit his sick brother , author Uri Nissan Gnessin , who was living in Yitzhak Alterman’s home . A few years later , during the First World War , the three would establish the Habimah theater in Moscow . Rubina and other actors , however , had already revealed their talents in Warsaw in amateur performances during the prewar period ( on the other hand , the professional Yiddish theater , under the direction of Rachel Leah Kaminska , was already active in full force ) . Young music lovers came together in music classes or sang in the professional Ha-Zamir Hebrew choir , whose performances attracted the masses . Warsaw had a lively Jewish cultural and literary life in the pre-First World War period . Naturally , factions and animosities over literary issues were not lacking . The rivalry between Isaac Leib Peretz and his school ( Peretz was primarily a Yiddish author and the leader of Yiddish literature in Poland ) and David Frischmann

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