The New Hebrew Culture in Warsaw


( Voices , 1923-1924 ) , edited by Eliezer Steinman ; in Steinman’s early novels ( Sehor Sehor [ Roundabout ] , Ester Hayyot ); in the Hebrew poems of Uri Zevi Greenberg , written before their author immigrated to the Land of Israel ; and in the poems and plays of Mattityahu Shoham , the great Hebrew symbolist playwright . This recovery was , however , short-lived and deceptive , as shown by the speedy decline of Ha-Zofeh ; all efforts to keep it alive proved futile . Its demise in the 1920 s marked the death throes of the Hebrew daily press in Warsaw and all of Poland . The publishing houses were also quick to leave Warsaw , heading in different directions - to Weimar Berlin , New York , Tel Aviv . The decline of the publishing industry and the press led to the departure of the Hebrew intellectuals and writers who earned their livelihood from them . Most came to the Land of Israel in the mid-1920 s , where they re-established themselves . This does not mean that the Hebrew center in Poland as a whole , and especially its focal point in Warsaw , fell silent all at once . Its cultural reserves and inner strength prevented this from happening . A new circle of promising young Hebrew writers , foremost among them the highly talented expressionist poet Berl Pomerantz , appeared in Poland , particularly in the capital , in the 1930 s . This circle also included poet Aaron Zeitlin , a bilingual modernist who wrote , for the most part , in Yiddish ; Malkiel Lusternik from Lodz , who wrote in a lively , modern Hebrew style , akin to that used in the Land of Israel ; Moshe Basok , an activist in Hechalutz in Warsaw , who , upon his arrival in the Land of Israel , helped shape the style of “ poetry of the hityashvut ha-ovedet [ rural collective settlement ] . ” Some scholars and critics wrote in Hebrew ( Menachem Stein , who lectured on Hellenistic Jewish history and on medieval Jewish literature at Warsaw’s Institute for Jewish Studies ; classicist Benzion Benshalom , who also lectured at the Institute ) . Zionist activity continued in full force , through the efforts of both local activists and emissaries of the Zionist movement who came from the Land of Israel . Although the Zionist press of the time utilized Yiddish as its primary language , Zionist activity also generated pieces on current affairs in Hebrew , such as the brilliant political articles by Moshe Sneh . Literary and philosophical journals were established , such as Besakh ( 1932 ) , the monthly Reshit ( 1933 ) , and the quarterly Tehumim ( 1937-1938 ) , but most of them did not survive their first year of publication . All this activity , however , was fleeting , and carried with it a sense of marginality . Hebrew Warsaw , once the center , had now become the fringe . Those Hebrew writers and scholars who could leave did so . Others lived and acted with a clear understanding of their distance from the center of Hebrew cultural and literary activity , which had shifted from Eastern Europe to the Land of Israel . Most aspired to reach the Land of Israel , published their works in periodicals there , and adopted Israeli stylistic norms and the modern Hebrew pronunciation and accentuation . Zionist activity assumed that the Land of Israel and what happened there enjoyed primacy , while the Diaspora was secondary , unless it was able to find the human and economic resources needed to strengthen what was foremost . On the eve of the Second World War , or upon the outbreak of hostilities , the leading Hebrew functionaries , writers , and educators fled Warsaw and made their way to the Land of Israel . A few - such as Itzak Katzenelson and Berl Pomerantz - remained with the largest Jewish community in Europe and shared its bitter fate .

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