“Please tell him that I am the American Sholem Aleichem" (Mark Twain when he heard that Sholem Aleichem was referred to as the "Jewish Mark Twain")
2 March 1859: Today, 159 years ago, Sholem Aleichem was born as Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich near Kiev. One of the three most influential Yiddish authors of his time, he is probably best remembered for bringing life and times and culture of the Eastern European Jewish shtetl close to a Western audience.
|A volume of Sholem Aleichem stories in Yiddish, with the author's portrait and signature|
His stories about Tevye der milkhiker, Tevye the Milkman, were condensed into several plays and musicals, the most famous version was filmed in 1964 and became epigrammatic for Jewish life in Eastern Europe.
Sholem Aleichem's cordiality and sense of humour sometimes hide the fact of imminent tragic in his stories and bestow them with a depth that is quickly overlooked while appreciating the musicals' easy-going arrangements.