Peretz or Perez, Isaac Loeb (both: pĕrˈĕts; lōbˈ) [key], 1852–1915, Jewish poet, novelist, playwright, and lawyer, b. Zamosc, Poland. A voice of the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, Peretz was often accused of radicalism and once imprisoned for his socialist activities. In his first writings he described the material poverty and spiritual riches of European Jews. His early work was written in Hebrew and most of his later work in Yiddish. All of his writings are imbued with a warm understanding of Jewish life. His finest work is contained in his highly imaginative and sympathetic Hasidic sketches, such as Stories and Pictures (1900–1901, tr. 1906). Selections from his works were published (1947) in Yiddish and English.
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