Aleichem, Sholem

Aleichem, Sholem räbˌĭnôˈvĭts, rəbĭnˈəvĭts [key], 1859–1916, Yiddish author, b. Russia. One of the great Yiddish writers, he is best known for his humorous tales of life among the poverty-ridden and oppressed Russian Jews of the late 19th and early 20th cent., and has been acclaimed as the creator of modern Jewish humor and literature. His works include five novels, many plays, and some 300 short stories, often structured as folktales or monologues. English translations include The Adventures of Menahem-Mendl (1979), In the Storm (1984), and Tevya the Dairyman (1988), one of nine Tevya stories (1894–1916). In the last years of his life Sholem Aleichem lived in the United States; he died in New York City where, through his work, he helped to found the Yiddish Art Theater. Many of his works have been adapted for the stage, most notably the musical Fiddler on the Roof (1964). His autobiographical writings include From the Fair (1985).

See biography by J. Dauber (2013); studies by D. Miron (1973), V. Aarons (1985), and A. Solomon (2013); J. Dorman, dir, Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (documentary, 2011).

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