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March 2: Sholem Aleichem

Lawrence Bush
March 2, 2010

sa bobblehead dollThe best-known and best-loved Yiddish writer of all, Sholem Aleichem (pen-name of Solomon Rabinovich), was born on this date in 1859 (some sources say March 3rd). Sholem Aleichem wrote with shrewd humor and deep compassion, and gained a readership that spanned rich and poor, religious and free-thinking, intellectual and uneducated. His popularity was so great that he became a living legend, a culture hero and a fixture of Jewish life. Fans shouted requests for favorite stories at his readings, and families read him at home. His stories, plays, and novels have been translated into scores of languages, and millions of copies of his work have circulated around the world. Sholem Aleichem’s funeral cortege in New York City in 1916 was trailed by over a hundred thousand mourners.

“No matter how bad things get, you’ve got to go on living, even if it kills you.” — Sholem Aleichem

Now available in the Pushcart, the first English translation of Mazl Tov, a one-act comedy by Sholem Aleichem.

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.