Monday, April 04, 2005

The third Singer

One of the interesting sessions I went to at Limmud on Sunday concerned the life and works of Esther Kreitman -- elder sister of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Israel Joshua Singer, and apparently the inspiration for Yentl. She wasn't as lucky as Yentl, however -- she resented her father for never giving her a proper education and after being essentially rejected by her mother, was forced into an unhappy marriage with a man whose own son described him as a 'schlemiel.' Unlike Kreitman's brothers, who settled in the US, the Kreitmans settled in Belgium and later in the UK. There, Kreitman wrote two novels, the highly autobiographical -- and by all accounts rather miserable -- Der sheydim-tants (The Demon's Dance), available in English as Deborah, and the only slightly less autobiographical Brilyantyn (Diamonds), which will be published in English next month. She also wrote a collection of short stories, orginally published in 1950 as Yikhes, which was published in English last year as Blitz and other stories. She never was as famous as her younger brothers (although she never really got the chance they did to develop as a writer); from the excerpts that I heard, however, she is well worth checking out.
For more on Esther Kreitman, see here.

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