Aaron Zeitlin was a living cruse of sacred oil saved from the Holocaust. Wracked by guilt and despair for having survived by chance, Aaron Zeitlin, a Yiddish poet of religious intensity, reconfirmed his faith while memorializing Polish Jewry and his lost family. In Poems of the Holocaust and Poems of Faith, Morris Faierstein succeeds in bringing the reader closer to the unique vision and verse of Zeitlin’s afflicted existence. He masterfully illuminates the images and allusions, whether Talmudic, kabalistic or hasidic, that inform and enrich the poetry of Aaron Zeitlin. Faierstein chose the texts he translates with esthetic sensibility and brings across their delicate nuances of insight and emotional challenges. This volume throws open a wholly new area of Jewish poetry, a distinct spiritual perspective and a shared human expression of both the faith and grief of someone faced with the obliteration of his home, family and people. Seth L. Wolitz Gale Chair of Jewish Studies Professor of Comparative Literature University of Texas at Austin This edition of Aaron Zeitlin’s Poems of the Holocaust and Poems of Faith introduces the English reader to the work of this remarkable author who embodies the broad culture of Polish Jewry that was virtually annihilated during the Holocaust.
Morris Faierstein has done an admirable job in rendering Zeitlin’s rich poetry into moving and powerful English, supplemented with annotations to the rich palette of mystical, biblical and religious allusions that illuminate Zeitlin’s writing. This is a worthy introduction to the works of a prolific author who collaborated with his younger contemporary, Isaac Bashevis Singer. Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro Judaic Studies Department Brooklyn College of the City University of New York