The People of the Book inthe World of Books isaRussian bimonthly publication for serious readers with Jewish interests. Our English website includes only thesummaries of thepublished articles. Toaccess the complete text of them, please visit the Russian version of this website.


June 2009

This issue of the magazine includes:

Sholem Aleichem Turns 150: Sholem Aleichem and Zionism

For decades, Soviet propagandists tried to create an ideology-driven image of Sholem Aleichem as a “true folk writer”—not a Marxist, but still a humanist and an internationalist whose progressive works contributed to the “revolutionary education” of the Jewish working people. Of course, this heavily constructed image also included an anti-Zionist dimension. Propaganda portrayed the writer who “rejected Hebrew, the language of religious cult and Zionist-minded bourgeoisie,” as a permanent enemy of “rabid Zionists.” In reality, Sholem Aleichem participated in the Hovevei Zion movement in his youth. Later, he expressed enthusiasm for Theodor Herzl’s ideas, published a few Zionist pamphlets and even a “Zionist” novel, and participated in a Zionist congress. Generally, his attitude toward Zionism can be described as ambivalent, a mixture of sympathy and skepticism. While in some periods of his life skepticism prevailed, his keen interest in the movement never abated. This magazine publishes in Russian translation Sholem Aleichem’s little-known satirical article, Doctors in Consultation, about the imbroglio in the Zionist movement in 1903.

• New dimensions: Kinojudaica in Toulouse—Jewish History in the Context of Russian Cinema

The article provides a detailed overview of Kinojudaica, a symposium that was organized by the Toulouse Cinémathèque in March 2009. The object of the symposium was to explore the relationship between the great cycles of Russian and Soviet Jewish history and their representations in film.

• Response: Old Tricks of the New World Literary Monthly

Once again, the works of Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008) and his attitude toward the “Jewish question” in Russia have become the subject of a bitter dispute. This magazine now presents a strong polemical response to a remark published in the Moscow-based literary monthly Novyi mir (New World).

• Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: July–August 2009

• Bibliography: 60 New Books