About this book
Salomea Perl published her short stories in the early 1900s in the Yiddish-language press. Translated here for the first time, they are poignant tales of now-vanished Eastern European Jewry before the first World W
Salomea Perl (1869–1916) was born in the town of Łomża (now Poland) and raised in the larger city of Lublin. After completing studies at the University of Geneva, she settled in Warsaw. Her Yiddish first stories were published n Yontev Bletlekh, the self-proclaimed radical magazine published by Y. L. Peretz, starting in 1895. Her seventh and final known Yiddish work was published in 1910.
“The publication here of all seven known stories by Salomea Perl is not only important because it marks the rediscovery of a forgotten Yiddish writer. It also allows us to consider her unsentimental portraits of a Jewish world in transition. Her stories reveal deep class divisions and the prevalence of Jewish poverty. She investigates how the religious values that guided everyday life often lacked compassion for lived experience. Perl explores the social and cultural ruptures caused by internal migration from small towns to big cities, and new manifestations of secular Jewish identity associated with modern life.
“At the same time, for every frayed relationship between a husband and wife or a daughter shunning her father, Perl’s fiction also reveals unassuming acts of self-sacrifice and modesty. For every abandonment of religious obligation in favor of the seductions of the secular-modern world there remain those who are content to carry on lives of relative simplicity.”
From the Introduction by Justin Cammy, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts