To the Editor:
I would like to thank Mr. Irving Howe for his intelligent and appreciative remarks concerning the writings of Sholom Aleichem (“Who Will Make Sholom Aleichem Available?” COMMENTARY, September 1952). Perhaps it is not too much to hope that Mr. Howe will one day delight us with a more detailed analysis of the life and works of the most widely read and beloved “father” of modern Yiddish literature, an inquiry that will rival in excellence his study of William Faulkner.
Mr. Howe and the many readers of COMMENTARY who like him regret the paucity of information concerning Yiddish writers, past and present, may be interested in learning that several outstanding centers of general education have in recent years begun to offer students an opportunity to become acquainted with the Yiddish-speaking East European world of tradition, devotion, and action which produced Sholom Aleichem as well as legions of other Jewish masters. Out of the five-year-old department for Yiddish language and literature at CCNY, and out of the recently organized Atran Foundation for Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Columbia University may well come the writers of dissertations concerning Sholom Aleichem and the compilers (as well as additional readers) of collections of Yiddish stories in English translation that Mr. Howe mentions as desirable. . . .
Bouquets to Mr. Howe and to COMMENTARY for recognizing this need and urging that it be met.
Joshua A. Fishman
Jewish Education Committee of New York New York City