Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rachel Bluwstein's letters

Rachel Bluwstein, better know simply as Rachel, or if one must use a full name, Rachel Hamoshoreret, Rachel the Poetess, was born 112 years ago this week. She lived a short and tragic life, dying in 1931 at the age of 41, bereft of family and lonely. Yet she can easily claim to be the most important poet the Zionist project has produced, and one of the most famous of the members of the 2nd Aliya, the generation of pioneers who launched the State of Israel. David Ben Gurion is more famous yet - but then, he lived a long life and moved mountains; Rachel wrote wistful poems.

Although she had been dead 17 years by the time Israel was founded, and was never an official who produced documents which went into the archives, the ISA has a collection of her letters, written to a close friend, Shlomit Kalogai. Shlomit was the sister of Rachel Yanait, who then married Yitzchak ben Zvi, who went on to become the second president, and his papers ended up in the archives: archives often contain surprising things.

Over at our Hebrew-language blog Michal has put up a collection of Rachel's letters and writings. It even includes some observations about another Jewish woman of letters whose words have given her some immortality, Irene Nemirovsky. If you're able to read the Hebrew, we warmly recommend. If you don't, well, it's never too late...

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