Home  \  Authors  \  Authors  \ 

Mendele Mocher Sefarim

Mendele Mocher Seforim (Shalom Jacob Abramovitsch) (1835-1917) was born in Kapulye, Belorussia. He left his home town after his father`s death, at the age of thirteen, and wandered through Lithuania, studying at various yeshivot. From 1858 to 1869 he lived in Berdichev, a relatively large town with an intellectual Jewish circle. Here, with the financial support of his father-in-law, he was able to devote himself to secular learning, to writing and subsequently to publishing. He took an active part in public life: he founded a philanthropic association to help the poor and his Yiddish play, The Tax (1869), denounced the infamous meat-tax which fell heaviest upon the poor. The young Mendele demanded that contemporary Hebrew literature be actively involved in current problems of the Jewish community. He advocated teaching the sciences to the masses of Jews and claimed that people should be helped to attain a secular education in the spirit of the Haskalah. During those years Mendele wrote literary and social criticism and works of popular science in Hebrew, as well as Hebrew and Yiddish fiction. In the 1870s, Mendele devoted himself to the compilation and translation into Yiddish of traditional Jewish literature. At the same time he published the first version of his allegorical novel, The Nag (1873), and his allegorical poem, Yudel (1875). He also produced "practical literature" such as a calendar which included information in Yiddish on natural sciences and Jewish history, and a Yiddish translation of the regulations concerning compulsory service in the Russian Army. Although Mendele began writing in Yiddish for the practical purpose of reaching a larger reading public, he eventually came to regard his Yiddish works as possesing intrinsic artistic value in their own right. He wrote in both Hebrew and Yiddish throughout his career, writing predominantly in Yiddish. Writing in both languages resulted in interaction between his Hebrew and his Yiddish style. In 1881, Mendele was invited to serve as the principal of a new school established by the Odessa Jewish community. By this time his prestige as the "grandfather of Yiddish literature" was firmly established. But the Hebraic-Zionist atmosphere then prevalent in Odessa influenced him, and in 1886 he returned to writing Hebrew fiction. The pogroms of this era and the beginning of the Russian Revolution in 1905 drove him from Odessa, where he was the leader of a group of Jewish writers (Achad-Ha`am, Bialik, Dubnov), and he settled in Geneva. He returned to Odessa in 1908.            

Books Published in Hebrew
The Judgement of Truth, Vilna-Ram, 1860 [Mishpat Shalom]
About Judgement, Zhitomir-Szadaw, 1967 [Ayen Mishpat]            
Fathers and Sons, Odessa-Belinsohn, 1868 [Ha-Avot Ve Ha-Banim]
Benjamin the Third`s Travels, Odessa-Belinsohn, 1900 [Masaot Binyamin Ha-Shlishi]
Stories, Odessa-Ravnitzki, 1900 [Sipurim]
Mendele's Collected Work, Odessa-Anniversary Publications, 1912 [Col Kitvei Mendele Mocher Sefarim]
Mendele's Collected Work, Dvir, 1929 [Col Kitvei Mendeli Mocher Sefarim]
Two Short Srories & Autobiographical Notes, Xargol/ Modan, 2013 [Mendele Ha-Ivri]           

Books in Translation            
The Wishing Ring            
English: Syracuse, Syracuse University Press, 2003            

Benjamin the Third`s Travels            
German: Berlin, Schocken Verlag, 1937
French: Paris, Fasquelle, 1960; Paris, Austral, 1995; Saulxures, Circe, 1998
In the Bath-House  
French: Paris, Ed. du Cerf, 1996
Little Man            
Portuguese: Sao Paulo, Humanitas, 2012    

Mendele Mocher Sefarim

Books Published in Hebrew

Books in Translation

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is one of the 100 notable books of 2017 of the "New York Times".

Congratulations to Zeruya Shalev and Shifra Horn for receiving the 2017 Adei Wizo Prize.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award! The books on the longlist are selected by 400 libraries worldwide. Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library.
The second edition of the Letters of Israel festival will take place in Paris from September 8 to 18, 2017
After the success of its first edition, the Lettres d'Israël festival is gaining momentum, with an enriched program: meetings, conversations, readings , Theater, major authors and discoveries. Zeruya Shalev, Orly Castel-bloom, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Iris Argaman, and many more will participate. Click here for the full program:
Call for application: Artists in Residence Programme in Austria. Please note the deadline: September 18th, 2017.
In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery makes available 50 residencies to visual artists / art photographers / composers / video and media artists / writers / literary translators and arts and cultural educators in Vienna and Salzburg for the year 2018. For more details:
Yizhak Mayer: "Meet the Author" Event
Ambassador Yizhak Mayer, author of the moving book “Silent Letter” will hold a “meet the author” event in Netanya. For further info about the event: And for more details about the title click here:
ITHL director on Grossman's win
"Grossman winning is not only his own achievement, but the achievement of the Hebrew literature as a whole", - Nilli Cohen on the first Hebrew author to receive Man Booker International Prize. Click here for the full article in Hebrew.
Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
English edition of Yitzchak Mayer's amazing "Silent Letter" is about to come out with Mosaic Press. Learn more about the author's incredible life story on his brand new website.
MHL - New webzine starting soon!