Joseph Opatoshu's Search for Yidishkayt
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Joseph Opatoshu's Search for Yidishkayt book
In 1922 the young American Yiddish writer Joseph Opatoshu was travelling back to Europe on the RMS Aquitania. Opatoshu's moment of meditation under the open sky in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean brings to mind both the biblical story of creation and Immanuel Kant's famous dictum. Yitzkhok Leybush Peretz's vision of yidishkayt as the 'golden chain' that connects generations of the Jewish people. The exact meaning of this concept escapes a precise definition, for it always contains 'something else', problematic issues that Opatoshu raises, but does not resolve, in his writings. The issue of yidishkayt in its manifold aspects, social, historical, religious, psychological, ideological, remained central for Opatoshu's writing during his entire literary career, which spanned for more than four decades. In 1914 Opatoshu broke up with Ignatov and started a new publication, Di naye heym (The New Home).