Fun Facts Friday: Sholem Asch

November 1, 2013

Sholem Asch  (1 November, 1880 – 10 July, 1957) was born in Poland but is known for his writings in Yiddish. Mr. Asch wrote plays, essays as well as novels.

Fun Facts Friday Sholem Asch

  1. Sholem Asch also wrote as Shalom Asch or Shalom Ash
  2. He was born as Szalom Asz in Kutno, Poland and had 9 siblings
  3. For a time, Sholem supported himself writing letters for illiterate Jewish townspeople.
  4. Asch’s wife, Mathilde, was the daughter of Polish-Jewish writer M.M. Shapiro.
  5. At first Asch wrote in Hebrew, but later he switched to Yiddish.
  6. In 1908 Asch went to the Czernowitz Yiddish Language Conference, which holds significance because it was there that Yiddish was declared the national language of the Jewish people.
  7. In 1919, Asch wrote Kiddush –ha-Shem which is considered the earlist historical novel in modern Yiddish.
  8. Asch set his play, God of Vengeance, in a brothel. The play featured a lesbian relationship and the Broadway cast was promptly arrested and prosecuted on obscenity charges.
  9. Unlike many other writers, Asch was celebrated during his own lifetime and elected as honorary president of the Yiddish PEN Club (a worldwide associate of writers).
  10. In 1932 Asch was awarded the Polish Republic’s Polonia Restituta

Zohar – Man of la Book

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3 Comments

  • Sharon Henning November 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Years ago I read “The Apostle” by Sholem Asch. I didn’t realize he was Jewish. It did a great job depicting the life of St. Paul in historical fiction form. I need to read more of him.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book November 4, 2013 at 8:31 am

      Actually Asch got a lot of flack for writing The Nazarene, The Apostle, and Mary, which dealt with New Testament subjects.

  • Sharon Henning November 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    That probably sounds like a dumb thing to say. With a name like “Sholem Asch” I didn’t realize he was Jewish? My defense is that I was a teenager at the time.

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