Poetry, life, and piercingly sad humor characteristic of wise men fill the pages of his books. “I don’t know how to write differently even if I wanted to become a ‘weeper,’” wrote the author of famous novels, stories, and plays Solomon Rabinovich, who entered the history of the world literature under the pen name of Sholem Aleichem (traditional Jewish greeting that means “peace be with you”). Classic of Yiddish literature, who also wrote in Hebrew and Russian, was born in Pereiaslav on March 2, 1859 and at the age of 15, inspired by Robinson Crusoe, he wrote his own version of the novel and decided to become a writer.
During his life Sholem Aleichem was often called a Kyiv writer. Indeed, in Kyiv, where he lived for almost 20 years, he wrote many chapters of Menahem-Mendl and Tevye the Dairyman: Tevye brings his products to the market of Kyiv Yehupets and the lifetime loser Menahem Mendl is selling air here. After traveling to Europe Sholem Aleichem wrote to his niece: “How pitifully now looks Kyiv after the dazzling Paris and after neat Berlin! And yet if I had to choose one of these three cities I would choose Kyiv, even though it’s not as fragrant and manicured.” The Jewish pogrom that broke out in Kyiv in the late 1905 made the writer leave the country forever, but even being far away from his favorite city he went on imaginary walks along its streets in his writings. The name of the famous Kyivite has been immortalized in the capital of Ukraine: there is Sholem Aleichem Street in Lisovy District, in 1997 a monument to the writer was installed on Rohnedynska Street (sculpture designed by Valerii Medvedev), and in 2009 Sholem Aleichem Museum was opened (5 Velyka Vasylkivska Street).
Literary and musical night “My Fire Burnt on Tevye’s Candles…” organized by Sholem Aleichem Kyiv Jewish Cultural and Educational Society will be held on March 14 in the hall of the National Union of Writers of Ukraine. The program that will be presented in Ukrainian, Russian, and Yiddish will combine funny and sad, history and the modern times, thoughts and voices of prominent personalities: Bohdan Stupka, Bel Kaufman, Solomon Mikhoels, Les Kurbas, as well as contemporary Ukrainian writers and bards. Poet Hryhorii Falkovych, Serhii Cherepanov, Ihor Zhuk, Yevhen Cherniakhovsky, Natalia Vysotska, Timur Bobrovsky, Inna Trufanova, Maryna and Michelle Falkovich will also participate in the event. And the writing of the young Sholem Aleichem will remind about another bright aspect of his talent. According to the director of the night Mykola Cherniavsky, “we are interested in Sholem Aleichem not as a museum item but the writer, whose characters can be seen around us every day, whose love to people echoes in our own creative work.”