Bar-Yosef (Zenwirth), Yehoshua

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BAR-YOSEF (Zenwirth), YEHOSHUA (1912–1992), Israeli novelist and playwright. Bar-Yosef was born in Safed and studied in yeshivot in Transylvania and Jerusalem. Bar-Yosef realistically describes the world of the old yishuv, the pre-Zionist Jewish settlers in Ereẓ Israel. His trilogy Ir Kesumah ("Enchanted City," 1949) is set in Safed. Bar-Yosef views life as a constant battle between the spiritual and the temporal, the Will to Evil and the Will to Good, the sacred and the profane. Bar-Yosef 's plays Be-Simta'ot Yerushalayim ("In the Alleys of Jerusalem") and Shomerei ha-Ḥomot ("Guardians of the City Walls") were produced at the Ohel Theater. While his early work is graphically realistic, he later showed a tendency to symbolism. Recipient of the Bialik Prize (1984), his late works include the novels Ha-Dag ve-ha-Yonah ("The Fish and the Dove," 1989), Utopi'ah be-Kaḥol Lavan ("Utopia in Blue and White," 1990), and Gevilim u-Besarim ("Parchment and Flesh," 1993). Bar-Yosef 's memoirs, Bein Ẓefat li-Yerushalayim, were published in 1972.

His son yosef (1933– ) received an Orthodox education and later studied Jewish philosophy, Kabbalah, and English literature. He began publishing in 1962 and after the success of his play Tura (1963), which dealt with problems of an Oriental family's integration into Israeli society, he continued to focus on playwriting. Among his plays, many of which were staged in Russia, Poland, Brazil, and Great Britain, are Ha-Pardes ("The Orchard," 1986), Anashim Kashim ("Difficult People," 1973) and Ḥagigat Ḥoref ("Winter Feast," 1992). An English translation of "Difficult People" is included in the volume Modern Israeli Drama in Translation (edited by M. Taub).


S. Kremer, Ḥillufei Mishmarot (1959), 218–22. add. bibliography: B. Rubinstein, Ha-Nistar ba-Nigleh: TashtiyotKabbaliyot bi-Yeẓirot shel Yehoshua Bar-Yosef ve-Yiẓḥak Bashevis-Singer (1994); idem, Ḥedvat ha-Ḥayyim mul Ḥedvat ha-Mavet (1999); G. Shaked, Ha-Sipporet ha-Ivrit, 2 (1983), 338–51; B. Rubinstein, Hashpa'atam shel Gogol ve-Chekhov al ha-Iẓuv ha-Komi be-Maḥaẓotav shel Yosef Bar-Yosef (1977).

[Yitzhak Julius Taub /

Anat Feinberg (2nd ed.)]