Basman ben-Hayim, Rivke

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BASMAN BEN-HAYIM, RIVKE (1925– ), Yiddish poet. One of the leading Yiddish poets of the post-Holocaust period, she was born in Vilkomir (Lithuania) and survived the Vilna Ghettto and the forced labor camps of World War ii. In 1947 she immigrated to Palestine and participated in the War of Independence. After training as a teacher, she studied literature at Columbia University in New York and was a co-founder of the literary movement Yung Yisroel. Her poetry, which problematizes the tensions between an annihilated world and a new homeland, attempts to come to terms lyrically with the Holocaust while affirming life in all its manifestations. A sober poetic style and a boldly visual lexical metonymy express great sensitivity, quiet joy, and restrained sorrow. The poems on the death of her husband (Mulah ben Hayim) are elegiac and pantheistic. Her book publications include: Toybn baym brunem ("Doves at the Well," 1959), Bleter fun vegn ("Leaves on Paths," 1967), Likhtike shteyner ("Glittering Stones," 1972), Tseshotene kreln ("Scattered Pearls," 1982), Onrirn di tsayt ("Touching Time," 1988), Di shtilkeyt brent ("Burning Silence," 1992), Di erd gedenkt ("The Earth Remembers," 1998), and Oyf a strune fun regn ("On a String of Rain," 2002).


I. Fater, in: Nusakh Ashkenaz in Vort un Klang (2002), 66–70; A. Spiegelblatt, in: Toplpunkt, 8 (2004), 11–14; Z. Kahan-Newman, in: J. Sherman (ed.). Yiddish after the Holocaust (2004), 266–85.

[Astrid Starck (2nd ed.)]