Poems by Yehuda Halevi (eBook)

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Nextbook Press just published its first original e-book, collection of 35 poems by Yehuda Halevi in their original Hebrew, alongside masterful translations by renowned essayist, critic, and translator Hillel Halkin, who is the author of a biography of  Halevi for Nextbook Press. Each poem has been annotated by Halkin to offer brief commentary and context for a poet who could be intensely erotic, confessional, spiritual, and liturgical, often at the same time.

Designed by Scott Martin-Kosofsky, using a new Hebrew font revived from centuries ago, this digital poetry chapbook is available for free.

Yehuda Halevi was a Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher. He was born in Spain, either in Toledo or Tudela, in 1075 or 1086, and died shortly after arriving in the Land of Israel in 1141. Halevi is considered one of the greatest Hebrew poets, celebrated both for his religious and secular poems, many of which appear in present-day liturgy. His greatest philosophical work was The Kuzari.

The life-work of  Yehuda Halevi was devoted to poetry and philosophy. His poetry is usually classified under the headings “secular and religious,” or under “liturgical and non-liturgical.”  Such a division, however, can be only external; for the essential characteristic of  Judah’s poems is the expression of  a deeply-religious soul, which is the lofty key to which they are attuned.  Even in his drinking- and love-songs, an attentive reader may hear the vibrations of religion’s overtones.

Hillel Halkin is the author of  several books, including the New York Times bestselling Letters to an American-Jewish Friend: A Zionist Polemic and  Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel. He is a prominent translator of  Hebrew and Yiddish literature into English, including works of  S.Y. Agnon andA.B. Yehoshua. In 1987 he produced what has come to be the definitive translation of  Sholem Aleichem’s  Yiddish masterpiece Tevye the Dairyman, which, years earlier,  had been the basis for the hit Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof.

Halkin also writes political commentary on Israel.  His articles have been published in CommentaryThe New RepublicThe Jerusalem Post and other prominent publications. Under the pseudonym “Philologos,” he maintains a weekly column on Jewish languages in The Forward.

Click on the image below for a preview of  the e-book.

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Submit your email at Nextbook Press website and receive a Pdf of the chapbook to print out or read on PC, Mac, iPhone or iPad.

(via Nextbook Press)

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