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David Frischmann

(1859 - 1922)

Known as a poet, short story writer, essayist, literary critic, and journalist, David Frischmann (b. Poland), has been acclaimed as one of modern Jewry's first major writers. At a young age he portrayed an interest and talent in writing. He first became a satirist, and then a short story writer, who dealt with such issues as the persistent theme of Jews coming into conflict with the mores of traditional Jewish society. Frischmann was noted to empathize with the sentiments that coincided with one trying to balance the values that stemmed from a traditional Jewish upbringing and the outside world.

A prime example is one of his pieces, Bar Midbar (1923). The work is a series of fictional biblical tales, which deals with the moral question that the Children of Israel came in contact with while they were wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. Throughout their journey they are depicted as being torn between their primitive lusts and habits and the new moral code that Moses is preaching to them. This piece was designed to address the conflict between religious faith and law, and man's natural instincts.

Frischmann was also an acclaimed literary critic, journalist, and editor and publisher. He spoke several languages and wrote in both Hebrew and Yiddish.

Although he never immigrated to Israel, he was able to visit twice, in 1911 and 1912.

Sources: Old Poetry