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Asher Reich

REICH, ASHER (1937– ), Hebrew writer. Reich was born in Jerusalem, grew up in the ultra-Orthodox milieu of Me'ah She'arim and was educated in religious schools. At 18 he defied the norms of his surroundings and joined the army, and later studied philosophy and literature at the Hebrew University. His first collection of poems, Ha-Shanah ha-Shevi'it ("The Seventh Year") appeared in 1963. It was followed by a dozen collections, including Mareh Makom (1978), Seder Shirim ("Collection of Poems," 1986), Uvdot Bidyoniyyot ("Fictional Evidence," 1993) and Penei ha-Areẓ ("A View of the Land," 1999). Reich's protest poems set up a mirror to the changes in Israeli society and mentality. Other poems are of a personal nature, contemplating love and loss and relating with poignant, sensual images to nature and landscape in Israel and in Europe. Particularly striking is his rich language, a poetic idiom which interweaves the language of the Scriptures and various Jewish sources with modern, colloquial Hebrew. Reich, who was for eight years co-editor of Moznayim, the magazine of the Hebrew Writers Association, participated in the International Writing Program at Iowa University and received several awards, including The Bernstein Prize. His autobiographical novel Zikhronot shel Ḥoleh Shikheḥah ("Reminiscences of an Amnesiac," 1993) tells the story of poet Yeshayahu Sonnenfeld, against the background of Berlin after the Unification and Tel Aviv under the threat of Saddam Hussein's SCUDS. The oxymoronic title points to the complex theme which underlies the novel, namely the power of past experiences and the inability to suppress painful memories. A collection of stories Ish im Kelev ("Man with Dog") appeared in 1999. Individual poems have been translated into various languages. Three of his collections as well as the novel were published in German. For further information see the ITHL website at


Z. Shamir, in: Maariv (August 1, 1980); Sh. Levo, "Al Seder ve-al Dimyon," in: Yedioth Aḥaronoth (January 2, 1981); Sh. Avneri, in: Al ha-Mishmar (January 16, 1981); idem, "He'arot le-Shirato shel A. Reich," in: Moznayim, 51:6 (1981), 445–448; J. Hessing, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (May 2, 2001); N. Carmel-Yonatan, Ha-Shir hu Zikkaron, in: Yedioth Aḥaronoth (March 9, 1984); B. Spoerri, in: Juedische Allgemeine, 15 (July 17, 2003).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.