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Hebrew literary monthly, published in 1923–1924 in Poland. Kolot (Voices) was established by the writer Eli‘ezer Steinman in Warsaw, where he had arrived as a refugee from Ukraine in 1920. The journal represented one of the boldest attempts to renew Hebrew literary activity in Poland after World War I, and as was true of the majority of other attempts, it was short-lived. The journal reflected its editor’s rebellious, modernist outlook and sought to provide an opportunity for individualistic, nonconformist voices to be heard, as a way of protesting against both the Zionist and the Hebrew literary establishment.

In 1923, Steinman’s blatant disregard of the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Ḥayim Naḥman Bialik, at which the poet’s literary heritage and personality were celebrated, epitomizes this attitude. In the tempestuous manifestos that Steinman published in Kolot, he declared his loyalty to the Hebrew word and his commitment to preserve the individuality of sensitive and exceptional writers. His words hinted at an ambition to establish an autonomous center of Hebrew literature in Poland that would compete with the much stronger and faster growing center in Palestine, and which would establish the Diaspora’s Hebrew cultural identity and legitimate right to exist.

Attempting to surround himself with young writers, Steinman was in fact able to attract some of the most well-known poets to Kolot, including Aharon (Arn) Zeitlin, Yokheved Bat-Miriam, Uri Tsevi Grinberg, Avigdor Hame’iri, Me’ir Tschudner, and Berl Pomerantz. Other contributors included veteran poets such as Ya‘akov Fichmann and Ya‘akov Cahan. Kolot printed fiction as well, including selections from writers such as Ḥayim Hazaz and Tsevi Zevulun Weinberg as well as from Steinman himself.

Kolot published only 11 editions and was forced to close down after barely a year. Nonetheless, its editorial guidelines and literary policies found a successor in Ketuvim (Writings)—Palestine’s weekly organ of literary modernism, edited by Steinman after he immigrated to Palestine in 1924.

Suggested Reading

Samuel Werses (Shemu’el Verses), “Kitve-‘et ‘ivriyim le-sifrut be-Polin ben shete milḥamot ha-‘olam,” in Ben shete milḥamot ‘olam: Perakim me-ḥaye ha-tarbut shel yehude Polin li-leshonotehem, ed. Samuel Werses and Chone Shmeruk, pp. 96–127 (Jerusalem, 1997).



Translated from Hebrew by David Fachler