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Luaḥ Aḥi’asaf

Hebrew literary annual, published in Warsaw in 1893–1904 and 1923. Founded by the Aḥi’asaf publishing company, Luaḥ Aḥi’asaf (Aḥi’asaf Calendar [Almanac]) was under the patronage and influence of Ahad Ha-Am. Produced each year shortly before the beginning of the Jewish New Year, the publication was a cross between a journal and a literary anthology. Along with its practical sections (calendars, useful information, advertisements, etc.), most of each volume was taken up by a diverse literary section that included fiction, poetry, discussions of current affairs, reviews, literary essays, and biographies.

The first three volumes of Luaḥ Aḥi’asaf were edited anonymously by Ben-Avigdor (Avraham Leib Shalkovich), one of the publishing company’s directors; subsequent volumes each had a different editor, including Mosheh Leib Lilienblum, Re’uven Brainin, Avraham Shalom Friedberg, Yosef Klausner, and also, apparently, David Frishman. Each editor left his personal imprint upon the volume to which he was assigned, and notwithstanding the publishing company’s ardent Zionist zeal, Luaḥ Aḥi’asaf was generally recognized for its pluralistic platform. It brought together writers of different generations, including, at one end of the spectrum, the last of the maskilic writers, and at the other end, young writers who had been born as late as the 1880s.

The chief crafters of early twentieth-century Hebrew literature, from Mendele Moykher-Sforim and Mikhah Yosef Berdyczewski through Ḥayim Naḥman Bialik and Sha’ul Tchernichowsky, had their works published in Luaḥ Aḥi’asaf, as did writers who were never heard of again. The first 12 volumes, published consecutively from 1893 to 1904, are a testament to the vitality of Hebrew literary life in Warsaw. In 1923, nearly 20 years after production had ceased, Yehoshu‘a Thon decided to restart the series. However, he was able to publish only one issue before it folded again.

Suggested Reading

Menuḥah Gilbo‘a, “Luaḥ aḥi’asaf,” in Leksikon ha-‘itonut ha-‘ivrit ba-me’ot ha-shemoneh ‘esreh veha-tesha‘ ‘esreh, pp. 374–378 (Tel Aviv, 1992); Shulamit Shelḥav, “Mi-Kavanot le-ma‘asim: Perek ri’shon be-toldot ha-molut ha-‘ivrit ha-ḥilonit ha-modernit” (M.A. thesis, Tel Aviv University, 1994).



Translated from Hebrew by David Fachler