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Beyond the drama, tragedies, and emotions which are forcefully depicted in Shami's literary works, one senses a craving to indulge in a colorful rendition of the landscape, culture and ways of life of the native country of his youth - the frugal life in the villages and towns, in the hills and valleys of Judea, Samaria, the Jordan valley and the coastal plains, with rare excursions to the cities of Cairo and Damascus, and some flights of imagination to the vast Arab desert and its storehouse of legends - seemingly to capture a reality before it is being transformed and vanished.
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Shami died in Haifa, Israel, in 1949, at age sixty, shortly after the 1948 Israeli-Arab war. Today, fifty years later, the countryside is drastically transformed. But Palestinians and Israelis are still in confrontation - even in Hebron, the town of their common ancestors.
On the stormy waves of national strifes, may the stories of Yitzhaq Shami pour some soothing balm of human warmth for the inhabitants and the land on which they live - and share.About the Author:
Shami (1888-1949) grew up in Hebron, in a small Sephardic-Jewish community which, like other small Jewish communities in Palestine of that period, amidst the surrounding Arab population, led an orthodox religious life.
At seventeen, Shami studied at a teacher' seminary in Jerusalem, straying from his ancestral traditions. Later, along with some Sephardic intellectuals, he aligned himself with emancipated Ashkenazi pioneers who came from Eastern Europe with the Zionist vision to transform the Jewish economic and national life, to re-establish a homeland in the ancient Holy Land.
Earning his livelihood as an educator and teacher, specializing in Arabic language, literature and history, Shami taught in various villages and towns, the last one being on mount Carmel in Haifa.
He died in Haifa in 1949, at age sixty, shortly after the 1948 Israeli-Arab war, which established an independent Israel -- a vision for which he worked and aspired. But the partial destruction of the Arab texture of life in the wake of this war, and the appearance of Arab refugees caused him a lot of anguish in the last year of his life.
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Book Description Labyrinthos, Lancaster, CA, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: vg. Deluxe Limited first edition. 1/300. 4to. XXXVIII, 562 pp. on acid-free paper. Original red smyth-sewn clothbound with gold illustration on front cover and gold lettering on spine. Includes ribbon marker and matching slipcase. Twelfth volume in the "Sephardic Classical Library" series. The Sefer Ha-Yashar was first printed in Naples in 1522 and has often been reprinted thereafter. It is a Hebrew midrashic work popularly known as The Book of Jasher and it derives its name from the Sefer haYashar mentioned in the biblical books of Joshua and 2nd Samuel. The book covers biblical history from the creation of Adam and Eve to a summary of the initial Israelite conquest of Canaan (as told in the book of Judges). It contains references that correspond to biblical texts, including the reference to the sun and moon in Joshua and the reference to teaching the Sons of Judah to fight with the bow in 2nd Samuel. Using linguistic analysis, modern scholars have dated the work to the late medieval period. In addition to the Midrash and the Talmud, the author of the Sefer Ha-Yashar drew from Josippon and other medieval compilations. This critical edition is based on the oldest Ladino Sefer Ha-Yashar manuscript, which dates to the latter part of the 17th century. Includes a selected bibliography and a glossary. Introduction, Notes and Commentaries in English; text in romanized Ladino, facing Ladino in Hebrew characters. Binding and interior in fine condition. Seller Inventory # 41018