||Boruch Rivkin (pseudonym of Baruch Abraham Weinryb; 1883–1945), Yiddish literary critic and essayist. Born in a Latvian village, Rivkin became involved in the revolutionary activities of the Bund, suffered a year's imprisonment in 1904, and fled to Switzerland, where he was active in anarchist circles and published his first pamphlet in Russian. Only after reaching London, in 1911, did he begin to write in Yiddish. A year later he went to the U.S. and was invited by the poet A. Reisen, who had just founded the weekly Dos Naye Land, to write for the paper. He was coeditor of this weekly's successor, Di Literarishe Velt and also assisted A. Liessin in editing Zukunft. From 1917 to 1919, and again from 1940 to 1945, he was on the staff of the New York Yiddish daily, The Day.
After his death his wife, the poet Mina Borda Rivkin, collected and published his essays in six volumes, which included A Gloyben far Umgloybike ("A Religion for the Irreligious," 1947); Yidishe Dikhter in Amerike ("American Yiddish Poets," 1947); Grunt-Tendentsn fun der Yidisher Literature in Amerike ("Main Trends in American Yiddish Literature," 1948); and Undzere Prozaiker ("Our Prose Writers," 1951).
Rivkin is primarily a literary critic who holds that religion and art are identical and that divine truth emanates from imaginative creation. Hence, Torah is art and Jewish holidays are theatrical embodiments of a drama of redemption. The Jewish man of letters can ennoble the Jewish people and direct its energies to messianic goals. Messianism and spiritualism were two of Rivkin's main concerns. He was not a disciplined thinker but rather a passionate, dynamic critic who probed deeply into literary works, occasionally emerging with flashes of original insight.
Illustrations by Max Weber (1881–1961), U.S. painter. Weber was born in Bialystok, Poland, and taken to New York at the age of ten. From 1905 to 1909 he worked and exhibited in Paris. He was a pupil of Henri Matisse and a close friend of Henri Rousseau. Back in New York, he arranged the first American Rousseau exhibition. Weber's work, highly controversial and often attacked by critics, was shown at avant-garde galleries but was unappreciated for many years. The artist had to support himself and his family by teaching, mainly at the Art Students League. His breakthrough finally came in 1948 with a comprehensive retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In the years to follow, he received many prizes and awards, and in 1955 was elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
His compositions grew bolder, more abstract, but without severing completely the link to nature. In sensuous, rich colors, geometrical patterns, they seemed to catch the dynamism of the metropolis. His subject matter included somber and melancholy landscapes with trees; well-arranged still lifes; plump and unseductive, yet disturbing, nudes; musicians; sweating workmen; and Orthodox Jews. Weber frequently stressed the dynamism of Jewish groups in action, using their eloquent hands to underline an argument, or dancing ecstatically in the shul. He was also a distinguished sculptor, whose three-dimensional work veers toward the abstract. He published Cubist Poems (1914), and Essays on Art (1916).