The EMG publishing house is pleased to present the first volume of the new series: the Israeli youth novel titled „Class Alef” by Esther Streit-Wurzel.
The position reached by Esther Streit-Wurzel (1932-2013) in Israeli literature for youth can be compared to the position of Hanna Ożogowska, Adam Bahdaj, Edmund Niziurski or Małgorzata Musierowicz. However, this comparison does not reflect the whole truth. Indeed, while several well-known names can be added to the above list of Polish writers for young people, Ester Streit-Wurzel is an exceptional phenomenon in Israeli writing. In a national plebiscite organized in 2008, her book Alef Class among hundreds of songs by great writers won the first place as the most „Israeli novel” that emerged during the sixty years of the existence of the State of Israel.
Esther Streit-Wurzel was born on July 25, 1932 in Petach Tikva, she died there on December 7, 2013. Her family roots also reach to Krakow. She was loved by a huge group of readers. In fact, there was no one in Israel who did not know her books. Thousands of people came to the writer’s funeral.
In her work, Streit-Wurzel drew on various subjects, from the Jewish fate during the Holocaust, through illegal emigration to Palestine and the liberation war of 1948, to issues related to emigration and acclimatization in Israel. Her books featured various topics, including issues related to the dilemmas of growing up, relationships with parents or first love, all woven into a fascinating story.
The Alef Class action begins at the end of summer. Roni Metzger arrives at Ganot. The boy wants to start his education at the agricultural technical school, but also to escape from his home in Tel Aviv, which after the death of his mother is no longer the same as it used to be. Ganot is a small world seen from the perspective of teenagers who suddenly find themselves in a new situation and want to solve smaller and larger problems, both practical and emotional. In the opinion of Chana – the charismatic headmistress of the school – they succeed, though not without mishaps. Alef class heroes learn to live in this small community, make friends, fall in love, but also get into real trouble.
Esther Streit-Wurzel teaches that there are values for which it is worth rebelling and making risky decisions. It is a story of love, death, longing, loneliness and joy, that thanks to friendship you can overcome sadness and see something beyond yourself: a complicated and teenage being. It is also an extraordinary journey to beautiful Israel with its fascinating wilderness – to the desert, to orange and eucalyptus groves – and to learn about Jewish holidays and that solidarity is one of the most valued features in this community.
As part of the new series of EMG Publishing, which Alef Class opens, social and moral novels intended for both older youth and adults will be published. The authors of the books are foreign creators, because the purpose of this publishing project is to provide young Polish readers with knowledge and tools to understand other cultures, to learn about their peers from other countries, to understand differentness. The EMG publishing house puts a special emphasis on the literature of „small languages” in this series.
Alef’s class, a novel from 1982, does not lose its relevance and has recently been screened in the form of a multi-seasonal series, beating records in Israel.
Series: With head, volume I
Translation: Michał Sobelman, Joanna Stöcker-Sobelman
EMG Publishers, Krakow 2018
Paperback with wings
Price: PLN 39.00
Premiere: November 13, 2018
Krakow Festival Office
Embassy of Israel in Warsaw
Jewish Religious Community in Krakow
Levy & Wright
Porwisz and partners