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 (09-010.21-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 479

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: January 5, 2009

Participants: Kaviner, Aba Davidovich. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Jeffrey Veidlinger.

Location recorded: Khmel'nyts'kyy, Khmel’nyts’ka Oblast', Ukraine

Language: Yiddish, Russian

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

This recording is a continuation of a formal interview with Aba Davidovich Kaviner (b. 1921, Derazhnya). (Part 2 of 2. See MDV 478)

Cities and towns mentioned on this tape: Medzhibozh, Derazhnya, Polonne.

00:00:00 This tape is a continuation of a formal interview with Aba Davidovich Kaviner (b. 1921, Derazhnya). He tells several stories about the Baal Shem Tov (Besht), his encounters with different figures and his ability to see into the future. Kaviner also speaks about the origins of the Besht’s grave, its condition during the war, and his own personal visit to the site a few years ago. Kaviner reports that his first time in Medzhibozh was in 1946, when he spent time after the war traveling around to the graves of various tsadikim (holy men).
00:13:45 Kaviner mentions how he met a number of Yiddish writers in his youth when they would visit his town.
00:17:05 Kaviner discusses the history of Reb Nakhmen of Bratslav and his works, which Kaviner views as purely “theoretical” in nature. He also recalls how he read tales about the Baal Shem Tov in the works of various Yiddish writers, including those, such as Isaac Bashevis Singer, that he read clandestinely in samizdat.
00:20:50 Kaviner shares his views and personal connections to the works of literary figures such as I. L. Peretz, Nakhmen Mayzl and others.
00:27:56 Speaking about writers and their gravesites, Kaviner recites a poem-epigraph from a writer’s gravestone. He also tells the story of Sholem Aleichem and Maksim Gorky’s first meeting, and speaks about his connection to Bialik and Shmuel Halkin. With Professor Kerler’s help, Kaviner is able to recite part of a poem by Halkin.
00:34:02 Kaviner comments on his health problems and the process of aging. He mentions how he burned the two novels he once wrote, and how he would try to write poetry, but is not confident he would have a wide readership.
00:39:02 Kaviner shows Professor Veidlinger different photos of recent life events, such as a meeting in Hesed (elderly welfare organization), a trip to Medzhibozh, and different moments with his grandson.
00:41:52 End of Recording.