Professor Ruth Wisse praises Sholem Aleichem as the “greatest genius that Yiddish literature ever produced.” Aleichem was monumental in recasting and interpreting the Jewish people through his literature, creating an image of the Jewish people that they then internalized.
Professor Ruth Wisse speaks about Sholem Aleichem’s viciousness when writing about defectors from Judaism. Wisse recounts the stories “The Man from Buenos Aires,” and “The Tenth Man” as examples of Aleichem’s viciousness.
Professor Ruth Wisse argues that the story of Tevye is the closest to writing an autobiography that Sholem Aleichem ever came. Through the story, readers bear witness to the generational conflicts Jews faced through the experiences of Tevye’s daughters.