Sholem Asch Museum

Rybak HouseBen Ari Museum
קישור לכתבה

The Sholem Asch Museum is a research center for the written word, offering contemporary theoretical and practical research. The former residence of writer Sholem Asch is part of the Museums of Bat Yam complex, joining the Ben-Ari Museum of Contemporary Art and the Ryback House.

During the 1950s, renowned Yiddish novelist and playwright Shalom Asch, whose writings were translated into numerous languages and garnered great success, lived in the house. Asch’s most famous work is the trilogy Farn Mabul (Before the Flood), translated as “Three Cities,” portraying the lives of the Jews before the Bolshevik Revolution in St. Petersburg, Warsaw and Moscow (1921-31). His best known plays are Got fun Nekomeh (God of Vengeance, 1907); Motke Ganev (Motke the Thief, 1916), and Kidush Hashem (Sanctification of [God’s] Name), 1919.

At the height of his literary success, Asch aroused huge controversy centering around taboo subjects of his novels. His interest in the lives of figures from the New Testament portrayed in his books The Nazarene (1939), The Apostle (1943) and Mary (1949) stemmed from his objective to bridge the dichotomy between religions, yet was perceived as heresy by many Jews.

Asch spent the last years of his life between Bat Yam and London, where his daughter Ruth lived. He passed away in London in 1957. Mathilde (Madzhe), Asch’s widow, donated the house to the city of Bat Yam with the objective of turning it into a museum and a center for culture and knowledge. The study, bedrooms and living rooms display Asch’s impressive collection of antique books, rare manuscripts, unique Judaica, and works by great modern masters such as Chagall, Pissarro, Modigliani and Kisling.

Inspired by Asch’s oeuvre and personality, the Shalom Asch Museums is a center for encounters between cultures, languages, religions and the arts.

Sholem Asch (left) with Shalom Aleichem. Courtesy of MoBY's archive

Book cover of East River, by Sholem Asch. Design: Yaakov Lichtenstein. Courtesy of MoBY's Archive