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Sholem Aleichem: Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories

(Short Stories, 309 pp. Yiddish, 1894-1914; English translation, 1987)

Faced with a household of daughters to marry off, pogroms, expulsions, and the erosion of the traditional ways of the shtetl, why shouldn’t a poor dairyman complain?  Tevye relates his woes in monologues peppered with wry humor, homespun philosophy, and his celebrated use and misuse of Jewish texts.