Programme of the Synagogue


Job: The Story of a Simple Man

Literary and Musical Evening

24 April 2014 at 18:00

People have always been asking themselves throughout the generations: How is it possible that there is so much suffering in the world? How can God, if there is one, allow it to happen? Even Mendel Singer, a modest teacher from Eastern Galicia, was destined to be horribly tortured. His torments were comparable to the testing Job by God in the Old Testament. Having been put through the acid test of life Mendel believed that God was punishing him: during World War I he lost two sons, his wife pined away with grief and his daughter went mad. And yet, a miracle happened almost at the last minute before Mendel was finally going to turn away from God.

In 1930, with the novel Job: The Story of a Simple Man, the then 36 -year-old Joseph Roth managed a breakthrough amongst the known and popular authors: with the book about the Mendel Singer’s family saga that tells about a Jewish family from Eastern Europe, emigrated to America, which met with an exceptional response and unexpected commercial success. Stefan Zweig wrote about it: “Job is more than a novel and legend; it is a pure, perfect poetic work, which is designed to outlast everything that we, his contemporaries, have created and written. In unity of construction, in depth of feeling, in purity, in the musicality of language, it can scarcely be surpassed.” The first Slovenian translation of this novel, which will be published by the Ebesede publishing house, is imminent. The writer and his work will be presented by Ana Jasmina Oseban, Faruk Dreca, and Vojko Vešligaj during a literary-musical evening, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the mass deportations of Jews from Prekmurje to the death camps.

Joseph Roth (1897-1939) was born in Brody, a little town in Eastern Galicia. He studied philosophy and German literature in Lvov and Vienna and worked as a journalist in Berlin and Vienna. Being a correspondent of the renowned newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung, he travelled to several European cities and proved to be a remarkable observer. Long before the rise of the Nazi regime he sensed a turnabout and described it in his novel The Spider’s Web (Das Spinnennetz, 1923). After Hitler took power he emigrated to France and settled down in Paris. His books were banned in Germany but like some of the other authors in exile he published in other countries, especially in the Netherlands. Political and financial difficulties were gradually followed by health and personal ones. In desperation he was increasingly becoming addicted to alcohol and eventually died in a hospital for the poor.

Ana Jasmina Oseban (1978) belongs to a younger generation of literary translators. She completed her studies of translation and interpretation at the Universities of Maribor and Graz. She works as a translator of modern prose and poetry, in particular from German. In 2013 she received the Radojka Vrančič Award for the best young translator of the year for her translation of the novel “Blumenberg” by Sibylle Lewitscharoff.

The clarinet player Faruk Dreca (1977) and the guitar player Vojko Vešligaj (1978) are both graduates from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, and are members of the established acoustic group Klezcoustic’s from Maribor. This is one of the few bands within Slovenia that play klezmer music in its purest form. After a few years of playing together and gaining plenty of stage experience, the group provides a comprehensive and distinctive repertoire that includes many of their own compositions.

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