March 2, 1859 – May 13, 1916
You may not realize this, mostly because you're not living 1890's Russia (trust us, on the whole it's for the best), but folk-writer Sholom Aleichem was actually known as "The Jewish Mark Twain" (Twain, for his part, was quoted as saying that he preferred to be known as "The American Sholom Aleichem").
What does the Jewish Mark Twain write about? Well, in Tevya Sawyer our young hero charges each of his friends a bright shiny sheckel to whitewash the fence for him. And, in a Connecticut Goy in King David's Court, our protagonist is able to show he is a wizard by baking a truly excellent challah. Sadly, Khukhleberry Finnstein is much the same, only instead of the "n" word they use the "k" one, and to be honest it's no less offensive.
OK, yeah, not so much. Mostly, what made Sholom so Twain-y was that they both had pseudonyms and wrote vaguely folksy stories about their people. Otherwise, they were two completely different writers, including the fact that Twain is practically a legend himself (he was on Star Trek: The Next Generation and everything!) and the only people who remember Sholom Aleichem are Russian Jews (all 12 of them).
But Sholom Aleichem did invent Tevya of Fiddler on the Roof fame. And Mark Twain never wrote a character who became the star of an all-time hit Broadway musical.
November 2, 2011