Emet Prize Laureates

Dr. David Weinfeld


2019 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Culture and Art
In Field: Translation: Literature, Poetry

David Weinfeld

Jury Statement

“The EMET Prize is awarded to Dr. David Weinfeld for having positioned Polish poetry at Israeli poetry and culture’s center stage. Dr. Weinfeld’s exceptional literary talent, alongside his vast erudition, both Jewish and European, have turned his translations into literary works in their own right, as he elevated the profession of translation to the level of a perfect work of art.”

C.V.

Dr. David Weinfeld’s half-century of translation work exposed the Hebrew reader to the central poets of Polish poetry in the latter half of the twentieth century, including Nobel laureates Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska; Zbigniew Herbet, Adam Zagajewski and others. These writers presented in a universally admired way Poland’s historic and geographic condition; the moral crisis it underwent in the wake of the transition from the German occupation in World War II to the anti-communist resistance; and also – and at times mainly – the individual’s unsolvable and unending tribulations.

These translations included among others Szymborska’s Moment (2011), Milosz’s From the Rising of the Sun (1981), The Wormwood Star (1989) and Facing the River (1999), and Herbet’s Mr. Cogito (1984), Report from the Besieged City (1990), and Elegy for the Departure (1998).

In his sensitive, erudite, and crystal clear translation, Dr. Weinberg exposed Hebrew readers to these works, which were written during a pitched, and at times existential, ideational and political struggle.  This readership was also exposed through Dr. Weinfeld’s translations to the works of Israel Prize laureate Ida Fink, and to Meir Balaban’s research The History of Jews in Cracow and Kazimiria 1304-1868 (2002). 

Alongside his translation work, Dr. Weinfeld edited the poetry of David Avidan (with Anat Weissman) and Bar Pomeranz, and part of Peretz Smolenskin’s writings. In addition, he published studies of Uri Zvi Greenberg’s poetry, and the research Hebrew Poetry in Interwar Poland (Hebrew, 1997).  

Overall, Dr. Weinfled’s work as a translator, editor and researcher reflects exceptional erudition, both European and Jewish, and has positioned him as a central figure in Israel’s literary world.