In 1966, Shmuel Yosef (Shay) Agnon (1888-1970) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Agnon's writings deal with the conflict between traditional Jewish life and language, and the modern world. Agnon, a religious Jew, also attempted to capture the fading traditions of the European shtetl (village). Agnon was born in Ukraine, the son of an ordained rabbi. At age 20 he moved to Israel. In his speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony, Agnon spoke in Hebrew: "As a result of the historic catastrophe in which Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem and Israel was exiled from its land, I was born in one of the cities of the exile. But always I regarded myself as one who was born in Jerusalem." Today, Agnon's image is featured on the Israeli 50-shekel bills.
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