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Songbook Recaptures Lost Melodies

By Alexander Gelfand

Heard any good Yiddish folksongs lately? Chances are good that the answer is “no.” Not because there aren’t any good Yiddish folksongs to be heard; for generations, the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe sang innumerable songs about love and loss, death and marriage. They sang to their children to soothe them to sleep, and they sang at work to relieve the drudgery of menial labor.Read More


Yiddishists: The Next Generation Takes the Reins

By Eli Rosenblatt

It’s been more than three quarters of a century since young intellectuals were voicing their Yiddish-inflected ideas in the parks, cafés and tenements of lower Manhattan. But the days of the Yiddish intelligentsia are still rolling for 24-year-old Menachem Yankl Ejdelman, who is the newly appointed leader of Yugntruf, a worldwide organization of young Yiddish speakers and learners. “We attract all types of people, from high-school students to young people with day jobs. Many of the people who come to our events love languages,” he said.Read More


The Water Carrier

Renowned scholar David G. Roskies is the Sol and Evelyn Henkind chair in Yiddish literature and culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary. The following excerpt is from his forthcoming memoir, “Yiddishlands” (Wayne State University Press). In the work, Roskies discusses his life and the life of his mother, and explores the Yiddish experience and historical events of the last century.Read More


Yiddish Comes to the Non-Hasidic Orthodox Classroom

By Rukhl Schaechter

In a brightly lit classroom, decorated with colorful posters and Hebrew lettering, the 24 second grade schoolgirls, dressed in crisp blue uniforms, listened as the young, modestly attired teacher reviewed the Genesis chapter in which God commands Abraham to leave his homeland.Read More


Symposium Seeks To Save Yiddish Dance

By Alexander Gelfand

Most academic symposia don’t offer a steady supply of cold beer and hot pirogi. Fewer still offer the chance to see Michael Alpert, frontman for the progressive klezmer band Brave Old World, dancing on a chair. The first-ever Yiddish Dance Symposium had both.Read More


Theater Company Reimagines Yiddish Stage

By Eli Rosenblatt

In 1946, a fictional memoir of a resistance fighter in the Warsaw Ghetto appeared in a Yiddish newspaper in Argentina. Titled “Yosl Rakover Talks to God,” the piece described the destruction of Jewish Warsaw in such sensitive detail that it was translated into a multitude of languages, propelling its Lithuanian-born author, Zvi Kolitz, into the international spotlight.Read More


Revolution on Stage

By Caraid O’Brien

In 1992, the Guggenheim Museum collaborated with scholar Benjamin Harshav on an exhibit of Marc Chagall’s legendary set designs for the Moscow State Yiddish Art Theater, known as Goset. Harshav developed his research for that project into “The Moscow Yiddish Theater: Art on Stage in the Time of Revolution,” and indeed this book, like the best of museum exhibits, leaves the reader exhilarated, contemplative and with a new perspective on art. In addition to Harshav’s introductory essays, this work includes photographs of theatrical productions, full-color sketches of costumes and set designs, letters and writings by the artists and by contemporary critics of Goset, and scenes from plays by Sholom Aleichem, lovingly translated by Harshav and his wife and collaborator, Barbara Harshav. More than simply focusing on the history of the Moscow State Yiddish Art Theater, Harshav raises questions about the nature of art and about art’s power in revolutionary times.Read More


Curious Linguists

By Jeri Zeder

You don’t have to be Spanish to study Spanish. You don’t have to be Chinese to study Chinese. But, do you have to be Jewish to study Yiddish?Read More


Beatle Mania

By Josh Richman

Folk singer Gerry Tenney breaks into song midway through an interview: “Ze ikh a royte tir ikh vill es farbn schvartz….”Read More


Lost in Translation: From Mameloshn to Belarusian

By Michael Casper

Aleksander Astraukh, editor of a 50,000-word Belarusian-Yiddish lexicon currently on press in Minsk, Belarus, admits that his is “not a normal dictionary.” A bridge between two languages equidistant from the mainstream, the book includes in its entries illustrations, idioms, etymologies and citations from the literature of both tongues, which have historically shared large swaths of territory and vocabulary. “It is not for learning perfect Yiddish,” he said. “It is a book to read.”Read More





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