Books And Literature


A Family Like No Other

By Ezra Glinter

Moyshe Kulbak made a conscious decision to live in the Soviet Union. A translation of his masterful Yiddish novel ‘The Zelmenyaners’ should bring his work to a new audience.Read More


New Yiddish Dictionary Explores Intracacies of Language

By Eitan Kensky

Solon Beinfeld and Harry Bochner’s ‘Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary’ is an essential tool, not least because of its extensive exploration of Yiddish idioms.Read More


Land of the Rising Zun

By Ross Perlin

It could be the world’s most implausible opus: the first Yiddish-Japanese dictionary. Its publication crowned decades of work and includes 28,000 entries.Read More


Yid Lit: Jeffery Eugenides Crafts Love Triangle

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘Middlesex’ crafts a college love triangle in his new novel. When he saw ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ he thought it was about Greeks.Read More


Poet Boris Slutsky, the Soviet Rashi

By Mikhail Krutikov

In the poem “Dream,” Boris Slutsky laconically summed up two defining facts of his generation: “Nineteen is the year of birth, age twenty-two in year forty-one.”

Best known in Russia as a poet of the Second World War, Slutsky belonged to the first — and last — generation of writers whose lives were spent completely under Communist rule. Like most members of that generation, the war split his life in two.Read More


Yid Lit: Lev Grossman Writes Fantasy Novels Even a Grown-Up Can Love

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

Lev Grossman doesn’t object to his best-sellers being dubbed ‘Harry Potter for adults.’ The books are filled with magic and wizardry, but they don’t shy away from grown-up nastiness.Read More


Yiddish Icons, Portrayed in Cartoons

By Josh Lambert

Just because people don’t know a language doesn’t mean they won’t use it in all kinds of crazy ways. Cartoonists use Yiddish icons without understanding them.Read More


Gur Alroey’s Book Reveals Why Jews Left Europe

By Adam Rovner

Jews didn’t flee Europe because of pogroms. They moved to all corners of the world to find economic opportunity, writes Gur Alroey in a new book.Read More


Joachim Neugroschel, Prolific Multilingual Translator, Is Dead at 73

By Itzik Gottesman

The prolific literary translator Joachim Neugroschel died on May 23 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 73. Neugroschel translated more than 200 books from Yiddish, French, German, Russia and Italian, including the work of Nobel Prize-winner Elias Canetti. His legal guardian and former partner, Aaron Mack Schloff, confirmed Neugroschel’s death.Read More


Cities of Jewish Success, Crushed

By Allan Nadler

A vast, heartbreaking and, to English readers, inaccessible Yiddish and Hebrew library — of some 1,000 volumes, studded with unique memoirs and rare photographs — known as yizker-bikher, or memorial books, is devoted to eternalizing the legacies of the myriad cities and towns of Jewish Eastern Europe destroyed by the Holocaust. These books were collaboratively produced, mostly in the late 1950s through the early ’70s, by the survivors of those Jewish communities. But with the exception of a half-dozen or so, they are not the product of critical historical scholarship, and only three have been fully translated into English.Read More





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  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
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