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Bintel Briefs Way Ahead of Times

The explosive popularity of the Yiddish advice column published in the Forverts from 1906 paved the way first for a genre and then an entire industry. Although it seems self-evident to us now, writing to a newspaper for advice was a revolutionary idea.

Click to view a slideshow.

The Bintel Brief (literally “bundle of letters”) was the brainchild of iconic Forverts editor Abraham “Ab” Cahan, who also answered the early letters.

In her graphic novel, part of which will be serialized in the Forward, beginning with this excerpt, Liana Finck interweaves Cahan’s story with those stories contained in the letters.

Over the coming months bundles of stories will be tied together by a fantastical reimagining of how Cahan touched hearts and built a community with the Bintel Brief.

‘The Bintel Brief Exhibit’ opens at the Sixth and I synagogue in Washington, D.C., on January 11.

Liana Finck’s work is supported by a grant from the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, a partnership of Avoda Arts, JDub Records and the Foundation for Jewish Culture and made possible with major funding from UJA-Federation of New York.

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