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WATCH: Shira Gorshman, Yiddish Writer Who Portrayed Women As Folk Heroes, Discusses Her Life

This article originally appeared in the Yiddish Forverts.

In this video, master storyteller Shira Gorshman describes her impoverished childhood in a Lithuanian shtetl. She vividly describes her brutal stepfather, her very competent but combative grandmother and her adoring grandfather, who was the first person to introduce her to the beauty of the outdoors.

Imbued with idealism, Gorshman settled in British Mandate Palestine in 1924 as a pioneer but returned to the Soviet Union in 1928 to build another utopian community: An agricultural colony in Crimea, where she, an overseer of 500 animals and single mother of three, fell in love and married artist Mendl Gorshman, who would later become the illustrator of her storybooks.

This documentary is one of ten in which acclaimed Yiddish writers of the pre-war generation speak openly about their lives. The films, in Yiddish with English subtitles, were directed by award-winning writer and former Forverts editor Boris Sandler and produced through the Forward Association as a DVD series called “Monologues of Yiddish Writers.” The name of the DVD about Shira Gorshman is “Shira Gorshman: Lithuania, Palestine, Crimea.”

During the next several months, the Forverts will post the installments one by one, every two weeks.

A message from Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, I wanted to ask you to support the Forvert's 127-year legacy — and its bright future.

In the past, the goal of the Forverts was to Americanize its readers, to encourage them to learn English well and to acculturate to American society. Today, our goal is the reverse: to acquaint readers — especially those with Eastern European roots — with their Jewish cultural heritage, through the Yiddish language, literature, recipes and songs.

Our daily Yiddish content brings you new and creative ways to engage with this vibrant, living language, including Yiddish Wordle, Word of the Day videos, Yiddish cooking demos, new music, poetry and so much more.

—  Rukhl Schaechter, Yiddish Editor

Support the Yiddish Forverts with a generous gift to the Forverts today!

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