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Literary celebration to mark poet Itzik Manger’s 120th birthday

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On Sunday, May 30, a number of renowned singers and actors will perform songs by the great Yiddish poet, Itzik Manger, during an online literary event celebrating 120 years since his birth.

The program, “Itzik Manger and the Golden Peacock”, will be in Yiddish with English subtitles and will be streamed via Zoom at 2:00 PM EDT. The celebration is sponsored by the League for Yiddish, the Congress for Jewish Culture, Yung Yiddish, Ot Azoy, and the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language.

The golden peacock mentioned in the event’s title refers to an image which appears frequently in Manger’s work and has come to serve as a symbol for Yiddish literary creativity in general.

In addition to singing the songs, the performers will explain how Manger’s poems harken back to older folk traditions while simultaneously expanding upon them. Participants will include singer and actor Mike Burstyn, who appeared as a young man in a landmark Israeli production of a musical based on Manger’s poetic reimagining of the Megillah; actor and director of the Congress for Jewish Culture, Shane Baker; actor, singer and founder of “Yung Yiddish”, Mendy Cahan; singer Shura Lipowsky; singer and writer Ruth Levin; composer and conductor of the Yiddish Philharmonic Orchestra, Binyumen Schaechter, and the poet, editor and lexicographer, Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath.

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