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Israel’s National Authority for Yiddish Culture has announced the three winning entries of its 2020 National Yiddish Story Writing Contest.
Unlike last year, when the jury awarded a first, second and third prize, this year’s three winners will each receive a first-place award of 2,000 shekels (about 590 dollars).
The three winning entries were published in the Forverts.
One of the stories, “Fly, Colorful Butterfly, Fly!”, tells of an encounter between two young siblings and a mysterious creature. The 61-year old author, Leybl Botwinik, is a Montreal-raised technical writer who lives in Tel Mond. In 1976 he received a prize from the Canadian Jewish Congress for his Yiddish fiction. He is the author of a Yiddish-language science fiction novel, The Secret Mission, which was published in 1980.
The second story, “A Journey from Czernowitz to Kyiv” details an unexpected encounter on an overnight train. Author Ruth Levin is a well-known Yiddish singer and the daughter of the Romanian-Jewish actor, singer and composer, Leibu Levin. She was born in Moscow in 1958 and lives in Jerusalem. A poet in Yiddish and Russian, she also translates poetry to and from Hebrew.
The third story, “The Three Letters Felix Wrote to Benyomen”, explores the difficulties faced by a family in a concentration camp and was written by Alexander Fisz, a singer and composer who performs in leading Israeli theaters and also teaches Yiddish.. He lives with his family in Be’er Sheva, where he raises bees and sews his own clothes.
The award ceremony is slated to be held on January 12, 2021 in Tel Aviv, provided health authorities deem the COVID-19 situation safe enough. The National Authority for Yiddish Cculture will also present lifetime achievement awards to the singer, actor and cantor, Dudu Fisher, and the composer, Yiddish activist and frequent Forverts contributor, Daniel Galay.