nomberg by the Forward

Classic story about child of divorce now available in bilingual edition

Image by Farlag Press

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A classic Yiddish book about a child of divorce has now been republished in a bilingual edition.

The story, Between Parents, by the Yiddish essayist and journalist, Hersh Dovid Nomberg, describes the experiences of a young boy in Warsaw after his parents get divorced. The book was first published in 1908 by the Warsaw publisher “Books for Everyone” (Bikher far ale). The new edition is from Farlag Press, which specializes in translations from Yiddish literature.

The book includes the Yiddish original and a facing-page English version by a pair of literary translators, Ollie Elkus and Daniel Kennedy. The hero of the story is Yitskhok, an 11-year-old Jewish boy. After his parents divorce and his mother remarries, Yitskhok moves to live with his father in the big city.

Several literary scholars have credited Kennedy with saving Nomberg from literary obscurity. Between Parents is the third book of Nomberg’s that he has translated. His previous efforts include A Cheerful Soul and Other Stories, published by Snuggly Books, and Warsaw Stories, issued by the Yiddish Book Center’s White Goat Press.

Hersh Dovid Nomberg (1876-1927) was known especially for his stories about Jewish life in Warsaw in the early twentieth century. His characters are often artists, philosophers, or young intellectuals who struggle to make a living and are torn between Jewish tradition and their own desires. Nomberg’s stories can be humorous and satirical, but also quite serious.

Kennedy himself was born in Ireland, but has worked in France as a professional translator for many years. He is the managing editor for translations at In Geveb, the online journal of Yiddish studies, and is a founder of Farlag Press. He has twice been a recipient of a Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellowship. Farlag Press also publishes Shprakhbund, a journal for literary translations which alternates between English and French in each issue.

Classic story about child of divorce now available in bilingual edition

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