A Focus On Jewish Heritage
May is Jewish American Heritage Month, so we're focusing on Jewish life in America, with an excerpt from Peretz Hirschbein's 1918 memoir of his train trip across the country, a recording of a 1970 lecture by Columbia Professor Alan Pollack about passing that heritage on to younger generations, and a Pakn Treger article by anthropologist Ruth Behar about growing up straddling two worlds: the New York Jewish community where she was raised and the Cuban Jewish community her family came from.
Handpicked Lisa Newman
Lisa Newman is the director of communications and visitor services at the Yiddish Book Center. As a non-Yiddish speaker, she’s constantly scouring our website for English-language recordings, lectures, articles, oral histories, interviews, and other material that opens up the culture and provides background for her work on Pakn Treger; the Center’s podcast, The Shmooze; and other projects. Here are some of her favorites.
Di Yunge: A Group of American-Jewish Literary Rebels
In this 1973 recording, Professor Ruth Wisse delivers a lecture to what is described as a packed hall at the Montreal Jewish Library. Drawing from the writers’ memoirs and accounts, Wisse talks about the challenges these newly arrived young Yiddish writers faced as they tried to “Americanize.”
Delving into the Life and Work of Itzik Manger
Professor Efrat Gal- Ed, author of a biography on Itzik Manger, joins Aaron Lansky on our podcast to talk about the modernist Yiddish writer. Gal-Ed shares the insights she discovered in her research and stories that inform our understanding of Manger’s world and work.
Why Read Yehoash?
Author Peter Manseau, curator for American religious studies at the Smithsonian (and a one-time Yiddish Book Center summer intern), makes the case for reading the Yiddish-language poet, scholar, and Bible translator, “a man whose own life crossed borders of language and homelands, [who] reminds us that the map of Jewish literature is still being drawn.”
Dan Opatoshu's Oral History
This interview with Dan Opatoshu, grandson of the Yiddish writer Yosef Opatoshu, provides a personal portrait of the writer. Opatoshu's recollection of listening to his grandfather read classic comic books in Yiddish—causing the child to think that Little Lulu actually spoke Yiddish—is just wonderful.