A Focus On Voices from the Vault
Our Frances Brandt Online Yiddish Library is a treasure trove of interviews, lectures, and other special events recorded at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal between 1953 and 2005. Read the fascinating story of how this collection came to the Yiddish Book Center in an article from Pakn Treger—then listen to just some of the riches to be found there: a 1980 talk by novelist Amos Oz, and recordings from a 1959 evening in honor of poet Avrom Sutzkever.
Handpicked Michael Yashinsky
A humble, happy little goat is the symbol of our Center. Michael Yashinsky, the Yiddish Book Center’s Applebaum Senior Fellow, pays homage to him and those of his feathered and furry friends who frolic among our collections. Come, take a seat beside him on a golden peacock as it goes for a whirl around this Yiddish literary carousel.
Why a Goat?
The origins of Tsigy, the Center’s goat, as related in a podcast soon after his début in 2012. In his conversation with graphic designer Alex Isley (of Alexander Isley Inc.), Aaron Lansky describes how goats feature in countless stories by Yiddish authors, who saw the animal “as small and smart and touching and maybe a little bit stubborn—and they somehow identified with that.”
“The Yiddish Zoo”
From 1992’s Pakn Treger, an account of a Center-sponsored Yiddish-language tour of the San Diego Zoo, together with a menagerie of the animal vocabulary used thereon, prepared by noted linguist Mordkhe Schaechter and illustrated by Joanna Yardley. Don’t just sit there like a baffled bufloks (buffalo)—get to learning!
Geyt a hindele keyn bronzvil (A Little Hen Goes to Brownsville)
In this 1937 book by Yankev Kaminski, a mother hen travels to Brownsville, Brooklyn, to stealthily deposit her eggs at the thresholds of hungry families. You don't need to read Yiddish to appreciate Note Kozlovski’s full-color illustrations of the chicken proudly tramping through the city, but you do in order to understand the full absurdity of her courtroom defense when she’s busted for obstructing traffic in Times Square.
“The Blind Man”
With the quiet humor and feeling for nature common to the inhabitants of our home state’s northern lake-lands (from which he hails), my fellow Michigander Joshua Snider translated “Der blinder” (1924) for our 2016 Pakn Treger Translation Issue. The strange, alluring little fairy tale by Itzik Kipnis has a supporting cast of sheep, geese, and an old man with a braided beard who rides a heroic bear.