A Focus On Jewish Music
With Yidstock (July 13-16) taking place this month we’re focusing on Jewish music. Here’s a selection of oral history interviews with performers who will be onstage at Yidstock 2017, a Pakn Treger article by Debra Caplan that makes the case for a contemporary staging of I.L. Peretz's "A Night at the Old Marketplace," and a podcast with Eleanor Reissa, whose work garnered her a Tony Award nomination and propelled her into the front ranks of Yiddish theater and music.
Handpicked Elissa Sperling
Elissa Sperling is a Yiddish Book Center 2016-2017 Fellow. She was first exposed to Yiddish through her zeyde, who spoke it as his first language. Elissa began formally studying Yiddish through the Workmen’s Circle in Boston while in high school and continued her study in intensive summer programs in New York, Vilnius, and Warsaw. She’s used that background, plus a degree in Library Science, to help with cataloguing the Yiddish Book Center’s collections during her fellowship. Elissa is constantly sharing her interesting finds with us; here are a few of her favorites.
Levb Kvitko: A Collection of Poems and Stories
Leyb Kvitko, an acclaimed Yiddish author, was born in the 1890s near Odessa. He was especially famous for his children’s literature, which was translated extensively into Russian. This collection of poems and stories includes many wonderful tales and is quite approachable to Yiddish-language learners. If you flip to page 182 there is a poem about wild animals, and the plate between pages 186-7 depicts, in vivid colors, a little boy atop an elephant.
A book from the Folks univerzitet series
While our collection of original Yiddish-language literature is impressive, I am equally drawn to our holdings of nonfiction works and translations into Yiddish. One genre which is intriguing is that of zelbstbildung, literally 'self-education'. This particular monograph, published in Warsaw, includes three volumes, the first on natural science, the second on botany, and the third on zoology.
A Yiddish-language Lecture with Baruch Hillel
This Yiddish-language lecture with Baruch Hillel was recorded at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal in 1987 and is entitled “The first Hebrew and Yiddish printing presses in Eastern Europe."
Bel Kaufman, granddaughter of Sholem Aleichem
In this short oral history excerpt, Bel Kaufman, a novelist and the granddaughter of Sholem Aleichem, she recalls her childhood in Odessa. It is pretty incredible to watch a recent recording of someone who remembers the Russian Revolution. Besides, it is always a little magical when someone who has lived for over a century reflects on their childhood.