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Yiddish Book Center

Regenerating Jewish Culture

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Focus On Jewish American Heritage Month

For Jewish American Heritage Month and as part of our 2022 Decade of Discovery: Women in Yiddish, we're featuring articles and work by and about women’s role in the vibrant and varied Jewish American experience.

The Yiddish Book Center's Decade of Discovery is an initiative launched by the Center to mark our 40th anniversary in 2020. Its aim is to foster a deeper understanding of Yiddish and modern Jewish culture. 

 

אויסגעקליבן Handpicked Emily Mazza

Emily Mazza

Emily Mazza, the Yiddish Book Center's 2021-22 Phyllis Pasker Fellow began her study of Yiddish language at the Center. As part of the bibliography team she's constantly discovering interesting finds in our book collection. 

 

“Adventures of a Bad Researcher: The Mystery of the Last Yiddish Linotype"

Read this piece to learn the story of one of the most striking objects at the Yiddish Book Center: the Linotype. Our Linotype was used for over seven decades to publish the Forverts, the longest running Yiddish newspaper in the United States and illustrates the importance of having these physical objects at the Center. For visitors it's evidence of past Yiddish creativity and a reminder of how Yiddish creativity continues today - with new technology.

“Bintel Brief,” translated by Deborah Rothman

The advice column Bintel Brief appeared in the Forverts starting in 1906. People would write in with their questions and the paper’s editor, Abraham Cahan, would reply with his advice; a few of these exchanges are translated in this article. Bintel Brief gives us an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of immigrant Yiddish speakers at the turn of the century.

“Reading Newspapers to Her Grandmother”

This oral history from Anita Garlick demonstrates how Yiddish (and English) newspapers were shared and read outside of the official circulation numbers. It was common to read a newspaper aloud to friends in a coffee shop, or pass copies on to family members. Anita describes how her grandfather used to read the Forverts to her grandmother, who was unable to read; it is a touching example of the communal experience of engaging with writing and culture.

Di yidishe prese vos iz geven, by David Flinkler, M. Tsanin, and Shalom Rosenfeld

This book came to the Center in its original box, emblazoned with the names of various Jewish newspapers in languages such as Yiddish, Polish, Russian, Hebrew, and German. The book is separated into a number of short chapters, each dedicated to a different important Jewish newspaper. The chapters include pictures of editors or major contributors, scans of front pages from the papers themselves, and a wealth of information about the paper’s founding, political leanings, and development through its lifetime. It’s an invaluable source of information for understanding the geographic, religious, linguistic, and political diversity of the Yiddish press.

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