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NEH Grant Provides Enhanced Access to Hundreds of Oral History Interviews About Yiddish and Modern Jewish Culture
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Decade of Discovery Yiddish in America: Cultural Encounters
The Decade of Discovery is a new initiative of the Yiddish Book Center, launched in conjunction with our Fortieth Anniversary in 2020, designed to foster a deeper understanding of Yiddish and modern Jewish culture. This year's theme focuses on Jewish immigration and the ways in which the encounter with Yiddish culture has shaped Jewish life in America over the past 150 years. In celebration of this theme, we're spotlighting a collection of short interview excerpts from the Wexler Oral History Project about American Jewish farming communities in the US, a slideshow with iconic images from New York's Yiddish theater, and a "From the Vault" piece by Eitan Kensky about some of the more "colorful" guidebooks in our collection written for Jewish immigrants to the United States.
Handpicked Faune Albert
As the communications content editor at the Yiddish Book Center, Faune Albert spends much of her time exploring (and enjoying) the items in our various collections. She shares a few of her favorites here.
I’ve long loved modernist writing, so when I came to work at the Center and was introduced to Yiddish writers for the first time (yes, the first time!), I was instinctively drawn to the Yiddish modernists, and particularly to the work of Dvoyre Fogel, who has been called the “wandering star of Polish and Yiddish modernisms." Fogel has a fascinating story, and this poem, translated by Anna Torres, is about interior and exterior spaces, about streets and bodies and longing . . . It’s familiar and strange, both concrete and ephemeral, and it makes me want to know her.
Black Struggle in Yiddish Literature
This page is an extension of the Weekly Reader issue we put out in the wake of the George Floyd murder this past summer and the racial justice protests that immediately followed it. As a non-Yiddish speaker, I don’t have much access to the untranslated Yiddish texts in our collection, and I hadn’t previously been aware of the ways in which Yiddish authors were engaging with race and racism in the US in the early to mid-twentieth century. So it was especially eye-opening to learn about these different texts and to get a window into this area, both fruitful and fraught, of cultural exchange—I’m looking forward to our upcoming programs on this topic.
An Opportunity to Be an Expert: Why Study Yiddish
I’ve never met Jessica Kirzane, though I almost feel like I have through encountering her and her work in various forms on our website (she’s an alumna of three of our educational programs and a Yiddish teacher and translator). This clip is short, but it says so much and really communicates in a powerful way the amazing possibilities of studying and translating Yiddish—what it means to unearth, through the work of literary translation, writing that has heretofore been inaccessible to English speakers and to bring to life the work of writers who might otherwise have been forgotten.