The Center will be closed to visitors July 30 through October 14 while we install our new core exhibition, Yiddish: A Global Culture. We will reopen on Sunday, October 15 with a grand ceremony unveiling our new exhibition.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

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Focus On The Oyneg Shabes Archive

One of the most astounding stories of the Holocaust is that of the Oyneg Shabes archive. In 1939, after the German invasion of Poland, Emanuel Ringelblum (1900–1944), a historian, teacher, politician, and social activist, initiated a secret project to gather and create a record of life in occupied Warsaw and the Warsaw Ghetto. Drawing on a network of collaborators that included artists, scholars, writers, and social workers, the Oyneg Shabes (“enjoyment of the Sabbath”) archive (so named because its participants held secret meetings on shabes afternoons) amassed an astounding volume of material that was secretly buried in three caches before the liquidation of the ghetto in 1943. Ringelblum was murdered in March of 1944, but the archive he created mostly survived. After the war the collection was dug up; the first cache was discovered on September 18, 1946, while the second was not unearthed until December 1950. The third cache has never been found and was likely destroyed. Totaling some 6,000 documents and 35,000 pages, the archive is an invaluable resource for historians of Polish Jewry and the Holocaust.

אויסגעקליבן Handpicked Madeleine (Mindl) Cohen

Black and white sketch of a smiling woman with short hair and glasses.

Each month, the Yiddish Book Center asks a member of our staff or a friend to select favorite stories, books, interviews, or articles from our online collections. This month, we’re excited to share with you picks by Mindl Cohen, academic director at the Yiddish Book Center, whose selections are inspired by Women in Translation month.

Kathryn Hellerstein’s oral history “Malka Heifetz Tussman, Yiddish Poet, My Mentor and Friend”

Kathryn Hellerstein’s book A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish is one of the key works of scholarship on Yiddish women writers. I have always treasured Hellerstein’s stories of learning with the poet Malka Heifetz Tussman when Hellerstein was a grad student at Stanford University; it makes Tussman feel so close and highlights the importance of relationships among women in the study and translation of Yiddish literature.

“Why Read Celia Dropkin,” by Faith Jones

Faith Jones is a role model for me as a librarian, researcher, translator, and especially as a mentor—Jones champions the work of women writers and the work of her colleagues and students, and you can see that in her article from Pakn Treger about Dropkin. Jones translated a collection of Dropkin’s poetry with co-translators Jennifer Kronovet and Samuel Solomon—the work of co-translation is also a model of working collaboratively to highlight the artistry of women writers.

“To Rosa Palatnik,” by Rokhl Kramf, translated by A. C. Weaver

In 2022 the Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issue focused on the theme of women’s experiences. One of my favorite pieces in that issue is A. C. Weaver’s translation of this poem by Rokhl Kramf, “To Rosa Palatnik.” I love it for its brief lines, which Weaver has carefully translated, and for its focus on a relationship between two women writers. Weaver was a fellow at the Yiddish Book Center, and we worked together editing both the 2020 and 2021 Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issues, so for me reading their beautiful translation is also a record of our relationship reading, editing, and translating together.

“Talking across Time: A Conversation between Three Great Jewish Women Poets with Zohar Weiman-Kelman”

Zohar Weiman-Kelman’s book Queer Expectations: A Genealogy of Jewish Women’s Poetry offers a model for a queer studies approach to reading Jewish women’s literature, showing how Jewish women writers and we as scholars and translators can forge our own literary relationships across borders like time, language, and nation. This lecture by Weiman-Kelman shows how they bring women writers, including Emma Lazarus, Anna Margolin, and Irena Klepfisz, together across these borders.

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