Students around a table at the Yiddish Book Center

Yiddish Book Center

Regenerating Jewish Culture

The Yiddish Book Center celebrates Yiddish language and culture. We are committed to making Yiddish works accessible to all.

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Focus On Yiddish-speaking women activists

November’s Decade of Discovery theme, Yiddish-speaking women activists, prompts us to look back on a rich history of cultural, social, and political activism that informs Yiddish culture to this day. Below you’ll find resources about the World War I relief aid organized by Jewish immigrants in the Bronx, the labor movement of the 1970s, and the feminist scholars of the 1990s who recovered Yiddish women’s contributions to art, literature, and intellectual life.

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 Margaret Selinger

Illustration of Margaret Selinger smiling and wearing glasses.

Each month, the Yiddish Book Center asks a member of our staff or a special friend to select favorite stories, books, interviews, or articles from our online collections. This month, we’re excited to share with you picks by Margaret Selinger.

 

Margaret Selinger is the education programs assistant at the Yiddish Book Center. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2021 with a BA in English and economics. Margaret first fell in love with Yiddish while singing with the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band’s Junior Klezmer Orchestra in Chicago. She began her formal language study at the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program in 2020 and completed the intermediate level in 2021. She now serves as the Steiner Program coordinator and assists on other educational programs and initiatives at the Center. 

Di vunderlekhe lebnsbashraybung fun shmuel aba abervo (Dos bukh fun gan-eydn) (The Wonderful Life of Shmuel Aba Abervo [The Book of the Garden of Eden])

Itzik Manger’s rollicking, irreverent tale follows the adventures of a young angel, Shmuel Aba, who slips and schemes his way past the drunks, fools, and biblical figures who populate his home in the Garden of Eden.

Celia Dropkin’s “Odem” (“Adam”) Teacher Resource Kit

This resource kit, created by Anna Elena Torres, provides a useful introduction to poet, painter, and prose writer Celia Dropkin through the analysis of one particular poem, "Odem” (“Adam”). Dropkin’s erotic, enigmatic “Odem” captivated me from my first reading.

The Extraordinary Voyages of the Yiddish Jules Verne, with Sebastian Schulman

One might think that the purpose of translation is to hew as closely as possible to the language and intentions of the author. But as Sebastian Schulman explains in this online lecture, many Yiddish translations of famous literary works are more like what we could consider “adaptations”: reworking the original to speak to the interests and concerns of the translator’s Yiddish audience.

Heyrat un fraye liebe. Opfer fun moral un di filozofye fun atheizm

Emma Goldman is a fascinating figure, and I was so pleased to find some of her work in the Yiddish Book Center’s collection. Although Goldman spoke and lectured in Yiddish, this is a translation of a 1914 English essay in which she argues that the institution of marriage is fundamentally opposed to love.

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