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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 Women in Translation

August's Decade of Discovery theme, Women in Translation, both highlights the many women translating Yiddish works and the vital need to translate works by Yiddish women writers. Below you will find a recording of a program with translators Ellen Cassidy and Jessica Kirzane, as well as examples of translated works. 

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 Sonia Bloom

Illustration of Sonia Bloom

Sonia Bloom is the 2021–22 Yiddish Education and Translation Initiatives fellow at the Yiddish Book Center. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2018 with majors in comparative literature, Hispanic studies, and Latin American studies and has since worked as a museum educator, language tutor, and translator in New York and Buenos Aires. A kindershule graduate and longtime Kinderlander from Brooklyn, Sonia grew up around yidishkayt but did not start formally studying the language until 2019 at the YIVO-Weinreich Summer Program. She then continued her language studies at the New York Workers Circle, Argentina’s IWO, and the Yiddish Book Center’s Steiner Program.

 

“Six Lines” in Seven Translations: The Craft of Translating Yiddish Poetry

What does it mean to read “in translation”? By showcasing seven different English renderings of Aaron Zeitlin’s short poem “zeks shures” (“Six Lines”), this program, one of the Center’s earliest virtual public programs during the pandemic, brings us up close to the many considerations at hand in the practice of translation.

Mayn yidish bukh

One of my favorite parts of working at the Center has been browsing the stacks for historical educational materials and easy reading practice for students. This primer, published by the Book League of the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order in 1944, gently introduces Yiddish basics with plenty of English, illustrations, and bite-size exercises.

Kadia Molodowsky Reads Her Work

It can be hard to come by accessible audio of native Yiddish speakers. The Center's Frances Brandt Online Yiddish Audio Library holds over 750 remastered recordings of events at the Jewish Public Library of Montreal. In addition to providing an invaluable resource for Yiddish learners and researchers, it is quite moving to hear the voices of the Yiddish authors whose books fill the Center.

Der hoyf on fentster by Mimi Pinzón

I recently learned that a hoyf (courtyard) appears as a frequent setting in Yiddish literature—specifically referring to an internal courtyard, the outdoor space enclosed by multiple buildings. And the hoyf in this novel is central to our young main character Etl’s observations of life as an immigrant in Argentina. Herself a translator of Spanish to Yiddish (of authors such as Jorge Luis Borges!), Mimi Pinzón is one of very few known Yiddish writers to have been educated entirely in Latin America. Der hoyf on fentster, published in 1965, is her most famous work and will be translated by Jonah Lubin, one of our incoming 2022–23 translation fellows.

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