Shira Gorshman

Meant to Be and Other Stories, by Shira Gorshman and translated by Faith Jones (White Goat Press, 2023)

a poetic and powerful representation of the incredible complexity of life in the face of tragedy, suffering, and uncertainty.
Sean Sidky, In geveb

Gorshman’s unflinching gaze finds nobody blameless in the upheavals of war, revolution, and the building of new societies. As translator Faith Jones notes, “As a writer, Shira Gorshman is most notable for her persistent examination of women’s lives and her willingness to dwell on uncomfortable emotions. Her lean storytelling style foregrounds the moral quandaries her characters face. Her writing is plainspoken, unembellished, even blunt. Her characters are also straightforwardly who they appear to be.” Gorshman’s stories follow the trajectory of 20th-century Jewish life in Eastern Europe: from the Lithuanian shtetl to the Russian Revolution, through the kibbutz and collective farms, to Central Asia during wartime and back to mid-century Soviet life.

About the Author

Born in 1906 in Lithuania, Shira Gorshman did not begin writing until the late 1930s. By then she had lived in Palestine and Crimea, serving as a member of workers’ collectives in both locales. In Moscow she married the artist Mendel Gorshman and began writing as a response to the creative life there. She continued writing steadily until her death in Israel in 2001, often reflecting on the vulnerability and tenacity of Jewish life in different historical settings. In particular, she investigated women’s roles in Jewish and Soviet cultures and the effect of world events, such as the Holocaust and Jewish settlement in Palestine, on the communist ideals she continued to hold dear, even as she despaired of ever seeing them put into practice.

About the Translator

Faith Jones is a librarian, translator, and researcher of Yiddish culture in Vancouver. She is a co-translator of The Acrobat (Tebot Bach, 2014), a selection of the poetry of Celia Dropkin. Her research on Yiddish language activism in Winnipeg and Vancouver has been published in scholarly journals. She translated and created supertitles for the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s 2022 production of Kadya Molodowsky’s genre-defying, futuristic play Ale fentster tsu der zun (All Windows Face the Sun).