Wexler Oral History Project

A growing collection of in-depth interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds, whose stories about the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture offer a rich and complex chronicle of Jewish identity.

"Imaginary Characters More Real and True than Real Characters": Describing Sholem Aleichem's Writing

Watch now:

  • Bel and Sherwin Kaufman, grandchildren of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, describe Sholem Aleichem writing as if they're talking to someone completely unfamiliar. Bel elaborates on Sholem Aleichem's ability to write realistic, compelling characters.

This is an excerpt from an oral history with Sherwin Kaufman and Bel Kaufman.

This excerpt is in English.

This interview is part of the Beyond the Books: Yiddish writers and their descendants series.

More information about this oral history excerpt

Themes in this oral history excerpt:

  • Bel Kaufman
  • Sherwin Kaufman
  • Bel & Sherwin Kaufman
  • Sholem Aleichem
  • Sholom Aleichem
  • Literature
  • Books
  • Jewish Identity
  • Family history, stories about ancestors
  • children/grandchildren of Yiddish personalities, Beyond the Books
  • Transmission
  • Scholarship, Academia
  • Roots, heritage

About the Wexler Oral History Project

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Since 2010, the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project has recorded more than 500 in-depth video interviews that provide a deeper understanding of the Jewish experience and the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture.

Tell Us Your Story

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Do you (or someone you know) have stories to share about the importance of Yiddish language and culture in your life?