The Yiddish Book Center's
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.
Reciting Itzik Manger’s Poem, “Afn Veg Shteyt a Boym (By the Road Stands a Tree)”
In this excerpt from our short film, "Leonard Nimoy’s Mameloshn: A Yiddish Story," Leonard Nimoy–Jewish actor most well-known for his role as Spock on the Star Trek science fiction series–recalls Itzik Manger’s poem, “Afn Veg Shteyt a Boym (By the Road Stands a Tree),” about the relationship between a mother and son. In the clip, which is intercut with a recording of Manger himself reciting the poem, from the Yiddish Book Center’s Frances Brandt Online Yiddish Audio Library, Nimoy connects the poem to his own experience of leaving home to pursue acting.
This is an excerpt from an oral history with Leonard Nimoy.
This excerpt is in Yiddish and English.
Leonard Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1931. Leonard died in 2015.
This interview is part of the Yiddish and the Arts: musicians, actors, and artists series.
Other video highlights from this oral history
Leonard Nimoy on the Search for A Heymish, Comfortable Jewish Community in California
2 min 19 sec
Slide 0 of 13
Leonard Nimoy Reflects On The Experience Of Playing Tevye In His Hometown
2 min 30 sec
Slide 2 of 13
“Closing The Circle”: Leonard Nimoy On Meeting Nimoy Relatives in Zaslav
11 min 29 sec
Slide 3 of 13
Leonard Nimoy Remembers His First Foray Into Yiddish Theater in Los Angeles
1 min 57 sec
Slide 4 of 13
Live Long and Prosper: The Jewish Story Behind Spock, Leonard Nimoy's Star Trek Character
5 min 27 sec
Slide 7 of 13
Leonard Nimoy's Stint Working With Yiddish Theatre Director and Actor Maurice Schwartz
Slide 8 of 13
“This Is What I Have To Do With The Rest Of My Life”: Starting an Acting Career Outside the West End
5 min 57 sec
Slide 10 of 13
A Catholic Could Never Be President?: The Political Atmosphere of Leonard Nimoy’s Childhood Home
2 min 43 sec
Slide 11 of 13