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.

Bracha Weingrod's Oral History

Bracha Weingrod, translator of "Dos familye kokhbukh (The family cookbook)" was interviewed by Pauline Katz on November 23rd, 2010 at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. Both of her parents arrived in Canada from Russia in 1911 and Bracha grew up in a community of approximately 17,000 Jews in what she fondly calls "Vinnipeg" (Winnipeg with a Yiddish accent). Bracha went to the Peretz and then the Sholem Aleichem shule and trained to become a Yiddish teacher. After having four children in Massachusetts, she became interested in dyslexia, and pursued a master's degree in neurocognitive studies at Boston University. She and her family then moved to Jerusalem where she began teaching and founded the Israel Dyslexia Society. Bracha discusses why Hebrew is particularly challenging for dyslexic children. Due to her husband's professional commitments as an anthropologist, Bracha has lived in various places, from Sardinia to Stony Brook, New York. A friend made Bracha aware of the need to translate Yiddish women writers' work, and so after she retired, she decided to translate "Dos familye kokhbukh" into English. The book, designed to teach Jewish immigrants how to cook in America, was ahead of its time. The author was health-conscious and advised using olive oil instead of schmaltz and lemon instead of salt. In her humorous way, she tried to raise the level of elegance and nutrition in the Jewish woman's American kitchen. Bracha tried to get the book published but was not successful; she eventually self-published it. Bracha admires the Yiddish Book Center but is worried about the future of Yiddish – she suggests that training and hiring of translators be made a priority. She hopes that more stories for children will be translated and published.

This interview was conducted in English.

Bracha Weingrod was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1930.