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.
Joe (Yosl) Esselin's Oral History
Joe (Yosl) Esselin, z"l, playwright and son of Yiddish writer Alter Esselin, was interviewed by Christa Whitney on November 15, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.
This interview was conducted in English.
Video highlights from this oral history
"The Foreman Is Always Watching": Alter Esselin's Work Ethic1 minute 56 seconds
Alter Esselin’s Religious Observance1 minute 8 seconds
"Words Are the Heart of Humanity": My Father's Legacy1 minute
"They Don't Know That There's a Shelley on the Roof": A Carpenter-Poet's Craft1 minute 55 seconds
Why My Father Was Wrong About the Future of Yiddish4 minutes 17 seconds
Alter Esselin, Zalman Shazar, and the Jewish Community of Milwaukee5 minutes 20 seconds
My Father, Yiddish Poet Alter Esselin’s Writing Rituals2 minutes 40 seconds
Yiddish Poet Alter Esselin’s Three Names3 minutes 7 seconds
Losing My Yiddish to Monolingualism2 minutes 15 seconds
Fighting Tragedy With Poetry4 minutes 19 seconds
More information about this oral history
- Family histories
- Jewish Identity
- Yiddish language
- Yiddish scene
- Immigration and migration
- Career and Professional Life
- Old Country
- Eastern Europe
- United States
- Politics and political movements
- Yiddish Book Center
- Cultural transmission
- Descendants of Yiddish personalities
- Beyond the Books
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About the Wexler Oral History Project
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.
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