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.
Bel Kaufman's Oral History
Bel Kaufman, z"l, granddaughter of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem and author of award-winning novels, was interviewed by Christa Whitney on April 1st, 2014, in New York City.
This interview was conducted in English.
This interview is part of the Beyond the Books: Yiddish writers and their descendants series.
Video highlights from this oral history
Memories of the Russian Revolution2 minutes 16 seconds
The Writer At Work: Sholem Aleichem's Habits1 minute 44 seconds
"You Have To Be Hungry To Appreciate Food": Chocolate Arrives to Odessa in a Hoover Package2 minutes 55 seconds
To Me, He Was "Papa": My Grandfather, Sholem Aleichem2 minutes 14 seconds
Sholem Aleichem's Gift: How My Grandfather Elevated Yiddish To A World Literature2 minutes 34 seconds
The Jewish Mark Twain2 minutes 46 seconds
"He Was Not Like Any Grandfather I Knew": Memories of Sholem Aleichem2 minutes 25 seconds
"Huge Black Iron Gate": A Childhood Memory of Odessa1 minute 43 seconds
My Inheritance From Sholem Aleichem59 seconds
"You Must Not Call Him Mr. Aleichem": Sholem Rabinovitz' Pen Name1 minute 21 seconds
Motl, The Cantor's Son: A Childhood (Imaginary) Friend2 minutes 9 seconds
Bel Kaufman's First Memories of New York and English2 minutes 9 seconds
Learning Empathy During the Russian Revolution4 minutes 2 seconds
Sholem Aleichem: The Great Mimic1 minute 9 seconds
A Stepmother's Yiddish Curses: Sholem Aleichem's First Work1 minute 35 seconds
My Introduction to Communism3 minutes 31 seconds
More information about this oral history
- Family histories
- Jewish Identity
- Yiddish language
- Yiddish scene
- Eastern Europe
- United States
- Politics and political movements
- Cultural transmission
- Yiddish personalities
- Descendants of Yiddish personalities, Beyond the Books
- Immigration and migration
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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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