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.
Bel Kaufman was born in Berlin, Germany in 1911. Bel, z"l, died in 2014.
Video highlights from this oral history
A Stepmother's Yiddish Curses: Sholem Aleichem's First Work1 minute 35 seconds
My Introduction to Communism3 minutes 31 seconds
"Huge Black Iron Gate": A Childhood Memory of Odessa1 minute 43 seconds
"You Have To Be Hungry To Appreciate Food": Chocolate Arrives to Odessa in a Hoover Package2 minutes 52 seconds
My Inheritance From Sholem Aleichem59 seconds
"He Was Not Like Any Grandfather I Knew": Memories of Sholem Aleichem2 minutes 25 seconds
Sholem Aleichem: The Great Mimic1 minute 9 seconds
Sholem Aleichem's Gift: How My Grandfather Elevated Yiddish To A World Literature2 minutes 34 seconds
The Writer At Work: Sholem Aleichem's Habits1 minute 44 seconds
Learning Empathy During the Russian Revolution4 minutes 2 seconds
To Me, He Was "Papa": My Grandfather, Sholem Aleichem2 minutes 14 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
"You Must Not Call Him Mr. Aleichem": Sholem Rabinovitz' Pen Name1 minute 21 seconds
Memories of the Russian Revolution2 minutes 16 seconds
The Jewish Mark Twain2 minutes 46 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
- Sholem Rabinowitz
- Sholem Aleichem
- Mark Twain
- Mischa Elman
- Russian Revolution
- New York City
- New York
- Peysi the Cantor's Son
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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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