Isaac Bashevis Singer, Writings on Yiddish and Yiddishkayt

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Join the Yiddish Book Center at the American Writers Museum in Chicago, Illinois on Wednesday, November 15 at 5:30 p.m. CT for a conversation about the collection with David Stromberg and historian Kenneth Moss. A reception will be held at 4:30 p.m., and a book signing will follow the discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

Cover of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Writings on Yiddish and Yiddishkayt, The War Years, 1939–1945

Writings on Yiddish and Yiddishkayt, The War Years, 1939–1945 (White Goat Press)edited and translated by David Stromberg, editor of the Singer Literary Trust, is the first in a three-volume series and features twenty-five essays that Singer, then relatively unknown, published under pseudonyms in the Forverts, the world’s largest Yiddish newspaper. The essays are arranged chronologically, offering readers the unique opportunity to bear witness to the shifts in Singer’s perspective as history unfolded—a rarity for English audiences, considering that much of Singer’s work was written well before it was eventually translated. Short introductory paragraphs also accompany each piece, offering exact publication dates and remarks about the larger historical and cultural context of Singer’s writing.

Event details

Date: Wednesday, November 15
Time: 5:30 p.m. CT, with a 4:30 p.m. reception prior to the event
Address: American Writers Museum | 180 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601
Tickets: Free and open to the public

Registration is not yet open for this event. Please check back here at a later date to reserve your spot.

About Isaac Bashevis Singer:


Isaac Bashevis Singer was born in 1903 in Leoncin, a village near Warsaw, and spent much of his childhood in the Polish capital, where his father was a rabbinical judge. In 1935 he followed his older brother, Israel Joshua Singer, to New York, where he became a reporter and columnist for the Jewish Daily Forward, the largest and most successful Yiddish newspaper of the time. His novels and stories, which he published in the Forward and other Yiddish-language publications, were eventually translated into English with the help of assistants and appeared in magazines such as the New Yorker and Playboy. Over the course of his career, Singer published dozens of novels, short story collections, and books for children, and received two National Book Awards, among other honors. In 1978 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Singer died in 1991, in Surfside, Florida.

About the Presenters:

Man with graying hair and beard and wire glasses

David Stromberg is a writer, translator, and essayist whose work has appeared in The American Scholar, Critical FlameSmart SetPublic Seminar, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. He is editor of Old Truths and New Clichés (Princeton University Press), a collection of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s essays, and a reissue of Singer’s canonical story, Simple Gimpl: The Definitive Bilingual Edition (Restless Books). His recent work includes A Short Inquiry into the End of the World (The Massachusetts Review), the first speculative essay in his Mister Investigator series, and his follow-up, “The Eternal Hope of the Wandering Jew,” which appeared in The Hedgehog Review. The third in the series, “To Kill an Intellectual,” was published in five installments in The Fortnightly Review.

Man wearing glasses and gray blazer sits in front of bookshelf

Kenneth B. Moss is the Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of Jewish History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2009), which received the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and has now appeared in a revised Hebrew version as Yemei ha-ma’asim: tkhiat ha-tarbut ha-yehudit be-tkufat ha-mahpekhah ha-rusit, and An Unchosen People: Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland (Harvard University Press, 2021), which received the 2022 honorable mention for the Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies. With Ben Nathans and Taro Tsurumi, he coedited From Europe’s East to the Middle East (UPenn, 2021), and with Israel Bartal he is co-editing volume 7 of the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and CivilizationNational Renaissance and International Horizons, 1880–1918 (Yale University Press, forthcoming). From 2014 to 2020, he coedited Jewish Social Studies. He is a devoted Yiddishist who began to build his Yiddish book collection through the generosity of the Yiddish Book Center back when one had to order the books from a printed catalog.