2020 Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issue

Coming to America

Published: Spring 2020


The 2020 Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issue is available on our site here (all pieces are linked below) or you can download it as an e-book:

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Madeleine Cohen Translation Editor
Lisa Newman Executive Editor 
Abigail Weaver Translation Managing Editor
Greg Lauzon Copyeditor
Alexander Isley Inc. Art Direction and Design
Cover illustration by Douglas Jones

Support for Pakn Treger comes from

The Kaplen Fund for Pakn Treger
The Joseph and Marion Brechner Fund for Jewish Cultural Reporting
The Charles Corfield Fund for Pakn Treger
The Mark Pinson Fund for Pakn Treger

Copyright in each translation is held by the translator. Copyright for “Immigration” is held by the Isaac Bashevis Singer Literary Trust.

Illustration from Shloyme Shvarts's "Amerike"

Yiddish Comes to America: Introduction

By Madeleine Cohen.

Josef Foshko's illustration for the poem

To America

By Aaron Glanz-Leyeles, translated by Oliver Elkus. An ode to the promise of America.

Los Emigrantes, by Rafael Barradas


By Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by the author and an uncredited collaborator, edited by David Stromberg. "It seems we can only love the unknown . . ."

The First Patient

By Fradel Shtok, translated by Jordan Finkin and Allison Schachter. “Look, son, this is it, your big chance . . .”

Luna Park, Coney Island

The First Trip to Coney Island

By Sam Liptzin, translated by Zeke Levine.

Right to left: Joseph Opatoshu, Jonas Turkow, and Leo Forbert, 1928.

What Are We Teaching Our Children?

By Joseph Opatoshu, translated by Shulamith Berger. Visions of the future collide in a Hebrew school board meeting.

If I Were in Alabama

By Yoysef Kerler, translated by Maia Evrona. A view of the civil rights movement from the Soviet Union.


By Sarah Hamer-Jacklyn, translated by Miranda Cooper.

Robinson Crusoe

The Immigrant Jewish Intellectual

By Abraham Goldberg, translated by Daniel Kennedy. "Can one compare the fate of Robinson Crusoe to that of a Jewish intellectual here?"

New Bosses

By Avrom Reyzen, translated by Curt Leviant. "This Sabbath you must give them a fiery speech that’ll make ’em see smoke . . ."

A ship approaches Ellis Island.

Hometown to Treyf Ground

By Chone Gottesfeld, translated by Sophia Shoulson. "The train left my shtetl. The farther it went, the faster it moved . . ."

Orpheus, by Odilon Redon

Two Poems by Israel Emiot

By Israel Emiot, translated by Leah Zazulyer.

Over Brooklyn by Chaim Koppelman


By Moshe Efron, translated by Oliver Elkus. "She began to despair that she was waiting on something that might never happen."

A young woman reading a letter

You Should Have Been There

By Miriam Karpilove, translated by Jessica Kirzane. "I wanted to make it into something more than it was . . ."

Path of Gold, by Jonas Lie

Vrastata Trasmata!

By Jonah Rosenfeld, translated by Rachel Mines. "A new immigrant can get some pretty crazy ideas!"

Josef Foshko's illustration for the poem

America and I

By Aaron Glanz-Leyeles, translated by Zackary Sholem Berger. The paean of a settled immigrant.


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