Weekly Reader 1

From March 20, 2020

While the Yiddish Book Center’s building is temporarily closed, we’re continuing our work online and on social media. In this email we’ve gathered a selection of items from our collections that we think you’ll like. It’s the first in what we’re calling our “Weekly Roundup” series, and we’ll be sending one each week for the time being, drawing from our digital collections, articles, podcasts, oral histories, translations, and more.

For this installment, we’ve selected a conversation with two of the world's most engaging Yiddish scholars, some online alef-beys exercises, a compendium of Yiddish letter-writing from the Pakn Treger archives, and a recording of Kadia Molodowky's novel Baym toyer (At the Gate), read in Yiddish by Cecylia Serlin.

You’ll find plenty more to explore on our website—and if you happen to find a Yiddish book, a work in translation, or an oral history that you want to let us know about, please email us at [email protected]enter.org and we’ll be happy to share it forward.

Zayt undz shtark un gezunt—stay safe, strong and healthy!

Sholem Aleichem: A Conversation with Ruth Wisse and David Roskies—Filmed before a live audience at the Yiddish Book Center

A conversation with renowned Yiddish scholars Ruth Wisse, recently retired from Harvard, and her brother David Roskies, of Hebrew University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, in which they discuss and debate their favorite Sholem Aleichem stories in a lively, freewheeling back and forth. This hour-long conversation was recorded live at the Yiddish Book Center.

Watch the video

2019 Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issue: Avrom Ovinu Receives a Letter and Other Yiddish Correspondence

In this time of "social distancing" when many of us are doing much more of our communications by phone, text, email, or other means, this digital translation issue seems appropriate. It's a collection of newly translated Yiddish letters, as well as stories and poems featuring letters, which shows us many examples of letters as essential aspects of day-to-day communication, as well as symbols of the great distances across which relationships can stretch. From Chava Rosenfarb to Marc Chagall to Itzik Manger, Avrom Sutzkever, and many more, these works, translated here into English, speak of connection across distances big and small-and will hopefully help you feel more connected, too.

Read the digital translation issue on our website, or download to your Kindle, Nook, or other device

Learn the Yiddish Alphabet: Exercises to help you learn the alef-beys—from alef to sof

Whether you're eager to learn the Yiddish alphabet or looking to practice your Yiddish, we've got lots of resources on our website to help you learn to read, write, and speak Yiddish—including a guide on how to use our pages for new learners.

Learn the Yiddish alphabet

A Women’s History Month Selection from Our Sami Rohr Library of Recorded Yiddish Books:
Baym toyer (At the Gate) by Kadia Molodowsky, read by Cecylia Serlin

Kadia Molodowsky (Kadya/Molodovsky) (1894—1975), arguably one of the best-known female writers of Yiddish, was renowned as an editor, a poet, a critic, a playwright, and a short story writer. Born in Belarus, she lived in Warsaw for years before emigrating to the US in 1935, where she began contributing to the New York Yiddish press and, for the first time, writing novels. Baym toyer: Roman fun dem lebn in Yisroel (At the Gate: Novel About Life in Israel), which was begun while Molodowsky was living in Israel, was published in 1967.

Listen to Baym toyer read in Yiddish

Read an article on Molodowsky by translator Anita Norich from the Pakn Treger archives