Weekly Reader Mother's Day

May 8, 2022

Mother’s Day isn’t exactly a Jewish holiday—in fact, it was started by Episcopalians and popularized by greeting card companies—but heck, a Sunday brunch with your mom is a Sunday brunch with your mom. Who’s to complain? And from the fifth commandment all the way to Sophie Tucker, Jews have always been big on mothers. So trust us when we say that our collections here at the Yiddish Book Center are chock-a-block with mother-centric material. Take a look—we’re sure there’s something here your mother will appreciate.

Ezra Glinter

A Daughter's Journey

Book Cover for "The Letters Project: A Daughter's Journey" by Eleanor Reissa

In 1986, when her mother died at the age of sixty-four, Eleanor Reissa went through all of her belongings. In the back of her mother’s lingerie drawer, she found an old leather purse with a wad of dried up papers in a brittle baggie: fifty-six letters handwritten in German by her father in 1949—only four years after Auschwitz—to her mother, also a refugee, already living in the United States.

Listen to a lecture by Eleanor Reissa

My Mexican Mother's Cooking

Frida Grapa de Cielak sits for an oral history interview

Frida Grapa de Cielak, author of the Arele Yiddish learning book series for children, talks about her mother’s cooking. She lists her mother’s best dishes, describes how she recorded recipes, and shares one of her mother’s cooking secrets.

Watch an oral history interview with Fida Grapa de Cielak

Three Generations

Book cover to Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir by Amy Kurzweil. A young woman stands with a suitcase in front of a desert nighttime scene

In her critically acclaimed graphic memoir Flying Couch, artist Amy Kurzweil brings her coming-of-age story together with memories of her mother, a child psychologist, and her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. She joined us for an episode of The Shmooze podcast to talk about the importance of family in the formation of her identity.

Listen to a podcast with Amy Kurzweil

Her Mother's Translator

Goldie Morgentaler gives an oral history interview.

For Goldie Morgentaler, daughter of Yiddish writer Chava Rosenfarb, translating her mother could sometimes lead to arguments over the best possible English version of her writing. But the work also gave her a greater appreciation of her mother and strengthened their relationship.

Watch an oral history interview with Goldie Morgentaler

His Mother's Sabbath Days

Book cover for "Der mames shabosim" by Chaim Grade
"Der mames shabosim"

Chaim Grade’s memoir, My Mother’s Sabbath Days, is a classic of the genre. But for decades the English translation was a lot easier to get than the Yiddish original. Now, thanks to the Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library, you can get that too.

Read Chaim Grade’s Der mame’s shabosim

A Basket of Apples

"A mame"

“When eight-year-old Reyzele woke up in the morning, she rubbed her sleepy eyes and gazed at all four corners of the room looking for something. She was looking for her mother, Khiyene, but she had already left for the marketplace with her basket of apples.” So begins this delightful short story by Avrom Reyzen, masterfully translated by Curt Leviant.

Read “Reyzele” by Avrom Reyzen