Weekly Reader: An Introduction to Chava Rosenfarb

Readers of this newsletter will be no strangers to the life and work of Chava Rosenfarb. One of the great Yiddish writers of the postwar period, Rosenfarb has been featured many times in the Weekly Reader. But there’s good reason to revisit her now. Back in January, her native city of Lodz declared 2023 the “Year of Chava Rosenfarb” in celebration of the centennial of her birth. Earlier this year the Center’s imprint, White Goat Press, published In the Land of the Postscript, a collection of Rosenfarb’s short stories. And starting on January 10, we will be holding a four-week online course on Rosenfarb, taught by the Center’s Sebastian Schulman with special guest speakers, including Rosenfarb’s daughter and translator, Goldie Morgentaler (register here!). So if you’re looking for an excuse to dive back into her work, look no further. Here are a few things to get you started. 

Ezra Glinter, Senior Staff Writer and Editor

Where to Begin


As with many great writers, it can be difficult to know where to start with Rosenfarb. There is, of course, her magisterial, three-volume Holocaust novel The Tree of Life, although that can be a bit intimidating. For a gentler introduction, we have just the thing: a collection of resources to give you the basics, as well as a separate collection specially created for teachers of Rosenfarb’s work. 

View a collection of resources about Rosenfarb 

View a teacher’s guide to Rosenfarb’s work 

Short Form

Painting of a street on a book cover

Rosenfarb is best known for The Tree of Life, but she also wrote short fiction. Our own White Goat Press’s In the Land of the Postscript: The Complete Short Stories of Chava Rosenfarb collects them all, and it’s a great entry point to Rosenfarb’s work and much less demanding than her full three-volume opus. If you’re wondering what to read first, you can’t go wrong with a few short stories. 


Listen to a talk by translator Goldie Morgentaler about In the Land of the Postscript


Buy In the Land of the Postscript: The Complete Short Stories of Chava Rosenfarb

Going Deeper

Page from "Botshani" with a Yiddish title and an illustration of a string instrument

While much of Rosenfarb’s writing has been translated into English, there’s nothing like reading her in the original Yiddish. And if you’ve already read her, this is a great way to take your appreciation to the next level. You can find all of her work in the Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library. Don’t feel like reading? The audiobook version of her short story Di letste libe (The Last Love) is available as part of our Sami Rohr Library of Recorded Yiddish Books. 


Read Chava Rosenfarb in Yiddish 


Listen to Di letste libe

From the Author's Mouth

Young Chava Rosenfarb resized

As an integral member of Montreal’s Yiddish literary community, Rosenfarb appears frequently in our Frances Brandt Online Yiddish Audio Library, a collection of recorded talks made in that city’s Jewish Public Library. But here are two recordings that are particularly special. One captures an evening in 1973 honoring Rosenfarb’s publication of The Tree of Life. The second is a recording of Rosenfarb herself, speaking in English in 2004 on the theme of “My Life as a Yiddish Writer.” 


Listen to an evening in honor of Chava Rosenfarb


Listen to Rosenfarb speak about “My Life as a Yiddish Writer”