Weekly Reader: Podcasts & Audiobooks
July 17, 2022
I don’t know about you, but in the past few years I’ve become an enthusiastic participant in the podcast and audiobook boom we’re currently enjoying. I think we can chalk this up to technology. In the past you had to obtain and cart around collections of cassettes or CDs (or, Lordy, records). Now you can buy, borrow, or otherwise access whole books with a few taps of your finger. Here at the Yiddish Book Center we’re long on audio resources. And what better time to enjoy them than summer, when you’re more likely to be outdoors, on the go, and maybe even on a road trip. Here are a few of the real prizes from our collection for you to enjoy.
Six Montreal Poets
Six Montreal Poets was a Folkways record featuring readings from, well, six Montreal poets. One of them—Leonard Cohen—is now a household name. The others are a bit more obscure, though maybe you’ve heard of A. M. Klein or Irving Layton. Here you can listen to an excerpt from that record thanks to the Frances Brandt Online Yiddish Audio Library and Montreal’s Jewish Public Library.
The Dead Man
Sholem Asch’s haunting World War I drama The Dead Man takes place in the rubble of a decimated synagogue in Poland directly after the war. The surviving Jewish community gathers together to decide how to rebuild their lives. Dealing with dislocation, madness, and death, all they have left is a powerful hope for a prosperous, new future. Now the play, which had its Yiddish-language world premiere in 1922, has been transformed into a radio drama in its first- ever complete English translation by Caraid O’Brien.
Do you ever go on YouTube to hunt down the speeches of celebrities from awards ceremonies years or decades past? Yeah, me neither. But here’s an awards ceremony I wouldn’t mind listening in on. This is a recording of the 1983 13th annual J.I. Segal Foundation Awards featuring Blume Lempel, Henry Kreisel, and Chaim Spilberg. This is from when glamor meant something, folks.
Sholem Aleichem’s Rediscovered Novel
In this episode of The Shmooze podcast, translator and author Curt Leviant visits to talk about this first English translation of Sholem Aleichem’s rediscovered novel Moshkeleh the Thief. The novel has a riveting plot, an unusual love story, and a keenly observed portrayal of an underclass Jew, replete with characters never before seen in Yiddish literature.
By the Gate
Finally, if you want an entire Yiddish book to keep you occupied while you go on a long drive (or just about your day), we’ll recommend Baym toyer (By the Gate), a novel by the sublime Yiddish author Kadya Molowsky. Give it a listen—you won’t be disappointed.