The Yiddish Book Center's Decade of Discovery 2022

Decade of Discovery: Women in Yiddish

The Decade of Discovery is the Yiddish Book Center’s initiative to foster a deeper understanding of Yiddish and modern Jewish culture. Our theme for 2022 is Women in Yiddish. Each month we’re focusing on a different aspect of women in Yiddish by curating readings, events, and other content that highlight women’s contributions and work. Coinciding with the in-person return of Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music and as part of our 2022 Decade of Discovery theme Women in Yiddish, this July we are featuring articles and work about women in Yiddish music: writers, producers, performers, and audiences.

Yiddish women writers wrote poetry, short stories, novels, essays, literary and cultural criticism, and autobiography, among other genres, exploring a wide range of topics—from domesticity, to desire and the body, to politics, the environment, the ravages of war, and more. Their contributions, some famous, others forgotten, still others never fully appreciated, touch every corner and every moment of Yiddish creativity—literature, the arts, and activism.

The Yiddish Book Center’s Decade of Discovery is made possible in part by a grant from the Leona and Ralph W. Kern Foundation.

Decade of Discovery: Read/Listen/Watch

This July marks the in-person return of Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music to our Amherst stage. To celebrate, we are featuring articles and works about the writers, producers, performers, and audiences in the Yiddish music scene.

What does it mean for music to be Yiddish music? Limiting the category to music using the Yiddish language excludes much of klezmer, a largely instrumental genre. This month, we take a maximalist approach to Yiddish music, exploring all music rooted in Yiddish culture, including religious and liturgical music, klezmer traditions both old and revived, music of the Yiddish theater, songs for children and Yiddish shul systems, Yiddish folksong, and everything in between.