Ne’ilah: Two High Holiday Stories

By Rosa Palatnik, translated by Jessica Kirzane

Rosa Palatnik (1904-1981) was born near Lublin. In 1927 she emigrated to Paris, where she contributed to Yiddish newspapers Di handls-tsaytung and Der parizer paynt. In 1936 she settled in Rio de Janeiro, where she published widely in international Yiddish organs, including Di yidishe prese of Rio, Der nayer moment of São Paolo, Der shpigl of Buenos Aires, Der kontinent and Der veg of Mexico City, Di fraye arbeter-shtime and Morgn-zhurnal of New York and Di goldene keyt of Tel Aviv, composing roughly two hundred short stories.  Some of these stories were later published in her four short-story collections, three of which are available in the Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library. She was awarded the Fishl Bimko Prize in 1954.

In the two stories translated here, from her collections Kroshnik rio (1953) and Baym geroysh fun atlantik (1957), Palatnik turns her attention to the solemnity of Yom Kippur as her protagonists battle between their temptations and obligations as mothers and lovers and daughters amidst the holiness of the day.
The translator, Jessica Kirzane, is a 2017 Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow.  An excerpt from this translation appears in her Teach Great Jewish Books Resource Kit, "Sacrilege and Sacredness on Yom Kippur."