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My Career as Yiddish-Speaking Actress in Poland and Israel

Lea Szlanger, a Yiddish actress born in Poland, describes the beginning and development of her career as a professional actress—including Yiddish theater greats such as Shimon Dzigan and Joseph Buloff—from the Warsaw Jewish Theater in Poland, and ev...

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

“Above the Town”: A Yiddish-Norwegian Cabaret

Bente Kahan, Jewish-Norwegian performing artist, on the Yiddish-Norwegian Cabaret in 1983 that brought her back to the theater.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

"Ale Mentshn Zaynen Brider (All People Are Brothers)": Theater in the Radom Ghetto

Moshe Fiszman, z"l, Holocaust survivor, describes the little bits of theater that was permitted in the Radom ghetto early after its formation, and how it came that they sang a Yiddish poem by Peretz ("Ale Mentshn Zaynen Brider [All Men Are Brothers]"...

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

"It's Not Important Why": A Revived Interest in Yiddish in Israel Today

Lea Szlanger, a Yiddish actress born in Poland, describes the contemporary revival of Yiddish in Israeli theater and in Israel in general. Across the country, Israeli actors and actresses are studying Yiddish and performing in a number of theaters.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

"The First Shakespeare Plays I Ever Saw Were in Yiddish": Harold Bloom Remembers Maurice Schwartz as Shylock

Harold Bloom, z"l, literary critic, describes seeing the great Yiddish actor Maurice Schwartz performing in the Yiddish rewrite of Merchant of Venice at the Second Avenue Theatre in the late 1930s.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

The Future of Yiddish: Are We Laughing With Yiddish Or Laughing At Yiddish?

Moishe Dolman - political organizer and frequent visitor to the Montreal Jewish Public Library - assesses the state of Yiddish today, drawing on examples from Yiddish theater, stories, and humor.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

The Encouraging Warmth of a Yiddish-Speaking Community

Motl Didner, associate artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, recounts the encouragement that the inviting svives (gatherings) of the New York City Yiddish scene provided for him in his early days of studying the language.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

Taking Theatre Classes at School With Dora

Bella Kuper Sanderson, Toronto Yiddish teacher who was born in Siberia and grew up in a Bundist household, shares her memories of Dora Wasserman, who taught theatre in Bella's school and with whom many people had a love-hate relationship.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

Yiddish: The Missing Link in My Jewish Education

Motl Didner, associate artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, speaks about how studying Yiddish and Yiddish culture served to fill in the vast gap left by his Hebrew School-influenced sense of history, which dealt with ancient ...

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

Father Was a Yiddish Prompter for Yiddish Plays

Jean Fidelman Kopelman Haber, daughter of Yiddish theater prompter and cousin of English-language novelist Bernard Malamud, discusses her father's career as a Yiddish theater prompter.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

We Snuck Out of Yeshiva to Perform in Uruguay: Memories of Jewish Theater in Buenos Aires

Leibele Jinich, originally from Monigotes, Argentina and now Cantor Emeritus of Bet-El Community in Mexico City, shares stories about his time as a teenage actor in the Yiddish and Hebrew theater in Buenos Aires.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

My Stint as a Yiddish Actor

Paul Berg, Yiddish activist, describes how performing in a Yiddish radio program as a child led to an interest in Yiddish theater.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

Visiting the Yiddish Book Center

Paula Boltman, former actress in the Melbourne Yiddish theater, remembers going to the Yiddish Book Center with her 6 year-old grandson for a week-long program. She remembers Aaron Lansky's lectures and some other activities.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

Yiddish Activism: Walking the Walk

Motl Didner, associate artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, emphatically identifies as an activist and decries those who bemoan the death of Yiddish without doing anything about it.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

"With That Gift Comes Responsibility": Reflections on the Importance of Yiddish

Aron Gonshor reflects emotionally on the lessons he has learned, concerning the transmission of Yiddish, from his trips to Vienna with The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theater.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

Accessing Yiddish Through Experts And Language

Caraid O'Brien—writer, performer, and director, including of Yiddish works—reflects on the privilege of having two mentors and teachers in the Yiddish performers Luba Kadison and Seymour Rexite. Caraid reflects on the sublimation of Yiddish language,...

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

It Started On Stage: My Great Love with Yiddish Actor, Itzhak Turkow

Shura Grinhoyz-Turkow—Yiddish actress and activist born in Bialystok, now living in Israel—describes love with Itzhok Turkow after meeting through theater.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

Being Dora's Daughter: Bryna Wasserman Reflects

Bryna Wasserman, executive director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and daughter of Yiddish actress Dora Wasserman, talks about her mother's career and what it was like growing up immersed in theater.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

My Grandchildren Speak Yiddish

Paula Boltman, former actress in the Melbourne Yiddish theater, talks about her grandchildren, who speak Yiddish as their first language.

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts

Typecast as a Yiddish Actor

Yelena Shmulenson – NY-based Yiddish actress from the Former Soviet Union – talks about being known only for her work in Yiddish theater. While finds it can be limiting, she also wants to make sure any Yiddish spoken on stage is correct and sounds au...

Part of Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project Excerpts