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Splits in the Yiddish Socialist Movement

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THEIR HISTORY by Hershl Hartman Published in the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents MY BOLSHEVIK MOTHER in 1929 named me Hirsh Naftoli — not after departed grandfathers or uncles, but after two assassins of the diverse Socialist movements in Eastern Europe. You may have heard of one or both of them: […]

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A Cornucopia of Yiddish Stories

by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: Have I Got a Story For You: More than a Century of Fiction from the Forward, edited by Ezra Glinter. W.W. Norton, 2017, 433 pages. IT IS A TRIBUTE to the Jewish love of the written word that the Yiddish Forward newspaper regularly published Yiddish literature. More than […]

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May 24: Real Jewish Films

Independent filmmaker Joan Micklin Silver, one of the first screenwriters and directors to bring unadulteratedly Jewish themes, settings, and characters to the modern screen with Hester Street (1975) and Crossing Delancey (1988), was born in Omaha, Nebraska on this date in 1935. Silver began making educational films in New York during the late 1960s. She […]

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November 5: Abraham Liessin and The Future

Socialist poet and editor Abraham Liessin (Walt) died at 68 on this date in 1938. He was a well-known socialist writer in Minsk, Belorussia, and came in 1896 to New York, where he worked as writer and editor for the newly-founded Jewish Daily Forward. Liessin was active in the Social Labor Party as a fierce […]

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Jewish Troublemakers in America, Part 1

A History and An Analysis by Lawrence Bush From the Winter, 2014-15 issue (art calender) of Jewish Currents THE STREETS WERE PAVED with stones and cement, not gold, in the so-called goldene medine, “golden land,” of America, but at least a Jew could walk those sidewalks with “none to make him afraid,” as President George […]

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February 4: Shmendrik

Sigmund Mogulesko, a great comic actor and singer of the Yiddish theater for whom Abraham Goldfaden wrote the comic operetta Shmendrik, or the Comical Wedding in 1877, died at 65 on this date in 1914. Mogulesko dominated the Yiddish stage in Romania after starring in Shmendrik, then settled in New York in 1886 and became […]

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July 7: Abraham Cahan

Abraham Cahan, the editor of the Forverts for more than forty years, was born in Belarus on this date in 1860. Cahan came to the U.S. as a committed socialist at the age of 21 and became so proficient in English that he was soon teaching the language to other immigrants. Yet throughout his life, […]

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Sholem Aleichem’s Show Biz Triumph

by Bennet Muraskin From the Spring, 2014 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof, by Alisa Solomon. Metropolitan Books, 2013, 448 pages. It has been half a century since the Broadway opening of Fiddler on the Roof in 1964 — and a century […]

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Ab. Cahan Meets Friedrich Engels

The Legendary Forverts Editor Encounters Karl Marx’s Famed Collaborator by Yankl Stillman In August, 1891, Abraham Cahan was elected by the Yiddish-speaking branches of the Socialist Workers Party as a delegate to the second International Socialist Congress, in Brussels. When the comrades in England found out that he was coming to Europe, they invited him […]

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