Chaver Paver

Yiddish writer Gershon Einbinder, who used the pen name Chaver Paver, was born in what is now Ukraine on this date in 1901. He fled pogroms by emigrating to Romania in 1921 and to New York in 1923, where he published his first two volumes of children’s stories, Mayselekh fun Khaver Paver. Chaver Paver worked as a teacher and curriculum-writer in the leftwing Yiddish […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Full Disclosure, She Wrote a Note to My Son

THE WONDERFUL WORK OF MAIRA KALMAN by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Hey Willy, See the Pyramids by Maira Kalman, New York Review Children’s Collection, 2017; Max Makes a Million by Maira Kalman, New York Review Children’s Collection, 2017; Ooh-la-la (Max in Love) by Maira Kalman, New York Review Children’s Collection, 2018; Max in Hollywood, Baby by Maira Kalman, […]

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Leyb Kvitko and the Night of the Murdered Poets

Prominent Soviet Yiddish poet Leyb Kvitko, an editor of the literary magazine Heymland (Homeland) who became the head of the Yiddish Writers Section at the Soviet Writers Union, was born near Odessa on this date in 1890 (some sources say 1893). Kvitko “was welcomed by the [Jewish] urban literary community as a folk talent when he arrived in Kiev wearing […]

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Writing for Children about the Holocaust

AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE BISSON, AUTHOR OF “HEDY’S JOURNEY” by Jacob L. Perl   “She and I talked about the Holocaust a lot over the years, but I, also for many years, did not understand. I just thought that she was obsessive and talked too much about it. And then when she died … Something […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Reading to Baby Bolsheviks

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: The Fire Horse by Vladimir Mayakovsky, Osip Mandelstam, and Daniil Kharms, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky. The New York Review’s Children’s Collection, 2017.   THE SOVIET UNION sought to turn babies into Bolshevik babies. Schools were, of course, a key element in this, as were the various youth organizations. But as in […]

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Publications for Secular Jewish Kids: A History

by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: Raising Secular Jews: Yiddish Schools and Their Periodicals for American Children, 1917-1950 by Naomi Prawer Kadar. Brandeis University Press, 2017, 282 pages. READERS of Jewish Currents should already know something about the history of secular Jewish/Yiddish education in the U.S. from Barnett Zumoff’s review in Jewish Currents of […]

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Sanity for Jewish Mothers and Their Kids

Discussed in this essay: Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do To Raise Successful, Creative, Empathic, Independent Children, by Marjorie Ingall. Harmony Books, NY, 2016, 239 pages. by D. Yael Bernhard “IS THIS the hill you want to die on?” So asks author and Forward and Tablet columnist Marjorie Ingall in her thought-provoking book on […]

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October 6: Editor of “Jewish Child”

Elma Ehrlich Levinger, the editor of Jewish Child magazine and author of more than thirty books for children about Jewish history and identity, was born in Chicago on this date in 1886. “Levinger used both drama and the short story as a means of educating young people and women about Jewish history and traditions, hoping […]

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Rediscovering Ezra Jack Keats

by Helen Engelhardt From the Autumn, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents EZRA JACK KEATS IS KNOWN to many of us as the author of the modern classic children’s book, The Snowy Day, in which a young boy named Peter wakes to find his urban neighborhood transformed by a snowfall in the night. He puts on […]

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March 11: Ezra Jack Keats

Ezra Jack Keats (Jacob Ezra Katz), who transformed children’s literature with his colorful collage-and-ink style and his introduction of African-American children as central characters, was born in poverty in Brooklyn on this date in 1916. His artistic talent was well-recognized by the time he was in high school, but poverty beset him at several junctures […]

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