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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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June 15: The Great Yiddish Critic

Shmuel Niger (Charney), a leading Yiddish literary critic who helped to launch the careers of Sholem Asch, Peretz Hirshbein, and Der Nister, among other Yiddish writers, was born into a khasidic family in the region of Minsk on this date in 1883. Coming into contact with leftwing Zionist ideas while preparing for rabbinical ordination at […]

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March 30: Avrom Reyzn

Yiddish story writer, poet, novelist, and essayist Avrom Reyzn died at 76 (some say 77) on this date in 1953. After moving to the U.S. in 1911, he contributed a stream of very popular stories to several American Yiddish newspapers. Reyzn was encouraged and promoted by both Sholem Aleichem and Y.L. Peretz, and in turn […]

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March 24: Moissaye Olgin and the Frayhayt

Image: Photo restored and retouched by Yiddishkayt in Los Angeles. Moissaye Olgin, editor of the communist Yiddish daily Morgn Frayhayt (“Morning Freedom”) from its founding in 1922 until his death in 1939, was born in a Ukrainian shtetl on this date in 1878. An admired revolutionary agitator and writer in the Russian underground, he wrote […]

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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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People of the Book 101: Joseph Landis and Daniel Waldman

by Jules Chametzky Some years back I served with the late Kenneth Libo (1937-2012), who did wonderful work as chief researcher and contributor to Irving Howe’s magisterial and indispensable World of Our Fathers, on an advisory committee for a projected documentary on Abraham Cahan, the fabled editor for fifty years of the Yiddish Forverts. As part […]

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From “How Jewish Are You” to “How Are You Jewish?

Responding Creatively to the Pew Survey by Rabbi Richard Hirsh illustrations by Sarah Glidden When the Pew Research Center released its new study, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” observers looking at the same data arrived at often opposite conclusions as to whether the “news” was good or bad, cause for hope or despair, confirming of […]

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