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The Brothel-Owner and the Milkman

SHOLEM ASCH’S GOD OF VENGEANCE COMES TO LIFE by Susan Reimer-Torn ON MARCH 26, 1923, shortly before curtain time, the cast and producers of Sholem Asch’s play, God of Vengeance (pictured above) were arrested by a vice squad and thrown into jail to await trial on obscenity charges. The arrest took place fifteen days after […]

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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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July 8: The Anti-Fascist Committee at the Polo Grounds

More than 47,000 New Yorkers rallied at the Polo Grounds on this date in 1943 in support of the Soviet war effort against Nazi Germany. Soviet actor and director Solomon Mikhoels and poet Itsik Feffer — leaders of the Soviet Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC) — as well as New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Yiddish novelist […]

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November 1: Sholem Asch

Sholem Asch, the most internationally known and widely translated writer of Yiddish novels, plays, and stories, was born in Poland on this date in 1880. His 1907 drama, God of Vengeance, which focused on religious hypocrisy and featured a brothel and a lesbian scene, was translated into German, Russian, Hebrew, Polish, Italian, Czech, and Norwegian, […]

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The Return of the Repressed: Yiddish in Israel

by Benjamin Weiner Hebrew’s defeat of Yiddish in the language war of early Zionism is well known, but recent scholarship has added to our understanding of the conflict. The works of Dovid Katz and Yael Chaver, in particular, attest to the outright hostility, even physical violence, of the Hebraist camp, and the extent to which […]

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Yiddish Literature in English Translation

An American Tale by Bennett Muraskin Modern Yiddish literature is a prime expression of Jewish humanism. Its creators were typically rebels against authority and proponents of universal ideals of freedom of thought, social justice and human dignity. Yiddish authors did not write for the educated elite, but for the average Jew. They formed a special […]

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