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The Bund at 120

A CONFERENCE REPORT by Bennett Muraskin Illustration by Aharon Varady TWENTY YEARS AGO, in honor of the centennial of the Jewish Labor Bund, a day-long conference took place in New York City. Among the speakers were a surviving Bundist leader, Motl Zelmanowicz, and a prominent historian of European Jewry and the left, Abraham Brumberg. Other speakers […]

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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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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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The Coen Brothers Meet a Yiddish Sweatshop Poet

by Hershl Hartman HAIL, CAESAR!, the Coen Brothers’ sardonic spoof of big studio Hollywood in the 1950s — featuring a double-handful of big-name stars — may cause some hoo-ha over its depiction of a very upscale Malibu Beach “communist cell,” but there’s one aspect that will probably go unnoticed… until now. Jewish Currents can now reveal […]

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February 8: Pauline Koner on Stage

Dancer Pauline Koner, who toured as a soloist for fifteen years before joining dance companies, and created extravaganzas for the Roxy Theater and other venues — including the glamorous “Holiday on Ice” revue — died at 89 in New York on this date in 2001. A child of the Workmen’s Circle (her father created the […]

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Unpacking a New Trunk of Soviet Yiddish Songs

by Eric A. Gordon Two hear two tracks from the album, City of the Future, click here: “Girls at the Sewing Machine;” “Red Army“ ONE OF MY TASKS when I was director of the Southern California District of the Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle) was to gather, sort, and ship out thousands of books donated by […]

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Dispatches from Yiddish New York

by Bennett Muraskin I CONFESS that I never made it to Klezkamp, which had its final hurrah a year ago. I was not willing to sacrifice the time and money to stay overnight at a hotel in the Catskills, and I had the impression that the program was mostly about klezmer music, which is only […]

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