Solomon Rabinovich, aka Sholem Aleichem

The best-known and best-loved Yiddish writer of all, Sholem Aleichem (pen-name of Solomon Rabinovich), was born on this date in 1859 (some sources say March 3rd) in the Ukraine, then controlled by tsarist Russia. Sholem Aleichem, whose works included Menahem-Mendl and Tevye the Dairyman (later adapted and commercialized as Fiddler on the Roof) wrote with shrewd humor and deep […]

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“Weathering Winter”

by Shirley Adelman   WEATHERING WINTER KASHA The comfort of kasha, on a cold winter day, warming me up, like Yiddish words, flying across the table many years ago.   BORSCHT Taking time from what should be done, to what must be done: cooking a winter borscht, to nourish my soul, hungry for the flavors, of […]

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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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“My Yiddish-Speaking GPS”

by Jeffrey Kassel   THE LAST TIME I drove a car was over thirty years ago. Who needs a car in New York City? Getting a monthly spot in a garage costs more than our rent-stabilized apartment. I take the subway and bus. Real proletarian! Anyway, I needed to rent a car on business. Budget Rent-A-Car sounded […]

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Israel’s National Poet

Modern Israel’s “national poet,” Haim Nahman Bialik, was born in Ukraine on this date in 1873. By his mid-twenties, Bialik was widely acclaimed for his writings in both Yiddish and Hebrew and had translated Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, and other classics of world literature into Hebrew. In 1903, Bialik went to Kishniev as part of a […]

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Escaping from the Vilna Ghetto: An Authentic Memoir

by Shmerke Kaczerginski translated from the Yiddish, with notes, by Rachel Field   SHMERKE KACZERGINSKI  was a Yiddish poet, ethnomusicologist, activist, and cultural leader, who survived the Holocaust in a partisan unit. Born in Vilna in 1908, Kaczerginski was educated in the city’s Talmud Torah, a community-sponsored school for orphans, and became active in the banned […]

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Itche Goldberg and Yiddishkayt

Yiddish scholar, literary critic and educator Itche Goldberg died at 102 on this date in 2006. Goldberg founded and kept alive the  Yiddish literary journal, Yidishe Kultur, from 1964 to 2004, and was an eloquent and important theorist and cultivator of secular Jewish culture. From 1937 to 1951, he was the educational and cultural director of the Jewish People’s […]

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