Yiddish Vilna Before the Destruction

COLORFUL SKETCHES FROM THE INTERWAR YEARS by Martha Roth From the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Vilna My Vilna: Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz, translated from the Yiddish by Helen Mintz. Syracuse University Press, 2016, 216 pages. WHAT A PLACE it  must have been — the Jerusalem of Lithuania,  the Paris […]

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A Yiddish Moment with Irwin Corey

by Hershl Hartman THE NEW YORK TIMES’ obituary for “Professor” Irwin Corey, “the world’s greatest authority” (February 7) recalled his “unrepentant leftist view,” his “admiration for Fidel Castro,” his being an “enthusiastic member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union” and describing himself as a “short Jewish atheist.” It also noted that “some network executives […]

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February 16: Tsu Gesundt!

Pope Gregory is said to have declared on this date in 600 (though some say February 6) that “God bless you” is an appropriate response to a sneeze. According to the History Channel, “Gregory the Great . . . assumed the papacy in 590, at a time when the bubonic plague was raging through Europe. […]

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January 10: Master of the Yiddish Art Song

Lazar Weiner, who created a catalogue of more than two hundred Yiddish art songs that “represents a deeply eloquent achievement, one that simultaneously bridged artistic worlds, created new hybrid musical forms, and preserved a vision of a secular Yiddish culture across decades of its near-extinction,” writes Jeremy Eichler in the Boston Globe, died at 84 […]

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The Uncivil Servant: In Praise of Esperanto

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Bridge of Words by Esther Schor. Metropolitan Books, 2016, indexed, 364 pages SOME TIME NEAR the end of the 20th century, the late, lamented magazine Lingua Franca ran an article about the international language, Esperanto. It presented it so attractively that I immediately picked up some teach-yourself books, […]

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Yiddish Curses for Republican Jews

by Rabbi Aaron Spiegel May you sell everything and retire to Florida just as global warming makes it uninhabitable. May you live to a hundred and twenty without Social Security or Medicare. May you make a fortune, and lose it all in one of Sheldon Adelson’s casinos. May you live to a ripe old age, […]

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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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Resurrecting Jacob Dinezon

by Curt Leviant Discussed in this essay: Jacob Dinezon: the Mother Among our Classical Yiddish Writers, by Shmuel Rozhanski, translated by Miri Koral. Storyteller Press, 2016, 142 pages. TEKHIYAS ha-meysim, resurrection of the dead, occasionally happens in literature when attention is once again focused on long-neglected authors. Scott Davis, editor and publisher of Storyteller Press, […]

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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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