לויט די לייענערס | Readers Respond: Moyshe Stavsky

Madeleine Cohen

In her blog post “The Real First Translation of Bashevis into English!” Faith Jones described the other authors represented in the 1938 collection Jewish Short Stories of To-day, in which Isaac Bashevis Singer’s work first appeared in English translation. After other well-known Yiddish, German, and French authors, Jones writes, “and then there are those who are just… well, obscure... A Hebrew writer named M. Stavsky.”

Well, one person’s “obscure” is another person’s research subject. And it turns out that two of In geveb’s esteemed readers knew of M. (Moyshe) Stavsky and wrote to tell us about him.

Yael Chaver, Lecturer of Yiddish at UC Berkeley wrote: “I enjoyed the article by Faith Jones—yasher koyekh!—and would like to add the following tidbit: ‘M. Stavsky,’ whose story Carr translated and included in his anthology, was none other than the first husband of poet Anna Margolin (pen name of Rosa Lebensboym), with whom she had a son, Na’aman. Stavski, who stayed in Palestine after their divorce, later hebraized his name to Stavi and became quite well known for his Hebrew fiction, especially depictions of Arab life.”

And Karolina Szymaniak, Assistant Professor at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw writes: “Great piece! A minor remark about the choice of authors: Stavsky wrote also in Yiddish, was friends with Rachel Auerbach and two of his books were translated by her into Polish. If you scan through the interwar Polish-Jewish press you see he was quite popular.”

Yet another moment to be grateful for the sayings “a kleyne velt,” and “a velt mit veltlekh.” For more on Stavsky, check out his page on Hebrew Wikipedia, his entry in the Lexicon of New Hebrew Literature, and this page by the Brest-Belarus Group.

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Cohen, Madeleine. “לויט די לייענערס | Readers Respond: Moyshe Stavsky.” In geveb, October 2015:לויט-די-לייענערס-readers-respond-moyshe-stavsky.
Cohen, Madeleine. “לויט די לייענערס | Readers Respond: Moyshe Stavsky.” In geveb (October 2015): Accessed Apr 22, 2021.


Madeleine Cohen

Madeleine Cohen received her PhD in Comparative Literature with a designated emphasis in Jewish Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the academic director at the Yiddish Book Center and president of In geveb's board of directors.