Jun 19, 2017
As we near the completion of In geveb’s second year of publishing, the editors are asking one another: what was life like af der yidisher gas before In geveb? Before YiddishSpa!, Zachary Baker’s six part research guide, zombie listicles, and Evigingo? We honestly don’t remember. In geveb has become our forum for engagement with the Yiddish street (to adapt the phrase), as we hope it has for you our readers.
It’s been a long and difficult year politically, one that reminds us of the importance of cultural work that brings together communities and challenges us to expand our understanding of who and what our community is. With that in mind, before we begin our summer break we want to share with you what have been some of the highlights for us this year, and drop some hints about what you have to look forward to when we return in the fall.
Along with the end of the publishing year, June is also the end of our fiscal year, so if you are enjoying what we’re doing here at In geveb and want to make sure we’re back at full force in the fall, please consider making a donation. We still have a few tote bags left for donations of $25 or more!
Hey, Yiddish culture and scholarship is not a popularity contest, but who can resist a good top ten list? We’re excited to see what you our readers are excited about, especially as our audience this year has continued to grow. Over 700 people are now subscribed to our monthly newsletter, over 2,000 people follow us on Facebook, and the site has received over 20,000 visits since September. So what have the masses been reading? Here are the ten most popular pieces we’ve published this year:
10. Zachary Baker’s Resources in Yiddish Studies: “Meta”-resources. This six part series (with the final installment coming out before we go on summer break!) is an amazing tool for Yiddish researchers at all levels.
9. and 8. You can bet we were intrigued to hear about Yevgeniy Fiks’ artist book, Soviet Moscow’s Yiddish-Gay Dictionary, and it turns out you were, as well. Anna Elena Torres’ interview with Fiks and Joseph Heller’s illustration and artist statement in response to the work made the list.
7. Is it The Blob? Is it The Thing? No! It’s the loshn of the living dead! Saul Zaritt and our editors trace the trope of Yiddish’s death and rebirth through a century of quality journalism.
6. Interviewers everywhere beware, Anna Elena Torres makes it into the top ten twice with her interview of Ezra Berkley Nepon, author of Dazzle Camouflage: Spectacular Theatrical Strategies for Resistance and Resilience.
5. Okay, also, bibliographers everywhere beware! Part two of Zachary Baker’s resource guide, focused on digital collections, was our fifth most popular post of the year.
4. It turns out the thing that brings us all together is our collective dream of spending our summers at YiddishSpa!™. Dory Fox is now accepting advance registration for next summer’s program.
3. In geveb readers are film buffs: you loved Raphael Koenig’s review of the new Yiddish language film Menashe, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and Sundance this year.
2. More Yiddish film! We’re thrilled that Rebecca Margolis’ peer-reviewed article was the second most popular piece we published this year. “New Yiddish Film and the Transvernacular” has been read over 1200 times! Take that, PMLA.
1. And the most popular piece of the year was…Jessica Kirzane’s Yiddish Summer Programs Roundup! We love that your favorite piece was the one about how to spend your summer deepening your knowledge of and engagement with Yiddish.
You may not have picked them, but there are a number of other things we the editors are especially proud of this year.
One of the real revelations of working on In geveb is realizing just how big the little world of Yiddish Studies is. This year we have published eleven book reviews of new works in the field and we already have reviews in progress for the fall. From Old Yiddish to Jewish anarchists, the range of new research is inspiring. But one of the best ways to see the true expanse of the field is through “The Lastest in Yiddish Studies in English 2016.” This bibliography includes 29 books and 56 chapters and articles of new research in the field—and of course that is only English language material.
At the annual conference of the Association for Jewish Studies held in December, we organized a roundtable on “Teaching Yiddish in the Digital Age.” This spring we began publishing a series of reflections by the participants, based on the conversation that began at the conference. You can read the first four installments and we look forward to adding more pieces in the fall.
This year we also began publishing a series of teaching guides designed to help bring our translations into the classroom. We’re eager to hear from teachers what would be most helpful in future guides, please contact us and share your thoughts.
We published a number of unusual translations this year, including our first translation from a manuscript source: Rabbi Tamares’ autobiography, translated by Ri J. Turner. Also our first play written for puppets: Michael Shapiro’s translation of The Dybbuk in the Form of a Crisis, by Yosl Cutler. And our first long form trochaic tetrameter poem published in a Romanized orthography and translated in a 72 hour period in honor of its original composition also in 72 hours: Jordan Finkin’s translation of Evigingo by Leyzer Volf (though honestly, we’d be more amazed if there is ever a second in this category).
Finally, we’re excited to continue exploring—thanks to the brilliant ideas and writing of our contributors—the porous borders between the different sections of In geveb: what separates an article from a blog post? What does it add to an essay to be able to publish it alongside a new translation of a primary text? Shari Rabin’s essay on “Postvernacular Yiddish in Nineteenth-Century America” is one of those pieces that explores the territory between academic and popular writing; as is Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska’s essay, “A Writer in the Spa: Identifying Jacob Glatstein’s Protagonist,” which we published alongside new translations of two pieces by Glatstein: “A Jewish Historian from Lublin,” translated by Sunny Yudkoff and Saul Zaritt, and “Yiddish, Translation, and a World Literature To-Come,” translated by Saul Zaritt.
In geveb exists thanks to the work of so many people, including our donors, our board of directors, editors, contributors, and readers. We are constantly in awe of what this group accomplishes, and can’t pass up an opportunity to brag about some of their accomplishments. Several of our editors are beginning new positions this year: Sarah Zarrow will be starting an assistant professorship in the fall as the Jaffe Professor of Jewish History at Western Washington University; Samuel Spinner will become the Zelda and Myer Tandetnik Assistant Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Johns Hopkins University; Hannah Pollin-Galay is now the Senior Lecturer (Adv. Asst. Professor) of Yiddish Studies in the Department of Literature at Tel Aviv University; and Madeleine Cohen will be Preceptor in Yiddish at Harvard University. Congratulations as well to Jessica Kirzane for receiving her PhD in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University this year, to Stefanie Halpern who received her PhD from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and to Sebastian Schulman on the publication of his translation from Esperanto of Croatian War Nocturnal by Spomenka Štimec. We could go on…
The Year to Come
The 2017-2018 publishing year promises to be the year of Special Issues. There are a number of projects in the works this year that we’re excited to start publishing next year, taking advantage of the website’s new special issue section that will allow us to publish thematic groupings of peer-reviewed articles, translations, blog posts, book reviews, and pedagogical materials. The results of our CFP for Religious Thought in Yiddish will be among these special issues.
We hope you are looking forward to year three as much as we are, and please do consider making a donation to support this publication. In geveb is proud to be subscription-free and we plan to keep it that way, with your help. We are also committed to continue paying (actual real dollars) for the work of our editors and contributors—as the saying goes, just because something is a labor of love doesn’t mean it isn’t still labor.