Mar 04, 2023
In a statement, Mr. Biden’s attorney announced that a rare manuscript version of Sholem Aleichem’s Ayznban geshikhten (Railroad Stories) from the YIVO archives had been found in the president’s Delaware home, following a consensual search that was booked a week in advance using an online system. Other archival materials and finding aids have been found in his Wilmington, DE home and a private Washington, DC office, dating back to his time as a student in the Uriel Weinreich Yiddish Summer Program, where he first began to learn Yiddish.
This latest discovery comes at a time when a staggering number of long-lost Yiddish documents have been showing up in the homes of prominent politicians. Just last week the Republican Party was rocked when an unknown Celia Dropkin novel (inspired by her poem “Mayn mame” - My Mother) was discovered in the home of former vice president Mike Pence. Federal investigator Anita Norich uncovered the novel, which was a particularly shocking find as it is a well known truism that women didn’t write novels in Yiddish, and that if they did, no Republican would be caught dead reading them.
This whole saga started several months ago with a 9:30 am raid of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home by a YIVO investigative unit led by Yiddish boxing expert Eddy Portnoy and folk hero Leo Greenbaum. The search continued until precisely 4:30 pm and uncovered an extraordinary cache of Yiddish treasures including the original Yiddish version of S. An-Sky’s Der dibuk (The Dybbuk), with the missing fifth act glitter party and tap dance. Had it not been returned to YIVO, this would likely have been the highest priced Judaica manuscript at private auction of all time.
Composer Alex Weiser and librettist Ben Kaplan plan to write a new opera about these dramatic events. Critics already predict that the popularity of this work will rival that of classic Yiddish theater hits Hamilton and Fiddler afn Dakh — perhaps even combined.