Reader Favorites 2020-2021

The Editors

As we approach our summer hiatus, it’s time to close out the publishing year per annual tradition with the most popular pieces In geveb published this year. Timely topics like the coronavirus pandemic and last summer’s uprising against white supremacy make an appearance, as do special projects like our yearlong focus on children’s literature and our peer-reviewed special issue on Yiddish and the transnational in Latin America. There’s representation from every section — peer review, blog, pedagogy, and translations — and even a piece from our extremely serious Purim issue. In reverse order, here are your favorite pieces that we published in the past year...


10. Loyt di kinderlekh: Children’s Book Reports

The stars of our yearlong focus on children’s literature were our youngest contributors themselves in this trilingual compilation of their sharpest insights. Although Estherl (age 8) sums up Molodowsky as “nudne,” our readers thought her review was anything but. Other young critics are more generous, describing the works under consideration as “very good” and “hysterical.”

9. Special Issue: Yiddish and the Transnational in Latin America

This special issue spans our peer review, translations, and book review sections. Guest editor Yitzhak Lewis writes: “The works presented in this issue all appreciate the sphere of Latin American Yiddish cultural production beyond the national, giving “pan-American” Yiddish culture the attention it merits as an object of study… By foregrounding the contingency of national locations and concomitantly emphasizing the supra-national sphere–in which cultures, viruses, human experience and its expressions all circulate–what comes into view is a sphere that is both culturally determinative and historically contingent: transnational Yiddish.”

8. The Fully Authentic Final Exam for Elementary Yiddish 1 by Asya Schulman and Jessica Kirzane

We’re not-so-secretly delighted that this is the second year in a row a piece from our Purim issue made it onto our top ten list. The popularity of this sample exam is doubtless a testament to the strength of our pedagogy section and not to the familiarity of the scenarios described in the exam.

7. Hasidic Songs about Coronavirus: A Wonderful Voice of Renewal

חסידישע קאראנע-לידער א וואונדערליכע שטימע פון חידוש

by Eli Benedict

In a bilingual blog piece, Eli Benedict curates a playlist of Hasidic songs about coronavirus. Like many blog and pedagogy pieces we published this year, Benedict provides both reflections and resources related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Yiddish culture and pedagogy. We’re delighted our readers found this curated playlist so useful (and these songs such excellent listening.)

6. Diary of a Lonely Girl: A Queer Reading by Faith Jones

“Irritated with the aggressive straightness of Miriam Karpilove’s Diary of a Lonely Girl, I asked myself: is it possible to approach this novel queerly?” Fortunately for our readers, Faith Jones answers yes.

5. אַלף, בית,...

Alef, Beys . . . by Freed Weininger, translated by Jonah Lubin

It only makes sense that this psychedelic alphabet tour in alliterative translation made the top ten. If you haven’t read this firework of a poem and translation yet, please enjoy.

4. בעטהאָװענס לבֿנה־סאָנאַטע

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata by Sh. Bastomski, translated by Alex Weiser

Our special focus on children’s literature included new translations as well, such as this charming fictionalized origin story of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

3. Millennial Bundism: An Interview with Isabel Frey by Faith Hillis

Faith Hillis and Isabel Frey discuss the politics of Frey’s Yiddish oeuvre, from millennial disenchantment with neoliberalism, to performing at protests, to feminist reappropriation of misogynist songs.

2. “Black Lives Matter” and Talking about Blackness in Yiddish: Stakes, Considerations, and Open Questions by Jonah S. Boyarin, Ri J. Turner and Arun Viswanath

This wide-ranging and thoughtful conversation about race, context, and language accompanies the authors’ project to disseminate a list of vocab­u­lary for speak­ing and writ­ing in Yid­dish about the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment.

1. Yiddish in ale lender! Yiddish Summer Programs Roundup 2021

Our always-popular summer programs roundup earned this year’s top spot — optimistically, perhaps because virtual formats made summer classes accessible to a wider group of Yiddish learners, or pessimistically, perhaps because the COVID-19 pandemic continued to make planning complicated. Whatever your plans this summer, zay gezunt, happy reading, and we’ll be back in September!

Editors, The. “Reader Favorites 2020-2021.” In geveb, June 2021:
Editors, The. “Reader Favorites 2020-2021.” In geveb (June 2021): Accessed Apr 19, 2024.


The Editors