The Latest in Yiddish Studies in English: 2017

Rachelle Grossman, Erin Faigin, Saul Noam Zaritt and Jessica Kirzane


This is the newest install­ment of our annu­al effort to gath­er togeth­er the lat­est pub­li­ca­tions rel­e­vant to Yid­dish stud­ies in Eng­lish. It is our hope that this list helps to illus­trate the scope of the field across dis­ci­plines and his­tor­i­cal peri­ods. The list includes schol­ar­ship in the form of books, arti­cles, book chap­ters, and spe­cial edi­tions pub­lished in 2017. Each entry is fol­lowed by a short sum­ma­ry and avail­able links to online material. 

New this year, we have added book-length trans­la­tions from Yid­dish to Eng­lish to the list. 

While Eng­lish is far from the only lan­guage of Yid­dish schol­ar­ship, we are pleased that this bib­li­og­ra­phy fea­tures schol­ars from the glob­al reach of Yid­dish Stud­ies. We hope to con­tin­ue to pub­lish bib­li­ogra­phies that reflect the plu­ral­i­ty of voic­es relat­ed to Yid­dish stud­ies that cross lin­guis­tic and nation­al bound­aries, and not only those pub­lished in Eng­lish. If you are inter­est­ed in com­pil­ing a sim­i­lar list for schol­ar­ship pub­lished in anoth­er lan­guage, we encour­age you to reach out to us. Please also con­tact us if you have any sug­gest­ed addi­tions to the bibliography.


Book Chap­ters


Spe­cial Issue



Anctil, Pierre. Jacob Isaac Segal: A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu. Trans. Vivian Felsen. University of Ottawa Press, 2017.
Vivian Felsen brings us a translation from French of Pierre Anctil’s 2012 study of Jacob Isaac Segal, one of Canada’s first Yiddish writers. All translations of Segal’s poetry in the volume were done directly from the Yiddish. This work includes a biography of Segal and unpublished translations of his poetry, as well as rich appendices with bibliographic and biographic material.

Assouline, Dalit. Contact and Ideology in a Multilingual Community: Yiddish and Hebrew Among the Ultra-Orthodox. New York: De Gruyter Mouton, 2017.
An important sociolinguistic study of language use in Israel’s contemporary Ultra-Orthodox communities. Assouline focuses primarily on the way ideology influences the struggle and balance between Yiddish and Hebrew in the everyday life of the communities, pitting zealots who categorically oppose the use of modern Israeli Hebrew against the realities of language contact.

Dauber, Jeremy. Jewish Comedy: A Serious History. W. W. Norton and Company, 2017.
In his history of Jewish comedy from biblical times to the present, Dauber does not offer a single theory of Jewish comedy, rather, thematic genres. While modern characters like Lena Dunham and Joan Rivers make an appearance, Dauber also touches on the comedic legacies of the early Yiddish stage, Sholem Aleichem, and Lenny Bruce.

Estraikh, Gennady and Mikhail Krutikov, eds. Three Cities of Yiddish: St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and Moscow. Oxford: Legenda, 2017.
This volume brings together essays from a wide array of scholars in Yiddish Studies to examine the variety of Yiddish publishing, educational, literary, academic and theatrical activities in St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and Moscow from the nineteenth through to the late twentieth century as well as representations of those cities in Yiddish literature. Contributors include: Jeffrey Veidlinger, Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov, Sima Beeri, Harriet Murav, Gennady Estraikh, Sabine Koller, Mikhail Krutikov, Alexander Frenkel, Galina Eliasberg, Alexander Ivanov and Alla Sokolova.

Finkel, Evgeny. Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival During the Holocaust. Princeton University Press, 2017.
Relying on archival material and survivors’ testimonies, Evgeny Finkel compares Jews’ behavior in three Jewish ghettos—Minsk, Kraków, and Białystok—and shows that Jews’ responses to Nazi genocide varied based on their experiences with prewar policies that either promoted or discouraged their integration into non-Jewish society.

Finkin, Jordan. Exile as Home: The Cosmopolitan Poetics of Leyb Naydus. Hebrew Union College Press, 2017.
In this work, Finkin translates literary critic Naftoli Vaynig’s essay on Naydus, written in 1943 in the Vilna Ghetto, which argues that the cosmopolitan poetry of Leyb Naydus (1890–1918) should serve as an emblem for a culture threatened with extinction. Finkin’s work extends Vaynig’s argument about Naydus’s work, making a broader argument about the poetics of minor-language literatures.

Fishman, David. The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis. University Press of New England, 2017.
A chronicle of the Vilna Ghetto’s “Paper Brigade,” a group of partisans tasked with sorting the city’s collection of Jewish books for confiscation or incineration. Working against their orders, these partisans smuggled thousands of rare books out of the hands of the Nazis. The same bunkers that held smuggled books hid contraband weaponry; Fishman’s story is one of both cultural and physical resistance.

Fowler, Mayhill C. Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine. University of Toronto Press, 2017.
Beau Monde looks at the development and significance of multi-ethnic culture, theater, and art in Soviet Ukraine. Navigating the linguistic and ethnic borderlands of Ukraine, Fowler explores how politics and culture in the Soviet Union became intertwined. Iaroslava Strikha reviewed this work for In geveb.

Frakes, Jerold C. The Emergence of Early Yiddish Literature: Cultural Translation in Ashkenaz. Indiana University Press, 2017.
An exploration of the historical context from which Yiddish literature emerged. Frakes argued that these historical forces—expulsions, discrimination, and massacres—are key to our understanding of the formation and relevance of Yiddish language and literature. The larger argument of the book involves a theorization of translation at the center of early Yiddish literary culture.

Frakes, Jerold C. A Guide to Old Literary Yiddish. Oxford University Press, 2017.
The first guide to reading late medieval and early modern Yiddish texts. Includes step-by-step instructions, glossaries, and grammatical indexes.

Heilman, Samuel. Who Will Lead Us?: The Story of Five Hasidic Dynasties in America. University of California Press, 2017.
Heilman traces the leadership transitions of five Hasidic dynasties in postwar America: the Munkacs, Boyan and Kopyczynitz, Bobov, Satmar, and Chabad communities. This study follows the figure of the rebbe—including the contestation of that figure—as the organizing principle in growing and expanding contemporary Hasidic communities.

Krah, Markus. American Jewry And The Re-Invention Of The East European Jewish Past. De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2017.
Krah examines American Jewish anxiety over the confluence of their postwar abundance and the trauma of the Holocaust. This uncertainty resulted in an intense re-engagement and reimagining of shtetl culture now made suitable for an American context.

Portnoy, Eddy. Bad Rabbi, And Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press. Stanford University Press, 2017.
With a lighthearted tone, Portnoy offers a vivid description of Yiddish street life as seen through the popular press of Warsaw and New York, a feature of Yiddish culture often underexamined in the field of Yiddish Studies and the history of Eastern Europe and North America. Portnoy’s book includes extensive translation from newspaper articles. Ayelet Brinn reviewed this work for In geveb.

Stromberg, David. Narrative Faith: Dostoevsky, Camus, and Singer. Rowman and Littlefield, 2017.
Narrative Faith examines Dostoevsky’s Demons (1872), Albert Camus’s The Plague(1947), and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s The Penitent (1973/83), demonstrating how each narrative intensifies questions of faith through narrators that generate doubt. See Stromberg's article on Bashevis' author's note to The Penitent published by In geveb, as well as his edited version of two essays by Bashevis.

Sloin, Andrew. Jewish Revolution in Belorussia: Economy, Race, and Bolshevik Power. Indiana University Press, 2017.
Exploring the lives of everyday Jews—laborers, artisans, organizers, and students—Sloin explores the Bolshevik project from the ground up. The book goes further to examine how the lives of these ordinary people can be used to understand not only Bolshevik history but also the relationship between the economy, identity, and the Jewish Question.

Schainker, Ellie. Confessions of the Shtetl: Converts from Judaism in Imperial Russia, 1817-1906. Stanford University Press, 2016.
A socio-cultural history of the day-to-day lives of Jewish converts to Christianity in Imperial Russia. Schainker interrogates the relationship between new forms of being Jewish and Christian and the impact on community and individual identity. Relying on archival material as well as sources, including those in Yiddish, from the press and popular literature, this book seeks to modify and expand the myth of the shtetl as a site of national and religious cohesion.

Weiss-Wendt, Anton. On the Margins: Essays on the History of Jews in Estonia. Central European University Press, 2017.
Spanning over 150 years of Estonian Jewish history, this book confronts the issues of building and rebuilding Jewish life beyond the Pale of Jewish Settlement in the “marginal” space of Estonia. Essays track this history in and alongside the Russian Empire, through the possibility of Jewish cultural autonomy during the interwar period, and after the traumas of Soviet occupation of 1940–41 and the Holocaust.

Zaagsma, Gerben. Jewish Volunteers, the International Brigades and the Spanish Civil War. Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.
Gerben examines Jewish volunteers in the International Brigades before and during the Spanish Civil War. He situates their participation in the broader context of Jewish involvement in the left as constituted by the Parisian Yiddish press. Jewish Volunteers also explores the legacy of Jewish participation in brigades by tracing its role in post-Holocaust debates on Jewish resistance.

Book Chapters

Aptroot, Marion. “From Yiddish to Dutch: Holiday Entertainment Between Literary and Linguistic Codes.” In The Religious Cultures of Dutch Jewry, edited by Yosef Kaplan and Dan Michman. Brill, 2017, 141-155.
Aptroot examines texts written in Yiddish and Dutch as light entertainment on the occasion of Jewish holidays for clues about the processes of linguistic and cultural assimilation of Dutch Ashkenazim during the nineteenth century.

Berger, Shlomo. “Reading Yiddish and ‘Lernen’: Being a Pious Ashkenazi in Amsterdam, 1650-1800.” In The Religious Cultures of Dutch Jewry, edited by Yosef Kaplan and Dan Michman. Brill, 2017.
Berger discusses early modern Yiddish texts, such as ethical literature, that became legitimate tools for Torah study, despite the lower status of Yiddish within Ashkenazi religious scholarship.

Estraikh, Gennady. “American Yiddish Socialists at the Wartime Crossroads : patriotism and nationalism versus proletarian internationalism” in World War I and the Jews: Conflict and Transformations in Europe, the Middle East, and America, edited by Marsha Rozenblit and Jonathan Karp. Berghan Books, 2017.
Estraikh outlines the political landscape of American Yiddish socialism during World War I.

Faierstein, Morris M. “The Dybbuk: The Origins and History of a Concept.” In olam ha-zeh v’olm ha-ba: This world and the World to Come in Jewish Belief and Practice (Studies in Jewish Civilization 28). Ed. L. J. Greenspoon. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2017, 135-150.
Faierstein examines primary sources that discuss the concept of the dybbuk and traces the historical development and evolution of the concept.

Jochnowitz, Eve. “A Younger World: Vegetarian Writing and Recipes in Yiddish as Political Strategies.” in Tastes of Faith: Jewish Eating in the United States, edited by Leah Hochman. Perdue University Press, 2017.
Jochnowitz describes the political ideologies undergirding twentieth century Yiddish cookbook authors’ promotion of vegetarian diets including pacifism, secularism, ethical humanism, scientific rationalism, modernist aesthetics, and “wide-eyed idealism and heartbreaking hopefulness.” She also tracks the satirical backlash against vegetarianism, which, she explains, demonstrates that “even while Yiddish-speaking vegetarians may have been few in number, their cultural significance was disproportionately large.”

Koenig, Raphael. “The Mad Book: Der Nister as Unreliable Author in ‘From My Estate’ (1929).” In Jewish Aspects in Avant-Garde: Between Rebellion and Revelation, edited by Mark H. Gelber and Sami Sjoberg. De Gruyter, 2017.
Koenig discusses Der Nister’s narratalogical conceit of the “unreliable author” in his short story collection “From my Estate,” arguing that metaphors of “de-authorization” in the text allude to the fact that Der Nister’s literary activity was under threat from proletarian writers.

Newton, Adam Zachary. “Bruno Schulz’s Murals, Oyneg shabes, and the Migration of Forms: Seventeen Fragments and an Archive.” In Eastern Europe Unmapped: Beyond Borders and Peripheries, edited by Irene Kacandes and Yuliya Komska. Berghahn Books, 2017.
Newton’s essay experimentally and creatively juxtaposes Bruno Schulz’s fragmented wall paintings (“rescued” or “stolen” or “removed” from Drohobyzch by Israel’s Yad Vashem in 2001) with the Oyneg shabes archive compiled by Emanuel Ringleblum of the life of the Warsaw ghetto. The essay meditates on the contingencies of the archive and how fragmentation determines artistic legacies.

Udel, Miriam. “The ‘Jewish Pope’ in the 1940s: On Jewish Cultural and Ethnic Plasticity.” In Eastern Europe Unmapped: Beyond Borders and Peripheries, edited by Irene Kacandes and Yuliya Komska. Berghahn Books, 2017.
Udel discusses the resurgence of the “Jewish pope” motif in the 1940s in Yiddish letters, focusing in particular on Yudel Mark’s Der yidisher poyps (1947) and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Zeydlus der ershter” (1943). She argues that the motif was a tool for grappling with the limits of Jewish identity and agency, and as a “peculiarly Jewish instance of geopolitics.”

Senderovich, Sasha and Harriet Murav, “David Bergelson’s Judgment: A Critical Introduction,” in David Bergelson, Judgment: A Novel, translated by Harriet Murav and Sasha Senderovich. Northwestern University Press, 2017.
The first published scholarly study of a heretofore untranslated novel by the major Yiddish writer Dovid Bergelson, written by the translators. Explores the history of publication and reception of the novel, at from Soviet criticism in the late 1920s and the 1930s, and in the West during the Cold War and until the present.

Tordjman, Laëtitia. “Challenging the literary community: the Warsaw Yiddish avant-garde and ‘Khalyastre.’” in Jewish Aspects in Avant-Garde: Between Rebellion and Revelation, edited by Mark H. Gelber and Sami Sjoberg. de Gruyter, 2017.
Tordjman argues that Khalyastre, the 1922 journal published by the literary group of the same name, challenged and reshaped the literary community through its non-elitist cosmopolitanism.

Warnke, Nina and Jeffrey Shandler. “Yiddish Shylocks in Theater and Literature” in Wrestling with Shylock: Jewish Responses to The Merchant of Venice, edited by Edna Nachson and Michael Shapiro. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
Warnke and Shandler examine interactions between Jews and majority cultures, the internal synergy among Yiddish-speaking communities, and the interplay between German- and Yiddish-speaking intellectuals and actors through discussing Yiddish engagements with the character of Shylock.


Chajes, Jeffrey Howard. “Ansky's 'Dybbuk' as Heretical Midrash.” Jewish Studies Quarterly 24,1 (2017): 66-84.
Chajes reads Ansky’s The Dybbuk as a retelling of the myth of the fallen angels, in which angels descend to earth only to be seduced by its women. Chajes explores how Ansky utilizes and reframes ancient mythic material through the lens of ethnography.

Chinski, Malena and Fiszman, Lucas, “‘A biblyotek vos felt’ (A Library that is Lacking): Planning and Creating the Book Collection Musterverk fun der yidisher literatur (Buenos Aires, 1957-1984).” Journal of Jewish Identities 10,2 (2017): 135-153.
An analysis of Samuel Rollansky’s hundred volume Musterverk anthology, Chinski and Fiszman explore the context of its creation and its objectives. As an attempt at creating the ultimate collection of Yiddish literature, they argue that Musterverk served a didactic role of cultural transmission between editor and reader, institution and individual.

Chiriac, Alexandra. "The Magical and the Mechanical: M. H. Maxy, Iacob Sternberg, and the Bukarester Idishe Theater Studio." Revista de Istorie a Evreleilor din Romainia No. 2 (18), 2017: 162-170.
Chiriac uses textual and visual material held in the archives of the Centre for the Study of Jewish History in Romania to recover innovative productions directed by Iacob Sternberg and designed by M. H. Maxy for the Bukarester Idishe Theater Studio, a short-lived Yiddish theater initiative in Romania in the 1930s.

Deutsch, Nathaniel. “‘Borough Park Was a Red State’: Trump and the Haredi Vote.” Jewish Social Studies. Vol. 22, No. 3 (Spring/Summer 2017): 158-173
Focusing on the long-term ideological and social developments that have produced a politically conservative majority in the Haredi community in the US, Deutsch analyzes the electoral success of Trump with Haredi voters.

Drucker Bar-Am, Gali. “‘Our shtetl, Tel Aviv, must and will become the metropolis of Yiddish’ : Tel Aviv - a center of Yiddish culture.” AJS Review 41,1 (2017): 111-132.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Tel Aviv was the center of a Yiddish renaissance, led by writers such as Avram Sutzkever and Mordkhe Tsanin. Drucker Bar-Am argues that a unique combination of features—the composition of its Jewish population, the goals of the intelligentsia, and contemporary Israeli ideology—allowed Tel Aviv to flourish as a center of Yiddish literature and culture before giving way to hegemonic Hebrew culture.

Elhanan, Elik. “‘Rear the Head like a Middle Finger . . . and Pierce the Heavens’: The Long Poem as a Site of Blasphemy, Obscenity, and Friendship in the Works of Peretz Markish and Uri Tsevi Greenberg.” Dibur Literary Journal 4 (Spring 2017): 53–74.
Rather than reading the work of Markish and Greenberg as a continuation or repurposing of the Jewish textual tradition, Elhanan offers a revolutionary reading of Di Kupe and In malkhes fun tseylm. These works, he argues, reflect both the intimate relationship between Markish and Greenberg as well as the role that national pressures played in Jewish community building in interwar Poland.

Elyada, Aya. “Early Modern Yiddish and the Jewish Volkskunde, 1880–1938.” Jewish Quarterly Review 107, no. 2 (Spring 2017): 182–208. DOI: 10.1353/jqr.2017.0008
Elyada argues that the engagement of German Folklorists with early modern Yiddish represents not only an attempt at recovering a Jewish cultural heritage to combat assimilatory pressures, but a desire to push back against anti-Semitic strains in German scholarship.

Faierstein, Morris M. "Paulus Fagius and the First Published Yiddish Translation of the Humash – Constance, 1544." Judaica: Beiträge zum Verstehen des Judentums, 73, 1 (2017): 1-35.
This article examines the first published Yiddish translation of the Humash by Paulus Fagius,a well-known Christian Hebraist of the first half of the sixteenth century. It discusses Fagius’ background, his work as a Hebraist and his reasons for publishing this Yiddish text. Faierstein argues that Faguis's primary audience was Christian Hebraists and the “Jewish” edition of the text was a meant to pay for the “Christian” edition, as the intended Christian audience was not large enough to cover the financial expenses of publication. The article concludes with translations of the introductions of both editions.

Fowler, Mayhill. “Jews, Ukrainians, Soviets?: Backstage in the Yiddish Theatres of Soviet Ukraine.”Jewish Culture and History 18, no. 2 (2017): 152–69.
Fowler examines the rise of hybrid imperial culture in Soviet Ukraine alongside the growth of individual ethnic cultures through the lens of Ukrainian and Yiddish language theater. Looking backstage—at the biographies of actors, directors and managers—Fowler traces the intersections between hybridity and ethnic production.

Fox, Sandra. “Tisha B’Av, “Ghetto Day,” and producing “authentic” Jews at postwar Jewish summer camps.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. Published online Nov 2017. (In print expected 2018).
Fox’s article considers how Yiddishist, Zionist, Reform, and Conservative summer camps used memorial days, such as Tisha B’Av and Ghetto Day, in their attempts to produce “authentic” Jews in the decades immediately following the Holocaust.

Frankel, Hazel. “Stones in the Landscape: Memory and Postmemory in the Yiddish Poems of David Fram.” European Journal of Jewish Studies 11, no. 2 (2017): 148–173.
Through close readings, translations, and transliterations of the poetry of David Fram, Frankel explores aspects of memory and postmemory in the work of this little-known Yiddish writer who immigrated to South Africa from Lithuania in 1927. Frankel argues that his poems offer insights into a particular Jewish survivor experience.

Francuz, Aleksandra. “Seeing Things by Anna Margolin.” Review of Nationalities 6, no. 1 (2017): 261–67.
This short essay explores the neo-classicism of Anna Margolin’s poetry.

Frohlich, Yaelle R. “The Publication and Dissemination of the Yehoash Bible, 1922–1942.” Shofar 25, no. 4 (Summer 2017): 43–61. DOI: 10.5703/shofar.35.4.0043
Through an analysis of the promotional and fundraising materials for the publication of Yehoash’s Bible, Frohlich traces an ideological progression of the evolving priorities of North American Jewry.

Glaser, Amelia. “Jewish Alienation through a Ukrainian Looking Glass: Dovid Hofshteyn's Translations of Taras Shevchenko” Prooftexts 36 No. 1-2 (2017): 83-110.
Glaser’s article addresses Yiddish poet David Hofshteyn’s translations of the Ukrainian Romantic poet Taras Shevchenko into Yiddish. She describes the translations as a creative appropriation of a neighboring culture in order to express contemporary concerns about Jewish culture in terms acceptable to the increasingly Russo-centric world of Soviet internationalism.

Gollance, Sonia. “A Dance: Fradel Shtok Reconsidered.” In geveb, December 2017:
This article reconsiders Shtok’s oeuvre and literary reception in the context of Gollance’s translation of Shtok’s short story “A tants” (A dance). Using the experience of a male sweatshop worker in New York who attends a family wedding, the story explores the dance floor as a space of nostalgia, escape, and danger for immigrant Jews in New York. Gollance argues that Shtok’s use of dance complicates the reception of her literary oeuvre and illuminates her complex intertwining of dreams and reality.

Krah, Markus. “Further Forward through the Past: Postwar American Jews Reconfigure the East European Tradition in Cultural Terms.” Shofar 35, no. 4 (Summer 2017): 111–31.
Krah examines how, from the 1940s to the 1960s, American Jewish religious leaders turned to an idea of the East European Jewish past and mined it for their present agendas.

Luce, Caroline. “Jewish Socialists in the Land of Sunshine: Freedom, Springtime and the Pesakh Spirit of the Future.” Shofar Vol. 35, No. 4 (Summer 2017): 21-41.
Luce examines Chaim Shapiro’s 1915 essay “Thoughts About Freedom” as an example of how immigrants reimagined traditions and formed new identities in the American West.

Maclean, Pam. “‘Jewish life appears to be frozen, static, like a puppet play’: Pinchas Goldhar's struggle for Yiddish cultural authenticity in Australia.” Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal 23, no. 3 (2017): 491-500.
Maclean discusses the life and work of Pichas Goldhar (1901-1947), a Yiddish cultural activist who arrived in Australia in 1926 from Warsaw where he had been actively involved in the Yiddishist literary scene. Maclean describes his activities to promote and publish Yiddish literature in Australia and offers an analysis of the relationship between his fiction and non-fiction writing about Polish-Jewish immigrants in Australia amidst a predominantly Anglo-Jewish community.

Mayse, Ariel Evan; Reiser, Daniel. “Second Thoughts: Unknown Yiddish Texts and New Perspectives on the Study of Hasidism.” Zutot 14 (2017): 88-98.
This study explores a collection of sermons by the famed tzaddik Judah Aryeh Leib Alter of Ger (d. 1905) transcribed by one of his disciples. In comparing this document, which captures the sermons in the original Yiddish, to Alter’s own Hebrew version (called Sefat emet), printed shortly after his death, the authors find substantive differences in the sermons’ development, structure, and themes, revealing something of the processes behind the formation of Hasidic books.

Mickutė, Jolanta. “The Vilner Trupe, 1916–30: A Transformation of Shund Theater—For the Sake of National Politics or High Art?” Jewish Social Studies 22, no. 3 (Spring/Summer 2017): 98–135.
This article explores the ways in which the constant shifting of the famed Vilner Trupe reflects debates surrounding the aesthetic and cultural-national character of Yiddish theater, including the politics of high and low culture and the demands of national solidarity.

Meadvin, Joanna. “At Heym in the Hoyf: Mimi Pinzón's Argentine Yiddish World” Prooftexts 36 No. 1-2 (2017): 167-189
Meadvin argues that Mimi Pinzon’s Der hoyf on fenster (1965), an immigrant Argentinian coming-of-age novel, uses the tenement courtyard as a radical multilingual space that models a multilingual, humane Argentina in contrast to the repression of the monolingual state.

Peltz, Rakhmiel. “A researcher writes for his people: who writes what language for whom and when?” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 243 (2017): 39–65.
This article traces Joshua Fishman’s attempts to encourage secular Yiddishists in the ‘80s and ‘90s to establish Yiddish-speaking families and urban enclaves. Mourning the decimation of secular Yiddish culture, Fishman also shared his language revitalization theories with speakers of other endangered languages, though, as Peltz argues, Fishman remained committed to Yiddish, the language of “his own people.”

Rose, Sven-Erik. “Writing hunger in a modernist key in the Warsaw ghetto: Leyb Goldin’s ‘Chronicle of a Single Day.’”Jewish Social Studies 23, no. 1 (2017): 29-63.
A close reading of Leyb Goldin’s “Chronicle of a Single Day” that emphasizes the prose’s intertextuality and relationship to the Jewish literary tradition and modernist European literature. Sven-Erik joins other “constructivist” scholars in examining Holocaust literature as literature, rather than simply documentation.

Rubinstein, Rachel. “‘Strange Rendering:’ Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Yiddish and the Staging of Race at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.” American Jewish History 101, no. 1 (2017): 35–55.
DOI: 10.1353/ajh.2017.0004
Rubinstein situates the Yiddish translation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the context of the publication and adaptation history of the original novel. Focusing on the staging of play adaptations, she discusses the racial positioning of Jews and Blacks at the turn of the century.

Schäfer, Lea. “On the frontier between Eastern and Western Yiddish: sources from Burgenland.” European Journal of Jewish Studies 11,2 (2017): 130-147.
This article shows that Yiddish from Burgenland, the smallest state of present-day Austria, which is located on the border with Hungary, can be integrated into the continuum between Eastern and Western Yiddish and is part of a gradual transition zone between these two main varieties.

Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė, Jurgita. “Translations and Self-Representation: Literature as a Tool for a Mutual Jewish-Lithuanian Acquaintance.” Jewish Culture and History 18, no. 2 (2017): 190–208.
This article explores the cultural contact between Jewish and Lithuanian writers and intellectuals, with special emphasis on what can be learned from the politics of translation. Includes material on translations of Lithuanian literature into Hebrew and Yiddish.

Slucki, David. “A Community of Suffering: Jewish Holocaust Survivor Networks in Postwar America.” Jewish Social Studies 22, no. 2 (Winter 2017): 116–145.
Slucki describes the formation of Jewish Holocaust survivor networks in America, especially the Farband fun geveyzene yidishe katsetler un partizaner (United Jewish Survivors of Nazi Persecution) who, together with similar groups, defined for Americans what experiences constituted the Holocaust and who was to be considered a survivor.

Spolsky, Bernard. “‘Shikl, what did you do for Yiddish today?’: An appreciation of activist scholarship.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 243 (2017): 29–38.
Spolsky provides biography and appreciation of Joshua Fishman’s pioneering work in the sociology of language, Yiddish sociolinguistics, and Yiddish language maintenance.

Underwood, Nick. "Our most beautiful children: communist contests and poetry for immigrant Jewish youth in Popular Front France.” Jewish Social Studies 23, no. 1 (2017): 64–100.
Underwood examines the use of Yiddish and French in the Communist Yiddish-language newspaper Naye prese and the work of children’s poet Dovid Pliskin to demonstrate that Jewish Communists in Paris tried to expose a wide range of Yiddish speakers to their particular kind of diaspora nationalism.

Weininger, Melissa. “A Poetic Paradox: Gender and Self in Anna Margolin’s Mary Cycle.” In geveb, May 2017.
Weininger argues that unlike many of her male contemporaries, who also employed Christological themes in their work, Margolin used the figure of Mary to express the complex position of the female Yiddish poet. Masking her identity through the poetic persona of Mary, Margolin explored the consequences for women of male control of both religious and poetic norms.

Special Issue

Journal of Jewish Languages 5, no. 1 (2017) – Jewish Language Variation and Contact: Fifty Years after Uriel Weinreich (1926–1967)

Isaac L. Bleaman, “Uriel Weinreich: Contact Linguist, Historical Linguist, and Yiddishist Par Excellence”
Bleaman’s introduction to the special issue offers an overview of Weinreich’s life and academic work, outlining not only his own impressive research during such a tragically short life but also the ways in which it was embedded in various academic communities.

Rachel Steindel Burdin, “New Notes on the Rise-Fall Contour”
Following Uriel Weinreich’s initial exploration of the topic, this study examines the production and use of the rise-fall contour by three Yiddish/English bilinguals in a small American Jewish community. Acoustic analysis shows that the Yiddish rise-falls have higher peaks, larger rise spans, and later tonal centers of gravity compared to a similar intonational contour in English, explaining the enduring phonetic distinctiveness of each language for the speakers.

Netta Avineri, “Contested Stance Practices in Secular Yiddish Metalinguistic Communities: Negotiating Closeness and Distance”
This ethnographic research examines language socialization practices and language ideologies in secular Yiddish “metalinguistic communities.” Through an examination of classroom interactions in California, this article shows how simultaneous distancing and closeness experienced by metalinguistic community members can manifest in “contested stance practices,” public demonstrations of language ideologies that reveal both internal and external tensions.

Paul Glasser, “Diachronic and Synchronic Phonology of Southeastern Yiddish”
Present-day Southeastern Yiddish (SEY) is a relatively young dialect, probably formed after the Khmelnytskyy massacres of 1648. Was the primary force in its historical phonology the influence of coterritorial languages, of other dialects, or internal factors? How important was the role of homonymy and the functional load of specific phonemes? Internal factors that may have had the greatest influence on the development of SEY are best sought in the transitional dialects on the fringes of SEY.

David M. Bunis, “Lexical Elements of Slavic Origin in Judezmo on South Slavic Territory, 16–19th Centuries: Uriel Weinreich and the History of Contact Linguistics”
Following and expanding on Uriel Weinreich’s Languages in Contact (1953), this article examines lexical influences from South Slavic on Judezmo (Ladino/Judeo-Spanish) resulting from contact during the 16th–19th centuries between speakers of these two languages in the regions that, between 1918 and 1992, were known jointly as Yugoslavia.

William Labov, “Uriel Weinreich: Builder on Empirical Foundations”
This essay offers a personal reflection on the scholarly accomplishments and advising style of Uriel Weinreich, the author’s mentor and later his colleague as well. It draws on letters between the two from mid-1960s, during their scholarly collaboration.


2017 Pakn Treger Translation Issue.
This issue of the Yiddish Book Center’s annual translation anthology is devoted to writing by women. It contains poetry, prose poetry, fiction, and memoir, including works by Soreh Ayzn, Rachel Auerbach, Rokhl Korn, Broche Coodley, Yenta Mash, Shira Gorshman, Rosa Nevadovska, Bertha Kling, Malka Locker, and Dvoyre Fogel.

Ze’enah U-Re’enah: A Critical Translation into English (Studia Judaica, 96). 2 vols.Translated and edited by Morris M. Faierstein. De Gruyter: Berlin, 2017.
This is the first scholarly English translation with annotations of the Ze’enah U-Re’enah, a Jewish classic first published in the beginning of the seventeenth century, and the most widely read work of Yiddish literature for centuries. It was the first significant anthological commentary to the Torah, Haftarot and five Megillot. This work provides an accessible introduction to the Jewish tradition of Biblical interpretation.

An-sky, S. Pioneers: First Breach. Translated by Rose Waldman. Syracuse University Press, 2017.
An-sky’s humorous 1904-05 novel about a young man seeking to be a part of the great Jewish enlightenment sweeping across Europe. This is a tale of a yeshiva student coming to a small town supposedly as a tutor but who instead ends up spreading radically new ideas.

Bergelson, David. Judgment. Translated by Harriet Murav and Sasha Senderovich. Northwestern University Press, 2017.
Set in 1920 during the Russian Civil War, Bergelson’s novel traces the death of the shtetl and the birth of the “new, harsher world” created by the 1917 Russian Revolution. See In geveb’s review by Boris Dralyuk here, and a previously published excerpt here.

Goldberg, Charles Zachariah. Tales of Bialystok: A Jewish Journey from Czarist Russia to America. Translated by Phyllis Goldberg Ross. Rootstock Publishing, 2017.
Charles Zachariah Goldberg left Białystok in 1906 at the age of 20 in the aftermath of a deadly pogrom. He composed letters and stories about his childhood memories and the challenges of immigrant life in America that appeared in New York Yiddish outlets in the 1930s and ’40s. The stories were collected and translated by his daughter, Phyllis Goldberg Ross for this volume.

Rashkin, Leyb. The People of Godlbozhits. Translated by Jordan Finkin. Syracuse University Press, 2017.
First published in 1936, this novel depicts the ordinary yet deeply complex life of one family in an interwar Polish shtetl. Rashkin’s satirical novel offers a vivid cross-section of a stratified society in brisk and lively Yiddish prose.

Sandler, Boris. Red Shoes for Rachel: Three Novellas. Translated by Barnett Zumoff. Syracuse University Press, 2017.
This volume features three of Sandler’s tightly wound tales, each of which incorporates diverse genres, including magic realism, satire, and autobiography. This volume represents a rare publication of an important contemporary Yiddish writer.

Sutzkever, Avrom. Still My Word Sings: Poems. Edited and translated by Heather Valencia. Düsseldorf University Press, 2017.
A new bilingual edition of Sutzkever’s poetry, spanning the entirety of his career. Includes an introductory essay by the translator and a previously unpublished lecture by Sutzkever.

Grossman, Rachelle, Erin Faigin, Saul Noam Zaritt, and Jessica Kirzane. “The Latest in Yiddish Studies in English: 2017.” In geveb, April 2018:
Grossman, Rachelle, Erin Faigin, Saul Noam Zaritt, and Jessica Kirzane. “The Latest in Yiddish Studies in English: 2017.” In geveb (April 2018): Accessed Jun 14, 2024.


Rachelle Grossman

Rachelle Grossman is a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at Harvard University.

Erin Faigin

Erin Faigin is a PhD student in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Saul Noam Zaritt

Saul Noam Zaritt is an associate professor of Yiddish Literature at Harvard University. He is currently a peer review editor at In geveb and one of the site's founding editors.

Jessica Kirzane

Jessica Kirzane is the assistant instructional professor of Yiddish at the University of Chicago. She holds a PhD in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University. Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies.