Jun 19, 2019
Below 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 2018. Each entry is followed by a short summary and available links to online material.
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.
Sara Blair, How the Other Half Looks: The Lower East Side and the Afterlives of Images (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018). [https://press.princeton.edu/titles/11273.html] Blair examines representations of the Lower East Side across photography, film, and literature in the past century and a half to consider its primacy and centrality in an array of broader American narratives. Of particular interest: readings of Abraham Cahan and Henry Roth, presented in new constellations with their contemporaries.
Debra Caplan, Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancy (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018). [https://www.press.umich.edu/9533320/yiddish_empire]
Caplan’s history of the Vilna Troupe follows its global trajectory in fragmented groupings and reformulations in the interwar period. The book shows how advancements in modern transportation allowed Yiddish theater artists to reach global audiences, traversing not only cities and districts but also countries and continents.
Morris M. Faierstein, Truth Springs from the Earth: The Teachings of Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotsk (Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2018).[https://wipfandstock.com/truth-springs-from-the-earth.html]
Faierstein attempts to cut through the thicket of mystifications (Opatoshu, Menashe Unger) of this controversial Hasidic figure to provide a capsule biography that draws in part on Heschel’s two-volume Yiddish study. An accessible, themed anthology (“Humility,” “Music,” “Truth,” etc.) of Kotzker teachings follows.
Abigail Gillman, A History of German Jewish Bible Translation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018). See esp. Chapter 1, “The First Wave: Jewish Enlightenment Bibles in Yiddish and German”; Chapter 4, “The Fourth Wave: Reimagining the German Jewish Bible”. [https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo27314982.html]
This history of Hebrew Bible translations in Germany from the late eighteenth century to just before WWII includes repeated explorations of the role of Yiddish, from the relationship between Yiddish and German translations during the enlightenment period to a German translation of the Tsene-urene in the twentieth century.
Adriana X. Jacobs, Strange Cocktail Translation and the Making of Modern Hebrew Poetry (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018). [https://www.press.umich.edu/9813789/strange_cocktail]
Jacobs’ account of how translation shaped modern Hebrew poetry makes recourse to the importance of Yiddish as a “border-crossing language” or aesthetic “prosthetic” for writers like Avot Yeshurun. The author’s general discussion of translation should also prove illuminating for any discussion of modern Jewish literatures.
Vivi Lachs, Whitechapel Noise: Jewish Immigrant Life in Yiddish Song and Verse, London 1884–1914 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2018). [https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/whitechapel-noise]
Lachs delivers a social history of the Jewish East End of London through the Yiddish press, contemporary songbooks, and popular satirical writing. This history of Yiddish popular culture is situated within both Anglo-Jewish history and transnational Yiddish culture, centered around themes of politics, sex, and religion.
Zelda Kahan Newman, Kadya Molodowsky: The Life of a Jewish Woman Writer (Washington, DC: Academica Press, 2018). [https://www.academicapress.com/node/305]
This new biography of Kadya Molodowsky relies on archival research to convey new details about the author’s personal relationships and experiences during the historical upheavals of the twentieth century. The biography also places much of Molodowsky’s poetry and fiction (both more and less known) within their historical and social contexts.
Adi Ophir and Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Goy: Israel’s Multiple Others and the Birth of the Gentile (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). [https://global.oup.com/academic/product/goy-9780198744900]
This study traces the history of the term and category “goy” through biblical, post-biblical, and rabbinic texts. The postscript will likely be of particular interest to Yiddish scholars, as it theorizes the persistence of the term, examining contemporary uses in both the United States and Israel.
Noam Pines, The Infrahuman: Animality in Modern Jewish Literature (Albany: SUNY Press, 2018). [http://www.sunypress.edu/p-6582-the-infrahuman.aspx]
Pines reads canonical German, Hebrew, and Yiddish texts that link Jewish and animal conditions, reframing the discourse surrounding the figure of the animal in the terms of theology rather than biology or race. Includes a fresh treatment of Mendele’s Di klyatshe as a distinctive and radical echo of contemporary reformist Russian debates on animal rights.
Hannah Pollin-Galay, Ecologies of Witnessing: Language, Place, and Holocaust Testimony (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018). [https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300226041/ecologies-witnessing]
Based on oral histories of Lithuanian Jews, this work rethinks conventional wisdom about Holocaust testimony, focusing on the power of language and place to shape personal narrative. Pollin-Galay compares the remembrances of Holocaust victims who remained in Lithuania with those who resettled in Israel and North America after World War II, and reveals meaningful differences based on where survivors chose to live out their postwar lives and whether their language of testimony was in Yiddish, English, or Hebrew.
Magdalena Ruta, Without Jews? Yiddish Literature in the People’s Republic of Poland on the Holocaust, Poland, and Communism (Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press, 2017; 2018).
This book analyzes the literary output of the Jewish community in postwar Poland up to 1968. While narratives of postwar Yiddish literature have most often followed the movement of literary centers to the United States, Israel, and Western Europe, and maintained that little Yiddish literary production occurred outside of the USSR, Ruta explores Poland as a significant and productive literary center.
Shachar Pinsker, A Rich Brew: How Cafés Created Modern Jewish Culture (New York: New York University Press, 2018). [https://nyupress.org/books/9781479827893/]
While the café is rarely considered a Jewish space, this book illustrates how coffeehouses profoundly influenced the creation of modern Jewish culture from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Pinsker maps a network of interconnected cafés that were central to the modern Jewish experience and modern Jewish creativity in a time of migration and urbanization, from Odessa, Warsaw, Vienna, and Berlin to New York City and Tel Aviv.
Splendor, Decline, and Rediscovery of Yiddish in Latin America, ed. Malena Chinski and Alan Astro (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2018). [https://brill.com/view/title/38741]
This collection reminds readers that Yiddishland extends far beyond New York and Warsaw. Readings of neglected literary works are paired with sketches of individual cultural activists and artists and historical surveys of the vicissitudes of Yiddish culture in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Uruguay over the past century.
Ilan Stavans, On Self-Translation: Meditations on Language (Albany: SUNY Press, 2018). [http://www.sunypress.edu/p-6643-on-self-translation.aspx]
Stavans’ volume of essays reflects his wide-ranging erudition uniquely shaped by his long engagement across and between Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, and English. Yiddish surfaces in his meditations on self-translation, on Mendele’s Don Quixote, and in his dialogue with critic and theorist Steven Kellman on translingual writing.
Margaret Taft and Andrew Markus, A Second Chance: The Making of Yiddish Melbourne (Clayton, Vic.: Monash University Publishing, 2018). [http://www.publishing.monash.edu/books/sc-9781925495850.html]
A celebratory history of the contested emergence and enduring legacy of Yiddishland’s remotest center, set against the backdrop of Melbourne’s prewar Jewish establishment and informed by immigrant testimony.
Gil Toffell, Jews, Cinema, and Public Life in Interwar Britain (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). [https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137569301]
In geveb review: https://ingeveb.org/articles/review-toffell-and-dein
Toffell considers the distribution and reception of largely American-made Yiddish films of the 1930s in Britain, placed against broader examinations of “ethnic” Jewish film production, cinema culture in Jewish neighborhoods, representations of Jewish stars, and the use of film toward political ends.
Zohar Weiman-Kelman, Queer Expectations: A Genealogy of Jewish Women’s Poetry (Albany: SUNY Press, 2018). [http://www.sunypress.edu/p-6651-queer-expectations.aspx]
Developing and realizing the potential of queer theory for (Jewish) literary history, Weiman-Kelman reads Yiddish women poets (including Molodowsky, Margolin, Klepfisz) beyond their often ghettoized and essentialized frames. New lines of inheritance across time and space are revealed not only through attention to moments of common resistance within poems but also through new constellations among fellow poets in Hebrew and English.
Marcin Wodziński, Historical Atlas of Hasidism (Princeton University Press, 2018). [https://press.princeton.edu/titles/11268.html]
Invaluable reference volume charting the development of Hasidism and its institutions across time and space. Visualizations of demography, epistolary exchange, social organization, and more offer a model for new kinds of cultural histories of Yiddishland.
Yiddish after 1945: Amsterdam Yiddish Symposium 11, ed. Marion Aptroot (Amsterdam: Menasseh ben Israel Institute, 2018). [http://www.mbii.nl/?id=30]
This volume contains the proceedings of the 2017 Amsterdam Yiddish symposium, including essays about postwar Yiddish by Galit Drucker Bar-Am (a scan of the major activities immediately following the war), Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov (a focus on state-sponsored Jewish institutions in Poland), and Anita Norich (a reflection on the role of translation).
Vincenzo Pinto, “Introduction,” 1–6.
Martyna Rusiniak-Karwat, “Bundists in the Soviet Union During Second World War,” 7–17.
Based on the YIVO archives, explores Communist persecution of Bundist leaders, culminating in the deaths of Alter and Erlich after previous waves of arrest and deportation.
Bożena Szaynok, “Bund and Jewish Fraction of the Polish Workers’ Party in Poland after 1945,” 18–38.
On the Bund’s struggles to secure a social base and institutional home in postwar Poland, torn between Jewish affiliation (and unsavory relationship with Zionist organizations) and allegiance with the Polish United Workers’ Party.
Constance Pâris de Bollardière, “The French Bundist Movement after the Holocaust: Between Self and Collective Reconstruction (1944–1948),” 39–55.
Retraces the evolution of the Bund in postwar France from political to cultural and educational work, along with its ties (financial, ideological) to French socialism and acceptance of a Western liberal-democratic framework more generally.
Gali Drucker Bar-Am, “The Bund in Israel: Searching for Jewish Working Class Secular Brotherhood in Zion,” 56–69.
Via an autobiography of Israeli Bund “father” Bentsl Tsalevitsh, published in the Tel Aviv monthly Lebns-fragn (1957), Drucker Bar-Am considers the broader failure of the Bund to transpose its internationalist, class-based raison d’être onto the binational terrain of the young state of Israel.
David Slucki, “The Goldene Medineh? Bund and Jewish Left in the Post-War United States,” 70–89.
Examines the marginalization of the late American Bund, notwithstanding its significant Camp Hemshekh enterprise, against the backdrop of both the American melting pot and an American pluralism that permitted ideological entrenchment among the left.
Roni Gechtman, “History Erased by the Victors: Israeli Academic and Popular Historiography on the Jewish Labour Movement,” 90–112.
Explores the construction (and sometimes distortion) of the Bund’s history within the Zionist, Israel-centric discourses of both scholarship and public memory.
Jewish Translation - Translating Jewishness ed. by Magdalena Waligorska, Tara Cohn (Berlin: De Guyter, 2018)
Natalia Krynicka, “Maneuvering Around the ‘Great Wall of China:’ Translations of Yiddish Literature into Polish Before the First World War,” 113-34.
Describes the challenges that encumbered the translation of Yiddish literature into Polish in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, from the early translations of Abramovitsh (Mendele) to the difficult celebrity of Asch and I.J. Singer.
Marek Tuszewicki, “Non-Jewish Languages of Jewish Magic: On Homeliness, Otherness, and Translation,” 135–152.
Examines the presence of non-Jewish languages, as magical components, in Eastern European healing practices, incantations, and other folkloric practices. These practices are evidence of an open exchange and intimacy between Jewish and non-Jewish communities while also describing a process of (partial) translation in which foreignness and a lack of understanding were key components in the mystical healing experience.
Tara Kohn, “Translation and Re-Vision: On the Resurgence and Resurfacing of Alter Kacyzne’s Photographic Texts,” 279–302.
Explores Kacyzne’s work in between photography and literature in multiple languages and the ways in which he attempted to translate between various cultural vocabularies by breaking down each work and then attempting to refashion it in a different medium.
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 30: Jewish Education in Eastern Europe, ed. Eliyana R. Adler and Antony Polonsky (Liverpool, UK : The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization in association with Liverpool University Press, 2018). [https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/isbn/9781906764500/]
Jordana de Bloeme, “Creating a New Jewish Nation: The Vilna Education Society and Secular Yiddish Education in Interwar Vilna,” 221–36.
Analysis of the Vilner bildungs gezelshaft (Vilna Jewish Education Society) and its platform of nonpartisan Jewish and Yiddishist cultural autonomy. Connects battles over education to minorities’ political and cultural rights in Poland.
Kamil Kijek, “Between a Love of Poland, Symbolic Violence, and Antisemitism: The Idiosyncratic Effects of the State Education System on Young Jews in Interwar Poland,” 237–64.
Using the youth autobiographies solicited by YIVO in the 1930s, Kijek considers the alienated relationship of Jewish students to the Polish state as a prism for the broader contradiction of Poland’s democratic aspirations and exclusivist, ethnic-based policies.
Andrew N. Koss, “From Theory to Practice: The Fight for Jewish Education in Vilna during the First World War,” 195–219.
Wartime instabilities paradoxically created space for the flourishing of new and ideologically-driven Hebrew and Yiddish schools, which would become a proxy for Vilna Jewry’s broader political fragmentation.
Adva Selzer, “‘Vos vayter?’ Graduating from Elementary School in Interwar Poland: From Personal Crisis to Cultural Turning Point,” 283–97.
On the basis of the YIVO autobiographies, Selzer analyzes the responses of Jewish children (and their families) to the necessity of entering the workforce upon graduation from elementary school, and how turns to self-education in and around youth movements shaped the maturing (Polish) Jewish subject.
Paweł Wolski, “‘I am in no hurry to close the canon’: An Interview with Professor David G. Roskies,” 455-467.
Conversation on the periodization, tropes, limits, and methodological and pedagogical implications of Holocaust literature, on the basis of Roskies and Diamant’s Holocaust Literature: A History and Guide (2013).
Jews and Germans in Eastern Europe: Shared and Comparative Histories, ed. Tobias Grill (Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018). [https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/475705]
Marie Schumacher-Brunhes, “The Figure of the Daytsh in Yiddish Literature,” 72–87. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110492484-005]
This chapter explores the multivalent figure of the “daytsh” (the “German” maskilic figure) in Yiddish literature. This study seeks to broaden the scope of previous work on Yiddish maskilic literature by investigating different periods and examining texts that are not strictly belletristic. The author’s goal is to catch a glimpse of the tribulations of the figure of the daytsh through the history of Yiddish literature.
Steffen Krogh, “Dos iz eyne vahre geshikhte … On The Germanization Of Eastern Yiddish In The Nineteenth Century,” 88–114. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110492484-006]
“Daytshmerish” is a label often thrown around in Yiddish. This study’s aim is to outline daytshmerizms as they appear in Eastern Yiddish.
Martina Niedhammer, “Codified Traditions? YIVO’s filologishe sektsye in Vilna and its Relationship to German Academia,” 115–124. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110492484-007]
This chapter sheds light on YIVO’s ambivalent attitude toward German scholarship, despite the famous rejection of “daytshmerizm” by Max Weinreich. The author examines the importance of the German language for the daily work of YIVO’s philological section, contacts between YIVO and the German speaking academia, and the ways in which members of YIVO dealt with German scholars interested in Yiddish after World War II.
Tobias Grill, “‘Pioneers of Germanness in the East’? Jewish-German, German, and Slavic Perceptions of East European Jewry during the First World War,” 125–159. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110492484-008]
Explores the question, raised at the opening of WWI, of how much Eastern European Jews could in some sense represent, primarily through language, some proximity to Germanness. The author examines this question from a diverse set of viewpoints, from the fantasies of assimilation held by German Jews to accusations of disloyalty from nationalist Russians and Poles.
Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present, ed. Benjamin Hary and Sarah Bunin Benor (Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018). [https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/475345]
Dalit Assouline, “Haredi Yiddish in Israel and the United States,” 472–488. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501504631-017]
A study on the increased attrition of Yiddish in Israel and the US with the encroachment of the majority language, with special attention to the symbolic importance of Yiddish to the Haredi community and its continued use outside the ultra-Orthodox world.
Alexander Beider, “Yiddish in Eastern Europe,” 276–312. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501504631-010]
An overview of the development of Yiddish in Eastern Europe in distinction from the development of Yiddish in Western Europe.
Jürg Fleischer, “Western Yiddish and Judeo-German,” 239–275. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501504631-009]
An assessment of Western Yiddish and the controversies surrounding the concept, as muddled by terminological confusion (a language vs. a dialect, an inferred spoken vernacular vs. a literary language) and a scarcity of sources and speakers.
Bernard Spolsky, “Sociolinguistics of Jewish Language Varieties,” 583-602. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501504631-022]
A study of the connection between the general field of sociolinguistics and the importance of Jewish language varieties for its founding scholars.
Anna Verschik, “Yiddish, Jewish Russian, and Jewish Lithuanian in the Former Soviet Union,” 627–643. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501504631-024]
Treats the fate of speakers of Jewish languages in their migrations across the FSU, tracking the fate of Yiddish and its marking the speech of Jews living and working in Lithuanian and Russian.
Jewish Languages in Historical Perspective, ed. Lily Kahn (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2018).
Helen Beer, “Mind the Gap! The Schism between Perceptions of the Yiddish Language and Yiddish Cultural Realities,” 159-69. [https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004376588]
Explores the gap between popular stereotypes of Yiddish and its actual cultural diversity, arguing for a continuity between nineteenth century negative perceptions of Yiddish and today’s narrowing view of the language.
Szonja Ráhel Komoróczy, “Yiddish in the Hungarian Setting,” 92-107. [https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004376588]
Traces the history of Yiddish as spoken by Jews in Hungary—how the language shifted with growing assimilation, its relationship to German and Hungarian, and ultimately its presence (or lack thereof) in the unconscious of Hungarian Jews.
Catastrophe and Utopia: Jewish Intellectuals in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, ed. Ferenc Laczó and Joachim von Puttkamer (Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018). [https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/491503]
Camelia Crăciun, “‘Virtually ex nihilo’: The Emergence of Yiddish Bucharest during the Interwar Period,” 133-152. [https://books.google.com/books?id=ZEpADwAAQBAJ&pg=PA133]
Describes the unlikely emergence of Bucharest as a center of Yiddish culture during the interwar period, with special attention to the Likht group and the role of Yiddish theater.
Karolina Szymaniak, “On the Ice Floe: Rachel Auerbach – The Life of a Yiddishist Intellectual in Early Twentieth Century Poland,” 304-351. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110559347-013]
A reframing of Auerbach’s biography, focusing attention on her Yiddishist project and her relationship to Polish society rather than previous scholarly emphasis on her postwar work related to the Holocaust. By attending to her role as mediator and negotiator between overlapping languages and worlds, Szymaniak proposes Auerbach as a model for a more complex understanding of the utopian and catastrophic elements of Eastern European Jewish life.
Netta Avineri, “Metalinguistic Communities and Nostalgia Socialization in Historical and Contemporary Yiddish Literature,” in Connecting Across Languages and Cultures: A Heritage Language Festschrift in Honor of Olga Kagan, ed. Susan Kresin and Susan Bauckus (Bloomington, Indiana Slavica Publishers 2018), 27-48. [https://slavica.indiana.edu/bookListings/Multi-topics/Connecting_across_Languages_and_Cultures]
Exploring the creation of “metalinguistic communities,” this essay takes Yiddish as a test case in how nostalgia socialization practices allow writers to understand their place in the present across spatial and temporal divides.
Jean Baumgarten, “Continuity and change in early modern Yiddish language and literature,” in The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. VII: The Early Modern World, 1500-1815, ed. Jonathan Karp and Adam Sutcliffe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 274–90. [https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/religion/judaism/cambridge-history-judaism-volume-7?format=HB&isbn=9780521889049]
Précis of Baumgarten’s monograph Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature (2003), offering an overview of the generic diversity, geographical spread, and readership of an emergent vernacular literature with dynamic relationships to rabbinic and European canons.
Alejandro Dujovne, “Spanish Discovers Yiddish: The Cultural Policies of Salomon Resnick in Argentina in the Interwar Period,” in Literary Translation and Cultural Mediators in ‘Peripheral’ Cultures: Customs Officers or Smugglers?, ed. Diana Roig-Sanz and Reine Meylaerts (Cham: Springer International Publishing; Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 91–111. [https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783319781136]
Profile of Resnick (1894-1946) as an “agent of transfer” within the transnational networks of Yiddishland and South America. Treats a range of Resnick’s prolific work making Yiddish legible to Argentina: translations of political and literary texts into Spanish, synthetic articles on Jewish and Yiddish culture, and broader anthological and periodical projects.
Vivian Felsen, “Preserving Yiddish Culture in Canada: The Remarkable Legacy of Chaim Leib Fuks,” in Kanade, di Goldene Medine? Perspectives on Canadian-Jewish Literature and Culture / Perspectives sur la littérature et la culture juives canadiennes, ed. Krzysztof Majer et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 9-22. [https://brill.com/view/title/38989; https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004379411] [See also pp. 36–48, a reprint of https://muse.jhu.edu/article/628726; and several articles in French]
Reading of the genesis, stakes, and legacy of Fuks’ (1896-1984) lexicon (1980) of Hebrew and Yiddish authors active in Canada between 1870 and 1970. Places Fuks within the context of postwar cultural memorialization.
Kerstin Hoge, “Yiddish possessives as a case for genitive case,” in Germanic Genitives, ed. Tanja Ackermann, Horst J. Simon, and Christian Zimmer (Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2018), 231–72. [https://www.jbe-platform.com/content/books/9789027264473]
Offers to revise the regnant conception of Yiddish as a three-case language. In considering the distinction between possessive and dative forms (“der mames shabosim” vs. “bay der mamen”), Hoge argues that the possessive shows evidence of a bona fide genitive case.
Dovid Katz, “The Yiddish Conundrum: A Cautionary Tale for Language Revivalism,” in The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities, ed. Gabrielle Hogan-Brun and Bernadette O’Rourke (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 553-87.
With characteristic bravado, Katz considers the potentially deleterious effects of sociological divides in contemporary Yiddishland. “Savior”-enthusiasts (university-bound or not), variously intent on purist corpus planning or hawking products “about” (rather than “of” or “in”) Yiddish, ignore, at everyone’s peril, the ever-expanding religious communities for whom Yiddish is a native language.
David Mazower, “Whitechapel’s Yiddish Opera House: The Rise and Fall of the Feinman Yiddish People’s Theatre,” in An East End Legacy: Essays in Memory of William J Fishman, ed. Colin Holmes and Anne J Kershen (Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2018), 155-187. [https://www.routledge.com/An-East-End-Legacy-Essays-in-Memory-of-William-J-Fishman/Holmes-Kershen/p/book/9781138186040]
Lively history of the “Temple of Art,” the “only purpose-built Yiddish theatre ever constructed in western Europe,” which arose in memory of the actor Sigmund Feinman. Though financial troubles and the competition of less highbrow outfits limited its span to less than a year (1912), the Feinman Theater hosted translated (Verdi, Zangwill) and original productions that helped cement the East End as a significant satellite of international Yiddish (art) theater before World War I.
Lucia Raspe, “Minhag and Migration: Yiddish Custom Books from Sixteenth-Century Italy,” in Regional Identities and Cultures of Medieval Jews, ed. Javier Castaño, Talya Fishman, and Ephraim Kanarfogel (London: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, in association with Liverpool University Press, 2018), 241–60. [https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/isbn/9781906764678/]
Reads a compendium of synagogue and home rituals, in relation to its Hebrew source, as reflective of attempts to secure an itinerant Ashkenazic identity in Italy.
Lilian Türk and Jesse Cohn, “Yiddish Radicalism, Jewish Religion: Controversies in the Fraye Arbeter Shtime, 1937–1945,” in Essays in Anarchism and Religion: Volume II, ed. Alexandre Christoyannopoulos and Matthew S. Adams (Stockholm: Stockholm University Press, 2018) 20–57. [https://www.stockholmuniversitypress.se/site/books/10.16993/bas/; https://doi.org/10.16993/bas.b]
Yiddish-speaking anarchism is overwhelmingly remembered as an anti-religious movement, a characterization drawn from its early experiences in the immigrant communities of the U.S. (circa 1880–1919). However, this chapter argues that such a characterization obscures the presence of competing definitions of religion and anarchism within the Jewish anarchist milieu. Examining debates hosted by the Yiddish anarchist newspaper Fraye Arbeter Shtime between 1937–1945, Türk and Cohn reveal a far broader spectrum of interpretations than were apparent in an earlier period.
David Verbeeten, “Judaism, Yiddish Peoplehood, and American Radicalism,” in The Religious Left in Modern America: Doorkeepers of a Radical Faith, ed. Leilah Danielson, Marian Mollin, and Douglas C. Rossinow (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) 61–79. [https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783319731193; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73120-9_4]
This chapter explores the life and activities of Alexander Bittelman, a radical Jewish immigrant to New York from Ukraine who went on to help found the American Communist Party. Bittelman’s case, albeit extreme, sheds light on the motivations of his upwardly mobile cohort, which gravitated toward a variety of left-wing movements and ideologies. This aspiration was officially secular, yet, as Bittelman came to recognize, the impetus behind this ethnic political phenomenon inevitably drew on religious ideas and feelings that had been a part of many radical Jews’ upbringings and that continued to permeate their milieu.
Rakefet Zalashik, “Appetite and Hunger: Discourses and Perceptions of Food among Eastern European Jews in the Interwar Years,” in Global Jewish Foodways: A History, ed. Hasia R. Diner and Simone Cinotto (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018), 161-180. [https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/university-of-nebraska-press/9781496202284/]
What were Eastern Jews eating in the interwar period? Zalashik answers this question by analyzing food- and nutrition- related articles printed between 1923 and 1940 in the Yiddish magazine Folksgezunt: Ilustrirter Populer Visenshaftlikher Jurnal fur Higyene un Meditsin, an illustrated, popular scientific journal of hygiene and medicine published in Vilna, Lithuania, by Obsgcgestvo Zdravookhraneniia Evreev (OZE), the Organization for the Preservation of Jewish Health. Zalashik argues concerns over food and nutrition reflect the transitional nature of the post–World War I era for East European Jews.
Magdalena Bendowska, “Prints in Yiddish Published in Lublin during the 1st Commonwealth,” Kwartalnik Historii Zydów 265 (2018): 35–56. [https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=708815]
Bibliographic survey of a small corpus of both extant and lost Yiddish books printed in Lublin in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including reproductions of title pages.
Ian Biddle, “Music, Sound, and Affect in Yiddish-Language Holocaust Cinema: The Posttraumatic Community in Natan Gross’s Unzere kinder (1948),” Music and the Moving Image 11, no. 3 (Fall 2018): 40–59. [https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/musimoviimag.11.3.0040; DOI: 10.5406/musimoviimag.11.3.0040]
On the basis of a structural reading of the “last twentieth-century fully Yiddish-language film feature” and attention to its various musical strategies, Biddle finds in the soundtrack both performative therapy and testimony for a “postatrocity” community constituting itself on and beyond the screen.
Michael Boyden, “Postvernacular Prufrock: Isaac Rosenfeld and Saul Bellow’s Yiddish ‘Translation’ of T.S. Eliot’s Modernism,” Journal of World Literature 3, no. 2 (2018): 174-95. [https://brill.com/abstract/journals/jwl/3/2/article-p174_4.xml; https://doi.org/10.1163/24056480-00302004]
Boyden reads the famed parodic Yiddish rendition (late 1930s) of “Prufrock” as Rosenfeld and Bellow’s critical (Jewish) incursion on and bid to enter the American canon. The performative, oral, postvernacular translation and its mythic afterlife are marshaled in an “amphilingual” challenge to monolingualism, in which writers find themselves perched between languages, cultural inheritances, and identities.
Naomi Brenner, “Translation as Testimony: Hebrew Translations of Yiddish Literature in the 1940s.” Eastern European Jewish Affairs 48, no. 3 (2018): 263–83. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13501674.2018.1504710; https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1504710]
Brenner considers wartime and postwar Yiddish-to-Hebrew translations as part of an ongoing negotiation of goles, no longer a threat to Zionist hegemony but neutralized, safeguarded, and reconsecrated into literary and historical testimony.
Ohad Cohen and Aure Ben-Zvi Goldblum, “Ashkenazic Hebrew: a methodological perspective on language varieties,” Journal of Jewish Studies 69, no. 2 (Autumn 2018): 374–97. [https://www.jjs-online.net/archives/article/3378; https://doi.org/10.18647/3378/jjs-2018]
Seventeenth and eighteenth century Hebrew pinkasim (community chronicles) reveal influences of regional Yiddish dialects and the necessity of considering geography (alongside genre and the writer’s background) in analyzing Ashkenazic Hebrew.
Irene Eber, “China and Yiddish: Contacts between cultures,” Studia Orientalia Slovaca 17, no. 1 (2018): 37-48. [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7775225494][https://fphil.uniba.sk/en/katedry-a-odborne-pracoviska/katedra-vychodoazijskych-studii/studia-orientalia-slovaca/]
Examines the growth of translated (poetry) and original Yiddish literature (history, philosophy, travelogues) about China in the 1920s, concurrently with the translation of selected Yiddish works (Pinski, Peretz) into an emergent Chinese vernacular canon.
Renate Evers, “‘Der vollkommene Pferdekenner’, 1764: Jewish Horse Traders in the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach and their Language at the Threshold of Modernity,” The Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 63, no. 1 (November 2018): 201–28. https://academic.oup.com/leobaeck/article/63/1/201/4791262; [https://doi.org/10.1093/leobaeck/ybx021]
By way of the appendix of an equestrian guide containing a lexicon and sample dialogues of Western Yiddish used by Jewish horse traders, Evers sheds light on the interactions between Jews and non-Jews in southern Germany, within a rare socioeconomic space not explicitly marked by antisemitism.
Morris Faierstein, “The Ze’enah –Re’enah and its Author,” The Seforim Blog, 19 July 2018. [https://seforimblog.com/2018/07/the-zeenah-reenah-and-its-author/; http://www.academia.edu/37081824/The_Zeenah_Reenah_and_its_Author]
In this brief supplement to his critical English edition of Tsenerene (2017), Faierstein contests the theory of multiple authorship, analyzing Rabbi Jacob ben Isaac’s dynamic use of underlying sources in constructing a polyphonic commentary of his own.
Hazel Frankel, “Home and the Holocaust in Selected Paintings of Marc Chagall and Yiddish Poems of David Fram,” Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 101, no. 4 (2018): 341–59. [https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/soundings.101.4.0341]
Comparative reading of shared modes of remembrance and nostalgia across media in the work of two otherwise unconnected contemporaries.
Noam Gil, “In Praise of Vulgarity: On Yiddish in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s ‘Di makhsheyfeh,’” Prooftexts 37, no. 1 (2018): 86–101. [DOI: 10.2979/prooftexts.37.1.03; https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/prooftexts.37.1.03]
In a feminist treatment of Singer’s 1969 short story, Gil analyzes, via Kristeva, the figure of the abject, outcast witch as an allegory for Yiddish itself, scorned by past maskilim and postwar assimilators alike. Singer’s mobilization of “ugly” aesthetics aims to turn shame of Yiddish into a kind of pride.
Sonia Gollance, “‘A valtz from the land of valtzes!’: Dance as a Form of Americanization in Abraham Cahan’s Fiction,” Dance Chronicle 41, no. 3 (2018): 393–417. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01472526.2018.1518077; https://doi.org/10.1080/01472526.2018.1518077]
Gollance visits the dance hall not merely as a setting in Cahan’s Yekl (1896) and David Levinsky (1917), but also as the site of characters’ fraught attempts to Americanize in accordance with gendered, bourgeois norms. Circular dances illuminate analogously circular plots of romantic failure.
Marat Grinberg, “Reading Between the Lines: The Soviet Jewish Bookshelf and Post-Holocaust Soviet Jewish Identity,” Eastern European Jewish Affairs 48, no. 3 (2018): 391–415. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13501674.2018.1504195; https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1504195]
In this study of Soviet Jewish reading culture, Grinberg argues that translations from the Yiddish canon into Russian (particularly Sholem Aleichem) had considerable symbolic capital as indexes of readers’ Jewishness, but went largely unread. This, in comparison to other original Russian (science fiction) and translated (Feuchtwanger) works which dealt obliquely with the Holocaust and Soviet antisemitism.
Tal Hever-Chybowski, “Mikan ve’eylakh (From this Point Onward),” trans. Rachel Seelig, in The German-Hebrew Dialogue: Studies of Encounter and Exchange, ed. Amir Eshel and Rachel Seelig (Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018), 241–52. [https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/469581; https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110473384-013]. Published simultaneously in In geveb, April 2018: https://ingeveb.org/texts-and-translations/mikan-veeylakh-foreword.
Manifesto for “worldly” Hebrew, as realized in a Berlin-based journal published by the Medem-biblyotek. For Hever-Chybowski, reclaiming Hebrew’s historical proximity to and partnership with Yiddish and its diasporic ethos constitutes a mode of resistance to the Zionist logic binding Hebrew to the state of Israel.
Iris Idelson-Shein, “Meditations on a Monkey-Face: Monsters, Transgressed Boundaries, and Contested Hierarchies in a Yiddish Eulenspiegel,” Jewish Quarterly Review 108, no. 1 (Winter 2018): 28-59. [https://muse.jhu.edu/article/687303; http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/jqr.2018.0001]
This paper discusses an early-eighteenth-century Yiddish translation of the famous early modern Schwankroman (jest-novel), Eulenspiegel, concentrating in particular on its trangressive tales of monstrous creatures.
Ber Kotlerman, “‘They don’t pay $1,000 a week to just anyone’: Sholem Aleichem and early Jewish American movie moguls,” Jewish Culture and History 19, no. 3 (2018): 256-274. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1462169X.2018.1488921; https://doi.org/10.1080/1462169X.2018.1488921]
Documents Sholem Aleichem’s significant interest in the field of silent cinema, in Europe and in the US, as reflected in recently discovered archival documents.
Yair Lipshitz, “The messianic temporality of theatre in I. L. Peretz’s At Night in the Old Marketplace,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 17, no. 3 (2018): 361–76. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14725886.2018.1475543; https://doi.org/10.1080/14725886.2018.1475543]
Argues that Peretz’s At Night in the Old Marketplace utilizes the potential of the theatre to tackle the question of messianic time and explore the possibility of a messianically charged, albeit always fleeting, present.
Caroline E. Luce, “Yiddish Writers in Los Angeles and the Jewish Fantasy Past,” American Jewish History 102, no. 4 (October 2018): 481–509. [https://muse.jhu.edu/article/707888; doi:10.1353/ajh.2018.0048]
Reads work by Los Angeles Yiddish writers Henry Rosenblatt and Gershon Einbinder to reveal how Yiddish-speaking immigrants in Los Angeles used cultural memory to construct a particular form of racial in-betweenness in the American West, and how this informed the history of Jewish identity and racialization in Los Angeles.
Barbara Mann, “‘Good to Think With’: The Work of Objects in Three Novels of Modern Jewish Life,” Comparative Literature 70, no. 4 (2018): 444–65. [https://read.dukeupress.edu/comparative-literature/article/70/4/444/136615/Good-to-Think-With-The-Work-of-Objects-in-Three; https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-7215495]
Analyzes the depiction of “things” in three modernist novels: Dovid Bergelson’s The End of Everything [Nokh alemen] (1913), Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep (1934), and S.Y. Agnon’s Tmol shilshom [Only Yesterday] (1946). The article’s comparative reading of these novels highlights a complementary set of conditions—objects in books, and the book as object. The novels’ engagement with things, and their emergence as things, suggest how writing both fears and revels in its own commodification and immersion in the economic sphere.
Suzanne Marten-Finnis, “Translation, Cosmopolitanism and the Resilience of Yiddish: Wischnitzer’s Milgroym as a Pathway Towards the Global Museum,” In geveb, January 2018: https://ingeveb.org/articles/milgroym-as-a-pathway-towards-the-global-museum
Examines to what extent the interwar journal Milgroym’s practice of translation transformed Yiddish culture’s relationship to visual art. The article focuses on Rachel Wischnitzer and her role in theorizing Milgroym as a pathway towards the global museum.
Yaron Matras, Leonie Gaisera, and Gertrud Reershemius, “Multilingual Repertoire Management and Illocutionary Functions in Yiddish Signage in Manchester,” Journal of Pragmatics 135 (October 2018) 53–70. [https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378216618302005?via%3Dihub; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2018.07.005]
Drawing on a corpus of annotated images that capture the linguistic landscape of a residential neighbourhood in Greater Manchester (UK) with a large Hasidic-Haredi (so-called ‘ultra-Orthodox’) Jewish population, this article argues that Yiddish in this multilingual setting is not located within a hierarchy of absolute valorization but rather figures in a system of complementary functions, as one choice among several repertoire components.
Ariel Evan Mayse and Daniel Reiser, “Territories and Textures: The Hasidic Sermon as the Crossroads of Language and Culture,” Jewish Social Studies 24, no. 1 (2018): 127–60. [DOI: 10.2979/jewisocistud.24.1.05; https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jewisocistud.24.1.05]
Offers an analysis of the interface of Yiddish and Hebrew in Hasidic preaching and writing. The article seeks to restore attention to the oral event, which took place in Yiddish, as a determining feature in the contours of Hasidic thought.
Jonatan Meir, “The Lost Yiddish Translation of Sefer Shivhei ha-Besht (Ostróg 1815),” Zutot 15, no. 1 (2018): 94–113. [https://brill.com/abstract/journals/zuto/15/1/article-p94_9.xml; https://doi.org/10.1163/18750214-12151073]
Analyzes a newly discovered early translation into Yiddish of Sefer Shivhei ha-Besht, published in Ostróg in 1815. The article discusses the uniqueness of the translation in the context of the work’s printing history and state of Jewish publishing in Eastern Europe of the time.
Simo Muir, “‘Mother Rachel and Her Children’: Artistic Expressions in Yiddish and Early Commemoration of the Holocaust in Finland.” Eastern European Jewish Affairs 48, no. 3 (2018): 284–308. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13501674.2018.1568787; https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1568787]
Drawing on previously unused archival material from the Finnish Jewish Archives and YIVO, this article describes how the Helsinki Jewish community commemorated the Holocaust. The author focuses on a Yiddish pageant called Mother Rachel and her children written by Helsinki-born Jac Weinstein (1883–1976), which depicts the two-thousand-year-long suffering of the Jewish people culminating in the death camps of the Third Reich.
Özlem Özmen, “Identity and Gender Politics in Contemporary Shakespearean Rewriting: Julia Pascal’s The Yiddish Queen Lear,” European Judaism 51, no. 2 (September 2018): 196–204. [https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/european-judaism/51/2/ej510226.xml; https://doi.org/10.3167/ej.2017.510226]
Discusses the 1999 English-language play The Yiddish Queen Lear and the way it merges racial and gender identity politics in confronting the history of the Yiddish theater and enacting a feminist critique of Shakespeare’s text.
Hannah Pollin-Galay, “The Epic Demands of Postwar Yiddish: Avrom Sutzkever’s Geheymshtot (1948).” Eastern European Jewish Affairs 48, no. 3 (2018): 331–53 [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13501674.2018.1559692; https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1559692]
This article reads Sutzkever’s epic poem as a deliberation on the possibilities of home for Jews after the Holocaust. The poem makes large demands of its readership, asking cosmic questions about love, the relationship between humans and the natural world, and the ethics of preserving history. Extrapolating from his personal experience of migration, Sutzkever interrogates Soviet Socialism and political Zionism as well as the problems of post-catastrophe ideology at large.
Eli Rubin, “Traveling and Traversing Chabad’s Literary Paths: From Likutei torah to Khayim gravitser and Beyond,” In geveb, October 2018: https://ingeveb.org/articles/traveling-and-traversing-chabads-literary-paths-from-likutei-torah-to-khayim-gravitser-and-beyond.
Traces the ways that Chabad Hasidism’s internal tradition of “literary mysticism” has intervened in the broader trajectory of modern Jewish literature, with particular focus on Fishl Schneersohn’s Khayim gravitser and Avraham Shlonsky’s translation of the novel into Hebrew.
Julia Schultz, “The impact of Yiddish on the English language: An overview of lexical borrowing in the variety of subject areas and spheres of life influenced by Yiddish over time,” English Today, 6 December 2018: 1–6. [https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/english-today/article/impact-of-yiddish-on-the-english-language/437E8E4E69ACAD9167EFCF01F46F786D; https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078418000494]
Provides an overview of the different lexical domains in English to which Yiddish contributed new words and expressions. Focuses on those Yiddish-derived terms that have become established in current English.
Miriam Schulz, “’Before the bow that was drawn’: The Vilna Komitet and its documentation of the destruction of Polish Jewry, 1939–1940/41,” trans. Joshua Price and Miriam Schulz, In geveb, May 2018: https://ingeveb.org/articles/before-the-bow-that-was-drawn.
An excerpt from Schulz’s German-language book on the Vilna Committee, a group of sixty Jewish writers and journalists who began documenting the destruction of Polish Jewry in September of 1939.
Jeffrey Shandler, “Enacting Ethnicity: Yiddishkeit Masked and Unmasked on the Contemporary American Stage,” Jewish Social Studies 23, no. 2 (Winter 2018): 1–23. [https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jewisocistud.23.2.01; DOI: 10.2979/jewisocistud.23.2.01]
Compares a recent all Asian American company’s performance of Clifford Odet’s Awake and Sing! with a Yiddish staging of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Discusses each production’s enactment of ethnicity, involving the masking and unmasking of Jewishness.
Jerry Stelmaszak, “The noble nurses who learned Yiddish to aid their Jewish patients,” Michigan Jewish History 58 (Fall 2018): 64–68. [http://aleph.nli.org.il:80/F/?func=direct&doc_number=000611634&local_base=RMB01; https://www.michjewishhistory.org/publications/]
Discusses the phenomenon of non-Jewish nurses learning Yiddish in 1930s Detroit to better serve their Yiddish-speaking patients.
Anja Tippner, “Conflicting Memories, Conflicting Stories: Masha Rol’nikaite’s Novel and the Soviet Culture of Holocaust Remembrance,” Eastern European Jewish Affairs 48, no. 3 (2018): 372–90. [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13501674.2019.1566999; https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2019.1566999]
Examines how Rol’nikatie’s works, some originally written in Yiddish and then translated into Lithuanian and Russian, fit within Soviet memorial culture of World War II. Rol’nikaite is used as a model to illustrate the difficulties of commemorating the Holocaust in Soviet literature.
Joseph Toltz and Anna Boucher, “Out of the Depths: Complexity, Subjectivity and Materiality in the Earliest Accounts of Holocaust Song-Making,” Eastern European Jewish Affairs 48, no. 3 (2018): 309–30. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13501674.2018.1559695; https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1559695]
This paper focuses on two collections of immediate post-Holocaust Yiddish songs. Their place at the margin of our understanding of musical experience in the Holocaust prompts the question: how does the affordance of material objects inform our understanding of the construction of repertories, determining exclusion and inclusion of one song over another?
Karen Underhill, “Bruno Schulz’s Galician Diasporism: On the 1937 Essay ‘E. M. Lilien’ and Rokhl Korn’s Review of Cinnamon Shops,” Jewish Social Studies 24, no. 1 (Fall 2018): 1–33. [DOI: 10.2979/jewisocistud.24.1.01; https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jewisocistud.24.1.01]
Considers Schulz’s artistic engagement with Diasporism, with special attention to his own essay on graphic artist Ephraim Moses Lilien and Rokhl Korn’s Yiddish language review of Schulz’s Cinnamon Shops.
Kalman Weiser, “‘One of Hitler’s Professors’: Max Weinreich and Solomon Birnbaum confront Franz Beranek,” Jewish Quarterly Review 108, no. 1 (Winter 2018): 106–24. [https://muse.jhu.edu/article/687308; doi:10.1353/jqr.2018.0006]
Considers the case of Franz Beranek, a Bohemian linguist whose academic focus was extraterritorial German dialects, Yiddish among them, and his postwar interactions with the major YIVO Yiddishists Weinreich and Birnbaum. Weinreich viewed Beranek as one of “Hitler’s professors” and refused to work with him in the postwar period while Birnbaum was more understanding of Beranek’s own suffering but could not sway Weinreich. This is a tale of two Yiddish scholars and their very different reactions to a German scholar of Yiddish linguistics.
Diane Wolfthal, “Scribe and Owner as Artist in a Sixteenth-Century Yiddish Miscellany,” IMAGES 11, no. 1 (December 2018): 210–26. [https://brill.com/abstract/journals/ima/11/1/article-p210_14.xml; https://doi.org/10.1163/18718000-12340089]
Discusses a sixteenth-century Miscellany of five illustrated secular Yiddish chapbooks and the Jewish owner’s folio drawing. The essay questions the ways in which some scholars have obscured the manuscript’s Jewish identity, and explores how the illustrations and drawing help better frame its distinctly Jewish nature.
Nathan Wolski, “Man, Woman, and Serpent: Kabbalah and High Modernity in the Early Writings of Aaron Zeitlin,” In geveb, December 2018: https://ingeveb.org/articles/man-woman-and-serpent
Presents a translation and analysis of Aaron Zeitlin’s 1924 essay, “Man, froy un shlang,” a key to understanding Zeitlin’s neo-kabbalistic phase of the 1920s.
Michael Yashinsky, “Ezra Korman of Detroit: The Life and Afterlife of a Yiddish Poet,” Michigan Jewish History 58 (Fall 2018): 73–85. [http://aleph.nli.org.il:80/F/?func=direct&doc_number=000611634&local_base=RMB01; https://www.michjewishhistory.org/publications/]
Outlines the life and works of Detroit’s leading Yiddish writer, from his published work to an investigation of his private library and personal archives.
Sunny Yudkoff, “The Narrowing of the Creative Vein: Yankev Glatshteyn and the Poetics of Sclerosis,” Prooftexts 36, no. 3 (2018): 307–34. [DOI: 10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.04; https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.04]
Follows the metaphorics of sclerosis across the work of Yankev Glatshteyn (Jacob Glatstein), revealing what Yudkoff calls his “poetics of deformation,” a modernist aesthetic that is simultaneously generative and incapacitating.
Shelly Zer-Zion, “Hard to Be a Jew in Mandatory Tel Aviv: Relocating the Eastern European Jewish Experience,” Jewish Social Studies 24, no. 1 (Fall 2018): 75–99. [https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jewisocistud.24.1.03; DOI: 10.2979/jewisocistud.24.1.03]
Analyzes two Hebrew stage adaptations of Sholem Aleichem’s Der blutike shpas in Palestine in the 1930s, arguing that the performances and their reception indicate a continuity with an Eastern European past rather than a rebellion or radical transformation.
Journal of Jewish Languages 6, no. 1 (May 2018): American Hasidic Yiddish
Dalit Assouline, “Introduction: American Hasidic Yiddish,” 1–3. [https://doi.org/10.1163/22134638-06010001]
Steffen Krogh, “How Yiddish is Haredi Satmar Yiddish?,” 5–42 [https://doi.org/10.1163/22134638-06011143]
Addresses the question of the extent to which core features of Eastern European Yiddish have survived into present-day Haredi Satmar Yiddish in America. Most significant is an analysis of how the absence of a similar language component in English may trigger the elimination of that feature in Satmar Yiddish.
Dalit Assouline, “English Can Be Jewish but Hebrew Cannot: Code-switching Patterns among Yiddish-speaking Hasidic Women,” 43–59 [https://doi.org/10.1163/22134638-06011131]
Discusses why and how English was able to turn into a contemporary Jewish language among Yiddish-speaking American Hasidic Jews, in marked contrast to Israeli Hebrew. Includes consideration of the ideological neutrality, linguistic flexibility, and codeswitching capacity of English in contrast with the ideological weight, linguistic rigidity, and codeswitching cumbersomeness of Israeli Hebrew.
Jordan Kutzik, “American Hasidic Yiddish Pedagogical Materials: A Sociological and Sociolinguistic Survey of 50 Years of Post-War Publishing,” 60–88 [https://doi.org/10.1163/22134638-06011136]
Provides an overview of three generations of American Hasidic Yiddish pedagogical materials, using a sample of books, oral-medium games, and a family magazine’s children’s section. Includes discussion of how the perception of Yiddish among Hasidim evolved into perceiving the language as a semi-holy tongue uniquely capable of transmitting religious and cultural values.
Benjamin Sadock and Alyssa Masor, “Bobover Yiddish: ‘Polish’ or ‘Hungarian’?” 89–110 [https://doi.org/10.1163/22134638-06011133]
Compares the “Polish” Yiddish of the Bobover Hasidic community to its “Hungarian” counterpart, Satmar to reveal the ways in which Hungarian grammatical features and lexical choices permeate the Yiddish of Bobover hasidim. The authors show the permeability of the two groups and refers to practices that enact shibboleths as clear markers of identity.
Chaya R. Nove, “The Erasure of Hasidic Yiddish from Twentieth Century Yiddish Linguistics,” 111–43 [https://doi.org/10.1163/22134638-06011142]
Reviews how the ideological underpinnings of Yiddish linguistics created and perpetuated a disciplinary preoccupation with a hypothetical standard at the expense of theoretically informative empirical studies of contemporary speakers of Hasidic Yiddish.
East European Jewish Affairs 48, no. 2 (2018): The 1952 Trial of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in the Soviet Union.
Gennady Estraikh, “The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee,” 139–48. [https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1524737]
Brief history of the JAFC (1942-8), from its wartime beginnings in propaganda to its transnational aspirations for Jewish solidarity, its liquidation, and the belated reception of the minutes of the 1952 trial of associated intelligentsia.
Ber Kotlerman, “‘Like a soul without a body’: Der Nister’s ‘dialogue’ with Stalin about the Jewish Nation,” 233–52. [https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1533371]
Kotlerman brings light to a small corpus of Der Nister’s unpublished drafts (1948) constituting a “manifesto” of Der Nister’s dogged but tragically unrealized aspirations for a territorialized Jewish nation in Birobidzhan. Includes a reproduction of the handwritten manuscripts.
Harriet Murav, “The Judgments of David Bergelson,” 174–87. [https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1492822]
Murav explores the convergence of Bergelson’s 1952 trial with his earlier fiction on the Soviet regime. Read against other trial transcripts and declarations of fellow Yiddishists, Bergelson’s citations of his own work and his avowed Jewish and Yiddish affiliation are both a form of self-defense and a testimony to an unknown future readership.
Alexander Nakhimovsky, “The Transcripts of the JAFC Trial as an Extended Conversation: Words, Sentences, and Speech Acts,” 210–32. [https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1478589]
Linguistic analysis of the polysemy of “natsionalizm,” “natsionalist,” and “natstionalisticheskii” in the underlying ideological disputes of the JAFC trial transcripts, alongside broader consideration of evolving discursive strategies of defendants making claims for their dignity in extremis.
Alice S. Nakhimovsky, “Assessing Life in the Face of Death: Moral Drama at the 1952 Trial of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee,” 188-209. [https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1502400]
Reads the JAFC trial testimonies of Lina Shtern (biochemist, physician), Boris Shimelovich (physician), and Solomon Lozovsky (party functionary) as varieties of self-accounting, distinct in their spontaneity and “contrarian pride” from discursive strategies in earlier Soviet show trials.
Anna Schur, “Jewish in Form, Socialist in Content? Jewish Identity and Soviet Subjectivity at the Trial of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee,” 149-73. [https://doi.org/10.1080/13501674.2018.1492824]
Explores the varieties of Soviet subject formation through the JAFC trial transcripts. The heterodox, Jewish articulations of identity, “nationality,” and Soviet doctrine in the testimonies of Kvitko, Fefer, Markish, Bergelson et al. reveal the fault lines of a supposed “unitary Stalinist selfhood.”
Prooftexts 36, no. 3 (2018): Forum on the “Jewish voice” of American Jewish writers. [https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/prooftexts.36.issue-3]
Steven Weitzman, “Listening Anew to the Jewish Voice,” 241–54. [DOI: 10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.01; https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.01]
Introduction to the special issue, beginning the investigation by returning to Robert Alter’s 1995 idea of Yiddishkeit as the center of Jewish voice.
Gabriella Safran, “Authenticity, Complaint, and the Russianness of American Jewish Literature,” 255–85. [DOI: 10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.02; https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.02]
This article situates American Jewish writers like Malamud, Bellow, Roth, and their critics in an aural environment where Russian and Yiddish sounds were increasingly available in entertainment and where they were associated with authenticity and political opposition. In spite of the formal parallels among the American Jewish, Russian, and Yiddish literary complaints, and in spite of Roth and Bellow representing themselves compellingly as imitators, the essay argues that they need to be understood in their own national and temporal communicative context.
Julian Levinson, “Subjects in Question: Jewish Storytelling as Counterethnography,” 286–306. [DOI: 10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.03; https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.03; DOI: 10.2979/prooftexts.36.3.03]
Presents a theorization of Jewish storytelling in which it is proposed that the meaning of a Jewish story can be found in its representation of the fantasies and psychic conflicts of a specific set of readers. Includes a reading of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s The Penitent (1994).
Shofar 36, no. 2 (2018): Tribute Issue for Chana Bloch (1940–2017) [http://muse.jhu.edu/issue/38860]
Chana Kronfeld, “My Chana,” 8–18. [https://muse.jhu.edu/article/700198; doi:10.1353/sho.2018.0017]
A tribute to Chana Bloch that analyzes a number of her English-language poems and the ways in which she embeds the biblical intertext into her work.
Kathryn Hellerstein, “A Poet-Translator Writes a Reader Report: What Chana Bloch Taught Me,” 33–39. [http://muse.jhu.edu/article/700201; doi:10.1353/sho.2018.0020]
A tribute to Chana Bloch as a translator, including her commentary on the author’s translations of Kadya Molodovsky.