Jul 09, 2019
As our fourth publishing year comes to a close, we at In geveb are enormously proud of every piece we have shared with our readers this year. From cutting edge scholarship, including a special issue on Religious Thought in Yiddish, to sidesplitting Purim jokes, from translations of a futuristic utopian novella and a proletarian poem to incisive reviews of academic books, literary translations, theatrical productions, and musical recordings, we have worked to create a journal that is inclusive of the broad range of interests within and adjacent to Yiddish Studies, that advances and deepens our field, and that creates a community around the work that we do.
As we look back on the past year, we wanted to share with you the top ten most popular posts of 2018-2019. Here are the pieces that caught the attention of the most readers: if you haven’t already read all ten, you’re sure to find something of interest!
Avi Blitz investigates attitudes toward masculinity among Hasidic and ex-Hasidic Jews in Israel, living among diverse gender norms of Hasidic male eydlkeyt, studiousness, and punctiliousness and Israeli sabra ideals of machismo.
9. The Latest in Yiddish Translations, 2018 by Maia Evrona, Jessica Kirzane, and Daniel Kennedy
We know that you have come to rely on us as a way to stay up to date with what is going on in the world of Yiddish publications. That’s why this year we launched a new annual roundup of publications - online and in print - of new works of Yiddish in translation. It’s an impressive list, and we’re already compiling the next one! If you know of something you want to make sure is included, write to [email protected].
8. Jewish Towns of Poland by Chaim Grade, translation by Julian Levinson
In 1947, during a brief sojourn in Paris, Chaim Grade (1910-1982) wrote this never-before-translated cycle of poems in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust imagining the tumultious emotional response of someone returning to the cities and towns of Poland, now empty of Jews.
7. Stealing the Border: A Reflection on Teaching Yiddish Borderlands Literature by Anna Elena Torres
How do you teach about Yiddish literature in a way that connects to and invites students to reflect on political issues that are salient today? Anna Elena Torres offers one example in her syllabus for, and reflections on, her seminar “Yiddish Poetics of the Border,” which touched on key questions of Yiddish linguistic and cultural borders, the role of contact and translation, and the way that the borders of Yiddish language shape its poetics.
6. Special Issue: Religious Thought in Yiddish edited by Ariel Evan Mayse, Naomi Seidman, Marc Caplan, and Daniel Reiser, with coordinating editor Sunny Yudkoff
This special issue of In geveb, including six peer reviewed articles and four translations, explores a range of theological, philosophical, and other religious themes as presented in a wide variety of Yiddish writings over some three and a half centuries. Scholars of religious thought and theology have tended to neglect Yiddish sources, while Yiddishists have tended to focus primarily on literary (rather than religious) texts. In presenting these works, this special issue demonstrates the ways in which the various subfields of Yiddish Studies and Religious Studies are enriched by examining religious thought written in Yiddish.
One article in the Religious Thought in Yiddish issue received particular attention among our readership. This account of the religious anarchist thought of Yankev Meir Zalkind, prolific phililogist, editor, Orthodox rabbi, and mentor to poet-assassin Sholem Shvartsbard, demonstrates a political philosophy that dissolves the binary between religious conservatism and leftist atheism, articulating anti-statism through the language and logics of Jewish scripture.
4. Review of A Rich Brew: How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture by Shachar M. Pinsker by Jeffrey Yoskowitz
Jeffrey Yoskowitz, writer and food producer, discusses Pinsker’s examination of the coffeehouse, which Pinsker describes as indispensible to Jewish creative life. Yoskowitz praises “the depth of Pinsker’s research through the treasure trove of modern Jewish literature,” yet he is left with burning questions such as, “Did Karl Marx take it black, no sugar, as one would expect?” We wonder how many of our readers found this review by searching for Gefilteria brand coffee, and what, indeed, our readers are sipping while they read and discuss the writing on In geveb!
In this peer-reviewed article, Rubin traces some of the ways Chabad Hasidism’s internal tradition of “literary mysticism” has intervened in the broader trajectory of modern Jewish literature. Rubin complicates the scholarly chronology that tends to bifurcate modern Jewish literature from its Hasidic roots, demonstrating that Fishl Shneerson and Avraham Shlonsky continued the Hasidic literary tradition of Chabad in their work in alternative literary forms and in the cause of new agendas.
2. Translated and Improved: Yiddish Pop Culture in Israel by Avi Blitz
Avi Blitz, our intrepid contributor on Yiddish in the Israeli scene, interviews Yael Yekel about Goy, her parody of Netta Barzilai’s Eurovision-winning song Toy, in a wide-ranging conversation about the status of Yiddish among secular Israelis and the language’s changing role in Israeli pop culture.
1. Yiddish in ale lender! Yiddish Summer Programs Roundup 2019 by Miranda Cooper
We are proud to be your go-to resource for figuring out where to go to study Yiddish over the summer. Gey gezunt un kum gezunt, and don’t forget to write for us about your adventures in Yiddishland!
Although it was published in March 2016 and thus isn’t qualified to make it on this esteemed list, we couldn’t leave off Shayna Weiss’s blog post Shtisel’s Ghosts: The Politics of Yiddish in Israeli Popular Culture! Riding the wave of of Shtisel’s popularity on Netflix this year, a whopping 27,457 unique viewers took a gander at Weiss’s analysis of how linguistic diversity contributes to an understanding of Israeli popular culture. If you’re a new reader who came to us while Googling about your favorite Netflix binge, welcome!