Jul 13, 2022
Tayere leyeners, Dear readers:
We’ve tarried and dragged ourselves into our summer publishing break like a person elongating their Got fun Avrom to keep the week at bay. We’re starting our break later than usual this year because we simply couldn’t bring ourselves to stop sharing all our exciting content before we could hang the proverbial “gone swimming” sign on our (virtual) door – from Chava Rosenfarb’s posthumously published English-to-Yiddish translations of two Canadian Jewish writers, to a compilation of student “unessays” from this past semester.
Although they couldn’t be more different, both of these pieces reflect an ongoing priority of our journal: new, innovative, and/or complex formats, with many moving parts, that take advantage of the flexibility of digital publishing. You can see that commitment in the broad resources our pedagogy section published this year and in our multi-genre special issue on Debora Vogel, the first of its kind ever devoted to a woman writing in Yiddish.
On a more sobering note, the (relatively) fast turnaround of digital publishing also brings with it an obligation to publish needed resources and reflections in the wake of crises or important political moments. This year, that unfortunately meant responding to Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, including a listicle of resources for teachers; a conversation between scholars of Ukrainian Jewish history about what In geveb readers should know; translations of two Yiddish poets from Kyiv, Dine Libkes and Hinde Roytblat; and reflections from a Ukrainan Yiddish teacher in Italy.
This combination of complex (and sometimes very long term) projects and nimble responses to fast-moving developments is part of what makes In geveb so unique.
We also published a lot this year: 17 book reviews, 18 pedagogy pieces, 11 translations, 34 blog pieces (not counting our annual Purim issue!), 1 academic article, and 1 multi-genre special issue comprising an additional 2 academic articles, 2 blog pieces, and 2 translations. Roughly 3,000 readers dropped by our site each week on average, logging in from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, France, Australia, Poland, Sweden, and beyond. The top cities for readers were New York, Tel Aviv, London, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Paris, and Montreal.
Tayere leyeners: Thank you for reading!
CHANGES AT IN GEVEB
Two members of our editorial staff will be saying goodbye to us this coming year: LeiAnna Hamel, our Peer Review Associate, and Cassandra Euphrat Weston, our Blog Editor and Development Associate. While we will miss them, we see editorial turnover as a sign of our good health as a journal and our commitment to supporting up-and-coming scholars and Yiddishists.
This means we’re looking for new editorial staff – could that be you? Please share our openings for Peer Review Associate and Development Associate widely, and of course, please apply yourself. We especially invite applications from people with identities underrepresented in Yiddish Studies, Jewish Studies, and/or academia in general. Members of marginalized groups often have greater hesitancy about their qualifications for a given job posting, so even if you don’t think you meet 100% of the criteria, we encourage you to apply anyway. Offering professional training is part of our mission as a journal!
A FAREWELL FROM OUR BLOG EDITOR
Because I (Cassandra) will sadly be bidding farewell to In geveb this coming year, I wanted to take this opportunity to add a special note about our blog section this year. While I’ve loved editing all kinds of pieces — from music reviews to briv funem arkhiv — one of my priorities as blog editor has been publishing pieces that ask new questions about the boundaries of Yiddish studies and the Yiddish language. Of course, that has always been a strength of In geveb. I am beyond proud to have been affiliated with a journal that sees Yiddish studies as an endeavor with the potential to challenge oppressive power relations – to be feminist, queer, anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and more — and that seeks to actively further these goals with the pieces we choose to publish.
To that end, I am especially pleased that Nesi Altaras’ piece on Ladino speakers’ views on Yiddish speakers in Ottoman port cities was our number one most popular piece this publishing year. I see the piece’s popularity as a testament to the hunger among enthusiasts of Yiddish Studies, Ladino Studies, and Jewish Studies for a broad, global conversation about Jews, Jewishness, and language politics that goes beyond — to name the frequent elephant in the Yiddish Studies room – the Ashkenormativity to which Yiddish Studies has undeniably contributed, in the past and the present. From a different vantage point, Julie Sharff’s piece about a conference on Soviet Yiddish offers another exploration of Yiddish transnationality as a way to push back against dichotomies of Jewishness: as Sharff writes, “borders become both necessary and insufficient in understanding the embodied nature of Yiddish in the Socialist Bloc.” Meanwhile, freygl gertsovski asserts the radical potential of virtual Yiddish spaces to create inclusive transnational community in the present.
I am also delighted that three of our readers’ top ten favorite pieces this year were queer (a reflection of our readers’ interests and perhaps also of their identities): Lili Rosen and Jonathan Branfman’s discussion of translating Branfman’s LGBTQ youth guide into Hasidic Yiddish; a collaboratively authored curriculum supplement for beginning Yiddish classes modeling queer family vocabulary (in our pedagogy section); and Alicia Svigals’ exploration of the past, present, and future of queer yiddishkayt. The writers, teachers, and artists who authored these pieces and whose work is discussed in them are expanding Yiddish language and culture to reflect the identities, needs, lives, and dreams of its speakers, from Hasidic children in Yiddish-speaking households to second-language-learners in the classroom. As Sarah Biskowitz reminds us in her reflections on the 1995 Di Froyen: Women and Yiddish conference, the conversation about inclusive linguistic and cultural interventions is a longstanding one in Yiddish studies. I am proud that In geveb continues to be a venue for these innovations and debates — one that is firmly committed to recognizing, validating, and welcoming queer yidishkayt and queer Yiddish speakers.
Finally, I want to highlight two assertively feminist pieces that flanked our blog publishing year. Sonia Gollance and our Editor-in-Chief Jessica Kirzane’s list of #MeToo moments in Yiddish literature reminds us that a feminist approach to Yiddish literature goes beyond heralding women writers; it requires reckoning with the presence of sexual harassment, assault, and violence in the heart of texts we may have read, or taught, many times. Meanwhile, Faith Jones’ fiery manifesto names the ways that patriarchal structures have done harm to women writers and scholars of Yiddish historically and in our current moment.
Each of the pieces I have mentioned here represents both a beginning to the necessary conversations that Yiddishists and our friends (not all of In geveb’s contributors come from Yiddish studies!) have begun to have, and a spotlight on as those we have not. As I step down from the editorial side and return to calling myself a reader instead, I cannot wait to see how we, tayere leyeners, keep these conversations going in In geveb’s virtual pages and beyond. Vayter!
GIVING TO IN GEVEB
None of our work would be possible without our donors. In a time when cultural and scholarly labor is often underfunded or not funded at all, our goal has been to compensate the work of editors, writers, and translators to the best of our ability, especially early-career academics, contingent faculty, and independent scholars. We are grateful to the individual donors and charitable foundations that make this possible.
If you have read, enjoyed, or learned from our work at In geveb, please consider making a contribution. Your donation will go directly back into the work we do: it will pay our editors and our contributors, cover the costs of web hosting and support, help us bring in new editorial staff, enable us to commission new writing, and undergird new initiatives. Your help matters tremendously to us. Thank you for your generosity.
We also encourage you to consider signing up to make a small monthly contribution to In geveb. In addition, you can shop for In geveb swag at our Redbubble store, where a percentage of the proceeds goes to us.
SEND US YOUR WRITING!
We know you’ll miss us over our summer publishing break, but don’t worry—we’ll be back in the fall with terrific new material. And some of it could be written by you!
We encourage you to send us your pitches and your writing throughout the summer and beyond. In our submission process, we aim to pay critical attention to gender, racial, religious, and career diversity. We are committed, in all sections of the journal, to leveraging our digital format and flexible publishing schedule to accommodate contributors from a variety of backgrounds and professional situations, especially those who face structural barriers to publication within and outside academia. We encourage all potential contributors to be in touch with section editors with questions concerning content, scope, or queries regarding developmental editing. We also welcome feedback on how we can make our submission and publication process more equitable and inclusive.
We accept writing on a rolling basis, though our email response time may lag while we’re off enjoying our break. We can’t wait to hear from you and read your work.
We’ll be back soon! Thank you for reading, and we look forward to seeing you “in geveb.”
Cassandra Euphrat Weston and the In geveb editorial team