Texts & Translations

New translations into English of Yiddish language materials including poetry, stories, essays, and archival materials of all kinds. Original Yiddish texts are presented in a standardized orthography and are fully searchable.

Text & Translation

מיקווה און מיצווה

Mikvah and Mitzvah: Melancholia and the Spiritual Life

R. Aaron of Karlin

Translation by Ariel Evan Mayse and Daniel Reiser

A Hasidic homily from the eighteenth century by R. Aaron of Karlin. The message is simple and speaks to the heart of Hasidic thought: sadness may have some limited utility, but depression is always a destructive force that inhibits spiritual growth.

Text & Translation

וועגן דעם ווערט פֿון איבערזעצונגען

On the Worth of Translations

Chaim Zhitlowsky

Translation by Joshua Price

In this 1910 essay, Chaim Zhitlowsky examines how the translation of works of world literature into Yiddish can be a way to establish Yiddish as a kultur-shprakh, a language as modern and expressive as European languages.

Text & Translation

אַ לוויה אין רעגן

A Funeral in the Rain

Abraham Sutzkever

Translation by Zackary Sholem Berger

A prose poem from Abraham Sutzkever’s 1975 volume Green Aquarium. “A man with a heavy bag on his back approaches a dark city in a rainstorm…”

Text & Translation

מידת־הדין

Harsh Judgment

David Bergelson

Translation by Sasha Senderovich and Harriet Murav

Mides hadin (1929) is one of David Bergelson’s most innovative and experimental works. An aura of mystery infuses the opening chapter: three riders go out on an evening patrol that seems more like dream than reality.

Text & Translation

סיביר

Siberia

Abraham Sutzkever

Translation by Richard J. Fein

Sutzkever’s cycle of poems about his childhood years spent in Siberia: “In the light-dark snowed-under / village of my childhood in Siberia / blossoms bloom from shadows’ eyes— / countless quicksilver blossoms…”

Text & Translation

די ייִדיש־אַנאַרכיסטישע באַוועגונג אין אַמעריקע

The Jewish Anarchist Movement in America

Joseph Cohen

Translation by Emil Kerenji

This chapter from Joseph Cohen’s memoir offers a rare glimpse into the American Jewish Anarchist circles of the early twentieth century.

Text & Translation

ייִדן און ייִדיש

Essays on Yiddishism

Nokhem Shtif

Translation by Maurice Wolfthal

Best known for his call to found a university-level institution devoted to Ashkenazic culture, which helped to lead to the founding of YIVO, Nokhem Shtif develops his arguments for Yiddishism in these excerpts from his 1920 work, “Yiddish and the Jews.”

Text & Translation

ביאַליקס שיך

Bialik's Shoes

Sholem Aleichem

Translation by Daniel Kennedy

If Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik had left his slippers in your house, would you give them back? Read how Sholem Aleichem handled this problem.

Text & Translation

Indecent Language, Sex, and Censorship in Literature

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Translation by Mirra Ginsburg and B. Chertoff

Edited by David Stromberg

Previously unpublished translations of two essays by Bashevis on censorship of literature, presented in a new edited version by David Stromberg.

Text & Translation

חנניה, מישאל ועזריה בתוך כּבֿשן־האש

Ḥananiah, Mishael and Azariah in the Fiery Furnace (The Daniel-Shpil)

Translation by Shifra Epstein

A new translation of a purim-shpil performed by the Bobover Hasidim in New York in 1987 with audio and photographs of the performance offers a unique glimpse into contemporary hasidic culture.

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