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Articles tagged "Yiddish Literature"

Holy Tongue: On Translating Yenta Mash

Image: From From Land to Land by Todros Geller, 1926. From the Yiddish Book Center’s Spielberg Digitial Yiddish Library.  Ellen Cassedy’s translation of Yenta Mash’s “Ingathering of Exiles” appears in the September 2016 feature of Words without Borders: Contemporary Yiddish Literature on Three Continents. Many writers of modern Yiddish literature grew up in small Eastern European towns, immersed from an early age in intensive...

Yiddish Literature and the Transnational Republic of Jewish Letters

What happens to literature when it’s written in a language without a state or a territory to call its own? While there are several examples of literary diasporas—Russian or French language literature, to name two prominent examples, has often been written outside the borders of Russia and France—there are far fewer literary traditions that do not have a concrete homeland on the map, a single point of origin from which the literature comes. Yiddish literature is one such...

Two Miniatures

Yekhiel Shraybman’s tightly-crafted miniatures, narrated by the proverbial everymen from anywhere, invite readers to fill in the gaps and reinterpret them as products of their local context. New Grass Spring. Somewhere in the corner of my concrete courtyard, right at the start of those first sunny days, a few blades of grass sprang to life, quickly, practically overnight. Soft green grass shot up, growing up through the cracks of the hard gray slabs, giving that corner a...

Sing Ladino

Yankev Glatshteyn mines the richness of Yiddish, pushing its limits.  Sing Ladino, you blond songer, Our magicjargonino, Multicolored chattering, Multitongued languageing Sundownino, nino-nino, Finegolden radiating, bursting— Multicoloredthoughtingness. All the breads, all the deaths, All the taigas, all the tundras, All the wonders multicolored, Multirhymerino, Multiguesterino, All the wicks, all the skins, Yellowred and Falashino, Palestino speakerino, Ours, our...

Ingathering of Exiles

Yenta Mash interrogates the uneasy position of Jewish immigrants in the new state of Israel. I don’t know about other cities, but in Haifa the street called Kibbutz Galuyot—Ingathering of Exiles—is definitely worthy of the name. Other cities may have bestowed the name when the street was still under construction, without knowing whether it would turn out to be a good fit. In Haifa, though, the street was already in its glory when it got its name. If they’d called it...

An Unexpected Guest

In the following chapter from his novel Nomansland, AZ, Boris Sandler looks at the US through the lens of fantasy and rollicking satire as down-on-his-luck traveling salesman Eddie Hoffman hawks his wares in a forgotten desert town at the end of the millennium. There’s no such thing, so the saying goes, as a party you can’t crash. The heady feeling that I’d stumbled into a party—a loud, unruly party—washed over me as I dragged and scraped my way through...

The Happiness of Also Refusing Happiness

The happiness of refusing happiness The joy of refusing joy Passionately keeping passion back Proudly breaking pride in ecstasy. Night in the forest on trouble's path All rustling has become one tree One secret calling cry for help One star glowing, a small eye. What's sense here? I don't know why-- Still walking, now I'm at the door Chaos behind. The door's a lamp Inside the cry of help before. The mussar house inside of me Murmurs, mirage of...

Seclusion (from the poem “Kotzk”)

When the decadent genius of Chasidus Comprehended what the secret of the Jew is, He lived by himself for many years. The Jew is loneliness. His sole belovèd is The world's alone one, the Creator. Who Can comprehend their twin aloneness? Chasidus: Chasidism. The Kotzker Rebbe, Menachem Mendel of Kotzk (1787-1859), secluded himself in his chambers for twenty years, refusing all contact. The Kotzker (as he was known) was famous for his strict judgment and as a...
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