Yenta Mash (1922–2013) grew up in the region once known as Bessarabia (present-day Moldova), renowned as a lively polyglot area and a flourishing center of Jewish culture. In 1941, she was exiled to the Siberian gulag by Soviet forces. She endured seven years of hard labor before leaving the prison camp and making her way to Chisinau, then the capital of the Moldavian SSR. In 1977, in her fifties, Mash immigrated to Israel and settled in Haifa, where, she began to write and to publish. Her short stories were published in Yiddish journals on both sides of the Atlantic, and her work was collected in four volumes published in Israel. She was honored with Israel’s Itsik Manger Prize in 1999 and with the Dovid Hofshteyn Prize in 2002.
Ellen Cassedy won the 2012 Translation Prize awarded by the Yiddish Book Center for her translation, in collaboration with Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, of fiction by Blume Lempel, now forthcoming in the volume Oedipus in Brooklyn, And Other Stories (Mandel Vilar Press, 2016). She is the author of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust (University of Nebraska Press, 2012), which won several national awards and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Cassedy was award a 2016 PEN/HEIM Grant—the first award for her work on Yiddish writer Yenta Mash, and the first time the award has been awarded for work from that language.