The Yiddish Book Center’s Podcast

The Yiddish Book Center’s podcast includes conversations with Jewish culture makers, plus news and stories related to Yiddish literature, language, and culture.

11 June 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0373: Nathan-ism: The Story of Artist Nathan Hilu

Filmaker Elan Golod visits with "The Shmooze" to talk about his documentary "Nathan-ism." The film tells the story of Nathan Hilu, the son of Syrian Jewish immigrants to New York who received a life-changing assignment from the U.S. Army: to guard the top Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials. This experience fueled a lifetime of artistic inspiration for Nathan, a virtually unknown outsider artist who spent the next 70 years obsessively creating a visual narrative from his memories. Episode 373 June 11, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 15:22

6 June 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0372: The Yiddish Folksong Project

Kimberly Lazzeri joins "The Shmooze" to talk about the recently released "Yiddish Folksong Project Anthology." Kimberly shares the story behind this collection of Robert De Cormier’s folksong arrangements, which had been in a storage closet for over forty years. This is the first-ever publication of De Cormier’s arrangements of Yiddish folksongs and the first-ever large body of Yiddish folksong repertoire arranged in the classical style for performance on the concert or recital stage. Episode 372 June 6, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 16:40

29 May 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0371: After 80 Years Postcards Find Their Way Home to Lublin

Piotr Nazaruk and Karla McCabe joined "The Shmooze" to tell the story of the thirty-six postcards that Karla recently hand-delivered to Pitor Nazaruk at a ceremony in Lublin, Poland. Karla explains how this collection of postcards were looted from the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva in the war and now, eighty years later, have found their way back home. Episode 371 May 29, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 27:18

13 May 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0370: Sivan Slapak’s Here Is Still Here

Writer Sivan Slapak visits with "The Shmooze" to talk about her debut collection, "Here Is Still Here." The stories provide a layered exploration of human connection and the complexities of identity. In conversation, Sivan shares how these stories—which take readers from Montreal to Jerusalem and back again as the main character navigates checkpoints and borders, home and exile, milestones and disappointment, and love and loss—are threaded together. Episode 370 May 13, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:51

21 April 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0369: Yiddish Culture in America

"The Shmooze" visits with Sebastian Schulman for a chat about Yiddish culture in America as we celebrate American Jewish Heritage Month. In conversation he shares some of what he’s found on the Yiddish Book Center’s website related to the Jewish American experience—Yiddish writers in America, Jewish food, Yiddish film, immigration, activism, and more. Episode 369 April 28, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 36:13

13 March 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0368: in a dark blue night: two song cycles on Yiddish/Jewish New York

Alex Weiser visits with "The Shmooze" to talk about his latest work, "in a dark blue night," consisting of two connected song cycles. The first, “in a dark blue night,” sets to music modernist Yiddish poetry about New York City at night, all written by Jewish immigrant poets at the turn of the 20th century. The second, “Coney Island Days,” transforms an oral history with his late grandmother, Irene Weiser, into a musical exploration of the time when Jews became Americans and the way that humble, individual stories can capture the sweeping breadth of history. Episode 368 March 14, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:36

12 March 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0367: The Yiddish Book Center’s Bossie Dubowick YiddishSchool

Sonia Bloom and Judith Liskin-Gasparro speak to "The Shmooze" about Yiddish-language learning, their work in the field, and their participation at the Yiddish Book Center’s upcoming Bossie Dubowick YiddishSchool. Episode 367 March 11, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 25:15

7 March 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0366:The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues in New York

Ross Perlin, the co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance, visits with "The Shmooze" to talk about his new book, "Language City: The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues in New York." The book provides a portrait of contemporary New York City through six speakers of little-known and overlooked languages, diving into the incredible history of the most linguistically diverse place ever to have existed on the planet. Episode 366 March 7, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 24:09

5 February 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0365: Across So Many Seas

Author Ruth Behar speaks with "The Shmooze" about "Across So Many Seas." Her latest book was inspired by Behar’s paternal grandmother’s side of the family of Sephardic Jews living in Spain up until the Spanish Inquisition of 1492. Behar used her background as an anthropology professor to make a thoroughly researched and powerful novel about religious persecution and how refugees have been treated throughout history. Episode 365 February 4, 2024 Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:06

25 January 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0364: A Worker’s Yiddish Library on View

Marvin Zuckerman and Ruby Elliot Zuckerman join "The Shmooze" to talk about their family’s story, which is featured in the Yiddish Book Center’s new core exhibition, "Yiddish: A Global Culture." As Marvin shares, “In our one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx we had world literature—Georg Brandes, Maupassant, Marx, Darwin, Jack London, Tolstoy—all in Yiddish.” Marvin and his granddaughter Ruby share the experience of traveling together from the West Coast to be part of the exhibition’s opening and to see their family’s “Worker’s Library” on view. Episode 364 January 22, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 23:48

14 January 2024, 12:00 am

Episode 0363: Telling the Story of Yiddish Theater

David Mazower, chief curator of the Yiddish Book Center’s core exhibition, "Yiddish: A Global Culture," and Caraid O’Brien, co-curator of the exhibition’s theater section, chat with "The Shmooze" about all things Yiddish theater. You’ll hear how they gathered rare artifacts and stories about the actors, the audiences, and the contemporary Yiddish theater scene. Episode 363 January 14, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 33:41

19 December 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0362: Staging Mikhl Yashinsky’s American Yiddish Drama

Mikhl Yashinsky is on "The Shmooze" to talk about his new drama "The Gospel According to Chaim," the strange tale of a Jewish writer’s quixotic attempt to publish a controversial book. The New Yiddish Rep, who is producing the play, says this is the first entirely original, full-length American Yiddish drama to be produced for a general audience in seven decades. Episode 362 December 20, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 22:50

14 December 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0361: New in Translation: Yiddish Writer Frume Halpern

Yermiyahu Ahron Taub joins "The Shmooze" to talk about his latest translation, a collection of short stories by Yiddish writer Frume Halpern. These psychologically insightful stories present the lives of protagonists who are working-class poor, social outcasts, and experiencing illness, disability, and racism. Halpern worked as a massage therapist in a hospital, and many of these stories are about those who, like her, work with their hands: workshop and factory workers, piece workers, a shoemaker, a butcher, and a hairdresser. Episode 361 December 14, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 25:53

10 December 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0360: Shir Hashirim (The Song of Songs): A Yiddish Operetta

Ronald Robboy and Alex Weiser visit with "The Shmooze" to talk about their collaboration on the performance of the music of "Shir Hashirim (The Song of Songs)," a 1911 operetta by Joseph Rumshinsky and Anshel Shor. "Shir Hashirim" is a musical comedy that features several interlocking love triangles, including an aging composer along with his children and their lovers and friends. Reconstructed from a variety of archival materials collected at YIVO, UCLA, and the Library of Congress, the operetta will be performed by students of the Bard Conservatory Vocal Arts Program. Episode 360 December 10, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 31:02

30 November 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0359: Jewish Anarchist Histories Reclaimed

"The Shmooze" visits with Anna Elena Torres, Kenyon Zimmer, and Ayelet Brinn, editors and contributors to an expansive new volume of essays exploring suppressed histories of Jewish anarchism. "With Freedom in Our Ears: Histories of Jewish Anarchism" is a rich collection of essays across radical politics, immigrant history, the Yiddish press, and issues of gender and ethnicity. Episode 359 November 30, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 30:57

21 November 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0358: Kristen Morgenstern’s Zine: Irena Klepfisz: The Life of the Fighter

On "The Shmooze," Kristen Morgenstern, a senior studying history and theater at Middlebury College, tells the story behind her zine "Irena Klepfisz: The Life of the Fighter." The zine was selected for inclusion in the Yiddish Book Center’s core exhibition, "Yiddish: A Global Culture." Episode 358 November 21, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 22:45

14 November 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0357: Amid Falling Walls: A Groundbreaking Musical

Avram Mlotek visits with "The Shmooze" to talk about the upcoming performance of Amid Falling Walls, for which Avram created the libretto. "Amid Falling Walls" (Tsvishn falnkike vent) is a groundbreaking musical that pays homage to the perseverance of the human spirit during one of the most devastating moments of history. The performance, presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, is composed of songs that were written and performed in ghettos, clandestine cabarets and theaters, forced labor camps, and partisan encampments. Episode 357 November 14, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:57

2 November 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0356: Faith Jones on Translating Shira Gorshman

This week "The Shmooze" visits with translator Faith Jones to talk about her recently released "Meant to Be and Other Stories," by Shira Gorshman (White Goat Press). Shira Gorshman is most notable for her unflinching examination of women’s lives and her willingness to dwell on uncomfortable emotions. Faith shares how Gorshman’s stories follow the trajectory of 20th-century Jewish life in Eastern Europe, from the Lithuanian shtetl to the Russian Revolution, through the kibbutz and collective farms, to Central Asia during wartime, and back to mid-century Soviet life. Episode 356 November 2, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:48

21 September 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0355: David Mazower on Yiddish: A Global Culture

"The Shmooze" sat down with chief curator and writer David Mazower for the first in a series of conversations about the Yiddish Book Center’s landmark permanent exhibition, which opens on October 15, 2023. In describing what visitors will encounter when they view this massive exhibition, David notes, “We’ve created a bright, colorful space full of powerful stories and wonderful objects that make you think but also touch the heart and soul; I want people to see this exhibition and feel inspired, surprised, moved, informed, and entertained.” Episode 356 September 21, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 24:57

14 June 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0354: Women on the Yiddish Stage

This week on "The Shmooze," editors Amanda (Miryem-Khaye) Seigel and Alyssa Quint talk about "Women on the Yiddish Stage," a series of publications that amplifies the voices of women who served as creative leaders in the historical Yiddish theater. Episode 354 June 15, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 32:50

7 June 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0353: The Borscht Belt Historical Marker Project

On a visit with "The Shmooze," photographer Marisa Scheinfeld talks about her work on The Borscht Belt Historical Marker Project. The resulting work will create a series of markers to commemorate the Borscht Belt era. Episode 353 June 8, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:30

16 May 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0352: A Life in Yiddish Translation

Curt Leviant, professor, novelist, and translator, speaks with "The Shmooze" about his life translating the work of Sholem Aleichem and Chaim Grade, and he shares some stories about his encounters with Nobel laureates. Episode 352 May 16, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 27:15

6 May 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0351: Four Days of Concerts: Yidstock 2023

"The Shmooze" sits down with Seth Rogovoy to talk about what’s in store for the Yiddish Book Center’s 11th annual Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music (July 13–16). Once again curated by Yidstock artistic director Seth Rogovoy, this year’s festival will bring some audience favorites, including Merlin Shepherd, Nigunim Trio, and Lorin Sklamberg, along with rising stars making their Yidstock debuts, among them Forshpil, Midwood, and Sam Sadigursky—and that’s just some of what we learned about in conversation with Seth. Episode 351 May 7, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 28:56

30 April 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0350: Writing the Story of Franya Winter

Meryl Frank visits with "The Shmooze" to talk about her recently released book, "Unearthed: A Lost Actress, a Forbidden Book, and a Search for Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust." "Unearthed" is the story of Meryl’s search for details about the life and untimely death of Franya Winter, a renowned actor in prewar Vilna. Through archives across four continents, chance encounters and miraculous discoveries, and the shocking truth recorded in the pages of a forbidden book, Meryl conjures a history of hatred, resistance, and the rogue spirit of her cousin—her beauty and her tragedy. Episode 350 April 30, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 23:38

30 March 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0349: Dear Mr. Dickens: The Story Behind the Letter

Award-winning children’s book author Nancy Churnin talks with "The Shmooze" about her illustrated children’s book "Dear Mr. Dickens," which tells the true story of Eliza Davis. In Eliza Davis’s day, Charles Dickens was the most celebrated living writer in England. But some of his books reflected a mindset that was all too common at the time: prejudice against Jewish people. Eliza was Jewish and wanted to point out how unfair that was—even if it meant speaking out against the great writer. So she wrote a letter to Dickens himself. What happened next is history. Episode 349 March 30, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 28:11

18 March 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0348: Caraid O’Brien on Sholem Asch’s Underworld Trilogy

Caraid O’Brien, one of the foremost contemporary interpreters and translators of Sholem Asch’s work, talks with "The Shmooze" about the Theater J class she’s teaching—Prostitutes, Criminals, and the Walking Dead: Sholem Asch’s Underworld Trilogy in Translation. The class is based on her translations of three of Asch’s seminal works, "God of Vengeance," "Motke Thief," and "The Dead Man" (forthcoming from White Goat Press, the Yiddish Book Center’s imprint). Episode 348 March 19, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 32:00

22 February 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0347: Di Shvester—The Sisters: Eleanor Reissa and Cilla Owens

This week on "The Shmooze," two of New York’s finest vocalists, Eleanor Reissa and Cilla Owens, chat about their upcoming performance alongside the Paul Shapiro Quartet. Eleanor and Cilla have interpreted music for decades as soloists and bring their experiences and talents together for a foot-tapping, heart-grabbing concert. The upcoming concert salutes the rich contribution of Jewish women in Yiddish and English music. The program, co-sponsored by the Yiddish Book Center and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, is part of the 2023 Carnegie Hall Festival salute to women and music. The program will take place on March 5, 2023, in New York at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Episode 347 February 22, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:16

2 February 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0346: IIrena Klepfisz on Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems

Following the release of "Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems, 1971–2021," poet Irena Klepfisz sat down to speak with "The Shmooze" about her life, work, and the release of her collected poems. Irena was born in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941. She survived the war hiding in an orphanage and later in the Polish countryside with her mother. After the war they lived in Łódź and Sweden before settling in New York in 1949. She played a key role in the emergent Jewish lesbian movement starting in the 1970s and has been dedicated to the recovery and transmission of women’s writing in Yiddish as an active scholar, translator, and teacher. Episode 346 February 2, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 29:11

17 January 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0345: Max Weinreich on the Great Jewish Books Club

"The Shmooze" caught up with Max Weinreich to talk about his interest in and work with the Great Jewish Books Club. Max, a postdoctoral researcher in mathematics at Harvard University, comes to Yiddish through his family ties to the language. His great-grandfather, also named Max Weinreich, founded the field of Yiddish sociolinguistics and was one of the three co-founders of YIVO. His grandfather, Uriel Weinreich, was a renowned Yiddish linguist in his own right. Drawn to Yiddish by a budding curiosity about this family history, he’s an alum of the Yiddish Book Center’s Steiner Summer Yiddish Program in 2016, where he worked on indexing poetry recordings, and has gone on to be the moderator for the Yiddish Book Center’s Great Jewish Books Club since its inception. As a book club steward, he leads discussion and conversation about both classic Jewish books and new translations. Episode 345 January 17, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 24:44

11 January 2023, 12:00 am

Episode 0344: And what about the taste? with Sima Beeri

On "The Shmooze" from London, a visit with Dr. Sima Beeri to chat about her recently published "And what about the taste?" This book is the second part of a larger project to research and document her family’s roots and heritage. The first part deals with her family’s history in the 20th century, while the second part focuses on documenting recipes from her own and her husband’s family together with her personal culinary additions to pass on to the next generation. Episode 344 January 11, 2023 Amherst, MA
Duration: 27:05

22 December 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0343: Aaron Bendich on the Launch of Off Beet

We caught up with Aaron Bendich this week to chat about his latest venture, the launch of his new record label imprint, Off Beet, a spin-off of his radio show Borscht Beat. To quote Aaron, he will be “releasing music from the fringes of musical expression.” We spoke about what’s behind this exciting new record label and what inspired him to create Off Beet. Episode 343 December 22, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 23:46

30 November 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0342: The Inaugural New York Jewish Book Festival

Joshua Mack and Gabriel Sanders sat down with "The Shmooze" to share a preview of what’s on for the 2022 New York Jewish Book Festival. On Sunday, December 11, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City will present its first-ever New York Jewish Book Festival, featuring talks, panels, and author signings. Joshua and Gabriel tease out some of what’s planned for the daylong event. Episode 342 November 30, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 19:46

16 November 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0341: The Remarkable Backstory of Chana Blankshteyn’s Fear and Other Stories

Anita Norich visits with "The Shmooze" to talk about her translation of Chana Blankshteyn’s "Fear and Other Stories." Yiddish writer Chana Blankshteyn (~1860–1939) was a woman who may be almost entirely forgotten now but was widely admired during her long and productive life. The mere existence of these stories is itself a remarkable feat as the collection was published in July 1939, just before the Nazis invaded Poland and two weeks before Blankshteyn’s death. Episode 341 November 16, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 25:28

15 November 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0340: Women in Yiddish

Editor Mindl Cohen sits down with "The Shmooze" to talk about the soon-to-be-released "2022 Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issue." This year’s anthology includes fourteen newly translated stories, poems, and memoirs about women’s experiences. In conversation we learn about some of the Yiddish writers whose work appears in this collection and about the translators who are bringing these works to English readers. Episode 340 November 15, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 25:57

12 November 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0339: A Trilingual (Yiddish, Ukrainian, English) Volume of Two Works of Children’s Poetry

Jordan Finkin and Jessica Kirzane visit with "The Shmooze" to talk about their latest project, a trilingual (Yiddish, Ukrainian, English) volume of two works of children’s poetry. The poems in the volume were originally composed in Ukrainian by Yuriy Budiak, and shortly thereafter translated by Yoysef Ravin (who was later killed in Stalin’s purges) and republished in Yiddish. Episode 339 November 13, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 18:12

1 November 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0338: Debra Olin’s Mixed Media Considers An-sky’s Questionnaire

Debra Olin's "Every Protection: Folk Culture and Motherhood in the Jewish Pale of Settlement" is currently on exhibit at the Yiddish Book Center’s Brechner Gallery. Debra sat-down with "The Shmooze" to talk about her intricate mixed-media collages created around An-sky’s probing, evocative questions on superstitions and religious rituals. Episode 338 November 2, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 27:46

24 October 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0337: Josh Lambert on Jews and Publishing

In conversation with "The Shmooze," author Josh Lambert talks about his latest book, "The Literary Mafia." The book examines the relationships between Jewish editors and Jewish writers; how Jewish women exposed the misogyny they faced from publishers; and how children of literary parents have struggled with and benefited from their inheritances. Episode 337 October 24, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 34:55

4 October 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0336: Working 9 to 5: A Women’s Movement, a Labor Union, and the Iconic Movie

This week on "The Shmooze," Ellen Cassedy, author of "Working 9 to 5: A Women’s Movement, a Labor Union, and the Iconic Movie," newly published by Chicago Review Press with a foreword by Jane Fonda. Ellen was a founder of the 9 to 5 movement in the early 1970s. In conversation we talk about how the Yiddish-speaking women activists of a hundred years ago inspired the women of the 9 to 5 movement. And we learn about Ellen’s work as a Yiddish translator and an alum of the Yiddish Book Center’s Translation Fellowship. Episode 336 October 4, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 27:10

25 September 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0335: The Mystery of the Library of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin

On the "The Shmooze" this week, Piotr Nazaruk. Piotr is a researcher, educator, curator, and Yiddish translator at the Grodzka Gate–NN Theatre Center in Lublin, Poland. Piotr tells the story of the vanished Library of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, or Academy of the Sages of Lublin—one of the greatest mysteries from the postwar history of Lublin, if not from the history of Jewish heritage in Poland. The Yeshiva book collection—consisting of tens of thousands of volumes, including priceless and extremely rare old Hebrew prints—disappeared almost without a trace. For years historians and journalists have been searching for it in vain, trying to unravel some of the many threads of this convoluted mystery. Piotr shares news of two books that were part of the Yeshiva Library that are being returned to Lublin from Germany. After more than 80 years of tragic journeys they will finally reach home and once again will be held in the building of the former Yeshiva. Episode 335 September 25, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 21:00

19 September 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0334: Girl with Two Landscapes: The Wartime Diary of Lena Jedwab

Dorothée Rozenberg, daughter of Lena Jedwab Rozenberg, joins "The Shmooze" to talk about her mother’s wartime diary, "Girl with Two Landscapes: The Wartime Diary of Lena Jedwab." Lena wrote her diary in Yiddish not only because it was her mother tongue but also as a conscious effort to maintain her Jewish identity. Her writing has left us a moving testimony to some of history’s darkest days. The book was translated by Solon Beinfeld. Episode 334 September 19, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:36

17 August 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0333: How the Soviet Jew Was Made

"Sasha Senderovich, author of the recently published How the Soviet Jew Was Made, sits down with The Shmooze to talk about his latest work, which has been described as “a close reading of postrevolutionary Russian and Yiddish literature and film [that] recasts the Soviet Jew as a novel cultural figure: not just a minority but an ambivalent character navigating between the Jewish past and Bolshevik modernity.” Episode 333 August 17. 2022 Amherst, MA"
Duration: 40:13

10 August 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0332: Asaf Galay on The Adventures of Saul Bellow

This week on The Shmooze, we talk to Asaf Galay, award-winning director of films that examine modern Jewish culture and creativity. He has explored the magical literature and complex life of Isaac Bashevis Singer, celebrated ultra-Orthodox and queer Swedish pop music, and traced the development of comics and cartoons in the United States and Israel. His documentary "The Adventures of Saul Bellow" will be screened at the Yiddish Book Center and as part of the PBS American Masters series in December 2022. In conversation we talk about how Asaf’s documentary brings the viewer into the world that informed Bellow, the writer and the person. Episode 332 August 8, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 18:59

3 August 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0331: Jake Krakovsky, Yiddish Puppeteer

"The Shmooze" visited with Jake Krakovsky, an Atlanta-based puppeteer, writer, actor, director, teaching artist, and as of late Yiddishist. In conversation, Jake recounted how he successfully turned the Yiddish story "Labzik" into a puppet film and how in the process he discovered the richness of Yiddish language, literature, and culture. Episode 331 August 4, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 29:13

17 July 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0330: Irving Massey Reflects On His Mother Ida Maze

Irving Massey, son of Yiddish writer Ida Maze, joins "The Shmooze" to talk about his mother, her writing, and the newly published "Dineh: An Autobiographical Novel" by Ida Maze, translated by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub (White Goat Press 2022). Irving shares a personal portrait of the writer, her role in Montreal’s Yiddish literary circles, and the story behind the posthumously published "Dineh." Episode 330 July 17, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 28:07

13 June 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0329: Photographer Chuck Fishman: A Lens on Jewish Poland

"In conversation with Chuck Fishman we learn about his 45-year career as a freelance photographer whose work focuses on social and political issues with a strong humanistic concern. In 1975 he traveled to Poland to photograph the “dwindling remnant of a once-vibrant Jewish community on the brink of extinction,” and he has returned several times, most recently to photograph the Jewish community’s response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis occurring there now. Chuck Fishman’s visiting exhibit "Roots, Resilience and Renewal—A Portrait of Polish Jews, 1975–2016" is on view at the Yiddish Book Center through fall 2022. Episode 329 June 13, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 30:21

18 May 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0328: Yermiyahu Ahron Taub on Translating Ida Maze’s Dineh

In conversation with Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, we hear about his latest work of translation. "Dineh: An Autobiographical Novel," posthumously published, is a Yiddish-language novel by Ida Maze, a pastorale laced with beauty and sorrow and a bildungsroman told from the point of view of a young girl. Living in what is now Belarus, Maze’s heroine is fueled by her hunger for learning, connection to family and community, and love of the natural world. Episode 328 May 19, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 27:26

5 May 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0327: Meet Misha: Host of Bard College’s Yiddish Radio Program

On "The Shmooze" this week, we talk with Misha Schaffner-Kargman, a sophomore at Bard College studying Yiddish who hosts a spot on the school’s student-run radio station, WXBC. Every Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. Misha streams two hours of Yiddish music and hosts beginner Yiddish lessons on WXBC’s Mixlr page. Episode 327 May 5, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 22:26

19 April 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0326: What’s on Film Critic Kenneth Turan’s List?

This month the Great Jewish Books Club selection is a rich anthology of the interplay of Yiddish and American culture: "How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish." "The Shmooze" asked film critic Kenneth Turan to recommend films that speak to the interplay of Yiddish and American culture. His list included a range of films—and prompted a lively conversation. Episode 326 April 19, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:41

8 April 2022, 12:00 am

Episode 0325: The Corset Maker by Annette Libeskind Berkovits

Annette Libeskind Berkovits visited with "The Shmooze" to talk about her latest book, "The Corset Maker." The novel tells the story of a Parisian count, a Moroccan arms smuggler, and an orphaned Spanish boy who test the convictions and tug at the heart of Rifka Berg, a young Jewish corsetiere from Warsaw. "The Corset Maker" is inspired by Annette Libeskind Berkovits' mother and her close friends, all women of immense courage and integrity. Rifka’s personal struggles and dilemmas go to the heart of the major ethical issues and challenges of our times. Episode 325 April 10, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 21:57

27 March 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0324 How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish

This week "The Shmooze" visited with Ilan Stavans, co-editor of "How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish"—a Great Jewish Books Club 2022 selection. In conversation we talk about this momentous and diverse anthology of the influences and inspirations of Yiddish voices in America—radical, dangerous, and seductive but also “sweet, generous, and full of life.” Episode 324 March 27, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 32:40

6 March 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0323: Ripped Away

Award-winning author Shirley Vernick joins "The Shmooze" to talk about "Ripped Away," her latest book, which is based on real historical events, including the Jack the Ripper crimes, the inquests, and the accusations against immigrants. The story’s main character, Abe Pearlman, wanders into fortune teller’s shop for a little diversion. The fortune teller reveals that Abe may be able to save someone’s life— and from there readers time travel to the world of Jewish Victorian London. Episode 323 March 6, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 19:15

28 February 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0322: Farbindungen: The Roots of Yiddish Networking

On "The Shmooze" this week we visit with "Farbindungen" Conference organizers Sarah Biskowitz and Carolyn Beard to learn about the two-day virtual conference, for early career Yiddish scholars, which aimed to build connections with by considering Yiddish networks – past and present. In conversation we learn that networks have deep roots in Yiddish culture—and we discuss how such networks might play out in today’s digital realm. Episode 322 February 28, 2022 Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:47

10 February 2022, 12:00 am

Episosde: 0321: Musterverk fun der yidisher literatur (Masterworks of Yiddish Literature)

Yiddish Book Center bibliography and collections manager Rachelle Grossman sits down with "The Shmooze" to share news of the digitization and addition of the 100-volume "Musterverk fun der yidisher literatur" to the Yiddish Book Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library. The addition of the Musterverk series to the Center’s Digital Yiddish Library was made possible in partnership with La Fundación IWO Instituto Judío de Investigación in Buenos Aires. Published between 1957 and 1984, the series demonstrates the impressive breadth of Yiddish letters. Episode 321 February 10,2022 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:56

2 February 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0320: The Golden Peacock: The Voice of the Yiddish Writer

This week we visit with Dr. Sheva Zucker to talk about her latest book. "The Golden Peacock" is a bilingual edition that includes the work of Yiddish writers Yankev Glatshteyn, Celia Dropkin, H. Leivick, Aron Glanz-Leyeles, Yente Mash, Kadya Molodowsky, Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman, Sholem Aleichem, Yekhiel Shraibman, and Avrom Sutzkever. The print edition includes companion digital recordings of the writers reading from their poetry and prose. Presented as part of the Yiddish Book Center’s 2022 Decade of Discovery: Women in Yiddish. Episode 320 February 3, 2022 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 30:56

25 January 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0319: Translating Isaac Babel’s Red Calvary

Literary translator and editor Peter Constantine joins "The Shmooze" to talk about his work translating Isaac Babel’s "Red Calvary"—a 2022 Great Jewish Books Club selection. In conversation we learn about the roots of "yiddishkeit" in Babel’s work, his artful writing style, and the stories that thread together in "Red Calvary." Episode 0319 January 26, 2022 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 32:49

20 January 2022, 12:00 am

Episdode: 0318: American Comics: A History with Jeremy Dauber

This week Jeremy Dauber joins "The Shmooze" to talk about his recently published "American Comics: A History." The book tells the sweeping story of cartoons, comic strips, and graphic novels and their century-long hold on the American imagination. Episode 318 January 20, 2022 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 30:33

12 January 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0317: Italian Opera for the Yiddish-Speaking Masses in Early 20th-Century America

On "The Shmooze," Daniela Smolov Levy and Mark Kligman talk about their five-part lecture series that reveals how popular Italian opera was aimed not only at Italian immigrants and native-born Americans but also the Yiddish-speaking public, who were then emerging as an integral part of the American cultural scene. Episode 317 January 13, 2022 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 24:39

6 January 2022, 12:00 am

Episode: 0316: DI FROYEN (THE WOMEN) ON STAGE

Melissa Weisz, Malky Goldman, and Rachel Botchan join us on "The Shmooze" to talk about their upcoming performance of "Di Froyen (The Women)," based on the play "Women’s Minyan" by Naomi Ragen, adapted for the New Yiddish Rep by Weisz and Goldman, and directed by Botchan. The play is a one-act drama of an abused Orthodox Jewish wife who is being kept from her children. In conversation the women talk about the role of Yiddish in their work and the universality of the story. Our conversation touches on their work as actors, co-writers, and director of the one-act drama and the role of Yiddish in their work. Presented as part of the Yiddish Book Center’s 2022 Decade of Discovery Women in Yiddish. Episode 316 January 6, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 34:59

16 December 2021, 12:00 am

Episode: 0315 Justin Cammy on Avrom Sutzkever’s From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg

Justin Cammy visited with "The Shmooze" to talk about his newly published translation of Avrom Sutzkever’s "From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg." Justin’s translation is based on two extant versions of the full text of Sutzkever’s memoir, diary notes, and full testimony at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. Episode 315 December 16, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 32:01

1 December 2021, 12:00 am

Episode: 0314: Frank London on “Hanukkah with the Klezmatics”

"The Shmooze" visits with Frank London to chat about the upcoming “Celebrate Hanukkah with the Klezmatics” taking place at Symphony Space December 5, 2021. The performance will feature Hanukkah-themed songs, many written by American folk singer Woody Guthrie, who was inspired by the Jewish culture he encountered while living in Coney Island in the 1940s. Episode 314 December 2, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 23:39

18 November 2021, 12:00 am

Episode: 0313: Abraham Karpinowitz’s Vilna My Vilna: A Staged Reading in Translation

We visit with translator Helen Mintz to speak about how four stories from her translation of "Vilna My Vilna: Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz" (Syracuse University Press) have been adapted by Stephen Aberle and will be presented as a staged reading by Western Gold, a Vancouver theater company, November 28 to December 6, 2021. Episode 313 November 18, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:07

10 November 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0312: When I Grow Up: The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teenagers

This week we visit with cartoonist Ken Krimstein to talk about his new graphic novel, based on six of hundreds of newly discovered, never-before-published essays by Eastern European Jewish teens written on the brink of World War II, and found in 2017 hidden in a Lithuanian church cellar. Episode 312 November 11, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 28:46

4 November 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0311: Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art

The Shmooze visits with curator Sam Sackeroff to talk about Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art, currently on exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York. The exhibit of paintings, drawings, and Judaica focuses on the seizure and movement of artworks as they traveled through distribution centers, sites of recovery, and networks of collectors before, during, and after World War II. Episode 311 November 4, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 22:48

28 October 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0310: The Great Dictionary of the Yiddish Language

Alex Weiser and Ben Kaplan sit down with The Shmooze to talk about their forthcoming collaboration, "The Great Dictionary of the Yiddish Language." The new full-length opera is based on the true story of Yiddish linguist Yudel Mark, who in 1950s postwar New York City set out to write the world’s first fully comprehensive Yiddish dictionary—an effort of linguistic preservation, and a memorial to the dead. The opera invites audiences to consider the extent to which a language and a culture can be saved, the nature of grief, and the power of language itself to transform and shape us into who we are. Episode 310 October 28, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:03

20 October 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0309: Yiddishtown: East End Jewish Life in Yiddish Sketch and Story

This week "The Shmooze" goes transatlantic for a conversation with London-based Vivi Lachs, a social and cultural historian, Yiddishist, and postdoc research fellow at Queen Mary University of London. The author of several books including "White Chapel Noise," Vivi translated the newly released "London Yiddishtown: East End Jewish Life in Yiddish Sketch and Story, 1930–1950," a collection of previously untranslated short stories and sketches by Katie Brown, A. M. Kaizer, and I. A. Lisky. Episode 309 October 21, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 25:43

13 October 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0308: Yiddish TikTok Sensation Cameron Bernstein

Cameron Bernstein, a 2021/2022 Yiddish Book Center Fellow, joined The Shmooze to talk about her early interest in Yiddish and how she’s taken Yiddish language, culture, and history to platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Episode 308 October 14, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 24:50

6 October 2021, 12:00 am

Episdoe 0307: Samuel Isban’s “Illegal” Jews Part the Seas

Ruth Zuckerbrod and Elliott Isban join The Shmooze to talk about their father Samuel Isban, a Yiddish writer and journalist and author of the newly translated “Illegal” Jews Part the Seas. Veteran newspaperman Samuel Isban accepts an assignment from the New York newspaper Der Morgn Zhurnal to report on Aliya Bet, the clandestine mission to smuggle Jewish refugees past the British blockade into Palestine. What follows is an eyewitness account from aboard a ramshackle vessel manned by a crew of young volunteers and packed with a human cargo of 1,500 Jewish refugees from the concentration camps. Episode 307 October 7, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 27:50

14 September 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0306: Rachelle Grossman on Yiddish Print Culture and Rare Yiddish Books

The Shmooze caught up with Rachelle Grossman, the Yiddish Book Center’s Bibliography and Collections Manager, to speak about her new role at the Center. Rachelle is a specialist in Yiddish print culture and is completing a doctorate in comparative literature at Harvard University. Prior to joining the Center, she lived in Warsaw, where she researched postwar Yiddish publishing. Rachelle shared some stories about the Center’s rare books and new discoveries, and she spoke about her interest in Yiddish print culture and publishing as it relates to her work. Episode 306 September 15, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:52

18 August 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0305: Sholom Aleichem’s Rediscovered Novel

Translator and author Curt Leviant visits with The Shmooze to talk about this first English translation of Sholom Aleichem’s rediscovered novel "Moshkeleh the Thief". The novel has a riveting plot, an unusual love story, and a keenly observed portrayal of an underclass Jew, replete with characters never before seen in Yiddish literature. Episode 305 August 19, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:18

1 August 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0304: What's on at KlezKanada 2021

"On The Shmooze this week: Sebastian Schulman, executive director of KlezKanada, previews what’s in store for KlezKanada 2021 (August 23–29). KlezKanada was founded in 1996 to teach, nurture, and present to a broad public the best of Jewish traditional arts and Yiddish culture. In our conversation, we talk about how KlezKanada’s programs foster Jewish cultural and artistic creativity worldwide as both an ethnic heritage and a constantly evolving contemporary culture and identity. Episode 304 August 3, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:01

28 July 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0303: Yiddish in Nature: An Anthology of Newly Translated Work

"Mindl Cohen speaks with The Shmooze about the 2021 Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issue. As she writes in the introduction to the anthology, “Yiddish literature is full of depictions of natural landscapes—though this is probably not the first thing most people expect of it.” Our conversation touches on the work of some of the many writers included in the issue from Mendele Mocher Sforim, Itzik Manger, and Rachel Korn to Sholem Asch, Rosa Gutman, and Avrom Sutzkever. Episode 303 July 29, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts "
Duration: 24:11

14 July 2021, 12:00 am

Ep0302: Jewish Literature: A Very Short Introduction

The Shmooze speaks with author and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans about his latest book, "Jewish Literature: A Very Short Introduction". As Ilan explains, “In this volume is modern Jewish literature in the broadest sense. I am interested in the ways it mutates while remaining the same.” Episode 302 July 14, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 28:39

8 July 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0301: Seth Rogovoy Chats about Yidstock ‘21

"This week on The Shmooze Seth Rogovoy talks about the upcoming (July 11) virtual YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music. The 75-minute virtual event features Frank London, Lorin Sklamberg, Eleanor Reissa, Daniel Kahn, Cilla Owens, Sarah Gordon & Michael Winograd, Polina and Merlin Shepherd, and as Seth tell us “tons more groovy wonderful musicians.” Episode 301 July 8, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts "
Duration: 33:52

29 June 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0300: Through the Hat and Tales from the Golden Medina

From his Lower East Side studio, artist Steve Marcus joins The Shmooze to talk about his early work as an Underground cartoonist - and his latest work which is currently on exhibit at the Yiddish Book Center. Through the Hat, weaves together Steve’s childhood memories of bagels and bialys, pickles and green tomatoes from the barrel, and paper-wrapped whitefish chubs with his personal journey and passion for his own roots and culture. Tales from the Golden Medina is a series of work that expands on the Through the Hat exhibit, inspired by underground comics and Jewish wisdom from the shtetl.
Duration: 31:27

16 May 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0299: Javier Sinay on Argentinian Journalist Pinie Katz and the Murders of Moises Ville

Episode 0299: Javier Sinay on Argentinian Journalist Pinie Katz and the Murders of Moises Ville by Yiddish Book Center
Duration: 27:10

29 April 2021, 12:00 am

Aaron Bendich Podcast 4 30 21

Aaron Bendich is the twenty-seven-year-old behind “Borscht Beat,” a new Yiddish music show on WJFF Radio Catskill, the public radio station for the Catskills and Northeast Pennsylvania. He tells us how his latest radio show was inspired by his grandfather Max Bendich, who was the son of Jewish immigrants from present-day Ukraine and had a lifelong interest in Yiddish and American folk music. Aaron also talks about his growing collection of Yiddish and Jewish LPs and other media that he curates for his work. Episode 0298 April 30, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 28:32

22 April 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0297: Sholem Asch’s "The Dead Man"’s English-Language Premiere

Translator, actor, and producer Caraid O’Brien joins us from her editing room where she’s putting the finishing touches on her radio drama production of Sholem Asch's play "The Dead Man", which she translated from the Yiddish. The haunting WWI drama takes place in the rubble of a decimated synagogue in Poland directly after the war. Dealing with dislocation, madness, and death, the surviving Jewish community must decide how to rebuild their lives, maintaining hope for a prosperous, new future. The radio drama will air Sunday, April 25, at 7pm EDT, giving audiences the opportunity to hear this work in its first-ever complete English translation. The production is presented by the Yiddish Book Center as part of Carnegie Hall’s Voices of Hope Festival examining art created amidst times of crisis and human tragedy. Episode 0297 April 23, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 20:50

14 April 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0296: Yiddish Women Playwrights Festival

Motl Didner, associate art director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF), and NYTF literary manager Sabina Brukner talk with The Shmooze about their upcoming Yiddish Women Playwrights Festival, which gives women playwrights center stage at the NYTF. The festival kicks off with Chava Rosenfarb’s The Bird of the Ghetto, which chronicles the attempted Vilna Ghetto uprising and the tragic story of Jewish resistance leader Itsik Vitenberg, commander of the United Partisan Organization. The virtual reading is produced by Didner, who notes, "As we commemorate the 78th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising [on April 19, 1943], the true story behind The Bird of the Ghetto is a moving testament to the bravery and resilience of the Jewish resistance during the Holocaust." Episode 0296 April 15, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:17

7 April 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0295: Judy Batalion and the Untold Story of Jewish Women Resistance Fighters

Judy Batalion is the author of the recently released The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, which illuminates the extraordinary history and accomplishments of brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters—a group of unknown heroes whose exploits have never been chronicled in full until now. She joins The Shmooze to talk about the amazing story behind the book, which began with the discovery of a Yiddish memoir. Episode 0295 April 8, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 31:46

1 April 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0294: Eleanor Reissa in Conversation

The Shmooze visits with the multitalented Eleanor Reissa, a Tony-nominated director, Broadway actress, prize-winning playwright, soon-to-be published author, artistic director of the world’s oldest Yiddish theater company, and a singer who has performed in nearly every major venue around the world. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Eleanor is a captivating storyteller in both English and Yiddish. She chats with us about her work and latest projects. Episode 0294 April 1, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 31:18

19 March 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0293: A Wide-Ranging Conversation with Amanda (Miryem-Khaye) Seigel

On the phone with "The Shmooze" this week, Amanda (Miryem-Khaye) Seigel talks with us about her work as a Yiddish singer, songwriter, actor, recording artist, and research librarian specializing in Yiddish language and culture at the New York Public Library. Among other things, Amanda tells us about how she came to Yiddish and about "Yidforsh," the Yiddish research Facebook group she launched to help promote research and scholarship on Yiddish topics and connect Yiddish researchers to resources and opportunities. Episode 0293 March 19, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:58

13 March 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0292: The Third Seder Goes Virtual

Rabbi Avram Mlotek joins "The Shmooze" to talk about the history of the Third Seder, a long-standing Yiddish cultural tradition. Avram lets us in on what's on the bill for this year's virtual Third Seder--from Yiddish day school students from Melbourne, Australia, who will sing the Four Questions to performances by Michael Alpert, Sarah Gordon, Daniel Kahn, Steve Skybell, and many more. The event, "The Third Seder: A Yiddish Celebration," co-sponsored by the Yiddish Book Center, will stream live on Facebook on March 21 at 2pm (EDT). Episode 0292 March 13, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 18:09

6 March 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0291: African American Jewish Cantor Thomas LaRue Jones

This week's guest, Henry Sapoznik, is an award-winning producer, musicologist and performer, and writer in the fields of traditional and popular Yiddish and American music and culture. His latest project is the ongoing research about the so-called "shvartze khazonim," the African American cantors of the 1920s and '30s. We speak with Henry about Black Jewish cantor Thomas LaRue Jones, a much-beloved singer of traditional Yiddish songs and cantorial liturgy on the stage and radio and on record, and the recent effort to raise funds for a headstone for LaRue's unmarked grave. Episode 0291 March 6, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 31:56

24 February 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0290: A Recent Find Sheds Light on the Work of Moyshe-Leyb Halpern

We invited Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow Matthew Johnson onto "The Shmooze" to tell us about his recent discovery of the Yiddish writer Moyshe-Leyb Halpern's unfinished poetry. While doing research for his dissertation on the relationship between German- and Yiddish-language literature, Matthew uncovered a surprising find in YIVO's Halpern collection. He shares what's to be gleaned by the handwritten notes and marginalia found on the documents he discovered in archival boxes of Halpern's papers. Episode 0290 February 24, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 25:08

18 February 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0289: Remember the Triangle Fire

This week we visit with Esther Cohen, a longtime leader of labor culture in New York City and one of the organizers of a March 25 memorial to the women who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that took place on March 25, 1911, after a fire broke out on the 8th floor of the factory, causing the death of 146 garment workers, many of them young Italian and Jewish immigrant women. Esther tells the story of how the fire became a rallying cry for the international labor movement that continues to fight for social justice for all, and we also learn, in conversation, about the work of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition. Episode 0289 February 18, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:26

4 February 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0288: Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett in Conversation

Performance and Jewish studies scholar Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett joins us for a lively and informative conversation about her work as the Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. As part of this work, she will be moderating "Meet the Family," an upcoming series of virtual conversations with the descendants of distinguished Polish Jews, which accompanies the museum's new Legacy Gallery. In conversation, we learn about what drew Barbara to her museum work and her work as a cultural anthropologist, ethnographer, and folklorist. And she shares the story of her collaboration with her father, "The Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust"--a unique blend of memoir, oral history, and artistic interpretation that is at once a labor of love, a tribute to a distinctive imagination, and a brilliant portrait of life in one Jewish hometown. Episode 0288 February 4, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 34:49

29 January 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0287: "9to5: The Story of a Movement"

Writer and Yiddish translator Ellen Cassedy talks with The Shmooze about the new documentary "9to5: The Story of a Movement" and her role in the feminist labor movement at the center of this story. In conversation, she tells us about being inspired to activism by her Jewish immigrant grandfather's story of hearing the feminist labor union leader Rose Schneiderman--who is credited with coining the phrase “Bread and Roses"--orating in Union Square in NYC, around 1912, about the struggles of garment workers. Ellen describes the female garment workers as "our spiritual grandmothers," noting of herself and the female office workers that were part of this movement, "We saw ourselves as carrying on their legacy." Episode 0287 January 29, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 17:56

21 January 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0286: Hankus Netsky: 40 Years in Yiddishland

Hankus Netsky visits with The Shmooze to chat about "40 Years in Yiddishland: The Yiddish Book Center Celebrates the Klezmer Conservatory Band," a special, upcoming virtual public program celebrating two of the major players in the flourishing international Yiddish cultural resurgence, the KCB and the Yiddish Book Center, each of whom marked their fortieth anniversaries in 2020. Hankus talks about his beginnings in music and ethnomusicology, the 1980s, the early days of Yiddish activism, and the upcoming program, which celebrates the history of the KCB with, among other things, exciting video concert footage from over the years and a lively conversation between Hankus and Center founder and president, Aaron Lansky. Learn more and register for the special program, which airs Sunday, January 24 at 2pm EST https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DayizEJ1TxyKDUPqV8fVrQ Episode 0286 January 21, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:46

12 January 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0285: "Teaching Jewish American Literature"

Co-editor Rachel Rubinstein talks with The Shmooze about "Teaching Jewish American Literature," a newly published collection of essays she co-edited with Roberta Rosenberg. The collection of essays addresses how to teach questions of personal identity and national boundaries. These questions can engage students in literature, writing, or religion; at Jewish, Christian, or secular schools; and in or outside the United States. The contributors offer varied perspectives on classic texts such as "Yekl," "Bread Givers," and "Goodbye, Columbus," along with approaches to interdisciplinary topics including humor, graphic novels, and musical theater. Episode 0285 January 12, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:14

7 January 2021, 12:00 am

Episode 0284: "Yiddish in Israel: A History"

This week we visit with author Rachel Rojanski to talk about her recently published "Yiddish in Israel: A History." The book tells the compelling and lesser-known story of the history of Yiddish language and culture in Israel, challenging commonly held views and offering a radical new interpretation of the interaction between Yiddish and Israeli Hebrew cultures. Episode 0284 January 7, 2021 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 26:45

17 December 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0283: Jews in Space

This week we're joined by Joanna Church, director of collections and exhibits at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, to talk about the newly opened exhibit "Jews In Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit." We learn about the ways in which outer space has inspired Jewish artists, writers, comedians, and thinkers, both religious and secular, to boldly imagine realms beyond our Earth. And Joanna talks about a few of the surprising items included in the exhibit--from the first dreidel in space to a monumental stack of science fiction magazines. Episode 0283 December 16, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 18:31

10 December 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0282: "The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema"

Kenneth Turan, film critic for the "Los Angeles Times" and NPR, visits with "The Shmooze" to talk about the newly released "The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema" (Blu-ray). Our conversation considers the ten classic films that make up this collection and the many ways that they both touch on and represent aspects of Yiddish culture. As it happened, the conversation was recorded on the 100th anniversary of the first performance of "The Dybbuk"--possibly the timeless star of this collection. Episode 0282 December 11, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 18:43

1 December 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0281: Yiddish Actor and Yiddishist Shane Baker

Acclaimed Yiddish actor Shane Baker, recipient of the 2020 Adrienne Cooper Dreaming in Yiddish Award, has brought Yiddish theater, classes, and cultural events to every continent—including Antarctica!—through his work as director of the Congress for Jewish Culture, a Yiddishist organization based in New York. He chats with "The Shmooze" about his work both on and off the Yiddish stage. Episode 0281 December 2, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 39:00

24 November 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0280: "The Drowning Shore": A Cantata in Yiddish and Scottish

London-based singer Clara Kanter, the great-great-granddaughter of Yiddish writer Sholem Asch, and composer Alastair White visit with The Shmooze to talk about "The Drowning Shore," their newly released cantata, which threads together Asch's classic 1907 play "God of Vengeance" with an original Scots-English text. The piece, a 14-minute video monodrama scored for 'a mezzo-soprano in a screen,' is written and composed by Alastair and performed by Clara. The two collaborators talk with us about how they came to make this stunning work. Episode 0280 November 24, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 32:51

13 November 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0279: Enhanced Access to Hundreds of Oral Histories

This week, we visit with Christa Whitney, director of the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, to talk about the new enhanced features to the oral history collection made possible through the 2017–2020 National Endowment for the Humanities grant that was completed in September 2020. The Project's growing collection includes over 1,000 in-depth interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds, whose stories about the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture offer a rich and complex chronicle of Jewish identity. We learn in conversation with Christa how these new, enhanced features will allow for greater access to the collection. Episode 0279 November 13, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 33:01

6 November 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0278: New in Translation: "Sutzkever Essential Prose"

Yiddish translator Zackary Sholem Berger visits with The Shmooze to talk about the forthcoming release of his translation of Avrom Sutzkever's prose writing. As noted in the book's introduction, Sutzkever the storyteller is inseparable from Sutzkever the poet. The publication of this volume, containing almost all of Sutzkever's prose in English translation, is a vital contribution and essential to our understanding of Sutzkever's work. Episode 0278 November 6, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:31

29 October 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0277: Recommended Reads from the Jewish Book Council

The Shmooze asked Becca Kantor, editorial director of the Jewish Book Council, to share a few recommended reads. Her selections include a mix of genres and new releases—and she makes a compelling case for adding each of these books to your nightstand. Episode 0277 October 30, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 20:20

23 October 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0276: Yiddish Singer and Social Activist Isabel Frey

On call from her home in Vienna, Isabel Frey talks about her work as a Yiddish singer and social justice activist. She specializes in Yiddish revolutionary and resistance songs and reviving the tradition of left-wing Jewish activism by connecting it to contemporary political issues. Episode 0276 October 23, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 26:35

16 October 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0275: Klara Klebanova's Memoir: Reflections of a Russian Revolutionary

Caraid O'Brien chats with us about the launch of the Yiddish Book Center's new radiocast series, "The Last Maximalist." Caraid is both the translator and the voice behind this twelve-part series, which takes the form of a weekly serialized reading of Klara Klebanova's memoir, telling the story of Klebanova's journey from a middle-class Jewish teenager to a Maximalist revolutionary fighting for the rights of peasants and factory workers during the first Russian Revolution of 1905. "The Last Maximalist" is available through the Yiddish Book Center's website at yiddishbookcenter.org/maximalist. Episode 0275 October 16, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 17:06

9 October 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0274: "On the Roof: A Look Inside Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish"

In her new book, "On the Roof," actor and author Samantha Hahn, the youngest cast member of "Fiddler on the Roof" in Yiddish, tells the story of how this ground-breaking, award-winning musical came to be. Hahn talks to The Shmooze about the book, for which she interviewed the cast, crew, and creative team--each offering a unique take on the show and the impact it has had on their lives--in order to construct a behind-the-scenes look at what makes "Yiddish Fiddler" resonate with audiences. Episode 0274 October 8, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:08