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.

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

1 October 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0273: "Honey on the Page"

This week The Shmooze visits with Yiddish professor and translator Miriam Udel to talk about her translation of a newly released collection of Yiddish children's stories and poems. "Honey on the Page" features work written by both prominent and lesser-known Yiddish authors, and the anthology spans the Yiddish-speaking globe--drawing from materials published in Eastern Europe, New York, and Latin America from the 1910s, during the interwar period, and up through the 1970s. Episode 0273 October 2, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:43

25 September 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0272: Twentieth-Century Yiddish Primers and Workbooks for Children

This week we caught up with Heather O'Donnell of Honey & Wax Booksellers and Yiddish book collector Miriam Borden. Miriam Borden is the winner of the 2020 Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize. In announcing the prize, Honey & Wax noted, "Borden's collection represents an impressive effort of historical preservation and an inspiring example of how a collection that began as something personal becomes a collective resource." Episode 0272 September 25, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 30:19

11 September 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0271: Glasgow's Yiddish Pink Peacock Café

On a call with "The Shmooze" all the way from Scotland, Morgan Holleb and Joe Isaac talk about how they came to co-found Glasgow's new Pink Peacock Café--a queer, Yiddish-speaking kosher café operated by Jewish self-described anarchists where customers will "pay what they can." Morgan and Joe talk about the idea behind the café, which they plan to open later this year, as well as the roots of Jewish community and their interest in providing a space for Yiddish. Episode 0271 September 11, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 33:02

13 August 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0270: Rachmil Bryks' Holocaust Memoir Triptych

Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is a poet, writer, and translator. As a 2018 Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow, he translated three memoirs by Yiddish writer Rachmil Bryks (1912–1974): "Di vos zaynen nisht geblibn" ("Those Who Didn't Survive"), "Di antloyfers" ("The Fugitives"), and "Fun gsise tsum lebn" ("From Agony to Life"). The resulting book, "May God Avenge Their Blood: A Holocaust Memoir Triptych," was released by Lexington Books in April 2020. In conversation, we learn about the writer, and Yermiyahu reads two selections from the book. Episode 0270 August 13, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 36:15

6 August 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0269: "A Revolution in Yiddish-Language Pedagogy": Introducing The New Yiddish Textbook

Asya Vaisman Schulman, director of the Yiddish Book Center's Yiddish Language Institute, visits with The Shmooze to talk about the forthcoming release of "In eynem: The New Yiddish Textbook" (White Goat Press, 2020). In conversation with Asya, we learn about the communicative approach to language learning, the role of the illustrated characters that are central to the book, and the companion website and multimedia resources that are part of the two-volume textbook. Due out in mid-August 2020, the textbook will be a boon to Yiddish-language teachers and learners alike—including those learning independently or in a classroom or community group setting. Episode 0269 August 6, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 26:12

31 July 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0268: KlezKanada at Twenty-Five

KlezKanada was founded in 1996 to teach, nurture, and present to a broad public the best of Jewish traditional arts and Yiddish culture. Its goal is to foster Jewish cultural and artistic creativity worldwide as both an ethnic heritage and a constantly evolving contemporary culture and identity. The organization's executive director, Sebastian Schulman, visits with us to talk about the history of KlezKanada, which started as a small summer festival and has gone on to become one of the leading Jewish cultural organizations in the world; its community; and the plans for the 25th Anniversary edition of its annual summer festival, which will be presented virtually this year for the first time. Episode 0268 July 31, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 20:21

24 July 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0267: Ilan Stavans's "The Seventh Heaven"

Internationally renowned essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans spent five years traveling across a dozen countries in Latin America in search of what defines the Jewish communities in the region, whose roots date back to Christopher Columbus' arrival, for his latest book, "The Seventh Heaven." Our conversation touches on the book, a recipient of the 2020 Natan Notable Book Award from the Jewish Book Council, as well as Ilan's writing, his ongoing quest to explore the personal and the historical, and the three books that he always has near at hand. Episode 0267 July 24, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 25:23

17 July 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0266: Jack Berger's Work Translating Yizkor Books

Jack Berger has been working on the translation of Yizkor books since the early 1990s. Yizkor (memorial) books document the history of Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust. Written in Yiddish, Hebrew, or both, they are a crucial resource for research in East European Jewish history, Holocaust studies, and Jewish genealogy; often, they include necrologies (lists of those who died), making them especially valuable for genealogical research. Visually, many of these books are extremely rich, featuring detailed maps, photographs, and illustrations. Jack's landmark translations of "yizker-bikher" can be found in libraries all over the English-speaking world. Episode 0266 July 17, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 29:09

9 July 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0265: On Rosenfeld and "Rivals": Rachel Mines Talks Translation

Rachel Mines' translation of "The Rivals and Other Stories" introduces nineteen of Jonah Rosenfeld's Yiddish-language short stories--stories that explore the limits of loneliness, social anxiety, and people's frustrated longing for meaningful relationships--to an English-reading audience. Rachel, a Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellowship alum, joins The Shmooze to talk about this newly released collection of stories and what drew her to Rosenfeld's work. Episode 0265 July 10, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:00

2 July 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0264: Mendel Osherowitch's Account of Soviet Ukraine in 1932

Lubomyr Luciuk spoke with The Shmooze about the recent release of his edited volume "How People Live in Soviet Russia: Impressions from a Journey." Newly translated from the Yiddish, the book chronicles journalist Mendel Osherowitch's account of his visit to Soviet Ukraine in 1932 at a time when millions of Ukrainians were dying of starvation in what historians have come to see as a direct result of Soviet policy. The book has been described as "one of the most penetrating and moving accounts of daily life in Ukraine during the famine." Episode 0264 July 2, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 30:59

26 June 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0263: Dylan, "Babylon Berlin," and Camus: Seth Rogovoy's Recommendations

This week we decided to ask cultural critic, author, and music enthusiast Seth Rogovoy to share his recommendations on what to read, watch, and listen to--and the list surprised us! From a first review of Bob Dylan's new album to an obscure film and a classic novel, Seth makes the case for why these are his top picks. Episode 0263 June 26, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 26:59

12 June 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0262: Yiddish Theater Lab: Reviving the Forgotten Works of the Yiddish Theater

"The Shmooze" visited with Adam Immerwahr, artistic director of Theater J, the nation's largest and most prominent Jewish theater, to talk about Theater J's Yiddish Theater Lab. In our conversation, we learn about an upcoming virtual performance from Yiddish Theater Lab--a reading of "One of Those," an epic, proto-feminist drama written by Paula Prilutski and originally presented in Warsaw in 1912, adapted and translated by Allen Lewis Rickman (June 18). Episode 0262 June 12, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:51

4 June 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0261: Author Elissa Bemporad: "Legacy of Blood"

Elissa Bemporad's latest book, "Legacy of Blood," traces the legacies of the two classical and most extreme manifestations of tsarist antisemitism--pogroms and blood libels--in the Soviet Union from 1917 to the early 1960s. Elissa talks with us about what drew her to research and write about this lesser-known history. Episode 0261 June 4, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 31:42

28 May 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0260: Yiddish Comes to America: A Collection of Newly Translated Work

"The Shmooze" catches up with the Yiddish Book Center's director of translation initiatives, Mindl Cohen, to talk about the 2020 "Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issue." This year's anthology of newly translated work includes memoirs, stories, and other works themed to "Yiddish Comes to America." As Mindl explains, "While there are some extremely funny and touching moments in these newly translated works of Yiddish literature, there are very few rosy portrayals of 'di goldene medine,' the golden country of America. Instead, many of these works offer at best a silhouette of the American Dream, set in stark relief against the reality of the experience of immigration." Episode 0260 May 28, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 26:35

15 May 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0259: Jewish Film Festival Favorites for Home Streaming

The Shmooze recently caught up with Deb Krivoy, director of the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival (PVJFF), to ask her for a list of past Festival favorites that can be streamed at home. The annual ten-day festival, which features screenings presented at venues across the Pioneer Valley, had to be postponed this year due to the pandemic, so while we wait for it to be rescheduled, we thought it would be fun to share those recommendations with you. Episode 0259 May 15, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 30:59

12 May 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0258: Remembering Jerry Stiller

In 2012 Caraid O'Brien interviewed actor Jerry Stiller for WABI radio. She joins us on The Shmooze to talk about that interview and her friendship with the actor. In conversation with Caraid, we learn about Stiller's life on and off the stage and how he pursued acting at a very early age at the Henry Street Playhouse. We also hear about the Jewish and Yiddish roots that may have informed some of his work, and about Anne Meara, Stiller's wife and collaborator of sixty years. Episode 0258 May 12, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 20:20

8 May 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0257: Russ & Daughters Delivers When We Need It Most

For 106 years, Russ & Daughters has been an integral part of the history of New York City, a touchstone in the lives of generations, and the torchbearer of Jewish food in America. Niki Russ Federman--who, along with her cousin Josh Russ Tupper, is a fourth generation owner of Russ & Daughters--took time to talk with us about the history of this iconic Jewish appetizer shop and how she and Josh are carrying on the tradition of this family business by providing home delivery across the country in the midst of a pandemic. To quote Niki, "We will get through this too because we plan on being here for you for another 106 years." Episode 0257 May 8, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:52

1 May 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0256: On Women's Writing in Yiddish

Translator and Yiddish literary scholar Anita Norich and Yiddish Book Center director of translation initiatives Mindl Cohen join The Shmooze this week to talk about their respective, recently published articles about women's writing in Yiddish, "Translating and Teaching Yiddish Prose by Women" and "The Feminine Ending: On Women's Writing in Yiddish, Now Available in English." Over the course of our conversation, we talk about where and how the works of these Yiddish women writers are finally coming to the forefront of the Yiddish literary world, both through scholarship and translation. Episode 0256 May 1, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:55

24 April 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0255: Modern Jewish Literature in the Classroom

Lesley Yalen, the Yiddish Book Center's education manager, joined The Shmooze recently to talk about her work as co-editor of teachgreatjewishbooks.org, the Yiddish Book Center's site that provides a trove of resource kits designed to help teachers bring modern Jewish literature into their classrooms. The site's resources--which cover classic Yiddish works and Hebrew poetry in English translation, American Jewish stories, and much more--are free and easy to use and share across digital platforms, making them especially well-suited to this moment. Episode 0255 April 24, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:05

17 April 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0254: Eli Rosen and His Role on the Hit Series "Unorthodox"

This week we visit with Eli Rosen to talk about his work on the Netflix hit series "Unorthodox." Eli was raised in the Hasidic community of Brooklyn and now serves as the managing director of New Yiddish Rep, as well as a Yiddish cultural consultant for film and television. Our conversation touches on all that went into the making of this series - and his role as the Yiddish consultant. Episode 0254 April 17, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 37:26

8 April 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0253: Yiddish OCR: An Account of Some Amazing Finds

After nearly a decade in development, the Yiddish Book Center has launched a new website that will allow users to search the full text of nearly 11,000 scanned Yiddish books. This optical character recognition (OCR) technology will enable searches that used to take years to occur in a matter of seconds, revolutionizing research in Jewish history, literature, linguistics, ethnography, and genealogy. Sophia Shoulson, the Yiddish Book Center's 2019–2020 Richard S. Herman Fellow and a senior fellow working in bibliography, joins us to talk about how she's been using Yiddish OCR for her research and some of the amazing finds she's made. Episode 0253 April 8, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:48

2 April 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0252: Third Seder: Adapting this Tradition Online in 2020

Rabbi Avram Mlotek visits with The Shmooze to talk about the tradition of the Third Seder and how, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, he's found a way to celebrate this tradition with an online international Yiddish cultural event taking place on April 12. The live event will feature a stellar ensemble of some of our leading contemporary Yiddish performing artists--Frank London, Zalmen Mlotek, Joyce Rosenzweig, Lorin Sklamberg, Susan Abbe Watts, Joanne Borts, Sarah Gordon, Michael Winograd, Shura Lipovsky, Daniel Kahn, Elmore James, and Steven Skybell--all working remotely. The Yiddish Book Center is a sponsor of the Third Seder. Episode 0252 April 2, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 17:17

27 March 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0251: Bam, Crack, Dot: Mah Jongg and Its Jewish-American Roots

Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, executive director of the Council of American Jewish Museums and curator of Project Mah Jongg, chats with us about Mah Jongg, a game more widely known than played or understood, which made a surprisingly lasting impression on American audiences, including a generation of Jewish women in the 1920s and '30s, and has endured as a cultural touchstone ever since. Episode 0251 March 27, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:29

8 March 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0250: The Outback Quest of Yiddish Poet Melekh Ravitsh

Author Anna Epstein visits with us from her home in Australia to talk about her recently published book about Yiddish poet Melekh Ravitsh. The book tells the story of Ravitsh's 1933 trek across the Australian outback in search of a homeland for the threatened Jews of Europe. Along the way, he took photographs, which inspired his son, Yosl Bergner, to create a series of paintings. Inspired by this wildly imaginative pair and their prescient recognition of the common fate of Indigenous Australians and persecuted European Jews, curator and writer Anna Epstein has threaded together their stories and images into a brilliant and moving book. Episode 0250 March 8, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:06

1 March 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0249: "Diary of a Lonely Girl": Jessica Kirzane Translates Miriam Karpilove

The Shmooze talks with Yiddish professor and translator Jessica Kirzane, a three-time alumna of the Yiddish Book Center, about the recent publication of her translation of Miriam Karpilove's "Diary of a Lonely Girl, Or the Battle against Free Love," first published serially in the Yiddish daily newspaper "Di varhayt" in 1916–18. Jessica began working on this translation in 2017 as a Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow. The novel, framed from the point of view of a diarist writing in first-person about her own love life, explores issues of women's empowerment and disempowerment around sexuality and politics and offers a snarky, melodramatic criticism of radical leftist immigrant youth culture in early twentieth-century New York. Episode 0249 March 1, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:27

26 February 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0248: "Yiddish in Poland: The Contemporary Scene"

From Warsaw, Poland, Gabe Miner joins us on The Shmooze to chat about the current Yiddish scene in Poland. Gabe is a Warsaw-based Jewish educator, freelance writer, and award-winning playwright who has written digital children's media for "Shalom Sesame" and "The Dodo" and recently wrote about the biannual Sholem Asch Festival for "In geveb." In a fun exchange, we learn about the Festival and current scholarship in Poland and share thoughts about Poland and its Yiddish roots. Episode 0248 February 26, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 28:43

13 February 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0247: "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in Yiddish

The Shmooze caught up with Yiddish translator Arun Viswanath to learn about the story of his work translating "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" into Yiddish. Over the course of our conversation, we chat about what drew Arun to translating "Harry Potter" and learn about some of the challenges he faced in translating this work--from character names to magical places. Episode 0247 February 13, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:42

9 February 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0246: "Zamlers": Profiles of Volunteer Book Collectors

To celebrate the Yiddish Book Center's 40th anniversary in 2020, we're looking back at the Center's storied history. As part of this effort, we wanted to record interviews with our zamlers (volunteer book collectors), continuing with an interview with zamler Eric Ellman. Eric has been a volunteer for the Yiddish Book Center for many years and periodically updates us with how many pounds of books he has collected and shipped to the Center. Tune in to find out his latest count, and more! As Yiddish Book Center founder and president Aaron Lansky wrote in "Outwitting History," regarding the early days of the Center's work, "There was a Sisyphean dynamic to our work: The more books we collected, the more the word spread, the more books there were to collect. By midwinter of the first year on the road it was clear that the immigrant Jews had been more avid readers than anyone imagined. Yiddish books were scattered in virtually every city in North America, and there was no way that we, a handful of young people with extremely limited resources, could collect them all on our own. We needed help! So I decided to organize a network of zamlers, volunteer book collectors, who would gather books in their own communities and ship them to our Massachusetts headquarters. People signed on all across North America. Some were elderly, others were young people who didn't speak a word of Yiddish; but they were all grateful for the chance to act, to do something practical to reclaim a culture that was disappearing before their eyes." We're grateful to all of our zamlers past and present for their work helping in the rescue and recovery of Yiddish books. To date, we've rescued over a million Yiddish books, and we continue to receive thousands every year. And we are delighted to be able to share some of their stories here on "The Shmooze." Episode 0246 February 9, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:01

3 February 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0245: "Zamlers": Profiles of Volunteer Book Collectors

To celebrate the Yiddish Book Center's 40th anniversary in 2020, we're looking back at the Center's storied history. As part of this effort, we wanted to record interviews with our zamlers (volunteer book collectors), continuing with an interview with zamler Julie Plaut Mahoney. Julie has been collecting books for the Yiddish Book Center for more than 20 years. As Yiddish Book Center founder and president Aaron Lansky wrote in "Outwitting History," regarding the early days of the Center's work, "There was a Sisyphean dynamic to our work: The more books we collected, the more the word spread, the more books there were to collect. By midwinter of the first year on the road it was clear that the immigrant Jews had been more avid readers than anyone imagined. Yiddish books were scattered in virtually every city in North America, and there was no way that we, a handful of young people with extremely limited resources, could collect them all on our own. We needed help! So I decided to organize a network of zamlers, volunteer book collectors, who would gather books in their own communities and ship them to our Massachusetts headquarters. People signed on all across North America. Some were elderly, others were young people who didn't speak a word of Yiddish; but they were all grateful for the chance to act, to do something practical to reclaim a culture that was disappearing before their eyes." We're grateful to all of our zamlers past and present for their work helping in the rescue and recovery of Yiddish books. To date, we've rescued over a million Yiddish books, and we continue to receive thousands every year. And we are delighted to be able to share some of their stories here on "The Shmooze." Episode 0245 February 3, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:03

23 January 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0244: "Zamlers": Profiles of Volunteer Book Collectors

Today's episode is the first in our series of conversations with Yiddish Book Center "zamlers" (volunteer book collectors). To celebrate the Yiddish Book Center's 40th anniversary in 2020, we're looking back at the Yiddish Book Center's storied history. As part of this effort, we wanted to record interviews with our "zamlers," beginning with an interview with "zamler" Jack Hirschberg. As Yiddish Book Center founder and president Aaron Lansky wrote in "Outwitting History," regarding the early days of the Center's work, "There was a Sisyphean dynamic to our work: The more books we collected, the more the word spread, the more books there were to collect. By midwinter of the first year on the road it was clear that the immigrant Jews had been more avid readers than anyone imagined. Yiddish books were scattered in virtually every city in North America, and there was no way that we, a handful of young people with extremely limited resources, could collect them all on our own. We needed help! So I decided to organize a network of 'zamlers,' volunteer book collectors, who would gather books in their own communities and ship them to our Massachusetts headquarters. People signed on all across North America. Some were elderly, others were young people who didn't speak a word of Yiddish; but they were all grateful for the chance to act, to do something practical to reclaim a culture that was disappearing before their eyes." We're grateful to all of our "zamlers" past and present for their work helping in the rescue and recovery of Yiddish books. To date, we've rescued over a million Yiddish books, and we continue to receive thousands every year. And we are delighted to be able to share some of their stories here on "The Shmooze." Episode 0244 January 23, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:00

16 January 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0243: "How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish"

Co-editors Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert visit with The Shmooze to talk about their newly released anthology "How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish," described by Kirkus Reviews as, "For readers unfamiliar with Yiddish writing, a revelation; for readers and aficionados of the language, a treasure." Ilan and Josh talk about the process of editing this rich anthology that celebrates the interplay of Yiddish and American culture. Episode 0243 January 16, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 39:02

4 January 2020, 12:00 am

Episode 0242: "'Judaism Unbound' Podcast Considers Yiddish in America"

This week we visit with Daniel Libenson, host of the "Judaism Unbound" podcast. Daniel talks about the launch of a new series of episodes entitled "Yiddish in America," presented in partnership with the Yiddish Book Center's Decade of Discovery, a new initiative of the Yiddish Book Center designed to foster a deeper understanding of Yiddish and modern Jewish culture in the United States. The "Judaism Unbound" "Yiddish in America" series will feature interviews with a range of scholars and practitioners for whom Yiddish plays a central role in their work and in their lives. It kicks off on January 3 with Daniel's interview with Yiddish Book Center founder and president Aaron Lansky. Episode 0242 January 5, 2020 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 32:54