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.

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

19 December 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0241: "Rokhl Kafrissen Visits with 'The Shmooze'"

"The Shmooze" caught up with Rokhl Kafrissen--journalist, playwright, and Jewish world gadfly--in New York. During our visit we spoke about her engagement with Yiddish and the current Yiddish scene, we learned about what set her in the direction of Yiddish at an early age, and we talked a bit about Rokhl's Golden City, her weekly column on "Tablet." Episode 0241 December 19, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:16

12 December 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0240: "Riffing with Alex Weiser"

In a conversation with Alex Weiser, composer and the director of public programs at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, we learn about his debut album, "And All the Days Were Purple," and a new opera, "State of the Jews," a historical drama about Theodor Herzl. Episode 0240 December 12, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:07

5 December 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0239: "'A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America'"

This week on The Shmooze, we visit with Kirsten Fermaglich, author of "A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America," a groundbreaking history of the practice of Jewish name changing in the 20th century. Episode 0239 December 6, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:19

26 November 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0238: "Daniel Kennedy: Translating Hersh Dovid Nomberg's 'Warsaw Stories'"

The Shmooze caught up with literary translator Daniel Kennedy at his home in France to chat about the recently published "Warsaw Stories," a collection of short stories by the Yiddish writer Hersh Dovid Nomberg, newly translated by Kennedy. Nomberg's stories explore modern Jewish life in the growing cosmopolitan city of Warsaw: young intellectuals in pursuit of truth, beauty, and love; working class fathers tempted by schemes for easy money; teenagers divided between their traditional religious upbringings and the world of secular culture and political revolution. Episode 0238 November 26, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:32

21 November 2019, 6:02 pm

Episode 0237: "Shtetl in the Sun: Andy Sweet's South Beach 1977–1980"

This week, Brett Sokol, journalist, arts editor, and co-founder and editor of the recently published "Shtetl in the Sun: Andy Sweet's South Beach 1977–1980," visits with The Shmooze. In our conversation, he discusses what drew photographer Andy Sweet to document South Beach's vibrant Jewish community in the late 1970s, capturing the community's daily rhythms in all their beach-strolling, cafeteria-noshing, and klezmer-dancing glory. "A Shtetl in the Sun," an exhibit of Andy Sweet's photographs documenting South Beach's once-thriving and now-vanished Jewish world, is currently on view at the Yiddish Book Center. Episode 0237 November 21, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:30

6 November 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0236: "Great Jewish Books Book Club"

Daniel Ronfeld dropped by The Shmooze recording studio to chat about the Great Jewish Books Book Club. Over the course of a lively discussion, we learn what drew him to join the Book Club, some of his favorite selections, and how he came to create a monthly gathering of fellow Book Club members in his home state of Idaho. Episode 0236 November 7, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:59

31 October 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0235: "At the Forefront of Yiddish Translation"

Recorded live at the Yiddish Book Center's Community Open House in October 2019, Lisa Newman, director of communications, and Mindl Cohen, director of translation and collections initiatives, discuss all things Yiddish translation. Episode 0235 October 31, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 42:31

23 October 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0234: "Harold Bloom: The Late, Legendary, Literary Scholar"

This week we visit with Christa Whitney, director of the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, to talk about the oral history interview she recorded with Harold Bloom shortly before his death. In his oral history interview the late, legendary, literary scholar--and native Yiddish speaker--Harold Bloom explores his connection with Yiddish language and literature. He also recalls his first experience seeing Shakespeare as a child and watching the towering Maurice Schwartz as Shylock in a Yiddish production of "The Merchant of Venice" on 2nd Avenue in 1938. Christa shares some of the highlights and insights from her interview with Harold Bloom. Episode 0234 October 24, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 20:11

17 October 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0233: "Yiddish for Dogs"

This week we visit with Ann Toback, executive director of The Workmen's Circle in New York City, to hear about their program that brings owners and their trusty dog companions together in Central Park, where they learn some basic commands in Yiddish. By all accounts, both dogs and owners have a great time, and, yes, we learn that you can teach an old dog new tricks--in this case, Yiddish. Episode 0233 October 17, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:46

10 October 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0232: "Sarah Abrevaya Stein: A Story of Sephardic Jewish History Through a Family's Journey"

Sarah Abrevaya Stein, professor of history and Jewish studies at UCLA, talks with The Shmooze about her new book "Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century" and the process of writing history through personal stories. Along the way, she discusses the challenges of reading historical documents against the grain, how her time in the Yiddish Book Center's summer internship (now Steiner Summer Yiddish Program) influenced her professional path, and the diversity of the modern Jewish cultural experience. Episode 0232 October 10, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:09

22 September 2019, 3:15 pm

Episode 0231: "My Aunt Cipe Pineles"

Bob Schor chats with The Shmooze about his remarkable aunt Cipe Pineles. Born in Vienna in 1908 to an Orthodox Jewish family, Cipe immigrated to New York in 1923, where she studied art at Pratt Institute and went on to have an amazing career as the first female art director at Condé Nast and the first woman asked to join the legendary Art Directors Club. Her work and illustration continue to influence modern design. Episode 0231 September 19, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 33:34

13 September 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0230: "'Re-Reading Bellow, Roth, Malamud, Ozick, and Other Great Jewish Writers'"

This week, The Shmooze visits with editor and author Stephen Shepard to talk about his literary memoir "A Literary Journey to Jewish Identity: Re-Reading Bellow, Roth, Malamud, Ozick, and Other Great Jewish Writers." Over the course of our conversation, we consider his encounters with a few writers who influenced his sense of Jewish identity, the idea of the Jewish-American writer, and what it's like to re-read some of these authors. Episode 0230 September 12, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 25:00

22 August 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0229: "Yiddish on Stage and Screen: Allen Lewis Rickman Gets 'Serious'"

Allen Lewis Rickman, producer, director, and performer of Yiddish theater, joins The Shmooze to talk about his work translating Yiddish for the stage and screen--from his work on the Cohen Brothers' "A Serious Man" to his recent translations and performances of two little-known Yiddish plays, "Breach of Promise" and "One of Those," to his production "Tevye Served Raw." Episode 0229 August 25, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 31:56

16 August 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0228: "'Asymptote's' Yiddish Poetry in Translation"

Alexander Dickow visited with The Shmooze to talk about "Asymptote's" recently published Yiddish poetry in translation feature that he co-edited with Asymptote's Editor-In-Chief Lee Yew Leong. Alexander is a bilingual poet and translator who works in French and English and is a scholar of modern and contemporary French and Francophone literature and film. His poetic works include "Appetites," "Trial Balloons," "Rhapsodie curieuse," and "Caramboles." Episode 0228 August 18, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 18:27

8 August 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0227: "Anita Norich's newly translated 'A Jewish Refugee in New York'"

This week on The Shmooze we visit with Anita Norich to talk about the recently published "A Jewish Refugee in New York" by Kadia Molodovsky, translated by Anita Norich. Anita is Professor Emerita of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, where, in addition to translating Yiddish literature, she teaches, lectures, and publishes on a range of topics concerning modern Jewish cultures, Yiddish language and literature, Jewish American literature, and Holocaust literature. Episode 0227 August 9, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:14

31 July 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0226: "Caraid O'Brien: Yiddish Translator, Actor, and Writer"

Caraid O'Brien joined us in the studio this week. Caraid is a writer, Yiddish translator, and performer who first began learning Yiddish as a Yiddish Book Center intern in 1994. Early in her career she received three new play commissions from the Foundation for Jewish Culture for her translations of classic Yiddish plays. Most recently, she translated the memoirs of Klara Klebanova, a Russian-Jewish revolutionary maximalist. Over the course of our conversation, we learn that Caraid studied Yiddish theater and performance with Luba Kadison Buloff, the last surviving member of the Vilna Troupe, and we hear about her current work translating "Sholem Asch: Plays of My People," a collection of four dramas that explore Jewish identity from the acclaimed playwright of "God of Vengeance." Episode 0226 July 31, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 32:06

18 July 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0225: "Zangwill's Spitalfields and London's East End"

Nadia Valman, Reader in English Literature at Queen Mary, University of London, visits with us to talk about her walking tour of Zangwill's Spitalfields, the Jewish immigrant neighborhood of Victorian Spitalfield. Nadia is the author and co-editor of numerous books including "The Jewess in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture and the Routledge Companion to Contemporary Jewish Cultures" and is currently researching the literature of east London. Episode 0225 July 18, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:38

27 June 2019, 3:27 pm

Ep0224 Seth Rogovoy

Seth Rogovoy, Yidstock's artistic director and the author of "The Essential Klezmer," joins us to talk about Yidstock 2019, the Yiddish Book Center's annual summer music festival. In conversation, Seth talks about the 2019 line-up, the roots of Jewish music, and how he found his way to klezmer. Episode 0224 June 27, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:01

20 June 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0223: "The Story Behind Newly Translated Yiddish Correspondence"

Mindl Cohen joins us on The Shmooze to talk about the "2019 Pakn Treger Digital Translation Issue," a collection of letters and stories about letters. The pieces included in this year's anthology provide a window into the personal lives of Yiddish writers; illustrate aspects of day-to-day communications; and remind readers of the great distances across which relationships can stretch. Episode 0223 June 20, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:17

13 June 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0222: "'Confessions of a Yiddish Writer and Other Essays'"

Chava Rosenfarb's daughter and translator, Goldie Morgentaler, visits with us this week to talk about the recently released "Confessions of a Yiddish Writer and Other Essays." The book is a collection of personal and literary essays by Chava Rosenfarb, translated by Goldie Morgentaler, ranging from autobiographical accounts of her childhood and experiences before and during the Holocaust to literary criticism that discusses the work of other Jewish writers. Goldie Morgentaler is a Canadian Yiddish-to-English literary translator and a professor of English literature. Episode 0222 June 13, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:33

30 May 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0221: "Inside 'Hankus's Closet'"

Hankus Netsky joins us to share the finds that he and Yiddish Book Center staff unearthed as they cleared out a closet at the Yiddish Book Center. Known to staff as "Hankus's Closet," the closest has served as an archive for Yiddish sheet music, Yiddish records, and other music-related treasures. Episode 0221 May 30, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:11

22 May 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0220: "A Conversation with Daniel Kahn"

Detroit-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter, polyglot poet, translator and activist Daniel Kahn joins us on The Shmooze for an expansive conversation about his work as a songwriter, Yiddish culture, klezmer, and Yidstock. We also have a chance to talk about cultural transmission, artistic collaborations, and some of what informs his work. Episode 0220 May 22, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 28:32

7 May 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0219: "Considering Jewish Children's Literature"

Meredith Lewis, director of content, education, and family experience for PJ Library in North America, visits with us during Tent: Children's Literature - the week-long retreat for emerging and mid-career writers and author-illustrators of board books, picture books, early chapter books, and middle-grade fiction. She talks about her work with PJ Library, Jewish children's literature, and what's been happening at the Yiddish Book Center's Tent: Children's Literature workshop. Episode 0219 May 12, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:09

18 April 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0218: "Dr. Pamela Nadell on 'America's Jewish Women'"

Episode 0218: "Dr. Pamela Nadell on 'America's Jewish Women'" by Yiddish Book Center
Duration: 21:28

12 April 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0217: "Mikhail Krutikov on the Enigmatic Der Nister”

This week on The Shmooze, Lisa Newman talks to Mikail Krutikov, Professor and Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Preston R. Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Professor Krutikov discusses the life and work of enigmatic Yiddish writer Der Nister (“The Recluse”). Professor Kruitkov will be leading the weekend program “Between Fantasy and Reality: The Writings of Der Nister” at the Yiddish Book Center from May 3 to 5. To learn more about the program and register, visit: https://secure2.convio.net/nybc/site/Ticketing?view=Tickets&id=7841 Episode 0217 April 12, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:18

4 April 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0216: "Alana Newhouse on 'The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List'"

This week on The Shmooze, Lisa Newman speaks with Alana Newhouse, Founder and Editor of Tablet Magazine about her book, "The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List." Newhouse speaks powerfully to the role that food has always played in the religious, cultural, and political lives of Jews throughout the world. She also shares some of the background about the book’s essays, recipes, stories, and contributors who include: Ruth Reichl, Joan Nathan, Michael Solomonov, Yotam Ottolenghi, Tom Colicchio, and Maira Kalman, among others. Episode 0216 April 5, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 16:44

21 March 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0215: "'Grains of Wheat': Abigail Weaver on the Paper Brigade"

This week, Lisa Newman talks to Smith College senior Abigail Weaver about "Grains of Wheat," her play about the Jewish intellectuals, known as the Paper Brigade, who worked to hide stores of cultural materials from Nazi forces in the Vilna ghetto. "Grains of Wheat" is the product of Weaver's years of interest in Yiddish, including a class visit to Vilna, and combines her Theater and Jewish Studies majors. Weaver discusses the tensions inherent in writing a work of historical fiction, the fortitude of the Paper Brigade, and what poet and Paper Brigade member Avrom Sutzkever called the "paper chain" of documents stretching from before World War II to modern day. Episode 0215 March 21, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 18:08

20 March 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0214: "Alyssa Quint on 'The Rise of Modern Yiddish Theater'"

Alyssa Quint joins us this week to talk about her new book, “The Rise of the Modern Yiddish Theater.” Quint, a senior scholar at YIVO Institute and a contributor to the Digital Yiddish Theater Project, examines the beginnings of Yiddish-language theater and delves into one of Yiddish theater’s brilliant and polarizing figures, Avrom Goldfaden. Born in 1840, Goldfaden came from humble beginnings to become an immensely popular playwright and producer, drawing both the respect and ire of fellow Yiddish intellectuals like Sholem Aleichem. Episode 0214 March 20, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:02

26 February 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 213: "'Vilna:' The Play"

This week we visit with Ira Fuchs. Ira began writing plays in college. After graduating from college Ira spent 45 years working in computer technology. In 2016, he returned to writing plays and enrolled in a six week play writing workshop at Hollins University. One assignment was to write a full-length play, in three days, based on a news article published that day. In the "New York Times" was a story about the discovery of an escape tunnel in the Ponar death pits outside of Vilnius. Ira shares the story behind "VILNA" which will have a five-week Off-Broadway run beginning March 11th. Episode 0213 February 26, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 17:25

13 February 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 212: "Mendel Mann’s 'Seeds in the Desert': In Translation"

Heather Valencia joins us from Scotland to talk about her newly published translation of "Seeds in the Desert." Available for the first time in translation, Mendel Mann’s stories follow his life in reverse, from Israel in the 1950s to his experiences in the post-War Soviet Union and his childhood in Poland. Heather talks about Mann’s indelible portraits of survivors as they confront the past and struggle to create a meaningful existence in the fledgling state of Israel. Episode 0212 February 14, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 28:25

8 February 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 211: "Yiddish Theater's Vilna Troupe"

Debra Caplan, Yiddish theater historian and Assistant Professor of Theater at Baruch College, joins us this week to discuss her book, "Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancy." We chat about the Vilna Troupe in its early years, their groundbreaking production of The Dybbuk, and more. Episode 0211 February 8, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 18:04

31 January 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0210: "Andrea Simon on 'Angel Wagenstein: Art is a Weapon'"

Director Andrea Simon joins us to discuss her documentary, Angel Wagenstein: Art is a Weapon. This extraordinary film focuses on the life of Angel Wagenstein, Bulgarian anti-fascist fighter in his youth and film director and author in his later years. Simon speaks with us about Wagenstein, and how his story informs a larger narrative. Episode 0210 January 31, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 25:33

10 January 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0209: "The Reading Culture of Yiddish-Speaking Immigrants"

Eric L. Goldstein, professor of American and modern Jewish history at Emory University and the Judith London Evans Director of Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish studies, joins us this week to discuss his current project focused on the reading culture of Yiddish-speaking immigrants to the United States from the late nineteenth century to the interwar period. He explains that, unlike a literary scholar who might concentrate on the literary importance of the works themselves, he’s interested in discovering what immigrants actually read. From novels and short stories to Americanization manuals, Goldstein shares his knowledge of immigrant reading culture during this time, and what he has found in his research. Episode 0209 January 10, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:35

3 January 2019, 12:00 am

Episode 0208: "The Shraybmashin-brigade: In Search of Yiddish Typewriters"

Yiddish Book Center Fellows Adah Hetko and Sophia Shoulson discuss their work with typewriters for the Yiddish Book Center's collection. As we put out the call for these special machines, they give us a peek into the world of Yiddish typewriters, explaining their past and present significance, the history of the keyboard layout, and how to distinguish between a Hebrew and a Yiddish typewriter. Episode 0208 January 4, 2019 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:35

25 December 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0207: "'A New Year's Eve State of Mind': Ri J. Turner’s Yiddish Translation"

We caught up with Ri J. Turner, a 2014 Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow, to chat about her translation of A.S. Lirik’s "A New Year's Eve State of Mind.” An M.A. student in the Department of Yiddish at Hebrew University, Ri is currently studying as a graduate exchange student at Medem Library in Paris, France. She joins us on the phone from Paris to discuss her work as a Yiddish translator, how she found Lirik’s piece, translating work by Yiddish writer Der Tunkeler, and the Yiddish scene in Paris. Ri’s translation of "A New Year's Eve State of Mind" is posted on the Yiddish Book Center's website: yiddishbookcenter.org. Episode 0207 December 26, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 14:12

19 December 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0206: "The Jewish Deli and the Third Space: A Chat with Ted Merwin"

Ted Merwin visits on The Shmooze this week to discuss his recently published book "Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli." Merwin, the founding director of the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life and associate professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at Dickinson College, goes against the grain (so to speak), considering the role of the deli for the second and third generations: the children of Jewish immigrants. Episode 0206 December 19, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:30

12 December 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0205: "David R. Gillham’s 'Annelies': Approaching Anne Frank through Fiction"

David R. Gillham, the New York Times bestselling author of "City of Women," joins us on "The Shmooze" this week to discuss his forthcoming novel, "Annelies." He shares a glimpse into the past six years which he has spent researching Anne Frank, recognizing her as the cultural icon whose diary painted a vivid picture of the Holocaust, and also as a person — a precocious young girl with a rich inner life and tremendous skill as a writer. David R. Gillham discusses what it means to approach her story through fiction, and to produce a narrative about the person and the writer that Anne Frank might have become. Episode 0205 December 13, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:51

5 December 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0204: "Gerri Chanel’s 'Saving Mona Lisa'"

Gerri Chanel, a prize-winning freelance journalist, joins us this week to discuss "Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures from the Nazis." In her compelling book, Gerri follows heroic efforts in France to protect the Louvre’s masterpieces during World War II. Episode 0204 December 6, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 25:58

28 November 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0203: "Jamie Bernstein: On Being 'Famous Father Girl'"

Jamie Bernstein joins us to talk about her recently published memoir "Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein." We hear from Jamie about her experience growing up in the mid-twentieth century with parents Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre. Our conversation touches on everything from life with the famous maestro to Jewishness, family traditions, and the story behind her memoir’s title. Episode 0203 November 29, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 17:51

21 November 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0202: "From the Yiddish Book Center's Collection: All Things Turkey-Related"

Yiddish Book Center fellows Sophia Shoulson and Sarah Quiat searched the Center’s collection for Thanksgiving-related content. They join us on "The Shmooze" to share what they discovered, and from Yiddish cookbooks to a children’s story featuring a turkey, we learn how food, stories, and traditions figured into the Jewish immigrant’s experience. Episode 0202 November 21, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:19

12 November 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0201: "Ilan Stavans and the Film 'My Mexican Shivah'"

Ilan Stavans stopped by the studio this week to discuss “My Mexican Shivah,” a film based on one of his stories. An exploration of family tensions, the film is set in Polanco, a Jewish quarter of Mexico City, and documents a man’s death and the celebration of his life that follows. The gentle comedy engages the complexity of Mexican-Jewish identity in the context of death rituals. Episode 0201 November 14, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:52

6 November 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0200: "Marvin Zuckerman on Translation and Growing up in New York’s Jewish Labor Movement"

Marvin Zuckerman joins "The Shmooze" this week to discuss his translation of Bernard Goldstein’s "Twenty Years with the Jewish Labor Bund: A Memoir of Interwar Poland." Along the way, he shares stories about his childhood in the Bronx, where he learned how to read and write Yiddish in the Workmen’s Circle afterschool programs and spent time in the company of figures like Chaim Grade, Naftali Gross, and Avrom Reyzen. Episode 0200 November 8, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 23:17

1 November 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0199: "Photographer Rebecca Lepkoff"

Rebecca Lepkoff (1916-2014) was one of the great twentieth century photographers. Her work particularly chronicled the life of New York City’s Jewish neighborhoods. Her husband Eugene and son Daniel dropped by our studio to talk about Rebecca’s life and work from their unique vantage point. Episode 0199 November 1, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:15

17 October 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0198: "David Stromberg’s 'In the Land of Happy Tears: Yiddish Tales for Modern Times'"

The Shmooze caught up with David Stromberg over dinner at an outdoor café in New York where we learned about his latest book, "In the Land of Happy Tears: Yiddish Tales for Modern Times," a collection of newly translated Yiddish stories for readers of all ages. David is a self-described Yiddish-activist who worked hard to bring these largely overlooked works to publication. In our conversation, he shared the backstory to these works, Yiddish publishing, and how he found his way to editing this collection. Episode 0198 October 19, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 26:07

30 September 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0197: "New York's Jewish Photographers"

Professor Deborah Dash Moore, who will lead the Yiddish Book Center's upcoming weekend course (October 26-28, 2018), discusses the cluster of New York Jewish photographers who pictured the city, their home, in the middle decades of the 20th century. As young men and women, mostly the children of immigrants, they picked up cameras and walked the streets, capturing its human drama. Episode 0197 September 30, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 26:39

12 September 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0196: "Discovering and Translating Yiddish Writer Yenta Mash"

In a collection of stories newly translated from the Yiddish by Ellen Cassedy, prize-winning author Yenta Mash traces an arc across continents, upheavals and regime changes, and the phases of a woman’s life from girlhood to old age. Cassedy speaks with us about Yenta Mash – a master chronicler of exile, Mash’s work brings much to the literature of immigration and resilience. Episode 0196 September 12, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:28

23 August 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0195: "The Pied-Piper of Yiddish Dance"

Steve Weintraub left the dance floor long enough to join us in studio to talk about Yiddish dance. Steve teaches dance workshops around the world, including at the annual Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music. In our conversation, we learn how Steve found his way to Yiddish dance, how he studied its roots, and how he documented its elements. Episode 0195 August 23, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:18

20 August 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0194: "Hankus Netsky on 'The Shmooze'"

Hankus Netsky, chair of New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department and founder and director of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, dropped by the studio to chat about the roots of Yiddish music and his work as a musician, teacher, and ethnomusicologist. As always, our conversation with Hankus is expansive, insightful, informative, and peppered with some great anecdotes. Episode 0194 August 21, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:11

2 August 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0193 "A Rich Brew: How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture"

In a conversation with Shachar M. Pinsker we learn about the place of coffeehouses in the creation of modern Jewish culture from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Shachar’s newly published book, "A Rich Brew: How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture," tells the story of the role of the coffeehouse as central to the modern Jewish experience in a time of migration and urbanization, from Odessa, Warsaw, Vienna, and Berlin to New York City and Tel Aviv, and why Jews became their most devoted habitues. Episode 0193 August 2, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 29:45

20 July 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0192 "Shmoozing with Anthony Russell and Dmitri Gaskin"

This week we visit with Yiddish vocalist Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell and pianist/accordionist Dmitri Gaskin. Together they explore diverse idioms and styles to create their signature contemporary and idiosyncratic new music - set to the works of some of the greatest poets in the Yiddish language. In a lively conversation, we learn about what drew them to Yiddish music and how they’ve been drawing from the roots of Yiddish literature and music to create their unique and amazing work. Episode 0192 July 20, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:34

13 July 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0191 "The Shmooze: Live at Yidstock"

Podcast Producer and Yiddish Book Center Fellow Zeke Levine caught-up with a few of the many performers at Yidstock 2018. Hankus Netsky, Steve Weintraub, and David Krakauer each stopped by our studio to talk all things Yiddish music related, from 78s to Yiddish dance moves. Episode 0191 July 13, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 23:18

28 June 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0190 "On Press with Pakn Treger: The Making of the Magazine"

Producer Zeke Levine and host Lisa Newman take The Shmooze on the road to Studley Press in Dalton, Massachusetts, where the summer issue of Pakn Treger, the Yiddish Book Center’s English-language magazine, is being printed. On the visit, Zeke asks the questions on many readers’ minds: How does the magazine come together from start to finish? Zeke and Lisa take us behind the scenes of the press, where Zeke poses questions about the printing and binding process, and the many machines he encounters at the printer. Episode 0190 June 22, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 25:10

14 June 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0189 "Yiddish Immigrant Life in Song and Verse"

Vivi Lachs joins us to talk about her newly published book, Whitechapel Noise: Jewish Immigrant Life in Yiddish Song and Verse, London 1884–1914. Vivi is a social and cultural historian, Yiddishist, and associate research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. Drawing from archival material from the London Yiddish press, songbooks, and satirical writing, Whitechapel Noise offers a fascinating window into the untold cultural life of the Yiddish East End, positioning London’s Yiddish popular culture in historical perspective within Anglo-Jewish history. Episode 0189 June 14, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 28:26

7 June 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0188 "An Expert’s Guide to Jewish San Francisco: Aga Ilwicka "

This week on The Shmooze, the second in our series of visits with Yiddish Book Center alumni to get an insider’s guide to Jewish and Yiddish culture in their hometown. Aga Ilwicka fills us in on the many Yiddish goings-on in San Francisco and shares a number of suggestions for those interested in contemporary Jewish culture, food, music, and more. Episode 0188 June 8, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 17:35

31 May 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0187 "An Expert’s Guide to Jewish Rhode Island: Sam Zerin"

The Shmooze is launching the first in what will be a series of visits with Yiddish Book Center alumni to get an insider’s guide to Jewish and Yiddish culture in their hometowns. This week, we visit with Samuel Zerin, a musicologist, music theorist, composer, and pianist, who provides a guide to Jewish Rhode Island. A specialist in early-twentieth-century Jewish musical nationalism, Sam has broader analytical interests in twenty-first-century Yiddish pop songs and Disney music. He’s also an amateur polyglot, with particularly strong interests in Yiddish, Russian, and the Scandinavian languages. In our conversation, we learn about America’s oldest synagogue, kosher restaurants in and around Providence, and more. Episode 0187 June 1, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 20:36

23 May 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0186 "Sarah Aroeste: Bringing Ladino to the Stage at Yidstock"

This week we visit with Sarah Aroeste. Sarah, American-born and trained in classical opera at Westminster Choir College and Yale University, was inspired by her family's Sephardic roots in Greece and Macedonia. She’s spent the last 15 years bringing her contemporary style of original and traditional Ladino music to audiences around the world. On July 15, 2018 she’ll be taking the stage at Yidstock along with Anthony Russell. Episode 0186 May 23, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 18:25

10 May 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0185 "JT Waldman Talks Comic Books and Judaism"

Comic book creator and digital designer JT Waldman visited The Shmooze’s studio to answer our questions about his work, the intersection of comic books and Judaism, the graphic novel, and the roots of Jewishness in visual storytelling. JT also spoke with us about his landmark graphic novel Megillat Esther (an interpretation of the Book of Esther), as well as his collaboration with legendary comic book writer Harvey Pekar on the graphic novel Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me. Episode 0185 May 10, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 24:35

4 May 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0184 "Miriam Udel on Yiddish Children’s Literature, Translation, and Literary Encounters"

This week we visit with Miriam Udel, Associate Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Emory University. Miriam talks with us about her research and her teaching, which focus on Jewish encounters with modernity in literature, as well as her work translating Yiddish children’s literature. Episode 0184 May 4, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 23:58

25 April 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0183 "Ilan Stavans on Jewish Children’s Literature"

This week we talk with Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities, Latin American, and Latino Culture at Amherst College, publisher of Restless Books, and host of the NPR podcast “In Contrast.” A busy man, we caught up with him to chat about his upcoming three-part series of talks taking place at the Yiddish Book Center May 1, 8, and 15: “People of the Picture Book: The History of Jewish Children’s Literature.” In a lively exchange, we discuss everything from the Haggadah and the Book of Esther to the ways in which psychoanalysis and the comic-strip industry in the twentieth century informed Jewish children’s book classics such as Curious George, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Episode 0183 April 26, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 27:24

13 April 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0182 "A Visit to Boston’s Vilna Shul"

Lisa Newman and podcast producer and Yiddish Book Center fellow Zeke Levine take The Shmooze on the road to Boston for a visit and tour of the Vilna Shul. Vilna’s Executive Director, Barnet Kessel, provides a private tour of this historic landmark—the last immigrant era synagogue building that exists in downtown Boston. Barnet talks about the Shuls’ history, the building’s unique architecture, shares plans for the restoration of the old-wall murals, and answers our many questions. Episode 0182 April 13, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 33:39

5 April 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0181 "Gefilte: The Story of One Family’s Holiday Tradition"

Brooklyn-based writer and director Rachel Fleit shares the story behind her latest film, Gefilte. Each year, the Hermelin family of Detroit comes together to celebrate Passover, and central to their seder meal is the family’s homemade gefilte fish. As Fleit notes, “While simple on the surface, Gefilte is filled with history and meaning—just like the recipe itself, which includes a stuffing of fish, salt, vegetables and egg.” Episode 0181 April 5, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 14:37

28 March 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0180 "The Magnificent Esme Wells: A Coming-of-Age Story With a Tinge of Noir"

Author Adrienne Sharp speaks with us about her latest novel, The Magnificent Esme Wells (April 2018). The story finds its voice in the perceptive and irrepressible Esme Wells—daughter of a two-bit gangster and a movie showgirl—as she grows up in the golden-age of pre–WWII Hollywood and postwar Las Vegas. Adrienne shares the Jewish roots of the story and the personal journey she took in writing this beautifully crafted novel. Episode 0180 March 28, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 17:32

23 March 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0179 "The Sunshine Theatre: The History of a New York City Yiddish Landmark"

Judith Thissen, a specialist of Jewish immigrant entertainment in New York City—especially film culture on the Lower East Side in the early twentieth century—talks about the Sunshine Theatre, one of the last of the iconic “vaud-pic” Yiddish theaters. Originally a Protestant Church, Judith shares the story of how a young Hungarian-Jewish immigrant named Charles Steiner purchased and altered the Lower East Side landmark, creating what would become a neighborhood theater for a generation of Yiddish immigrants. Episode 0179 March 23, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 22:37

15 March 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0178 "American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball"

Larry Ruttman is the author of American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball. Selected by Sports Collectors Digest (among others) as the #1 baseball book in America for 2013, the work has been adapted into the musical play Jews on First. On this episode, we learn about Larry’s love of the game and hear a few stories of his most memorable interviewees. Episode 0178 March 15, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 31:49

9 March 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0177 "The Story Behind the Discovery of the Lost Songs of World War II"

Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II is a new recording of music created during the darkest chapter of European Jewish history. During these years, a group of scholars attempted to preserve songs written by Jewish Red Army soldiers, refugees, victims, and survivors of Ukrainian ghettos. Following the war, the researchers were arrested during Stalin’s anti¬-Jewish purge and their works were confiscated. In the early 2000s, Yiddish Professor Anna Shternshis traveled to Kiev where she discovered that these songs had survived. Anna shares the history of these deteriorating, fragile documents, which contain some of the most poignant and historically important Soviet Yiddish songs of World War II. Episode 0177 March 9, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 24:59

1 March 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0176 "Lee Lee’s Rugelach: Possibly the Best Rugelach Anywhere!"

Mr. Alvin Lee Smalls first learned about rugelach in a newspaper article in the 1960s while he was working as an onion peeler in a New York City hospital kitchen. He was intrigued, having never heard of the Jewish treat, and began experimenting with the recipe. Some 40 years later, Alvin—who is affectionately known in his Harlem neighborhood as Lee Lee—sells what we think may just be the perfect rugelach. His bakery, Lee Lee’s Baked Goods, is located at 283 West 118th Street in New York. Episode 0176 March 2, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 11:05

22 February 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0175 "From the Vault: A Collection of Yiddish Sheet Music"

Zeke Levine takes The Shmooze into the Yiddish Book Center’s vault to explore the Center’s Yiddish sheet music collection. Zeke’s fellowship responsibilities include cataloguing the collection, and in the process of his work he’s uncovered some interesting finds, including two of his favorites—sheet music of Abi Gezunt, from the film Mamele starring Molly Picon, and a piece from the 1960s about Der Sputnik by Sam Liptzin. As Zeke continues his tour, he discusses both individual pieces as well as the collection as a whole, which includes over 1,000 titles from the Hebrew Publishing Company and Metro Music collections. Episode 0175 February 22, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 22:11

15 February 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0174 "Yidstock 2018: Four Days, Seven Concerts"

On this episode, we talk with Seth Rogovoy, Yidstock artistic director, about the lineup for Yidstock 2018, which will include performances by David Krakauer, Anthony Russell, the Heather Klein Duo, Socalled, and Sarah Aroeste—and those are just a few of the performers who will take to the stage. Seth gives us a preview of everything that’s in store for this year’s event—from workshops to talks to concerts—and provides some background on klezmer and new Yiddish music. Episode 0174 February 16, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:17

8 February 2018, 12:00 am

"Beth Kaplan, Author of Finding the Jewish Shakespeare: The Life and Legacy of Jacob Gordin"

This week, we speak with author, actress, and educator Beth Kaplan. Beth graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, one of Britain’s foremost drama schools, at the age of 22, and worked for a decade as a professional actress. She then left the stage to earn an MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia, and has since gone on to teach and write. She is the author of Finding the Jewish Shakespeare: The Life and Legacy of Jacob Gordin, a biography about her great-grandfather the famous Yiddish playwright. Episode 0173 February 8, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 26:35

2 February 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0172 "Great Jewish Books: Summer Programs for Teens and Educators"

Josh Lambert, the Yiddish Book Center’s academic director, sits down to discuss all things “Great Jewish Books” related, including the Center’s latest program, which will bring educators together for a month-long summer seminar. From a summer program for teens to a teacher seminar and a book club, modern Jewish literature continues to inspire and engage readers and students of all ages. Episode 0172 February 2, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, MA
Duration: 17:24

26 January 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0171 "Danny’s Library: A Manhattan Yiddish Book Rescue "

“How can I donate some Yiddish books?” That was the question Mindy asked David Mazower, bibliographer and editorial director at the Center, hoping to find a new home for her partner’s books. As it turned out, Danny’s library consisted of several hundred volumes, including many key works of fiction and reference. Listen in as the Yiddish Book Center team visits Manhattan to meet Mindy, pack up Danny’s books, and talk about his collection. Episode 0171 January 26, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 30:35

19 January 2018, 12:00 am

Episode 0170 "Shannon Sarna, the Modern Jewish Baker"

Shannon Sarna, editor of the Jewish food blog “The Nosher,” and author of Modern Jewish Baker, joins us to discuss her new takes on challah, babka, bagels, and more. Shannon makes the case for hamantaschen and talks about some of the unexpected recipes included in her book—from Tomato-Basil Challah to Everything-Bagel Rugelach. Episode 0170 January 19,2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:31

12 January 2018, 12:00 am

EP0169 "On The Shmooze: Recommended Reads in Yiddish and English"

From pocket-sized Yiddish books to on-my-night-table English-language works, The Shmooze's producer Zeke Levine and host Lisa Newman sit down to discuss and recommend some of the titles from their recent reading lists—it’s an eclectic and surprising handpicked collection that will provide you with some great reads during the winter months. Episode 0169 January 12, 2018 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 15:12

21 December 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0168 "A Talk with the 2017–18 Yiddish Book Center Fellows"

2017–18 Yiddish Book Center Fellows Miranda Cooper, Raphael Halff, and Zeke Levine join us to answer our many questions about the paths that brought them to the Center after college, how they’ve contributed to the Center’s major projects in Yiddish language and Jewish cultural work, and how their experiences as full-time staff members have shaped their future plans. Episode 0168 December 21, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 17:48

15 December 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0167: "New Yiddish Rep: Playing to a 21st Century Audience"

This week, we talk with New Yiddish Rep director David Mandelbaum as he discusses the theater’s current production, Clifford Odets' 1935 masterpiece Awake and Sing!, as well as their past performances of Rhinoceros and Death of a Salesman. He also explains how the theater seeks to “educate a new generation of Yiddish actors and to illuminate for the public the diversity, cutting edge creativity, and universality of the Yiddish theater legacy,” by both creating new audiences and strengthening and satisfying existing ones. Episode 0167 December 15, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:04

7 December 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0166: "Photographer David Kaufman and his Work"

This week, we visit with photographer and documentary filmmaker David Kaufman to learn what draws him to the architectural and historic Jewish sites that he’s traveled the globe to photograph. “I see myself working in the spirit of Eugene Atget,” he says when asked about the visual narrative central to his work, “who, before World War One, photographed the Paris that was already old when he was young.” Episode 0166 December 7, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 18:38

20 November 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0165: "Remnants: Photographs of the Lower East Side"

Photographers Janet Russek and David Scheinbaum started photographing New York’s Lower East Side in 1999, chronicling the neighborhood at a time of extraordinary transformation. In the newly published Remnants (Radius Books), Scheinbaum and Russek’s photographs document the remnants of history that have defined the Lower East Side for generations. Episode 0156 November 20, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 24:02

15 November 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0164: "Steiner Summer Yiddish Program Alums: On Stage at Der Yidisher Idol"

Der Yidisher Idol stars Leah Reis-Dennis and Michael Yashinsky visit to talk about how they made the cut to perform their original Yiddish songs at the 2017 Der Yidisher Idol—an international singing contest in Mexico City. Leah is a singer-songwriter based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Michael is currently a Yiddish education specialist at the Yiddish Book Center. Both are alumni of the Center’s Steiner Summer Yiddish Program, and both found themselves on the stage at the Yiddish singing and songwriting competition. Episode 0164 November 16, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 21:46

10 November 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0163: "The Jewish Ghetto in Postcards: From Eastern Europe to the Lower East Side "

Annie Polland, author, public historian, and senior vice president of programs and education at the Tenement Museum in New York, joins us on The Shmooze to talk about “The Jewish Ghetto in Postcards: From Eastern Europe to the Lower East Side”, an exhibition of early 20th-century postcards from the Blavatnik Archive Foundation. Episode 0163 November 10, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 16:17

2 November 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0162: "Live from St. Paul, Minnesota: A Yiddish Radio Show"

Ruby Elliott Zuckerman, a student at Macalester College, tells us about her newly launched Yiddish radio show. An alumna of the Yiddish Book Center’s Great Jewish Books Summer Program, she returned to the Center last summer to attend the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program. The seven-week Yiddish program inspired her to host a live Yiddish radio show. Episode 0162 November 2, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 15:38

23 October 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0161:Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman: The Subject of a Forthcoming Short Film

Drawing from an in-depth oral history interview with Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman, a short documentary film is now in production. Christa Whitney, director of the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, talks about the film, BEYLE, which explores the life and legacy of Yiddish activist and artist Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman. Born in Vienna in 1920 and raised in Czernowitz, Beyle came to the United States after surviving the Holocaust and was a multi-talented artist, organizer, and activist. A Kickstarter campaign is underway through October 31, 2017 to complete the film. Episode 0161 October 26, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 14:00

18 October 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0160: "Artist Mark Podwal on His Work and Its Influences"

This week, artist Mark Podwal joins us to talk about his work, its influences, and his exhibit Kaddish for Dąbrowa Białostocka, which is on display at the Yiddish Book Center. Podwal may have been best known initially for his drawings on The New York Times Op-Ed page. In addition, he is the author and illustrator of numerous books and his work is included in museum collections worldwide. Most of these works—Podwal’s own, as well as those he has illustrated for others—find their roots in Jewish legend, history, and tradition. Episode 0160 October 19, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:47

4 October 2017, 1:08 pm

Episode 0159: "Alix Wall on the Legacy of Shmerke Kaczerginski’s Song, “Dos Elnte Kind”

In a conversation with filmmakers Alix Wall and Marc Smolowitz, we learn about their collaboration on "The Lonely Child". Their film will tell the story of Yiddish poet Shmerke Kaczerginski’s song, “Dos Elnte Kind,” or “The Lonely Child,” which he wrote for Alix’s grandmother in 1943 while she was in the Vilna Ghetto. Alix’s vision for the film is “to engage those keeping the song alive in a dialogue, exploring the central question: just what is our responsibility to the survivors and their stories? It is not lost on me that a song will outlast all of us; a film will as well.” Episode 0159 October 4, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 27:00

26 September 2017, 3:05 pm

Episode 0158- Caraid O'Brien: On and Off the Stage

Caraid O’Brien, an accomplished writer, performer, director, translator, and a Yiddish Book Center alumna speaks with us about her work on and off the stage. An accomplished translator, her translation from the Yiddish of Sholem Asch’s "God of Vengeance" “set Show World aflame” according to the Village Voice. She is a three-time recipient of a new play commission from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture for her contemporary adaptation of Dovid Pinski’s Yiddish classic "Jake the Mechanic" as well as for the first-ever English translations of Sholem Asch’s underworld plays "Motke Thief" and "The Dead Man". Currently, Caraid is performing in the New Yiddish Rep’s world premiere of Eugene Ionesco’s "Rhinoceros". Episode 0158 September 26, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:09

15 September 2017, 4:33 pm

Episode 0157- Eddy Portnoy on True Stories from the Yiddish Press

Eddy Portnoy, senior researcher and director of exhibitions at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, talks about his newly published compendium of stories, "Bad Rabbi and Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press." He introduces us to stories of thieves, wrestlers, poets, and beauty queens whose misadventures were immortalized in Yiddish newspapers from the 1880s to the 1930s. Episode 0157 September 15,2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 18:31

27 August 2017, 12:00 am

Ep0156 - Eitan Kensky And Sadie Gold - Shapiro

Editors Eitan Kensky and Sadie Gold-Shapiro sit down to talk about a special "Pakn Treger Translation Issue" devoted to writing by women. This collection includes works of poetry, prose poetry, fiction, and memoir. We learn about the writers, the genres, and how this collection helps to address the relative scarcity of translations of Yiddish women writers. Episode 0156 August 27, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 16:27

26 July 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0155: "Menashe": A Father, a Son, a Community

Director Joshua Z. Weinstein and leading character Menashe Lustig talk about the making of the newly released film, "Menashe." The film, performed in Yiddish, takes place in the Hasidic community of Borough Park, Brooklyn. The story is drawn from the real life of its Hasidic star Menashe Lustig. Episode 0155 July 26, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 19:21

15 July 2017, 8:29 pm

Episode 0154: What Have You Been Doing Your Fellowship Year?

Sadie Gold-Shapiro tells us what it’s like to spend a year as a Yiddish Book Center Fellow. Sadie's Fellowship year has been spent rummaging through the Center’s archives, creating metadata spreadsheets, cataloguing collections, writing articles about interesting finds, and working with the Center’s translation fellowship program. Episode 0154 July 15, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 20:05

9 July 2017, 12:00 am

Episode 0153: Translating Chaim Grade

Mel Rosenthal, a retired Knopf production editor, worked with the early galleys of Grade's "The Rabbi's House." In our conversation he discusses the challenges of translation and the days spent working with the writer. Episode 0153 July 9, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 25:43

22 June 2017, 8:26 pm

Episode 0152: Who Grace Paley Was

Nora Paley, the co-editor of the recently published A Grace Paley Reader: Stories, Essays, and Poetry, talks about the life and work of her mother, writer Grace Paley. Nora explains, "who Grace Paley was and that she was my mother are naturally inseparable for me." Episode 0152 June 7, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 41:09

7 June 2017, 8:52 pm

Episode 0151: Yidstock 2017: The Festival of New Yiddish Music

Seth Rogovoy, who literally wrote the book on klezmer, gives us a sneak preview of the Yidstock (July 13-16, 2017) lineup, from concerts featuring Eleanor Reissa & Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, the Andy Statman Trio, Alicia Svigals and Lauren Brody Duo, Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band, the Hankus Netsky and Eden MacAdam-Somer Duo, to Frank London’s multimedia oratorio A Night at the Old Marketplace, based on the groundbreaking 1907 play of the same name by I.L. Peretz. Episode 0151 June 7, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:36

2 June 2017, 6:54 pm

Episode 0150: Andy Statman and the Klezmer Revival

This week we sit down with Andy Statman, one of the founders of the klezmer revival. He and Lisa talk about how he initially came to klezmer and the way that he and his fellow musicians brought this genre of music into a new light. Catch the Andy Statman Trio during this year's Yidstock on Sunday, July 16, here at the Center. Episode 0150 June 2, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 20:32

26 May 2017, 6:54 pm

Episode 0149: A New Translation of a Classic Yiddish Tale by An-sky

Rose Waldman joins us this week to talk about her new translation of S. An-sky's Pioneers. She and Lisa discuss An-sky’s relatable, and sometimes autobiographical, characters and how these characters grapple with their identities as Jews during the Haskalah. Episode 0149 May 26, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 20:24

19 May 2017, 2:13 pm

Episode 0148: Exploring Jewish Holidays with Abigail Pogrebin

This week we sit down with Abigail Pogrebin to speak about her latest book, My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. She and Lisa discuss the inspiration behind her book and the way her exploration of these holidays helped her understand her Jewishness in a new way. Episode 0148 May 19, 2017 Yiddish Book Center Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 22:10