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.

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

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