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Yiddish Literature

Miriam Raskin

Miriam Raskin’s special talent lay in her depictions of ordinary working people. She was able to write about individuals not usually considered especially noteworthy, and make them interesting. In addition, her work often features strong female protagonists.

Rikudah Potash

Crowned “the Poetess of Jerusalem” by Sholem Asch (1880–1957), Rikudah Potash wrote in Yiddish about the landscape of her beloved city and its diverse ethnic communities.

Poetry in the United States

The contributions of Jewish women poets to American literary history and political activism, as well as to the enrichment of Jewish culture and practice, are astounding.

Mimi Pinzón

Mimi Pinzón is arguably the sole significant Yiddish writer who spent none of her school years in Eastern Europe.

Rosa Palatnik

Most of the author’s stories and all of her books were signed with the name Rosa Palatnik. By her own reckoning, some two hundred of her tales appeared in various press organs. A mere selection of them can be found in the four volumes she published.

Old Yiddish Language and Literature

Yiddish became the spoken language of the Jews who settled in the German-speaking lands and of those who emigrated from there to other countries. An interactive bilingual Hebrew-Yiddish system developed and functioned throughout the Ashkenazi cultural area, persisting until the Haskalah period.

Ida Maze

A “communitarian-proletarian” Yiddish writer whose generosity, both material and emotional, turned her Montreal home into a magnet for Yiddish writers and a focus of Yiddish culture, Ida Maze (sometimes rendered as Maza or Massey) was born on July 9, 1893 in the village of Ugli, near Kapulye, south of Minsk in Belarus.

Anna Margolin

Rosa Lebensboim, better known by her pen name of Anna Margolin, is regarded by literary critics as one of the finest early twentieth-century Yiddish poets in America. Her poetry, translated by Adrienne Rich, Kathryn Hellerstein, and Marcia Falk, among others, appears in many Yiddish poetry anthologies in English. Captivating, temperamental, and intellectually gifted, Anna Margolin influenced the work of several major writers and thinkers of her time.

Blume Lempel

Blume Lempel was a master of stream-of-consciousness, flashback, free association and eroticism—all rare in Yiddish literature. Her modern short-story style was appropriate to her themes, which were often daring: incest—Oedipus in Brooklyn (1981), rape—Aleyn in Eynem (Alone Together, 1989) and the ambivalent attraction of one woman to another (Correspondents, 1992).

Malka Lee

A writer of lyrical and sometimes sentimental poetry, Malka Lee was one of the most beloved female poets writing in Yiddish in America during her lifetime. Her poems had great folk appeal to Yiddish readers as reflections of their own experiences in the Old World and the New. Her work was favorably received by literary critics of the time, such as Shmuel Niger and Melech Ravitch. In 1965, she was awarded the Hayim Greenberg Award of Pioneer Women of America.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Yiddish Literature." (Viewed on September 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/yiddish-literature>.

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