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Yiddish Literature

Canada: From Outlaw to Supreme Court Justice, 1738-2005

The positive aspect of the Canadian mosaic has been a strong Jewish community (and other communities) which nurtured traditional ethnic and religious values and benefited from the talent and energy of women and men restrained from participation in the broader society. The negative aspect has included considerable antisemitism and, especially for women, the sometimes stifling narrowness and conservatism of the community which inhibited creative and exceptional people from charting their own individual paths.

Rokhel Brokhes

Rokhel Brokhes was one of the earliest women writers to be published and a prodigious author whose name was linked to the romantic years of modern Yiddish literature.

Brazil, Contemporary

The Brazilian Jewish community is the second largest Jewish community in South America and one of the ten largest in the world.

Chaske Blacker (Blacher)

Although she worked in radio, tobacco and dress factories, reared two children and supported a poet-husband, Chaske Blacker managed to produce two novellas and a dozen short stories, even winning a prize for her story “Marta” from the Morning Frayhayt in 1933—all during her brief life.

Hinde Bergner

Though not a published writer in her time, Hinde Bergner holds a special place in Yiddish literature by virtue of the fact that her memoir of family life in a late nineteenth century Galician [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:404]shtetl[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] is one of few extant Yiddish memoirs to describe the traditional Jewish family on the edge of modernity told from the perspective of a woman. Her intimate portrayal of matchmaking and marriage customs, the education of girls, Jewish occupations, information about period clothing and home furnishing, the spiritual life of Jewish women, generational tensions, and cross-cultural contacts results in a valuable document of Jewish social, family, and women’s history.

Lili Berger

In an article commemorating Jean-Paul Sartre written shortly after his death, Lili Berger emphasized his role as a writer engagé and observed: “Yes, he made mistakes, but what active person has not?” This description could easily fit Lili Berger herself. A prolific literary critic and essayist who wrote fiction, short stories and novels, Berger was also politically engaged. She wrote to educate, instruct, expose and memorialize.

Rokhl Auerbakh

Rokhl Auerbach (1903–1976), a member of the Polish-Jewish literary elite, ran a soup kitchen in the Warsaw Ghetto while simultaneously in her writing recording the voices of its captive inhabitants. She ultimately survived the war by passing herself off as an "Aryan," and went on to found the Department for the Collection of Witness Testimony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Yiddish Literature." (Viewed on November 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/yiddish-literature>.

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