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Sarah Hamer-Jacklyn

Sarah Hamer-Jacklyn’s popular Yiddish tales not only painted a vivid portrait of the lost shtetl of her youth, but also added a dimension male authors of the time had missed: a nuanced and complex picture of the lives of Jewish women. Hamer-Jacklyn immigrated with her family to Toronto in 1914. By age sixteen, she had become a travelling actress and singer, and made her way to New York. Her first story, “A Shap Maydl,” was serialized in the Yiddish newspaper Der Tog in 1934 and she went on to publish a variety of stories and novels written in the Yiddish dialect of her childhood in Novo Radomsk, a shtetl later lost to the Holocaust. Her stories often explored subjects ignored by other writers: in “My Grandmother Weds,” an older woman defies convention—and her children—to remarry and begin a new chapter of her life, while in “My Mother’s Dream,” a ten-year-old girl confronts her parents’ fervent wishes for a son to carry on the family name. A dedicated writer who continued to work until her death, Hamer-Jackyn was highly praised for her rich descriptions of life both in the shtetl and in the immigrant communities of New York.

Sarah Hamer
Full image
Yiddish writer Sarah Hamer-Jacklyn brought to life a large and varied cast of characters—the ordinary women and men who inhabited a vanished world: the Eastern European shtetl of her childhood.
Courtesy of Frieda Forman et al., in Found Treasures ©1994
Date of Birth
December 17, 1905
Place of Birth
Novo Radomsk
Date of Death
October 30, 1975

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sarah Hamer-Jacklyn." (Viewed on March 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/hamer-jacklyn-sarah>.


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