One of the brightest stars of the Yiddish literary world, Kadya Molodowsky defied categorization—advocating for both Yiddish and Zionist culture, refusing to be defined as “just” a woman writer—all while crafting a staggering body of acclaimed poems, stories, and essays. Molodowsky graduated high school at seventeen and began teaching children displaced by WWI in Warsaw, then in Odessa, and finally Kiev, where she published her first poem in 1920 and married Simkhe Lev in 1921. The couple moved to Warsaw, where Molodowsky taught at various Jewish schools. In 1927 she published her first, highly praised collection, Nights of Heshvan, followed by Little Shoes Go Away in 1930. She immigrated to New York in 1935 where she wrote poems, novels, and plays, as well as articles for the Forward. In 1943 she cofounded and edited the Yiddish journal Svive. Fearing for her family’s safety in Europe, she began to write poems responding to the destructive force of the Holocaust. She lived in Tel Aviv from 1948–1952, where she ran Heym, a journal for pioneer women. In 1971 she won the prestigious Itzik Manger Prize for her contributions to Yiddish poetry. Her poems are still included in anthologies and prayer books.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Kadya Molodowsky." (Viewed on January 15, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/molodowsky-kadya>.