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Ruth Rubin

Ruth Rubin helped lay the cornerstones for the modern Yiddish revival movement by recording, studying, and performing Yiddish songs and folk tales. Rubin began writing Yiddish poetry in the 1920s and began studying and teaching Yiddish folklore, literature, and music at several Yiddish schools in the 1930s. During WWII she translated and published Yiddish diaries that were smuggled out of ghettos and concentration camps. She joined several folklore societies and joined the editorial board of the New York Folklore Quarterly. She also began performing at folk concerts, including several at Carnegie Hall. In 1945 she began making recordings for Folkway Records and also began collecting songs from different communities, lugging a reel-to-reel tape recorder across the US and Canada and documenting roughly 2,000 songs over the course of 50 years. She published her first collection, A Treasury of Yiddish Folksong, in 1950. In 1963 she published Voices of a People: The Story of Yiddish Folksong, which translated and examined the historical background of songs, treating them as important primary sources. Rubin earned her PhD in 1976 with a dissertation on the songs of Jewish women, and her recordings survive in libraries across the globe, from Israel to the US and Canada.

Date of Birth
September 1, 1906
Place of Birth
Date of Death
June 10, 2000

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Rubin." (Viewed on March 25, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/rubin-ruth>.


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