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Yiddish

Who would Cynthia Ozick’s Edelshtein envy now?

Reading Adam Kirsch’s excellent piece in Tablet on Isaac Bashevis Singer reminded me of my all-time favorite short story, Cynthia Ozick’s “Envy, or Yiddish in America,” wherein the hilariously bitter Edelshtein is obsessed with Yankel Ostrover (a Singer-like figure), consumed by the fact that Ostrover has obtained mainstream adulation through having his Yiddish writing translated into English.  

Yiddish poetry: It's not just for men!

Most people believe that Yiddish literature and poetry was written solely by men. In reality, there were hundreds of female Yiddish writers and poets, all of whom had their own distinct biographies and writing styles.

Edith Kaplan Bregman was one of these women. She was born in a Russian shtetl in 1899 to a Hasidic family, immigrating to New York when she was 13. In America, she was exposed to literature that hadn’t been available in Europe, so she became a voracious reader. Bregman went on to write poetry in her native tongue, Yiddish. Her love of language led her to meet many Yiddish literary giants, like Avrom Reyzen, a poet who became her mentor. While she wrote poems throughout her early life, her works weren’t published until 1939, when a Yiddish newspaper had a poetry contest that she entered and won. Her victory gave her the confidence to publish more of her written work. Some of the themes that recur throughout her poems are a love of Judaism and God, life in Europe, and Holocaust remembrance. In addition to writing poetry, Bregman sang and played the mandolin and piano. Bregman’s last poem was published in 1997, a few years before her death at age 99.

The Lives They Lived: Jewish women to remember in 2011

“[Debbie Friedman] emphasized the value of every voice and the power of song to help us express ourselves and become our best selves. As she wrote for JWA's online exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution: 'The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions.' The woman who wrote the song that asks God to 'help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing' herself modeled for us what that looks like.”—Judith Rosenbaum.
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Adrienne Cooper, 1946 - 2011

Beyond her extraordinary artistic accomplishments, Adrienne was a mentor, resource, and role model to so many who have lived, or at least sojourned, in Yiddishland.

Remembering Adrienne Cooper, mother of the Klezmer/Yiddish revival

Adrienne Cooper passed away on Sunday evening at the age of 65 after a long fight with cancer.

Yiddish signs tell women to "move to the side"

If we are to judge what is Jewish by what Jews do (or don't do), we might conclude this week that Jews apparently welcome the New Year with apples, honey, and signs about where women should stand.

Gerry Faier, 1908 - 2011

An agitator, rabble-rouser, and working-class Jewish lesbian, Gerry Faier found company and camaraderie among fellow labor organizers, the burgeoning gay and lesbian communities of Woodstock and Greenwich Village, and activists across many generations.

Labor History Landmark: No. 1 The Forward Building

The Top 11 Labor History Landmarks in New York City is a blog series on Jewesses with Attitude created in honor of Women's History Month and the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Waist Factory fire. Learn more about the series here, or check out JWA's online walking tour.

Marcia Soloski Levin, 1921 - 2010

Mother was a working girl when most women found their identity in motherhood and the home, but she was much more than that. She was a free spirit, supreme motivator for women who wanted to start their own businesses, and a generous friend to those causes she believed in and the people she cared about.

Eta Chait Wrobel, 1916 - 2008

Her life was filled with the love of giving and of fighting for truth, justice, and the Jewish people.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Yiddish." (Viewed on December 9, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/yiddish>.

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