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Yiddish in America

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CBS News’s segment of “Yiddish is alive deep in the heart of Texas” talks about how there’s been a spiked interest in the ancient language at the University of Texas. The feature inspired us here to prove that Yiddish is alive and well At Syracuse University Press.

Before checking out our books, play our Quiz! Which Words are Actually Yiddish?

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The Revolutionary Roots of Modern The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917

Barry Trachtenberg

Yiddish, 1903-1917 investigates how three major figures changed the status of the language. From almost abandoning it all together to becoming the dominant language of the Russian Jewish media and the foundation of an ideology of Jewish liberation.

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Recovering “Yiddishland”
Threshold Moments in American Literature

Merle L. Bachman

According to traditional narratives of immigrant assimilation, Jews freely surrendered Yiddish language and culture in their desire for an American identity. The book reveals unexpected and illuminating critiques of Americanization by the Yiddish immigrants in the realm of New York City in the 1890s and 1930s.

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Vilna My Vilna

Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz
Translated from the Yiddish by Helen Mintz

Abraham Karpinowitz (1913–2004) was born in Vilna, Poland (present-day Vilnius, Lithuania), the city that serves as both the backdrop and the central character for his stories. He survived the Holocaust in the Soviet Union and, after two years in an internment camp on the island of Cyprus, moved to Israel, where he lived until his death. In this collection, Karpinowitz portrays, with compassion and intimacy, the dreams and struggles of the poor and disenfranchised Jews of his native city before the Holocaust.

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Classic Yiddish Stories of S. Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and I. L. Peretz

Edited by Ken Frieden
Translated by Ken Frieden, Ted Gorelick, and Michael Wex

Two early works by S.Y. Abramovitsh introduce the reader to Abramovitsh’s alter ego Mendele the Book Peddler. Mendele narrates both The Little Man and Fishke the Lame. In different voices, he also presents a diverse cast of characters including Isaac Abraham as tailor’s apprentice, choirboy, and corrupt businessman. Reb Alter tells of his matchmaking mishap and Fishke relates his travels through the Ukraine with a caravan of beggars.

Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye reemerges from new translations of “Hodel” and “Chava” in all of his comic splendor. Notes enable students to follow Tevye’s uneven steps through Bible quotations. Four of Sholem Aleichem’s other eloquent monologists come back to haunt us in scintillating translations.

The selections from Peretz include his finest stories about the hasidim, such as “Kabbalists,” “Teachings of the Hasidim,” and the ironic tale “The Rebbe’s Pipe.” A fresh rendering of Peretz’s masterpiece “Between Two Mountains” represents the meeting of an inspirational rebbe and an awe-inspiring rabbi.

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