Browsing Tag



The Yiddish Tale Behind the Thanksgiving Turkey

By On November 23, 2016

Why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving? There are lots of explanations, but socialist Jews have the best one. It appears in a 50-year-old Yiddish story, “Farvos est men indik tenksgiving” originally… Read More


Betty Boop’s Secret Jewish Past

By On September 26, 2016

In the summer of 1930, a Viennese Jewish immigrant named Max Fleischer created an anthropomorphized poodle named Betty Boop. The pooch waited tables and sang in a cartoon called “Dizzy Dishes.” But… Read More


The Aussie Divorcee Who Wrote Poetry About Lower East Side Jews

By On September 2, 2016

By the time Lola Ridge really got started, most women of her era might have given up: In 1907, as a 33-year-old divorcee, she left Australia, the land of her youth, for… Read More


Israeli Artist Evokes Yiddish Theater With Dead Sea Bridal Dress

By On August 28, 2016

It turns out an amazing thing happens to traditional black Hasidic dresses when submerged in the Dead Sea for three months: They turn white and start sparkling with encrusted salt crystals. Over… Read More


Yiddish, Pig Skin, and Other Surprises in Jell-O’s Troubled Jewish Past

By On August 8, 2016

Long a staple of the American Jewish desert table, Jell-O has a much more divisive and political origin story than you’d expect from a wobbly gelatinous mass. As told in Roger Horowitz’s… Read More

A Mother-Daughter Lower East Side Yiddish Pregnancy Tale

A Mother-Daughter Lower East Side Yiddish Pregnancy Tale

By On May 16, 2016

Throughout Jennifer S. Brown’s debut novel Modern Girls, it’s easy to think you’ve been here before, in a 1930s Lower East Side that’s recognizable from such chroniclers as Henry Roth and Irving… Read More

Two Jews in Love--in Yiddish--in Havana

Two Jews in Love (in Yiddish) in Havana

By On April 12, 2016

Today Cuba is in the news for resuming diplomatic relations with the United States after a four-decade Cold War freeze. But it was a very different place in 1942, when Reuben and… Read More

Uncle Tom's Cabin in Yiddish, With Jewish Slaves

Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Yiddish, With Jewish Slaves

By On April 1, 2016

Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Yiddish: sounds crazy, no? But across 19th-century Russia and eastern Europe, Jews eagerly devoured Russian Jewish writer Isaac Meir Dik’s (1807-1893) Yiddish version of the antislavery classic. Dik’s… Read More


Yiddish-Speaking Tigers and Klezmer-Playing Bears for Poland’s Jewish Kids

By On January 3, 2016

Playful poems of a wise owl, a menacing tiger and a klezmer-playing bear that once delighted Yiddish-speaking Polish children are making an unlikely comeback in a soon-to-be-released children’s book for a new… Read More


The Russian Jewish Ethnographer Behind This Trove of Stunning Historic Photographs

By On December 3, 2015

The Vitebsk-born Shloyme Zaynvi Rapoport — better known by the moniker S. An-sky — was many things: publisher, playwright, tutor. But his most enduring legacy is twofold: his play The Dybbuk, which… Read More

Reading the Koran in Yiddish

Reading the Koran in Yiddish

By On October 27, 2015

  Demand for a Yiddish translation of the Koran has never been particularly high, but that didn’t discourage Solomon Blumgarten, penname Yehoash. Blumgarten (1872-1927), a Lithuanian-born New Yorker, translated parts of the… Read More


The Fascinating Yiddish Origins of “Death of a Salesman”

By On October 22, 2015

  Linda Loman’s famous speech in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman demands that “attention must be paid” to a man like her husband Willy. In the New Yiddish Rep’s new staging… Read More

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