How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish
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"Stavans and Lambert, both accomplished scholars, aspire to something far more substantial than the Yiddishisms and Jewish jokes that have come to be associated with Yiddishkayt in American pop culture.... [T]he reader is offered an astonishingly rich and diverse selection of poems, stories, memoirs, essays, plays, letters, conversations, recipes and reminiscences, as well as drawings, cartoons and posters by Yiddish artists, each one refracting a different point of view and a different point of light."
--Jonathan Kirsch "Jewish Journal "
"Who could resist the lure of a jar of kosher dills on a bright yellow book cover? Not I. In addition to the pickles what the cover promised was a certainty that the work represented on its pages, between essays, fiction, poems, cartoons, etc., would be co-chosen by the indefatigable Ilan Stavans, whose work I have followed for years. Divided into six parts, starting with 'Politics and Possibilities' and ending with 'The Other Americas, ' one cannot help but be amazed by the breadth of Yiddish documents that have been found and preserved from the past, while marveling at the more contemporary writers who have added richness and are keeping Yiddish alive. This book is utterly fascinating and a true cultural artifact."--Lucy Kogler "Literary Hub "
"In addition to 'radical, dangerous and sexy, ' Stavans and Lambert also characterize Yiddish as 'sweet, generous and full of life.' This fine volume proves their point and serves both as an elegy for voices lost and an impetus for Yiddishkeit discovery."--Liz Spikol "Jewish Exponent "
"A wide-ranging, eclectic anthology of work by Yiddish writers. Stavans and Yiddish Book Center academic director Lambert have assembled an impressive collection of essays, fiction, drama, memoir, poetry, cartoons, and interviews, all showing how 'Yiddish is so deeply woven into the fabric of the United States that it can sometimes be difficult to recognize how much it has transformed the world we live in today.'... Among all these are some stunners--e.g., 'Oedipus in Brooklyn, ' a story by Blume Lempel (1907-1999) that begins with the line, 'Sylvia was no Jocasta.' Emma Goldman (1869-1940) writes fiercely about marriage, which she compares to an 'iron yoke.' In a poem about Coney Island, Victor Packer (1897-1958) writes, 'Beauty and crudity / Go hand in hand and / Launch a united front / Right there are on the sand.' [Cynthia] Ozick (b. 1928) compares Sholem Aleichem to Dickens, Twain, and Will Rogers. 'He was a popular presence, and stupendously so. His lectures and readings were mobbed; he was a household friend; he was cherished as a family valuable.' For readers unfamiliar with Yiddish writing, a revelation; for readers and aficionados of the language, a treasure."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"This volume is not a chronological exploration of the Yiddish language in America. Instead, the editors offer portions of some of the major works of Yiddish literature, poetry, comics, and political thought, by writers including Isaac Bashevis Singer, Chaim Grade, Cynthia Ozick, and Sophie Tucker, among others. A delightful chapter concentrates on culinary offerings with some recipes included. Finally, a fascinating chapter focuses on the influence of Yiddish in Canada, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, and Columbia, offering a glimpse of Yiddishkeit outside Eurocentric views.... A wonderful compilation sure to please new and old lovers of Yiddish culture, Jewish history, and linguistics."