Yiddish Poetry


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Anthology of Yiddish Poetry of Poland
between the two World Wars (1918 - 1939)


Translators Editors

Maia Bull, Editor for Debra Fogel

 Maia Bull (b. 1992) is a poet who recently acknowledged her own Polish-Jewish heritage. She spent the final year of her undergraduate education at Quest University Canada pursuing Fogel’s biography, and her original work, from a salt marsh in South Carolina to the Museum of Literature in Warsaw, and through Fogel’s poetry, came into relationship with her own family history and the milieu of scholars and translators working to recover the Jewish past. She will attend graduate school for poetry in San Francisco this fall and can be contacted at maiagbull@gmail.com.

Andrew Firestone
Andrew Firestone is an Adjunct Research Associate of the Australian Centre of Jewish Civilization, Monash University, Melbourne, which has supported two earlier Yiddish poetry projects: yosselbirstein.org and yisroelshtern.org. He is an active member of Melbourne's Kadimah Library reading group.

In 2006 he was a prizewinner in the CIYCL Yiddish Translation competition, for his translation of Shtern’s "When the Surgery is Over". In 2007 he translated the concluding portion of Chaim Grade’s /Musernikes / for the Pinkus Navaredok memorial website: jewishgen.org/yizkor/Novogrudok/nov185.html#Page185

A native Polish speaker, Andrew learned Yiddish as a child at Sholem Aleichem Sunday School in Melbourne and in the SKIF (Bund) organization, where Pinye Ringelblum mentored the development of his interest in Yiddish literature. In the 1980's "Melbourne Chronicle" published his translations of Kadye Molodovsky. He has a special interest in Yiddish literature in Poland between the two world wars.

Karolina Szymianiak
Karolina Szymaniak – doktor nauk humanistycznych, literaturoznawczyni, tłumaczka, redaktorka. Zajmuje się nowoczesną literaturą jidysz, problematyką modernizmu, awangardy, literaturą pisaną przez kobiety. Obroniła doktorat poświęcony dyskursowi jidyszowej krytyki literackiej. Autorka książki poświęconej estetyce polsko-jidyszowej pisarki, Debory Vogel (2006). Redaktorka dwujęzycznej antologii /Warszawska awangarda jidysz/ (2005). Obecnie redaguje dwujęzyczną antologię poezji kobiet (ukaże się w 2011 roku) oraz wraz z Joanną Nalewajko-Kulikov polskojęzyczną antologię poświęconą kulturze jidysz w ZSRR (ukaże się w 2012 roku).
Karolina Syzmaniak is an editor and translator with a PhD in literary and humanistic studies. Her doctorate deals with the place of literary criticism in modern Yiddish culture. Her interests range across modern Yiddish literature, theories of modernism and of the avant-garde, and women's literature.

"Warszawska awangarda jidysz"  (Gdansk, 2005, ISBN 83-7453-711-6), a beautifully illustrated book depicting the Yiddish culture of Warsaw between the Wars,  is edited  and introduced by her – and comprises a selection of  the Khaliastre poets – Peretz Markish, Uri Zvi Grinberg, Melekh Ravich – and others, as well as such prose writers as I.J. Singer, Alter Kacyzne, J Opatoshu, Oyzer Warszawski to name a few – all in Polish translation, much translated by herself.

In 2006 her book on the aesthetics of the poetry of the pre-War Polish Jewish writer Debra Vogel was published.

Currently she is preparing, for publication in 2011, a bilingual anthology of Yiddish poetry by women; and, for publication in 2012, together with Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov, a Polish language anthology of the Yiddish culture of the Soviet Union.


Marina Alexeeva
Marina Alexeeva was born in Leningrad (today's St.Petersburg) in 1968. She has been living in Paris since 1992. After completing studies in geography and biology at the Leningrad Pedagogical Institute she subsequently in London qualified as an interpreter and translator - her current work. At the Medem Library in Paris she is a student of Yiddish language and literature. She has published her own Yiddish poetry in a number of journals - see "Contemporary Yiddish Poetry" on this site.

Hershl Hartman (b. 1929) , translator here of Debra Fogel and of Janek Lewin, holds degrees in Jewish Education and Yiddish Journalism from the former School for Higher Jewish Education (“di kursn”) of the Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order, IWO in New York. He was the first native-born Yiddish reporter in the U.S. (morgn frayhayt, 1947-1951) and has been the principal of the secular Sholem Educational Institute (1967-1985) and Education Director of The Sholem Community (1985-present) in Los Angeles.

 His Yiddish/English translations include scores of Yiddish poems and essays and handwritten manuscripts including an undated notebook of Isaac Bashevis Singer outlining a never-written trilogy of novels.

Among the many full-length books translated are the memoirs of the late Yiddish poet/journalist Moyshe Szklar, Itsik Manger’s Megile and a verse novel, Shikhes Khulin, by Moyshe Broderzon, illustrated by El Lessitsky.

 Hershl is the Convenor of the L.A. Secular Yeshiva which has, to-date, trained 10 vegvayzer/madrikhot(im)/Leaders as officiants at holiday observances and life-cycle events. His publications include many booklets on Jewish holidays and texts for their secular observance.

 He can be contacted at hershl@earthlink.net

Floris Kalman
Floris lives in Melbourne. She was born in Belgium before the War and is a native Yiddish speaker. She attended Yiddish Sunday School in Brussels after the war. Trained as a Sunday School teacher in Melbourne and taught Yiddish. Studying Hebrew language and literature much later in life paradoxically improved her Yiddish and enabled her to read Mendele and to write a Master’s thesis on his works. She has always had a great interest in languages and enjoys the challenge of translating. Married for 49 years, she has three children and 8 grandchildren.

Natalia Krynicka
(ur. w Poznaniu w r. 1970)

Po ukończeniu I Liceum Ogólnokształcącego w Poznaniu Natalia Krynicka studiowała Judaistykę we Frankfurcie nad Menem w latach 1989-1993, a następnie literaturę jidysz w Instytucie Języków Orientalnych (INALCO) w Paryżu, gdzie w r. 1997 uzyskała magisterium. W r. 2009 obroniła na Sorbonie (Université Paris IV) pracę doktorską pod tytułem Polsko-żydowskie stosunki kulturowe w świetle tłumaczeń literackich (1885-1939).

W roku 2003 opracowała wydanie wierszy zebranych żydowskiej poetki Miryam Ulinover (A Grus fun der alter heym/Un bonjour du pays natal, Paryż, Bibliothèque Medem).

Od 2001 pracuje jako bibliotekarka w Bibliotece Medema w Paryżu i wykłada język i literaturę jidysz na Sorbonie i w Centrum Kultury Żydowskiej (Maison de la culture yiddish).
Natalia Krynicka (b. 1970) completed her secondary schooling (Liceum) in her native Poland in 1989. She then pursued Jewish Studies at Frankfurt University from1989 to1993.  Then, after earning the Master’s degree in Yiddish in Paris, at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales -  where she also obtained the Diploma in Russian -  she commenced doctoral studies in Yiddish at the University of Paris VII.  She has been writing on the history and problems of translation of Polish literature into Yiddish. In 2009 she completed her doctoral dissertation, on the cross-cultural relationships between Yiddish and Polish literature.

Since 2001, Natalia has served as librarian of the Medem Library in Paris, and has taught Yiddish at the Sorbonne. In addition, she teaches Yiddish at the Paris Yiddish Center (Maison de la culture Yiddish).

  Since 1995, Natalia has coedited Der yidisher Tam-tam, the pedagogical bulletin produced by the Paris Yiddish Center. The year 2003 saw the publication of her bilingual edition of Miryam Ulinover’s collected poems, A Grus fun der alter heym/ Un bonjour du pays natal (Paris, Bibliothèque Medem).

Jon Levitow
Born in 1958 in Los Angeles CA, Jon Levitow received a Ph.D. in English literature from Princeton University in 1986 with a dissertation on James Joyce. He is a former student of Yiddish at the Los Angeles Arbeter Ring and at the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language intensive Yiddish program in Los Angeles, where he has also served as an instructor, as well as first prize winner of the inaugural CIYCL internet-wide Yiddish poetry translation competition in 2005. He currently teaches Yiddish at Stanford University and lives in San Jose. Jon welcomes comments and criticisms at: jnlvtw@comcast.net

Stephen Simons (Translator of Debra Fogel)

Dr. Stephen R. Simons (1953) grew up in a Yiddish speaking home. As a child he attended the Workman's Circle Yiddish Schools. He holds a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, an MA in Yiddish and Hebrew Literature and a PhD in early 20th century Jewish immigration to the United States and the History of Jewish Mysticism.

He attended the Weinreich Program in Yiddish Language ad Culture at Columbia University and the summer Program of the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem. He attended two Yeshivot in Jerusalem.

 Dr. Simons taught Yiddish language and literature at Brandeis University, the Hebrew College and at the Center for Jewish Studies in Kazimiercz, Poland, Dr. Simons worked with the National Center for Yiddish Films in Waltham MA where he provided English subtitles for the Yiddish Films: Unzere Kinder, Dem Khazn's Zun and Lyubovnik.

He has translated articles by Prof. Shimon Rawidowicz which were published in Ravid, ed Jews: The Ever-dying People; and translated materials for the preparation of Murciano and Weissbrodt, The Jews of Argentina. A translation of Y. Opatoshu's The Italian appeared in The Center for  Yiddish Book's journal, Pakntreger.

 Dr. Simons has worked with various translation companies translating Yiddish audio files into English for the New York Court System and translating texts from English to Yiddish. He is currently interested in translating Yizkor Holocaust Memorial Books and source materials for scholars.

Dr. Simons can be reached at Shimjim2@yahoo.com

Lucette Pilcer Suskind
Née à Anvers, Belgique en 1937. A étudié le yiddish en partant de zéro, avec Sonia Pinkusewits en Belgique, Mordkhe Shaechter à New York, Itskhok Niborski et Batia Baum à Paris auxquels elle doit l’immense plaisir de la traduction du yiddish en français.

Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1937. Studied Yiddish from scratch with    Sonia Pinkuszewicz in Belgium, Mordkhe Shechter in New York, and Yitskhok Niborski and Batia Baum in Paris, to all of whom she owes the huge pleasure of translating texts from Yiddish into French.

Aron Waldman
Né à Varsovie en 1938. A passé la guerre en URSS. Vit en France depuis 1949 et a grandi dans une famille yiddishophone. A exercé la médecine jusqu'en 2006. Depuis 2001 enseigne le yiddish dans la Maison de la Culture Yiddish à Paris et fait des traductions du yiddish en français.

Lena Watson (Okolovich)
Lena studied Yiddish in Moscow at one of the first training programmes for teachers of Yiddish in the former USSR, Touro College.  From having had no idea about the language prior to her enrolment, she very soon became enamoured of it and became a passionate Yiddishist.  She has a BA in Philology from the Jewish University in Moscow and an MSt in Jewish Studies from the University of Oxford, where she researched Ashkenazi Jewish folklore and more specifically cryptozoology in classical Yiddish literature.  At present she is a freelance translator working with English, Russian and Yiddish in various combinations.  In 2008 she won the CIYCL Yiddish-into-English poetry translation contest, for her translation of M. Gebirtig’s My Spring.


  Yiddish Poetry



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