Women in Translation Month: Yiddish
August is Women in Translation Month. Celebrate Yiddish women writers in English translation with poetry, fiction, memoirs, prayers, and cookbooks from the Library’s collection.
Women writers in Yiddish constitute a significant group, both creatively and demographically. An informal survey uncovered roughly 900 women writers in Yiddish primarily in book form, without even attempting to document those who wrote for the press.
Some of these writers have gained more prominence in recent years, thanks in part to new translation efforts. This is certainly a welcome development, considering that only 2% of Yiddish literature, primarily that by male authors, has been translated. This statistic comes from the Yiddish Book Center, which has also recently highlighted some of the female translators active in their translation initiatives.
Below are Yiddish books by women translated into English in book form, arranged by genre. Translations also appear in journals such as Bridges, In Geveb, Pakn Treger, and on the Yiddish Book Center’s website.
Yiddish Books by Women in English Translation
- For whom do I sing my songs Far ṿemen zing ikh mayne lider. an araynfir un opshatsung fun Shalom Shṭern; iberzetsungen oyf English fun Yudl Ḳohen; [redaḳṭirṭ fun Dzshaneṭ Ḳohen].
Rivka Basman Ben-Haim
- The thirteenth hour = di draytsnte sho, translated from Yiddish by Zelda Kahan-Newman.
- The Acrobat: Selected Poems, translated from the Yiddish by Faith Jones, Jennifer Kronovet, and Samuel Solomon; foreword by Edward Hirsch.
- Songs of Days and Years; Poems. Translated from the Yiddish by Herman Eichenthal, Lila B. Hassid and Max Rosenfeld.
- I Want to Fall Like This = Azoy ṿil ikh faln: selected poems, translated from the Yiddish by Seymour Levitan; with an introduction by David G. Roskies.
- Śimḥe: episṭolarishe libe-lider = Simkhe (Celebration): Love-Letter Poems; poetry translated by Shimon Beyles.
- A Few Words in the Mother Tongue: Poems Selected and New (1971-1990); introduction by Adrienne Rich.
- Generations: Selected Poems, edited by Seymour Mayne; In praise of Rachel Korn by Elie Wiesel; translated from the Yiddish by Rivka Augenfeld et. al.
- Paper Roses= Papirene royzn, translated by Seymour Levitan
- Drunk From the Bitter Truth: The Poems of Anna Margolin; translated, edited, and with an introduction by Shirley Kumove.
- Papirene briḳn = Paper bridges: Selected Poems, translated, edited, and introduced by Kathryn Hellerstein.
- Paper Towers = Papirene ṭurems prints by Sarah Horowitz; poems by Kadya Molodowsky; translation by Kathryn Hellerstein.
- The Other Voice: Twentieth-Century Women's Poetry in Translation edited by Joanna Bankier; foreword by Adrienne Rich.
- Ḳumṭ tsum ṭish = come to the table
- Poems = Lider. Bilingual ed., translated byThomas E. Bird.
- Plutsemdiḳer regn: lider, iberzetsungen fun Yeḥiel-Abo Sandler un Sholem Berger; haḳdomeh fun Sheve Tsuḳer
Songs to a moonstruck Lady: women in Yiddish poetry [collection] - selected and translated by Barnett Zumoff ; with an introductory essay by Emanuel S. Goldsmith [includes a significant amount of work by women].
- All My Yesterdays Were Steps. Edited and translated by Aaron Kramer; illustrations by Stan Kaplan.
- Am I Also You? translated from the Yiddish by Marcia Falk.
- With Teeth in the Earth: selected poems translated, edited, and introduced by Marcia Falk. Editions published in 1992 and 2011
- God Hid His Face. Translated from the Yiddish by Barnett Zumoff, Aaron Kramer, Marek Kanter, and others; with an introductory essay by Emanuel S. Goldsmith.
- Across the Border. Short Stories trans. from the Yiddish by Max Rosenfeld.
- Blitz and other stories, translated from Yiddish by Dorothee van Tendeloo; edited by Sylvia Paskin.
- Diamonds [Brilyantn]. translated from the Yiddish and with an introduction by Heather Valencia.
- Dance of the Demons [Sheydim-tants]. Translated from Yiddish by Maurice Carr; introduction by Ilan Stavans; afterword by Anita Norich; biographical essays by Maurice Carr and Hazel Karr (2009)
- Deborah [Sheydim-tants]. With a new introduction by Clive Sinclair; translated by Maurice Carr (1983)
- Oedipus in Brooklyn & Other Stories, translated by Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, 2016.
Lili Berger, Rochel Brokhes, Sheindl Franzus-Garfinkle, Shira Gorshman, Chayele Grober, Sarah Hamer-Jaclyn, Rachel Korn, Blume Lempel, Ida Maze, Rikudah Potash, Chava Rosenfarb, Dora Schulner, Mirl Erdberg Shatan
- The Exile Book of Yiddish Women Writers, edited by Frieda Johles Forman, 2013.
Dvora Baron, Celia Dropkin, Rochel Faygenberg, Rachel Korn, Esther Singer Kreitman, Blume Lempel, Helen Londynski, Kadya Molodowsky, Fradel Schtok, Yente Serdatzky
- Beautiful as the Moon, Radiant as the Stars: Jewish Women in Yiddish Stories: An Anthology, edited by Sandra Bark; introduction by Francine Prose, 2003.
Lili Berger, Rochel Brokhes, Shira Gorshman, Hamer-Sarah Jacklyn, Rachel Korn, Esther Singer Kreitman, Malke Lee, Blume Lempel, Ida Maze, Kadya Molodowsky, Rikudah Potash, Miriam Raskin, Chava Rosenfarb, Dora Schulner, Yente Serdatzky, Chava Slucka-Kestin
- Found Treasures: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers edited by Frieda Forman; introduction by Irena Klepfisz, 1994.
Bryna Bercovitch, Rochel Brokhes, Frankel-Paula Zaltzman, Hamer-Sarah Jacklyn, Malke Lee, Rikudah Potash, Chava Rosenfarb, Anne Viderman
- Arguing With the Storm: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers, edited and with a preface by Rhea Tregebov; introduction by Kathryn Hellerstein, 2008.
- A House With Seven Windows: Short Stories; translated from the Yiddish by Leah Schoolnik.
- Wyszkowo, A Shtetl on the Bug River; translated from the Yiddish by Moshe Spiegel.
- Bociany; Of Lodz and Love, translated from the Yiddish by the author.
- Survivors: Seven Short Stories; translated by Goldie Morgentaler.
- The Tree of Life: A Novel About Life in the Lodz Ghetto [Trilogy translated from the Yiddish by the author in collaboration with Goldie Morgentaler]:
- On the Brink of the Precipice [Book 1]
- From the Depths I Call You, 1940-1942 [Book 2]
- The Cattle Cars are Waiting, 1942-1942 [Book 3]
- Years Have Sped By= Zaynen yorn gelofn [bilingual autobiography and poetry]; forrede un iberzetsungen oyf English fun Yudl Ḳohen; [edited by Jeanette Cohen].
- On Long Winter Nights: Memoirs of a Jewish Family in a Galician Township (1870-1900); translated from the Yiddish, edited, and with an introduction by Justin Daniel Cammy.
- Burning Lights, translated by Norbert Guterman; with 36 paintings by Mark Chagall.
- And The Sun Kept Shining; foreword by Menachem Z. Rosensaft.
- The Life of Glückel of Hameln, 1646-1724, written by herself; translated from the original Yiddish and edited by Beth-Zion Abrahams.
- The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln translated by Marvin Lowenthal; introd. by Norma and Robert Rosen.
- My Life as a Radical Jewish Woman: Memoirs of a Zionist Feminist in Poland; edited and with an introduction by Paula E. Hyman; translated from the Yiddish by Barbara Harshav with Paula E. Hyman.
Women such as Sore bas Tovim, Seril Rappaport, Sore of Krasny, and Rokhl Ester bas Avikhayl, as well as men, wrote and published tkhines—described in the YIVO Encyclopedia as “private devotions and paraliturgical prayers usually in Yiddish, primarily for women.”
Ṭiḳṭiner, Rivḳah bat Meʼir. Meneket Rivkah: A Manual of Wisdom and Piety for Jewish Women; edited with an introduction and commentary by Frauke von Rohden; translation by Samuel Spinner; translation of introduction and commentary by Maruce Tszorf.
The Merit of Our Mothers: A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women's Prayers = Bizkhus imohes compiled and introduced by Tracy Guren Klirs; translated by Tracy Guren Klirs, Ida Cohen Selavan, and Gella Schweid Fishman; annotated by Faedra Lazar Weiss and Barbara Selya.
Seyder tkhines: The Forgotten Book of Common Prayer for Jewish Women, translated and edited with commentary by Devra Kay.
Teḥinah = Techinas: A Voice From the Heart: "As Only a Woman Can Pray" selected and translated by Rivka Zakutinsky.
- The Yiddish Family Cookbook: In The Style Of American, French, Italian And German Cookbooks Specially For The Jewish Kitchen edited and translated by Bracha B. Weingrod; introduction by Hasia Diner.
- Food for Health Cookbook: Includes Over 100 Recipes Clearly Explained [translated by the author]
- The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook: Garden-Fresh Recipes Rediscovered and Adapted for Today's Kitchen; translated and annotated by Eve Jochnowitz; foreword by Joan Nathan.