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Women in Translation Month: Yiddish

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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.

Irena Klepfisz
Translator, poet and author Irena Klepfisz. Image ID: 1661039

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

Poetry

Hayah Rahel Andres

  • 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].

Celia Dropkin

  • The Acrobat: Selected Poems, translated from the Yiddish by Faith Jones, Jennifer Kronovet, and Samuel Solomon; foreword by Edward Hirsch.

Fell-Sara Yellin

Rukhl Fishman

  • 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.

Troim Katz Handler

Irena Klepfisz

Rokhl Korn

  • 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  

Anna Margolin

Kadya Molodowsky

Kady Molodowsky, Anna Margolin, Malka Heifetz Tussman

Sarah Moskovitz

Chava Rosenfarb

Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman

Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath

  • 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].

Sylvia Siegel-Schildt

Dora Teitelboim

Malka Heifetz Tussman

Rosa Newman Walinska

R. Zychlinska

  • 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.

Fiction

Bella Goldworth

Esther Singer Kreytman

  • 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)

Blume Lempel

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

Dvora Baron, Celia Dropkin, Rochel Faygenberg, Rachel Korn, Esther Singer Kreitman, Blume Lempel, Helen Londynski, Kadya Molodowsky, Fradel Schtok, Yente Serdatzky

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

Bryna Bercovitch, Rochel Brokhes, Frankel-Paula Zaltzman, Hamer-Sarah Jacklyn, Malke Lee, Rikudah Potash, Chava Rosenfarb, Anne Viderman

Kadya Molodowsky

Adele Mondry

Chava Rosenfarb

Memoirs

Hayah Rahel Andres

Hinde Bergner

Bella Rosenfeld Chagall

  • Burning Lights, translated by Norbert Guterman; with 36 paintings by Mark Chagall.

Bertha Ferderber-Salz

Glueckel of Hameln

Puah Rakovska

Religious writings

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.

A Book of Jewish Women's Prayers: Translations from the Yiddish; Selected and with Commentary by Norman Tarnor.

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.

Cookbooks

Vilna Vegetarian CookbookH. Braun

Malky Eisenberger

Fania Lewando

Comments

Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Rachel Korn

"Paper Roses: Rachel Korn" Translated by Seymour Levitan Aya press 1985

Esther Singer Kreitman

Your bibliography is wonderfully useful! Just one addition comes to mind: Esther Kreitman's book of short stories, "Yikhes" has also been published in English: "Blitz and other stories", translated by Dorothee van Tendeloo. London: David Paul, 2004

Rachel Korn

Thank you for the addition, Frieda! Rokhl Korn's "Paper Roses" tr. Seymour Levitan is now included.

Esther Singer Kreitman

Thank you, Heather, for the addition! "Yikhes"/"Blitz" has now been included.

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