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Yiddish in America

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Yiddish in America

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Yiddish in America
Essays on Yiddish Culture in the Golden Land

Edited by Edward S. Shapiro
Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute
University of Scranton Press: 2008
Distributed by University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 1-58966-137-0

Reviewed by Boris Segel - March 23, 2009

Yiddish in America is a collection of eight essays, all on the topic of "secular Yiddish culture in America." These essays were written by experts in a range of fields dealing with Yiddish culture and language. The essays in this volume include: While not a comprehensive overview of secular Yiddish culture in America, the essays in this book do provide an intriguing glimpse into the breadth and vibrancy that Yiddish has played, and continues to play, in both Jewish and American culture. These essays also discuss how Yiddish culture in America differed from that in other lands, and how the Yiddish cultures that were brought to American by Eastern European Jews, mutated after exposure to the multi-culturalism of their new home. These essays also touch upon the modern Yiddish revival that has swept through American campuses, as well as the continued use of Yiddish as a common vernacular among religious Jews.

These essays in this collection are fun to read and the inclusion of an assortment of Yiddish cartoons and cover art enlivens the text. In addition, these essays not only serve as a fine introduction to the varied aspects of secular Yiddish culture in America, but the essays contain meaty enough depth to intrigue those already familiar with this field of study. They also offer an overview of some of the key players in the realm of secular Yiddish culture, from the likes of movie director Sidney Goldin and the newspaper editor Jacob Marinoff to the poet Morris Rosenfeld and the playwright Jacob Gordin. As such, Yiddish in America is essential reading for anyone with an interest in secular Yiddish culture in America or Yiddish language and literature, on both a personal or academic level.

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