The Arty Semite

Where To Read New Yiddish Literature

By Forward Staff

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The news about Yiddish literature these days is mostly about translation — whether from Yiddish (as with Moyshe Kulbak’s “Zelmenyaner,” which I recently reviewed), or, as seems to be increasingly the case, into Yiddish.

But there are plenty of writers out there producing work in Yiddish, plain and simple. A representative sample can be found in the new issue of Afn Shvel, a Yiddish magazine whose latest issue is dedicated to new Yiddish writing.

Published by the League for Yiddish and edited by Sheva Zucker, the latest double issue of Afn Shvel (or “On the Threshold”), departs from the usual magazine format to look more like a quarterly literary journal.

According to Zucker’s introduction, the volume includes 30 contributors from four continents and seven countries. Many of the writers are well-known names in the world of Yiddish letters, including Rivke Basman Ben-Hayim, Yitzkhok Luden and Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman, but there are also a number of younger contributors who sent in prose, poetry and drama. There is also a special section in the volume, titled “first fruits,” for beginners.

For those wondering what the contemporary face of Yiddish literature looks like, the new issue of Afn Shvel is a good place to start.


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