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This book is the first history of YIVO, the original center for Yiddish scholarship. Founded by a group of Eastern European intellectuals after World War I, YIVO became both the apex of secular Yiddish culture and the premier institution of Diaspora Nationalism, which fought for Jewish rights throughout the world at a time of rising anti-Semitism. From its headquarters in Vilna, Lithuania, YIVO tried to balance scholarly objectivity with its commitment to the Jewish masses. Using newly recovered documents that were believed destroyed by Hitler and Stalin, Cecile Esther Kuznitz tells for the first time the compelling story of how these scholars built a world-renowned institution despite dire poverty and anti-Semitism. She raises new questions about the relationship between Jewish cultural and political work and analyzes how nationalism arises outside of state power.
"This unprecedented reference work systematically represents the history and culture of Eastern European Jews from their first settlement in the region to the present day. More than 1,800 alphabetical entries encompass a vast range of topics, including religion, folklore, politics, art, music, theater, language and literature, places, organizations, intellectual movements, and important figures. The two-volume set also features more than 1,000 illustrations and 55 maps. With original and up-to-date contributions from an international team of 450 distinguished scholars, the Encyclopedia covers the region between Germany and the Ural Mountains, from which more than 2.5 million Jews emigrated to the United States between 1870 and 1920. Even today the majority of Jewish immigrants to North America arrive from Eastern Europe. Engaging, wide-ranging, and authoritative, this work is a rich and essential reference for readers with interests in Jewish studies and Eastern European history and culture."--Publisher's website.
In interwar and post-Holocaust New York, Yiddish autobiographers responded to the upheaval of modern Jewish life in ways that combined artistic innovation with commemoration for a world that is no more. Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers is the first comprehensive study of the autobiographical genre in Yiddish literature. Jan Schwarz offers portraits of seven major Yiddish writers, showing the writer's struggles to shape the multiple identities of their ruptured lives in autobiographical fiction. This analysis of Yiddish life-writing includes discussions of literary representation, self and collectivity, and memory in modern Jewish literature. Schwarz shows how Yiddish autobiographical fiction fuses novelistic elements and memoiristic truthfulness in ways that also characterize Jewish life-writing in English and Hebrew. His accessible style, biographical sketches, glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish words, and careful survey of notable texts takes readers on an incomparable journey through modern Yiddish literature.
Published with the generous support of the Koret Foundation.
"A richly informative collection of 18 essays on the most significant aspects of American-Jewish literary culture from the 1880s to the present. . . . [T]he reader will be rewarded by the detailed, near-encyclopedic information set in a comprehensive cultural context." Choice
Yiddish is a rich, complex, and multilayered language, and that complexity is reflected in Yiddish culture. In The Oys of Yiddish, Edward S. Shapiro has gathered a collection of lively essays on Yiddish literature, music, film, and journalism in the United States. This accessible volume demonstrates the enduring value of Yiddish culture through its reliance on solidarity, its artistic adaptability, and its balance of secular and religious characteristics. Shapiro also addresses the problems that have arisen when this vibrant language has been misunderstood or stereotyped, in a book that is sure to delight anyone interested in American Jewish culture.
How the Jewish popular press in the Russian and Ottoman empires helped construct modern Jewish identities. This original and lively study yields new perspectives on the role of print culture in imagining national and transnational communities.

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