Israel in Translation

Sholem Aleichem: ‘The Jewish Mark Twain’ – Israel in Translation

When Mark Twain heard of the writer called ‘the Jewish Mark Twain,’ he replied, “Please tell him that I am the American Sholem Aleichem.”

Mendele Mocher Sforim: the grandfather of Yiddish literature – Israel in Translation


Today, Mendele Mocher Sforim is known as a quiet, Bauhaus-filled street that runs from Hayarkon to just past Shalom Aleichem. Yet in the late 18th century, Mendele Mocher Sforim, or ‘Mendele the book peddler,’ was an author who depicted the world of the shtetl (village) with all of its poverty and decay. He is now considered the grandfather of Yiddish literature and one of the founders of ‘modern’ Jewish literature. He ‘wanted to be useful to his people rather than gain literary laurels,’ and his satirical, critical stories got him chased from town.

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Text:

Of Bygone Days, Translated by Rayomond P. Scheindlin.
In A Shtetl and Other Yiddish Novellas, Ed. Ruth Wisse. Wayne State University Press, 1986.

Music:

Avraimi der Marvicher – Chava Alberstein
Di Goldene Pave – Ana Margolin, performed by The Klezmatics & Chava Alberstein

 

Photo: The Odessa literary group in 1916; from left to right: Yehoshua Ravnitzki, Shloyme Ansky, Mendele M. Sforim, Hayim N. Bialik, Simon Frug.

Ruth the Moabite: Judaism’s most famous convert – Israel in Translation

Jews read the Book of Ruth during the holiday of Shavuot. Host Marcela Sulak reads Linda Zisquit’s lively translation of the first chapter.

The hymnal poet-paver of the roads of Israel – Israel in Translation

Called ‘Lashonsky’ for his comic wit, linguistic innovations and irrepressible puns, every child in Israel knows Avraham Shlonsky’s version of the German Rumpelstiltskin fairytale: Utzli Gutzli.

Natan Alterman’s agricultural contributions – Israel in Translation

Some know Natan Alterman as an Israeli poet, playwright, journalist and translator; others know his song “Kalaniot”; but few know he brought a popular species of tomato to Israel.

Yocheved Bat Miriam, a poet on the threshold – Israel in Translation

Yocheved Bat Miriam is unique among Hebrew language poets for holding the land of her birth and the land of her life in equal esteem.

‘A story of heroes and villains, of sorrow and glory’ – Israel in Translation

Manger Street is a ‘crook’ of a street in North Tel Aviv – perfect for our Yiddish-speaking prankster Itzik Manger, author of ‘The Songs of the Megillah.’

A Yiddish tale of love, pogroms and Jewish mysticism – Israel in Translation

We look at one of I.L.Peretz’ most famous Yiddish plays – a tragic-comic shtetl ghost love story.

The founder of Cultural Zionism: Just one of the people – Israel in Translation

We dip into the writings of Ahad Ha’am, the founder of cultural Zionism, who foresaw the conflict and its solution.