Is it possible to conceive of the American diet without bagels? Or Star Trek without Mr. Spock? Are the creatures in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are based on Holocaust survivors? And how has Yiddish, a language without a country, influenced Hollywood? These and other questions are explored in this diverse anthology of the interplay of Yiddish and American culture, edited by award-winning authors and scholars Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert.
Within this impressive anthology of Yiddish publications from the early 1900s to the present, the reader is exposed to an array of expressive styles ... Some of the reading is poignant ... much is heart warming in detailing the warmth of human relationships; some selections play on the ironic humor of life; but all the readings engage attention and focus on analysis of the tie between Yiddish and our culture ... One can start reading in any section of the volume and just roam through the pages to feel the essence and influence of Yiddish.
This volume is not a chronological exploration of the Yiddish language in America. Instead, the editors offer portions of some of the major works of Yiddish literature, poetry, comics, and political thought, by writers including Isaac Bashevis Singer, Chaim Grade, Cynthia Ozick, and Sophie Tucker, among others. A delightful chapter concentrates on culinary offerings with some recipes included. Finally, a fascinating chapter focuses on the influence of Yiddish in Canada, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, and Colombia, offering a glimpse of Yiddishkeit outside Eurocentric views ... A wonderful compilation sure to please new and old lovers of Yiddish culture, Jewish history, and linguistics.
...an impressive collection of essays, fiction, drama, memoir, poetry, cartoons, and interviews, all showing how 'Yiddish is so deeply woven into the fabric of the United States that it can sometimes be difficult to recognize how much it has transformed the world we live in today' ... For readers unfamiliar with Yiddish writing, a revelation; for readers and aficionados of the language, a treasure.