Arguing with the Storm Stories by Yiddish Women Writers
Tulchinsky, Karen X., Herizons
ARGUING WITH THE STORM STORIES BY YIDDISH WOMEN WRITERS
EDITED BY RHEA TREGEBOV
REVIEW BY KAREN X. TULCHINSKY
Yiddish is a dying language. But it wasn't always so. In the early part of the 20th century, during its heyday, Yiddish theatre and literature thrived in North America and Eastern Europe. It originated within the Ashkenazi culture in the 10th century in the Rhineland and spread amongst Jews in Central and Eastern Europe. The written language uses Hebrew characters, though it is a mixture of German, Polish, Russian, Hebrew, and several other languages. Once a thriving spoken language, Yiddish began dying off with Jewish emigration to North America.
In an effort to preserve the language, it is being taught to a new generation. Arguing With the Storm, edited by Rhea Tregebov, a professor of poetry and translation at the University of British Columbia, contains 14 stories by nine authors, all originally written in Yiddish and translated into English. The editor offers the anthology as one more contribution in the renaissance of Yiddish literature, a movement which began in 1980. Perhaps a reflection of living through hard times, each of the stories is filled with life.
Here are a few highlights:
Bryna Bercovitch was born in 1894 in a slum in the Ukraine. …