Cover Image: Writings on Yiddish and Yiddishkayt, The War Years, 1939-1945

Writings on Yiddish and Yiddishkayt, The War Years, 1939-1945

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Member Reviews

I. B. Singer was one of our greatest writers. I have loved and admired his work for over 40 years and this lovely book is, like all of his work, wonderful and fully engaging. 5 Stars !!

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The first in a planned three volume series, Writings on Yiddish and Yiddishkayt brings essays by Isaac Bashevis Singer to English for the first time. The articles in The War Years, first appeared in The Yiddish Forward (Forverts) under a pseudonym (Isaac from Warsaw) between 1939 and 1945. Singer is best known as the only Yiddish writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978.

Through this time period we see many of the themes later explored in Singer's short stories and novels. Given his fame and that the essays are from a Yiddish publication, it is no surprise that their topics cover various aspects of Yiddish culture and Jewish life. There is the lamentation of Jews losing faith and the indifference that it breads, the loss of readers of Yiddish language, the lack of Jewish representation in American media, reactions to the deaths of family members, issues with governing Palestine without equal in put of its peoples and grappling with the totality of the Holocaust.

The essays are presented chronologically as published, and often show Singer reacting in real time to global events. It shows his thinking with an immediacy that is tempered by time in many of his stories and novels. Each of the essays is introduced by the translator, David Stromberg, contextualizing them and linking them to other essays in the volume, or detailing that they appeared alongside other similar topic essays by Singer not yet translated.

Specific essays in this work should be read by those working with responses to the Holocaust. In general this work is best for those with some familiarity with works of Yiddish literature or Isaac Bashevis Singer's writings as it will deepen the understanding of those works.

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I have long been a fan of Isaac Bashevis Singer's works, but this is the first time I had the opportunity to read some of his original newspaper columns translated from Yiddish to English.

The current volume contains a selection of writings from the just before until just after WWII. It is somewhat of a mixed bag. Many of the columns are not only timely, but hold truths for today, as well. Others, unfortunately, were somewhat bland and appeared to be fill when he had no important issues to discuss.

All in all, I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next volume from David Stromberg.

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The book had some interesting essays on Jews and their lives, basically a collection of thoughts and writings from a Jewish pov.

For anyone expecting this to say more about WWII, you may find very little on this particular subject. The main idea of the book is that it covers a wide range of thoughts and ideas on Jewish people, their culture, struggles, literature and so on. It helps you understand more about their lives.

An ok book

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This is a book written by Isaac Bashevis Singer an author I knew nothing about this is the first book of essays in the trilogy and I wanted to read this book because I know general information about the Jewish religion but I wanted to know more in this book certainly helped with that. The essays were written right before the war in the end right after World War II. This book was so interesting and it covered everything from the demonic divic in the Jewish peoples belief about demons in possession to his opinion on Hitler and his propaganda he even writes an essay on the plight of the aguna law written in the Terron which states a woman cannot remarry unless her husband divorces her and this means even if he fell in the water but his body was never retrieved you cannot get remarried and if your husbands body was retrieved and his nose was bitten off you’re still and A because it further states you can only identify a Jewish man by his nose or his forehead. He talks about Enoch and other holy men who confer with the spirits he talks about the creation of the world annex juxtaposition to God he talks about where the word gentile came from this book is full of so many different aspects of Jewish life and it’s written by a very intelligent man who I had never heard of but I am so interested and cannot wait to read the next book even if you’re Jewish these essays I think a really important there’s so many things loss to the tatters of time and I think it’s especially important to know things we don’t there’s just so many good reasons to read this book most importantly because it’s so interesting it even talks about early marriages it’s so good there’s so much to read and so much to know and I can’t believe there’s two more books I cannot wait! I think learning about religions and lifestyles that are different from ours is a good way to open up your mind and hopefully your heart because ultimately we’re all just people trying to make it in a world with problems. I loved this book I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for my free arc copy please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review. guna

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Isaac Bashevis Singer has long been my favorite writer. I was delighted to discover, many years later, that my grandmother had read his columns and his works in the original Yiddish. He was such a keen observer and a brilliant writer, who wrote about regular people from Warsaw, Poland, to NYC in the most engaging way that pulls the reader right into the story. These essays are so informative and I love reading something new (to me). The editorial notes were very helpful in placing real-time context. I’m so looking forward to reading the next volumes.
Highly recommended!

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What a delightful and valuable collection of largely unknown (surely to me) pieces from I B Singer. As I depend my own studying of Yiddish and about the world of Yiddish this is a valuable resource.

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Most of these articles delve into the Jewish world and which is familiar to the devoted reader of SInger. Some, however, were a little too deep into the Jewish religion to be understandable or interesting to me. However, the explanations at the end of each article, added later by the author of the collection, allowed me to place all the articles in a context not only historical but also familiar, which I was completely ignorant of, and this certainly was the added value of this book, at least for me.

La maggior parte di questi articoli approfondisce un mondo, che é quello ebraico e che é noto al lettore affezionato di SInger. Alcuni peró erano un po' troppo dentro la religione ebraica per essere per me comprensibili o interessanti. Le spiegazioni alla fine di ogni articolo, aggiunte poi dell'autore della raccolta, mi ha permesso comunque di inquadrare tutti gli articoli in un contesto non solo storico, ma anche familiare di Singer, che ignoravo completamente e questo certo é stato il valore aggiunto di questo libro, almeno per me.

I received from the Publisher a complimentary digital advanced review copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.

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