Der Tog: The Intelligent New York Yiddish Daily

Cover of 'Der Tog', Yiddish daily newspaper (1914-1971)On Sunday, December 7, 2014, YIVO’s Max Weinreich Center for Advanced Jewish Studies and NYU’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies held a symposium for scholars on Der Tog (The Day), the Yiddish daily that began publishing in New York in 1914, and then, after a merger with another newspaper in 1953, continued on as The Day-Morning Journal until 1971.

The symposium was chaired by YIVO’s first Albert B. Ratner Visiting Scholar in East European Jewish Literature, Gennady Estraikh. Professor Estraikh is the Clinical Associate Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Rauch Associate Professor of Yiddish Studies at New York University and an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish language and literature and East European Jewish history. During his tenure at YIVO this past fall, he taught a course on modernism and the Yiddish imagination and gave two lectures, one on “Taras Shevchenko: Ukrainian Nationalism, Poetry and the Jews” and another on Howard Fast and Soviet Yiddish writers. He also mentored graduate students and conducted research in the YIVO Archives and Library on the American Yiddish press and its relationship with the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union.

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Congratulations to Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Winners

YIVO congratulates this year’s Jordan Schnitzer Book Award winners. The annual prizes are awarded by Association for Jewish Studies every December to honor outstanding scholarship in Jewish Studies.

This year’s roster of winners includes two scholars who have used YIVO’s Archives and Library as research resources and who have appeared as speakers at YIVO programs and events this past year:

REBECCA KOBRIN, Columbia University
Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora (Indiana University Press)

  • Watch a video of Professor Kobrin participating in the panel, “Rethinking Jabotinsky” (June 2, 2014)

JAMES LOEFFLER, University of Virginia
The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire(Yale University Press)

  • Watch a video of a lecture by Professor Loeffler, “Open Secret: The Jewish Sound in Soviet Music” (May 4, 2014)

Di gantse velt af a firmeblank: The World of Jewish Letterheads

Assemble the letterheads of Jewish organizations, institutions, and individuals in Europe, North and South America, and Palestine from the 1890s to the eve of World War II in 1939 and you have a portrait of the Jewish world: transnational; diverse in language, political, and religious orientation; and flourishing.

Di gantse velt af a firmeblank (The Whole World on a Letterhead) is an experiment in building that portrait. Here, we hope to bring you several times a month, a different example of letterhead from a single collection in the YIVO Archives, the Papers of Kalman Marmor.

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Newly Published Books Based on Research at YIVO

Every month, the YIVO Library receives complimentary copies of books whose content has been drawn in part from research done by the authors in the YIVO Archives and Library. Below is a partial list of books published in 2013-2014.

  • Berkovitz, Jay R. Protocols of Justice, the Pinkas of the Metz Rabbinic Court 1771-1789. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, 2014. 2 volumes.
  • Faure, Laura Hobson, et. al., eds. L’Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants et les populations juives au XX siecle. Paris, 2014.
  • Frakes, Jerold C. Early Yiddish Epic. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2014.
  • Friedman, Simon. Der blut-bilbl fun Tisa Eslar: got raykhe historishe verk. Brooklyn, NY, 2014.
  • Gotzen-Dold, Maria. Mojzesz Schorr und Majer Balaban. Leipzig: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014.
  • Harshav, Benjamin. Three Thousand Years of Hebrew Versification. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2014.
  • Hellerstein, Kathryn. A Question of Tradition, Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014.
  • Iceland, Reuben. From Our Springtime, Literary Memoirs and Portraits of Yiddish New York. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2014.
  • Seidman, Irving. So you might know: A memoir of my parents. Amherst, MA, 2014.
  • Tanikowski, Artur. Jew, Pole, Legionary 1914-1920. Warsaw: Museum of the History of Polish Jews, 2014.
  • Varon, Jeremy. The New Life, Jewish Students of Postwar Germany. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2014.
  • Szabo, Vera. Yiddish Dictionary and Phrasebook. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2013.

Ambassador to Albania: The Herman Bernstein Papers in the YIVO Archives

Herman Bernstein, 1929. (YIVO RG 713)

Herman Bernstein, 1929. (YIVO RG 713)

Lithuanian-born Herman Bernstein (1876-1935) was an author, translator, journalist, communal activist, and diplomat, who served as secretary of the American Jewish Committee and a founder of the Yiddish daily, Der Tog (The Day) in 1914. He served as correspondent for the New York Herald in Russia in 1917-1920 and at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. In the 1920s, he instituted a libel suit against Henry Ford and the Dearborn Independent for publishing the scurrilous antisemitic forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion. YIVO has an extensive collection of his papers, which includes correspondence with major cultural and political figures of the early 20th century, such as Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Louis Brandeis, Fyodor Chaliapin, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Herbert Hoover, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Horace M. Kallen, Henry Morgenthau, Theodore Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw, Sholem Aleichem, and Leo Tolstoy.

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Di gantse velt af a firmeblank: The World of Jewish Letterheads

Assemble the letterheads of Jewish organizations, institutions, and individuals in Europe, North and South America, and Palestine from the 1890s to the eve of World War II in 1939 and you have a portrait of the Jewish world: transnational; diverse in language, political, and religious orientation; and flourishing.

Di gantse velt af a firmeblank (The Whole World on a Letterhead) is an experiment in building that portrait. Here, we hope to bring you several times a month, a different example of letterhead from a single collection in the YIVO Archives, the Papers of Kalman Marmor.

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Three Holocaust Artifacts (1965)

WEVD LogoThis episode of YIVO’s radio program on WEVD was originally broadcast on April 18th, 1965. To commemorate the uprising in Warsaw Ghetto that took place on the first night of Passover in 1943, host Sheftl Zak talks about artifacts donated to the YIVO archives. Using I.L. Peretz’s short story “Dray Matones” (Three Gifts) as an allegory, he describes three artifacts as symbols of the larger YIVO collections: a silver ring, a page from a handwritten prayerbook, and the “scorched pages of a book found in the ruins of the YIVO building in Vilna.”

From 1963-1976, YIVO had its own program on WEVD, the radio station established by the Socialist Party of America in 1927 (its call letters stand for the initials of American socialist leader Eugene V. Debs), which was purchased by the Jewish Daily Forward in 1932 and became a major venue from Yiddish programming.

YIVO used its spot on WEVD for Yiddish-language interviews and discussions with leading New York Yiddish cultural figures, as well as for reporting on its own scholarly and cultural work.

A new podcast of this program in the order in which it was originally broadcast will be posted here every two weeks.

Presentation of series curated by Matt Temkin, YIVO Sound Archives.

Listen to the program [in Yiddish].

YIVO in the News & Staff Notes, November 2014

Letters to Afar

The YIVO/Museum of the City of New York installation, Letters to Afar, continues to receive long, thorough reviews, including “Péter Forgács’ Memory Art Brings Phantoms of Eastern Europe to Light,” by J. Hoberman in Tablet; “New film exhibit gives moving glimpse of pre-WWII Jewish Poland” in The Times of Israel; and “A Monument to the World Before the Holocaust,” by Anya Ulinich in The Jewish Daily Forward. (The last was also translated into Yiddish for the Yiddish Forverts.)

Other YIVO Projects & Public Programs

YIVO’s award of the 2014 Jan Karski Award to poet and essayist Piotr Matywiecki was announced on the website of the Jewish Historical Institute.

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Jerzy Tomaszewski (1930-2014)

Professor Jerzy Tomaszewski, an eminent Polish historian, died in Warsaw on November 4, 2014. Professor Tomaszewski was a leading presence in the research community in Poland that devotes itself to the history of Jews in Poland.

Professor Tomaszewski was the author of numerous works on the history of Jews in Poland. He was a professor of history at Warsaw University, where he also served as the Director of the Mordechai Anielewicz Centre for the Study and Teaching of the History and Culture of Jews in Poland.

For many years, he was connected with the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. A member of the its Scientific Council since 1970, he was also elected in 1985 to serve on the Institute’s Board of Directors and, in addition, served as Deputy Chairman of the Jewish Historical Institute Association. In 2005, he was one of the signatories, along with the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the Mayor of Warsaw, to an agreement officially establishing the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

He served on the Editorial Board of the Jewish Historical Institute’s publications: The Bulletin of the Jewish Historical Institute, The Quarterly of the History of Jews, and an annual, Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry. He continued to work on his research even after his retirement in 2002. He also served on the Programme Council of the “Open Republic” Association Against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia.

In 1998, Professor Tomaszewski was the recipient of YIVO’s Jan Karski and Pola Nirenska Award, and thereafter served on the Karski Award Committee.

YIVO deeply mourns his passing.

If Books Could Talk: The Story of Three Jewish Treasures Rescued from the Vilna Ghetto

by ROBERTA NEWMAN

Diary of young Theodor Herzl, kept from 1882 to 1887. YIVO Archives.

Diary of young Theodor Herzl, kept from 1882 to 1887. YIVO Archives.

On Monday, November 24, at 7:00pm, Professor David E. Fishman will deliver a lecture at YIVO, “If Books Could Talk: The Story of Three Jewish Treasures Rescued from the Vilna Ghetto,” about three artifacts rescued from looting by the Nazis in Vilna (present day Vilnius, Lithuania):

  • Theodor Herzl’s diary
  • The minute-book from the Vilna Gaon’s synagogue
  • An original manuscript of Jacob Gordin’s classic Yiddish play Mirele Efros.

Two of these works made their way to YIVO in New York after World War II, but the third work encountered a very different fate in Soviet Lithuania.

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