JTS Scholar Edits New Translation of a Lost Yiddish Masterpiece

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

November 7, 2007, New York, NY

Dr. David Roskies, Sol and Evelyn Henkind Professor of Yiddish Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary, has edited a new book entitled Everyday Jews: Scenes From a Vanished Life (Yale University Press, September 2007).

Written by Yehoshue Perle, one of Poland’s most popular, controversial, and prolific Yiddish novelists of his time, Everyday Jews, first published in 1935, scandalized the Jewish Left. Yet within two years the novel was heralded as a modern Yiddish masterpiece that offered a unique blend of raw sexuality and romantic love, thwarted desire and spiritual longing. This new version has been translated by Maier Deshell and Margaret Birstein.

In his introduction to the novel, Dr. Roskies opens up Perle’s tragic life and undiscovered work to a new generation of readers. Everyday Jews is the sixth volume of the New Yiddish Library of which Dr. Roskies is the editor-in-chief.

Dr. Roskies, who is also a professor of Jewish Literature at JTS, is a cultural historian of eastern European Jewry, most recently serving as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro senior scholar-in-residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A prolific author, editor, and scholar, Dr. Roskies has published seven books and received numerous honors. Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985, Dr. Roskies began studying the modern Jewish return to folklore and fantasy. The fruits of his labor are The Dybbuk and Other Writings by S. Ansky (Yale University Press, 1992), and A Bridge of Longing: The Lost Art of Yiddish Storytelling (Harvard University Press, 1995). His most recent book is The Jewish Search for a Usable Past (Indiana University Press, 1999).

Yiddishlands: A Memoir, which Dr. Roskies calls his first book without footnotes, will be published in September 2008 by Wayne State University Press. He is currently writing a book about the Jewish world in 1943.

Everyday Jews is available for purchase at http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300116373.

Editors/Reporters: To schedule an interview with Dr. Roskies, please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953.

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world-class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic, and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.