Landmark Yiddish Plays

A Critical Anthology

Edited and translated by Joel Berkowitz, Jeremy Dauber
Introduction by Joel Berkowitz, and Jeremy Dauber

Subjects: Drama
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780791467800, 364 pages, July 2006
Hardcover : 9780791467794, 364 pages, July 2006

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Table of contents

Translators' Note
1. Silliness and Sanctimony
Aaron Halle Wolfssohn
2. Serkele, or, In Mourning for a Brother
Shloyme Ettinger
3. The Two Kuni-Lemls
Avrom Goldfaden
4. Miriam
Peretz Hirschbein
5. The Duke
Alter Kacyzne

Introduces readers to comic and tragic masterpieces spanning 150 years of Yiddish drama.


Offering snapshots of a pivotal era in which the Jews of Europe made the transition from a traditional to a more modern world, the Yiddish plays translated and collected here wrestle with issues that continue to concern us today: changing gender roles, generational conflict, class divisions, and religious persecution. In their introduction to the volume, Joel Berkowitz and Jeremy Dauber place the plays in the context of the development of modern drama and Yiddish drama and examine their treatment of social, political, and religious issues. The many ways in which the plays address these issues make them transcend their own time, exciting a new generation of readers and theatergoers.

Joel Berkowitz is Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He is the author of Shakespeare on the American Yiddish Stage and the editor of Yiddish Theatre: New Approaches. Jeremy Dauber is Atran Assistant Professor of Yiddish at Columbia University. He is the author of Antonio's Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and the Birth of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature.