Lower East Side History

Tenement Talk: Yiddish in Translation – On the Hunt for Novels by Women with YIVO


In this partnership program with YIVO, we explored the lives of Jewish women in tenements through women’s novels. On the hunt to defy the “urban legend” that women only wrote poems and short stories in Yiddish, but not novels, Professor Anita Norich discovered scores of novels, some of them at the YIVO archive.

In this conversation, Norich and Tenement Museum President Annie Polland focus on these novels and Norich’s translations, and how they shed light on tenement life and women’s lives more broadly, including abortions, sex outside of marriage, and how women found and rebuilt homes in the face of revolution, war, economic challenges and misogyny.