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PG-Staff Feminist Reading Group - Women's Writing in Yiddish with Dr Rochelle Sibley

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Location: via Teams - Please contact Dr Rochelle Sibley for Teams Link

This session will focus on self-representation and the ways in which female Yiddish writers challenged the patriarchal canon of US-Yiddish literature, including the unconventional life of Yente Serdatsky. Serdatsky left her husband and children for a while to pursue her writing career in Warsaw, then emigrated to the US. She had a highly successful tenure at a writer for the Yiddish paper Forverts in New York until she had a very public falling out with its editor, Abraham Cahan, who effectively prevented Serdatsky being published by any US Yiddish publisher for decades.


The first reading is a short story first published in Yiddish in 1920 called “An Old Woman with Young Dreams”, which is in translation here: An Old Woman with Young Dreams | Yiddish Book Center

The second is a short selection of Yenta Serdatsky’s letters to the editor of The New York Weekly (Nyu yorker wochenblatt) between 1949 and 1962, which were written after Serdatsky had argued with Cahan, who had effectively ended her literary career. These letters are translated here: "Letters to the Editor" | Yiddish Book Center and were a means of Serdatsky securing a column in the Wochenblatt after many years without being published.

For those who are interested, there are further biographical details on Serdatsky here: Yente Serdatsky | Jewish Women's Archive (



Please also take a moment to look at the attached save the dates poster and pop them in your diary. We are hoping to bring these sessions in person in Term 2, hopefully in the new building, with snacks and drinks, so watch this space!


We have also updated the website ( with proposed dates and session themes.


As ever, we very much welcome session proposals from all PGs and staff, so do get in touch if you have a session idea in mind.


Looking forward to seeing you there!

Roxanne & Esthie

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