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Yiddish Goes Digital (with a Little Help from Its Friends) November 29, 2012

The first page of the Polish Yidel, July 1884 Calling all Yiddish speaking people… Two archives, one at Cornell University, the other at University of Warwick in the UK, have teamed up to digitize more than 1,500  pages from journals and newspapers originally written for working-class Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Much of the original material has never been translated into English and with the number of Yiddish speakers in the world in significant decline…

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The Scarce First Edition in Yiddish of “Hashish” (1911) August 26, 2009

In a recent column, This Is Your Brain On Books, I briefly discussed Fritz Lemmermayer’s Haschische (1898) and the Yiddish translation published in 1911 with its stunning and evocative cover illustration. It is the only drug-themed book to ever appear in Yiddish. Book people of all faiths and faithful tongues have since been hounding me to reproduce that illustration. The original is in color; all I could access was an image in black and white.…

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This Is Your Brain On Books August 25, 2009

There has been a spate of recent books covering new research upon how our brains work and the human decision-making process. Madeleine Bunting, at the Guardian, nicely sums up the science and its implications. It turns out that just about all of our assumptions about free-will, autonomy, and rationality in our choices and decisions are chimerical. I was reminded of this just the other day when I received the following note from a close friend…

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