Bob Becker has put online a useful resource for pre-war Jewish life in Eastern Europe:

Chaim Finkelstein was the last editor of Haynt, the Jewish newspaper in Warsaw, Poland, before the Holocaust. His book, Haynt: A Jewish Newspaper, chronicles the history of Jewish life in Poland between 1908 and 1939. It contains articles from the leading writers on the world.
Haynt: A Jewish Newspaper was published in Israel in Yiddish, but never in English. This website makes Haynt: A Jewish Newspaper available to Yiddish readers and seeks volunteers to translate a few pages each… As I receive these translations, I will add them to this website and credit the translators for their contribution. All translations will be in the public domain.

So any Yiddish-speakers who’d like to contribute to such a project can go try their hand. (Via Uncle Jazzbeau’s Gallimaufrey; haynt, incidentally, is Yiddish for ‘today.’)


  1. The first occurence of “the Jewish newspaper” in your post should not be italicized. (Actually, I don’t know why Becker calls it “the” rather than “a” Jewish newspaper.)
    Becker’s rendering of the title is an interesting bit of translation, which I think is correct: the Yiddish title is a tsaytung ba yidn (אַ צײַטונג בײַ ייִדן). If you were to call it a yidishe tsaytung (אַ ייִדישע צײַטונג), the phrase would probably be best translated “a Yiddish newspaper” or “a Jewish newspaper” — although there’s some overlap.
    The phrase is appropriate in describing Haynt, a major Yiddish daily whose concerns were certainly not limited to things Jewish. (I’ve often been told that someone wanting to write in Yiddish could do worse than go through the print run of that paper, together with that of its competitor, Moment.)

  2. Thanks, I got rid of the italics.

  3. Am I to infer that the current Jewish magazine that I like so much Moment, is named for a Warsaw Jewish newspaper published before the war? And tsaytung sounds like the German world for newspaper or daily (yes, I know Yiddish is a dialect of German.)
    My grandparents, who spoke Yiddish, were in such a hurry to become Americans, they taught none of us Yiddish. Unlike the immigrants today who maintain their language.

  4. Am I to infer that the current Jewish magazine that I like so much Moment, is named for a Warsaw Jewish newspaper published before the war?
    No idea. I would doubt very much that the editors or publishers of today’s Moment Magazine know anything at all about the Eastern European Jewish press.
    (yes, I know Yiddish is a dialect of German.)
    This is significantly inaccurate. German and Yiddish are separate though closely related languages.
    Unlike the immigrants today who maintain their language
    If only that were the case! Most immigrants shed their language just as fast as your grandparents did.

  5. I am an immigrant and have no intention of shedding my native Russian language – and I taught my son to speak it (and write, too, to a lesser extent). Yiddish was my grandparents’ native language and they willingly “shed” it without emigrating out of Ukraine.
    I know of nobody immigrating to USfrom Ukraine/Belorussia/Baltics now who’d list Yiddish as their native language.

  6. I teach adult immigrants and children of immigrants English as an ESL teacher. Wouldn’t mind a job in an ivory tower or in academia but it doesn’t pay what I make here in the ‘hood at the top of an urban teacher’s pay scale. Except I get to hear varieties of English none of y’all ever could imagine unless you turn off PBS and watch Jerry Springer.
    And none of the adult immigrants I have spent a career knowing and teaching English to even speak English with their children. I hear no one refer to trying to be American, even if they get naturalized. They have a strong desire to maintain their language and culture, be they Iranian, Latin American, Eastern European or Vietnamese.
    My grandmother, on the other hand, wanted nothing more to be an American and not be a greenhorn.

  7. It looks like I said the wrong thing. I hope neither of you took offense. What I meant to say was that most immigrant populations in the U.S. assimilate to English within two or three generations. Yes, many individual immigrants cherish their native languages. You, Tatyana, taught your son Russian, but the chance that he will speak Russian to his children is lower, I would wager.
    As far as your experience with your students, Toby – well, I know nothing about your students, so I can’t gainsay your experience. But their passion for their language and culture might not necessary be matched by their ability to promote it among/foist it upon their children and their children’s children. Said another way: many immigrants, in my experience, have very positive feelings towards their language, but don’t make the significant effort which is necessary to speak it to the next generation. (This is not to mention those immigrants who start to feel ashamed of their native tongue once here.)

  8. I know of nobody immigrating to USf rom Ukraine/Belorussia/Baltics now who’d list Yiddish as their native language.
    Tatyana, I agree with your general point, but I wonder if this observation of yours really supports it. Even a few decades ago, when there was still a considerable Yiddish-speaking population in the Soviet Union, how many of them would “list Yiddish as their native language”? You probably know better than I do, but I would think not many.

  9. My father’s cousins left the Soviet Union in the early 90s, long lost cousins he never knew he had (or he would never have gotten a NASA security clearance). They were elderly and fluent speakers of Yiddish, now of blessed memory. I am neither a fluent or competent speaker of Yiddish or Russian, though I know some.
    It seems that they would be considered native speakers of Yiddish, though their Russian would be better, as it was the language they used for all purposes but for certain family interactions. Perhaps for sociological reasons, they would state that Russian was their native language.

  10. ZSB, I was replying to Toby, to what I understood was her beleif that Jewish eastern-European immigrants of today maintain Yiddish as “their language”. [if I’m mistaken, Toby, my apologies]
    Yes, I agree that 3rd generation immigrants assimilate and forget language of their ancestors (and I think it’s a good thing – that’s what makes nations nations). The same way German was predominant language of educated Jews in and around Austrian Empire (if we’re to skip for a moment ghetto and related issues), Russian – for 2nd generation Jews in SU and English for Jews from all over the world in US.
    I will be more than satisfied if my son will know Russian as Second Language.

  11. that’s what makes nations nations
    You think so? I guess we’ll have to disagree on that one, then.

  12. Since you disagree, could you be more specific with your view, ZSB?
    Would you like situation of 1910 revived, with it’s “blossoming of Yiddish culture”-new Sholom Aleihems, etc? Yiddish theaters, newspapers, kleizmer music on hip-hop level, Worker’s Circle? let’s go further: Yiddish taught in Universities for Foreign language requirement? Expanded country-wise Borough-Park, where 3rd and 4th generation Americans speak English with shtettl accent,like the one I heard in my childhood from our relations from Chernovitsy speaking Russian?
    Multiculturism is a dead end, it divides country into collection of little self-important ghettos.

  13. Please change any links to bobbecker-ks.com/haynt to haynt.org.

  14. Will do — thanks for letting me know!

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