Voices of Women in the Poetry of Itzik Manger

March 4th, 2020, 7:00 pm
Adas Israel Congregation
2850 Quebec Street NW
Washington, DC 20008

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Instructor: Miriam Isaacs

In the biblical poems of the Yiddish poet Itzik Manger (1901-1969), readers are enabled to experience traditional texts from the perspective of the women who appear in them—and some who barely appear. Manger reimagines the women of the Torah and Megillot, setting them in the world of the shtetl and giving them powerful voices: Through him, Hagar, Avishag, and Vashti finally have their say. In this class, we’ll examine the roles of women in Manger’s work and some of the extra characters he adds. Young Bathsheba writes a tear-stained letter home after her marriage to King David. Esther, before winning the favor of King Ahasueros, had been in love with a tailor.

Miriam Isaacs was born in a displaced persons camp and taught Yiddish for many years at the University of Maryland. Most recently she has held fellowships from the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, from the State Department’s Fulbright Scholars program to research Yiddish in Sweden, and from the Yiddish Book Center to translate her father’s memoir.

JSC, Adas members $15, others $20 (W-8)