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An immersive experience, Yiddish: A Global Culture tells the diasporic story of modern Yiddish literature, theater, music, press, and politics through hundreds of objects, including rare books, artwork, photographs, sheet music, Yiddish typewriters, memorabilia, and more. Global in scope yet deeply personal—with many prized heirlooms donated by families over the past 40 years—the exhibition tells the stories of both the creators and the consumers of Yiddish culture.
The exhibition displays artifacts from the Center’s collections or on special loan, all shown in public for the first time. Highlights include a 60-foot color mural of global “Yiddishland” by illustrator Martin Haake; an enormous hand-drawn 1945 micrographic portrait of Yiddish activist Chaim Zhitlowsky, composed of thousands of miniature letters from his selected texts, created in Buenos Aires by immigrant textile worker Guedale Tenenbaum; a well-worn leather medicine ball, used by the popular Yiddish novelist Sholem Asch when he relocated to the United States in the 1940s; and vintage clothes and a leather steamer trunk from the 1920s that were used by the celebrated Yiddish literary couple Peretz Hirshbein and Esther Shumiatcher on their decade-long travels around the world.
Visitors can also explore a re-creation of the turn-of-the-century Warsaw apartment of writer I. L. Peretz, whose legendary salon stood at the forefront of Yiddish modernism in the 1900s and 1910s. The period reproduction features books, profiles of writers and artists in Peretz’s circle, a soundscape of voices from the salon, a re-creation of Peretz’s desk, and wallpaper based on original photographs.
Public tours of Yiddish: A Global Culture are available on Sundays at 11:00am and 1:00pm.