Yiddish is everywhere. We hear words like 'nosh', 'shlep', and 'schmutz', all the time, but how did these little bits of Yiddish come to pepper American English? In "Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land", Pekar and Buhle trace the influence of Yiddish from the popular author Sholem Asch, who wrote in the early 1920s-1950s, to the modern day archivist Aaron Lansky, who started the National Yiddish Book Centre. This illustrated anthology contains original stories by notable writers and artists (listed below). Through essays, illustrations, a complete one-act play, and comics, four major themes concerning the Yiddish language are explored: culture, performance, assimilation, and revival of the language. Each contributor examines Yiddish from a different angle: for example, Harvey Pekar writes about his childhood experience with Yiddish as a first language growing up in his Cleveland blue-collar family in the 1940s, and Sharon Rudahl illustrates stories about famous Yiddish performers like Molly Picon. This anthology, written and edited by Pekar and Buhle, is a sincere and thoughtful compilation that skilfully uses comics, to reveal the surprising and far-reaching influence of Yiddish.
Paul Buhle, retired from Brown University, has written an edited many books and lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Harvey Pekar (1939-2010) is best known for his autobiographical comic book series American Splendor, illustrated by Robert Crumb.