Season 1, Episode 3
Episode 3, presented in collaboration with the Yiddish Book Center, investigates "The Death of My Aunt," a short story written in Yiddish by Blume Lempel and published in 1975. The story moves through time and space as a woman whose aunt has died deals with mourning the loss of this figure whose past came to life as her present grew dim.
Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, whose book Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories includes their English translations of this and many other of Lempel's stories, reveal the intricacies contained within the narrative and discuss the ways in which it touches on immigrant experiences, emotional dislocation, and familial connection.
Read the transcription for "The Death of My Aunt"
Hosted by Aaron Henne Scholarship provided by Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub Edited by Mark McClain Wilson Story editing by Aaron Henne with Julie A. Lockhart Featuring the voices of Julie A. Lockhart, Clay Steakley, Diana Tanaka, and Mark McClain Wilson, with Yiddish from the original text read by Miri Koral of the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language Theme music composed by Michael Skloff and produced by Sam K.S. Transcription by Dylan Southard
"The Death of My Aunt" Learning Resources
"The Death of My Aunt” is featured in its English translation in the book, Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories, published by Mandel Vilar Press and Dryad Press. The book is available, with free shipping to anywhere in the United States, from either of these publishers. More information can be found at www.dryadpress.com or www.mvpublishers.org.
Learn more about:
Blume Lempel, from the translators
Yiddish Literature in the United States from the Jewish Women's Archive
Other authors referenced in the episode:
Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub discuss their translation of Blume Lempel's work at the Library of Congress.
Exercises For Educators:
"The Death of My Aunt" for Youth Learners (PDF)
"The Death of My Aunt" for Adult and Teen Learners (PDF)
Watch with captions on YouTube:
Also From Our Artists
Reflections on My Aunt
To accompany the episode, we invite you to enjoy a piece of music composed and performed by theatre dybbuk artist Michael Skloff. You will hear what Michael created in response to the emotional landscape of the English translation of Blume Lempel's “The Death of My Aunt,” as read by Diana Tanaka.
ABOUT OUR EPISODE PARTNER
The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization working to recover, celebrate, and regenerate Yiddish and modern Jewish literature and culture. The million books recovered by the Yiddish Book Center represent Jews’ first sustained literary and cultural encounter with the modern world.
Since its founding in 1980 the Center has launched a wide range of bibliographic, educational, and cultural programs to share these treasures with the wider world.