Archive of articles classified as' "Yiddish Life"

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Raquel’s letter


Dreaming of a better life in Argentina, the “Goldene Medinah”, a loving wife in Poland writes to her husband, asking that he hurry up and mail the necessary travel documents for her and their young children.

Letter and translation: Nora Glickman

Voice over: Annette Liberman Miller

Sound recording: Phil Skokos

With: Getz Media Lab, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and Brandeis-Women’s Studies Research Center/SSP program

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Untold stories


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Laid to Rest (production assembly)


Buried Stories of the Jewish Sex Trade

Location Producer/Videographer: Gustavo Hazan
Consulting Producer: Jonathan Barkan
Fine cut: Loren Miller
Assistant Editor: Leah Bartels
Composer: Ari Frankel
Sound mix: Bill Cavanaugh
Translation Assistant: Margo Kolenda
Title design: Ronni Komarow 

With generous support from:

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In Memoriam: When Lerer Met Witler


As a gifted child-actor in Buenos Aires, Shifra Lerer, known by all as Shifra’le, lived and breathed Yiddish on the Jewish Theater stage since she was nine years old. One of her first roles was in a short lived controversial play about the “Tme’im.” Too young to understand what the play was about, she only remembers that it stirred up a heated public debate.

In this excerpt from a May 2010 filmed interview 95 year old Yiddish actress Shifra Lerer reminisces about her first encounter with stage and later life partner Benzion Witler. Shifra Lerer passed away in NYC on March 12, 2011.

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Production Assembly: Who, What, When and Where


Following the unwinding trail of scarce archival documentation, the documentary Laid to Rest, Buried Stories of Jewish Sex Trade unravels the questions, secrets, myths and mysteries surrounding the topic from the late 19th century until the 1930s. Here is a rough cut of assembled footage filmed and edited between June 2009 – November 2010:

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Shifra’le: Forgotten Memories of Ibergus


Shifra Lerer started her life long acting career in the Yiddish theater in Argentina at the age of five. She was only nine years old when she played in Leib Malach’s controversial play Ibergus about the Jewish sex trade in Latin America. Years later, she recall the play, her role and the controversial circumstances surrounding the month long stage production in Buenos Aires’ Teatro Ideal. She can no longer remember her lines, but still remembers the controversy:

Ibergus?It was a play that made you nervous, made you think about things, made you be concerned abut things…

From an interview with Shifra Lerer, NYC, 2010

It was a shameful episode in the life of Yiddish life in Argentina. I can’t tell you much about it because being at this age, I was too young to understand…

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Pre-Production Research


Pre-production research got into full swing in the spring of 2009 at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and the Judaica Library at the Brandeis University:

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