The Mendele Review: Yiddish Literature and Language
(A Companion to MENDELE)


Leonard in 1992

 

Foreword by Noyekh Miller

We all became so accustomed to reading every month's issue of The Mendele Review that its absence since Leonard Prager's death is hard to accept.  But TMR was such a brilliant--and often--overwhelming essay in personal journalism in the tradition of Karl Kraus and I.F. Stone that it must sadly end with this issue.  Leonard's energy and variety of projects (each promoted with such urgency, such bren) would have been sufficient to keep a mid-sized department going.  How he managed to achieve what he did remains a mystery.

---------------------------------------------------------
Contents of Vol. 12.022 [Sequential No. 213]
Date: 2 December 2009

1) This issue of The Mendele Review
2) Leonard Prager Biography (Barbara Prager)
3) Leonard Prager List of publications (David Mazower)
4) Leben iz kedayer (Leonard Prager, 2007)
5)
Leonard Prager z"l (Noyekh Miller, 2008)
6)
My friendship and collaboration with Leonard (Itsik Goldenberg)
7)
My Acquaintance with Leonard (Tsvi Mann)
8) The honor to have known Leonard (Dafna Sheinwald)
9) The University of Haifa Librarys Blog Entry (Riki Greenberg)
10) Funeral and unveiling of the tombstone (Dafna Sheinwald)
11) The Jerusalem Conference: A Century of Yiddish 1908-2008 (
Carrie Friedman-Cohen)


1
) ---------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Dafna Sheinwald
Subject: This issue of TMR

On the 15th of Kislev (Dec. 2, 2009) we observe one year without Leonard. Until his last hours, Leonard was working on TMR 12.021 doing what he was dedicated to: sharing his knowledge and collections of Yiddish literature and culture with those devoted to Yiddish worldwide. The internet revolution only arrived following Leonards retirement from Haifa University as an English professor. Yet, Leonard not only grasped the advantages of this new technology but skillfully used it to spread his passion for Yiddish throughout the net. He maintained an intensive email correspondence with Yiddish researchers, professionals and lovers of the language all over the world. He established and cultivated the website, Di Velt fun Yiddish, full of Yiddish treasures, presented in text and audio. The main search page of the Library of Haifa University links the 'Yiddish Studies' discipline directly to Leonards site. In 1997, he founded The Mendele Review (TMR), which he edited for more than 11 years, until his death. Reviewing TMR issues along the years clearly demonstrates Leonards use of image and audio technologies in order to vividly deliver the sights and the sounds of Yiddish literature and culture to his readers. Many of his readers expressed their long lasting appreciation of TMR in its celebrated 200th issue on its 11th anniversary, which was published only eight months before Leonard died. Readers may wish to re-visit this special issue, where, inter alia, Leonard introduced himself in more detail.

This issue is devoted to the memory of Leonard, who died in the evening of December 11, 2008, one day before his 83rd birthday. Leonard lived an interesting life in historic times. He left contributions that impressed both the professional researcher as well as us Yiddish aficionados worldwide. This issue tries to shed light on his life, contributions, and the appreciation and memories left in all those who knew him and shared his passion for the Yiddish tongue: Barbara, Leonards wife, sketches his biography; David Mazower provides a detailed bibliography of his writings; A speech delivered by Leonard in 2007 reveals the power that drives him: A belief in Yiddish and the role of the internet in spreading and enhancing it; Noyekh Miller's announcement in Mendele of Leonard's passing away is brought here as well;  Itsik Goldenberg, who helped Leonard with TMR, taking the role of its Editorial Associate, expresses his thoughts and feelings; Dafna Sheinwald, Leonards assistant in all matters technical speaks of her friendship and collaboration with Leoanard; Zvi Mann who contributed to the last TMR, describes his special friendship and collaboration with Leonard till the very end.  An entry in the blog of the Haifa University library clearly portrays his curiosity, drive and charisma. TMR is proud to participate in announcing the Century of Yiddish conference in Jerusalem, in which the third session of day one: Yiddish in the Soviet Union, in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and on the Internet Today, will be dedicated to the memory of Prof. Leonard Prager.

In this special issue we kept the traditional format of TMR. We made sure that the sequence numbering that served Leonard and us for so many years was used. We call for volunteers to carry on the torch of TMR. We hope that this important contribution to the World of Yiddish will continue to thrive as it did under the leadership of Prof. Leonard Prager.

Readers often wrote to Leonard in reference to TMR. Readers are invited to send their words about Leonard in reference to this special issue as well. Any words, thoughts or contributions will be appreciated and will be added to this online issue.

2) ---------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Barbara Prager
Subject: Leonard Prager -- Biography

Leonard Prager a Brief Biographical Sketch by Barbara Prager

Leonard was born 12th December 1925 in Philadelphia. His parents Clara and Morris Prager were recent immigrants from the Ukraine and he grew up in a Yiddish-speaking home together with his two sisters, Bertie and Jeanne.

At age 15 he joined the Zionist youth movement, Hashomer Hatsair. He was called up to serve in the US army at the age of 18 and spent three years in the navy, based in Florida. Upon his release from the navy, he joined Machal - the group of foreign volunteers helping to establish the future state of Israel. He was chief steward on the ship Mala which brought European refugees from Marseilles to Haifa.

He and his group were sent by the Hashomer Hatsair movement to work at various kibbutzim in the newly-established state of Israel, until they were assigned the land to establish Kibbutz Sasa in the Galilee. The kibbutz was set up in January 1949. Leonard returned to America to finish his education and in 1957 received his PhD in English Literature from Yale University.

His first teaching post was at Brandeis University in 1953, and he subsequently taught at the University of Connecticut and Washington University (St. Louis), where we met. Between 1960 and 1963 he spent three years in London, where he immersed himself in the circle of Yiddish writers in the East End, and taught in the overseas programme of the University of Maryland.

In October 1963 he returned to Israel and began teaching English Literature at the Tel Aviv campus of the Hebrew University. At the same time he began teaching at the University's branch in Haifa. Our two children, Clara and Adam, were born in Tel Aviv. In 1967 the family moved to Haifa. Leonard taught English Literature at Haifa University and also founded the university's Yiddish Studies Programme. He taught there until 1995, when he retired.

He continued to work full-time from home on his many Yiddish projects and especially on The Mendele Review, which he started in 1997. Clara married Shmuel Rispler in 1992 and Leonard enjoyed spending time with his three grandsons, Zeev, Aviram and Daniel. Leonard is buried in the cemetery on the hillside at Kibbutz Sasa, as he requested.

 

 

 

3) ---------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: David Mazower
Subject:
Bibliography of Writings by Leonard Prager

Bibliography of Writings by Leonard Prager

As well as writing and editing his own books and journals, Leonard Prager contributed articles, book reviews and notes to a wide range of publications: journals, anthologies, encyclopaedias and websites.

Among his papers the most comprehensive 'Curriculum Vitae and List of Publications' dates from 1993. He kept another file on his computer with a small selection of more recent publications. But Leonard was not one to spend time reflecting on his scholarly legacy; he was always more interested in looking ahead and planning future projects, and there is no sign that he ever produced a comprehensive listing of his own writings in his later years.

Our thanks to Barbara Prager for sifting through drawer after drawer of her husband's papers to make this bibliography as complete as possible. Of course, as Leonard knew only too well, bibliographies are works in progress and there will, almost certainly, be omissions in this listing too. Hopefully, they will be rectified at a future date.

But it is, by any measure, a remarkable list both in its quantity and especially for the range of his interests across the fields of English literature and Yiddish studies. Perhaps an enterprising publisher will see fit to collect and republish a selection of the papers in a volume under his name; certainly they deserve no less.

Some notes are in order:

       In keeping with Leonard Prager's own listing, this bibliography is in chronological order. The first item on his list was his PhD thesis. We have added the student publications from 1953 as a curiosity for friends and subscribers to this list.

       All publications are in English unless otherwise listed.

       This bibliography does not include Leonard Prager's many articles, reviews, comments and editorial notes in Mendele, The Mendele Review, Di velt fun yidish (The World of Yiddish) and other electronic journals which absorbed most of his energies in his last decade. Neither does it include some of the day to day output of the working academic, such as peer review notes for academic journals, or his English translations of abstracts for the Hebrew-language journal of Yiddish studies, Khulyot.

 

A. Student Publications

"Editorial: Stalinist Anti-Semitism the Final Test," Anvil and Student Partisan / A Student Anti-War Quarterly, 5:1 (9), Spring 1953, New York: New York Student Federation Against War, pp. 3-5.

"Editorial: Stalinism Retrospect and Prospect," Anvil and Student Partisan / A Student Anti-War Quarterly, 5:2 (10), Fall 1953, New York: New York Student Federation Against War, pp.3-4 [signed 'The Editors', but Prager's own copy is inscribed 'written by me' under the title].

 

B. PhD Dissertation

The Language of Shakespeare's Low Characters: An Introductory Survey / A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School / In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Yale University, September 1956, 394pp.

 

C. Authored Books

Yiddish Literary and Linguistic Periodicals and Miscellanies: A Selective Annotated Bibliography, with the help of A.A. Greenbaum, Darby, PA: Norwood Editions, 1982, 271pp.

Yiddish Culture in Britain: A Guide, Frankfurt am Main. Bern. New York. Paris: Peter Lang, 1990, 754pp.

 

D. Articles in Journals, Books and Conference Proceedings; Book Reviews; Articles and Entries in Encyclopaedias and Scholarly Handbooks

"Getting and Spending: Katherine Anne Porter's 'Theft'," Perspective / A Quarterly of Literature and the Arts, 11: 4 Winter 1960, St Louis, Missouri, Washington University, pp. 230-234

"The Clown in Othello", Shakespeare Quarterly, 11:1 (Winter 1960), The Shakespeare Association of America, pp. 94-96.

"The Glory and Gloom of the Anglo-Yiddish Press", Jewish Quarterly (London) 11:2 (38) (Summer 1963, pp.9-11

"Love's Labours Lost" in Murray Roston, ed., The Shakespearean World, Tel Aviv, Am Hasefer, 1965, pp.164 - 170 [in Hebrew]

"Shakespeare in Yiddish" in Murray Roston, ed., The Shakespearean World, Tel Aviv, Am Hasefer, 1965, pp. 265 - 274 [in Hebrew]

"Of Parents and Children: Jacob Gordin's The Jewish King Lear," American Quarterly 18:3 (Fall 1966), pp 506 516.

"Shakespeare in Yiddish," Shakespeare Quarterly 19:2 (Spring 1968), The Shakespeare Association of America, pp149-163.

"Di fraye velt: London, 1891-3" [The Free World: London, 1891-3], Fourth World Congress of Jewish Studies / Papers vol II, Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1968, pp. 69-72

A Bibliography of Yiddish Periodicals in Great Britain: 18671967," Studies in Bibliography and Booklore 9:1 (Spring 1969), The Library of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio, pp. 3 32.

[19 encyclopaedia entries] "Isaac Bashevis" [= Isaac Bashevis Singer], "Broder Singers", "Benzion Alfes" [= Bentsien Alfes], "M. Daniel" [M. Donyell], "Hayyim-Leib Fox (Fuchs)" [= Khayim Leyb Fuks], "Jacob Glatstein", "Jacob Gordin", "Yekhezkl Kotik", "Der Nister" [= Pinkhes Kahanovitsh], "Meir I. Pines", "Jacob Preger" [= Yankev Preger], "Israel Rabon (Rubin)" [= Yisroel Rubin], "Chaim Siemiatycki" [Khayim Semyatitski], "Shakespeare in Yiddish", "Jacob Shatsky", "Israel Joshua Singer", "Isaiah Spiegel" [= Shaye Shpigl], "Berish Weinstein" [= Berish Vaynshteyn], "Rajzel Zychlinska" [= Reyzl Zhikhlinski] in Encyclopaedia Judaica, Jerusalem: Keter, 1971. [various volumes]

"Shakespeare's Use of Rhetoric", Bamah (Stage) 48-9 (Winter / Spring 1971), Jerusalem, pp52-60 [in Hebrew]

"Kadya Molodovski", Encyclopaedia Hebraica, Jerusalem: Encyclopaedia Publishing Co., 1970 / 1971 vol. 22, cols. 427-428 [in Hebrew]

"Jews and Jewishness in Bernard Malamud's Fiction", Proceedings of the Fifth World Congress of Jewish Studies vol 3, Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1972, pp. 51-60.

"Yiddish in the University," Jewish Quarterly (London) 22:1-2 (79-80) (Spring-Summer 1974) pp. 31-40.

"The Beginnings of Yiddish Fiction in England," in Dov Noy and Issachar Ben-Ami, eds. Studies in the Cultural Life of the Jews in England, [=Folkore Research Center Studies 5], Jerusalem: Magnes Press / Hebrew University, 1975, pp. 245-310.

"Plans and Prospects", Jewish Quarterly (London), 27:2-3 (100-101) (Summer/Autumn 1979) pp. 22-23. [notes on a Yiddish conference at Oxford, 1979]

"The Treatment of Yiddish-Origin Lexemes in Hebrew Lexicography," Jewish Language Review 1 (1981), 89-95 [LP: = an improved version of Davis et al. below]

"The Place of the Yiddish Element in Hebrew Dictionaries" in Lawrence Davis et al., eds. Studies in Linguistics and Semiotics / Collected Essays in Memory of Mordechai Ben-Asher, Jerusalem: Ministry of Education and the University of Haifa Humanities Faculty, 1981 / 1981, pp.195 - 200 [in Hebrew]

"Yiddish in the University," in Joshua A. Fishman, ed., Never Say Die / A Thousand Years of Yiddish in Jewish Life, The Hague / Paris / New York: Mouton, 1981, pp. 529-545.

"Sholem-aleykhem's Kenig pik," Jewish Language Review 2 (1982), pp.1-13 

"Loshn un lebn (London), 1940-1981" in A.A.Greenbaum and A.Ivry, eds. Thought and Action / Essays in Honor of Simon Ravidowicz on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of his Death (Hagot umaase / seyfer zikaron leshimon ravidovitsh bemeleyat esrim vechamesh shana lemoto), Haifa and Tel-Aviv: University of Haifa / Tcherikover, 1983, pp. 135-150 [in Hebrew]

"The Two Worlds of Joshua A. Fishman (Review Essay)," Jewish Language Review 3 (1983), pp. 61-69

"Walt Whitman in Yiddish," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 1:3 (December 1983), pp.22-35.

"The Suppressed Ninth Letter of Sholem Aleykhem's The Intercepted Letters (Text and Commentary)," Jewish Language Review 4 (1984), pp.144-157.

"Charles Dickens in Yiddish: A Survey," Jewish Language Review 4 (1984), pp.158-178.

"Four Anecdotes about Sir Moses Montefiore (Text and Commentary)," and "Two Yiddish Tales about Sir Moses Montefiore (Text and Commentary)," Jewish Language Review 5 (1985), pp.60-84 [cf. later version in The Jewish Quarterly (London), 34:1 (1987), pp.37-44]

Review of David Neal Miller's Bibliography of Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1924 -1949 (New York, 1984), Jewish Language Review 5 (1985), pp.292-296 [with David L. Gold]

Review of Drora Kass's Israeli- and American-Jews: Towards a Meaningful Dialogue (New York, 1984), Jewish Language Review 5 (1985), pp.255-258

Review of Yitskhok (Antek) Tsukerman's Kapitlen fun izovn, Beit Lohamei hagetaot / Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1982 (actual date of issue: 1983), in Studies in Contemporary Jewry 2, (1985), pp.405-407 [published by Indiana University Prerss, Bloomington, for the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem].

"Seyfer mekhkar, limud vekeriya" [Review of Chone Shmeruk's Sifrut yidish bepolin], Gal-ed / On the History of the Jews in Poland nos. 7 / 8 (1985), pp. 286 289 [in Hebrew]

"Jewish Language Connections: A View from the Tower," (1), Jewish Language Review 6 (1986), pp. 211 224.

"Preliminary Checklist of English Names of Jewish Lects," Jewish Language Review 6 (1986), pp. 225-236.

"Ironic Couplings: the Sacred and the Sexual in Isaac Bashevis Singer" in David Neal Miller, ed. Recovering the Canon / Essays on Isaac Bashevis Singer, Leiden: E. J. Brill [Brown University Studies in Modern Judaism ed. Jacob Neusner], 1986, pp. 66-75.

"Jewish Language Connections: A View from the Tower" (2), Jewish Language Review 7A (1987), pp. 36 -71.

"Sir Moses Montefiore in Ashkenazic Folklore / Two Tales by Sh. An-ski," The Jewish Quarterly (London), 34:1 (125) (1987), pp37-44.

"Sholem-Aleykhem's First Feuilleton Series," Jewish Book Annual vol 44 (1986-1987), New York: Jewish Book Council, pp.120131.

"Hebrew-Yiddish Relations in Israel," The Jewish Quarterly (London), 35:2 (130) (1988) pp.46-50 (with David L. Gold)

[3 encyclopaedia entries] "Abraham Cahan", "The Yiddish Press", "Alexander Cederbaum" [Aleksander Tsederboym] in The Blackwell Companion to Jewish Culture from the Eighteenth Century to the Present ed. Glenda Abramson, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989.

Review of Yaakov Kelman, ed., Reshima bibliografit shel hapirsumim beivrit ubeyidish sheyatsu laor bepolin leman shenat 1944 ('A Bibliography of Hebrew and Yiddish Publications in Poland Since 1944') [Polish Jewry: Bibliographical Series 3], Jerusalem: Center for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews / Center for Research and Documentation of East European Jewry / The Hebrew University, 1987. in Studies in Contemporary Jewry 6 (1990), New York / Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990, pp. 369-71.

"Der londoner farleger m. yozef," [The London Yiddish Publisher M. Joseph] Oksforder yidish / Oxford Yiddish 2 (1991), ed. Dovid Katz. Chur / London / Paris / New York / Melbourne: Harwood Academic Publishers, pp.175-198 [in Yiddish].

"On the Boundaries between Yiddish and Hebrew Pedagogic and Lexicographic Aspects," Miqqedem Umiyyam V ( Hebrew Elements in Jewish Languages), eds. Yitzhak Avishur and Shelomo Morag (Proceedings of the Conference held on March 23-24, 1988 at the University of Haifa), Haifa-Jerusalem: The Faculty of Humanities, University of Haifa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1992, pp. 115-130. [in Hebrew]

"Looking Backward: The Jewish Labor Movement and Yiddish Literature in the Days of the Yontef-bletlekh of Perets and Pinski" (with Appendix describing the Yontef-bletlekh contents and contributors) in Chayim Schatzker, ed., Proceedings of the Founding Conference / The Sholem and Yisroel Gotteiner Institute for the Study of the History of the Bund, the History of the Jewish Labor Movement in Eastern Europe, and Yiddish Culture; Haifa, University of Haifa, 1991 pp. 55 -104 [ in English] and pp. 33 55 [ in Hebrew]

"Yiddish Theater in Cairo," Bulletin of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo, No. 16 (April 1992), pp. 24-30.

Book Review: Dovid Katz (ed.), Winter Studies in Yiddish, Vol. 2, Papers from the Second Annual Oxford Winter Symposium in Yiddish Language and Literature, 14-16 December, 1986. Oxford and New York: Pergamon Press, 1988, 123pp. in Studies in Contemporary Jewry 8, New York / Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, pp 326-329.

"Paul Muni's Parents Sing at a London Yiddish Music Hall," Language and Civilization / A Concerted Profusion of Essays and Studies in Honour of Otto Hietsch, 2 vols. Edited with the assistance of Teresa Kirschner, Donald Gutch and Judith Gilbert by Claudia Blank. Frankfurt / Bern / Paris / New York: Peter Lang, 1992, vol 1, pp. 428 471.

[translation] Radzinski, Michel (Mikhl) (1909 1989), The Scroll of My Life, as told to Shimen Kants (1914 1990), translated [from Yiddish] and edited by Leonard Prager, 19921993, 144pp. Self published in printed, bound format. [This translation was commissioned by the Radzinski family (Peru/United States/Israel)]

"Farewell to Poland -- on Avrom Sutskever's Poem 'To Poland'," Khulyot: Journal of Yiddish Research no 1 (Winter 1993), pp.148-158 [in Hebrew].

[Book Review] Yaakov Ariel, On Behalf of Israel: American Fundamentalist Attitudes Toward Jews, Judaism and Zionism, 1865 1945. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1991, in: Studies in Contemporary Jewry 10, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994, pp.376 - 378

"Galician-Jewish History in the Light of Three Biographies of Mordecai Gebirtig, Ignacy Schipper and Dov Sadan" in Galicja i Jej Dziedzictwo tom 2 Spoleczenstwo i Gospodarka [Galicia and its Legacy, vol 2, Society and Economy] eds Jerzy Chlopecki and Helena Madurowicz-Urbanska, Rzeszow (Poland), Wyzsej Szkoly Pedagogicznej, 1995, pp.137156 [in Polish]

[Book Review] Israel Bartal, Ezra Mendelsohn and Chava Turniansky (eds.), Studies in Jewish Culture in Honour of Chone Shmeruk, Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 1993, 546pp, in Studies in Contemporary Jewry 11, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1995, pp.297-300

"Yiddish Manuscripts in the British Library," British Library Journal 21:1 (Spring 1995), London, The British Library, pp. 81-108 [with Brad Sabin Hill]. 

"Yiddish Studies in Israel Face the Twenty-first Century" in La Ressegna Mensile di Israel vol LXII 1-2 January-August 1996 / Il mondo Yiddish: saggi [The Yiddish World: Essays], eds Elena Mortara Di Veroli and Laura Quercioli Mincer, Rome 1996, pp 451-464.

[Book Review] Stories from the Ghetto ed Yehiel Szeintuch and Yeshayaho Spiegl, 16 Manuscript Stories that survived the ghetto with introduction and interview with the writer. Jerusalem, 1996 (Hebrew) in Pages for Research on the Holocaust, Institute for Holocaust Research, University of Haifa and Lohamei Hagetaot, 1996.

"Bilom in Bashevis' Der knekht" in The Hidden Bashevis Singer, ed. Seth Wolitz. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001, pp. 79-92.

"Nature and the Language of Nature of Yitskhok Bashevis-Zinger's Der Knekht" in Isaac Bashevis Singer: His Work and his World ed. Hugh Denman, Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2002, pp.209 226.

"The Censorship of Sholem Asch's Got fun nekome," London 1946," in Yiddish Theatre; New Approaches ed. Joel Berkowitz, Oxford: Littman Library, 2003, pp. 175-197.

[encyclopaedia entries] "Abraham Cahan" and "Yeshayohu Shpigl (Isaiah Spiegel)" in Jewish Writers of the Twentieth Century, ed. Sorrel Kerbel, New York / London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003.

[encyclopaedia entries] "Joseph Bovshover", "Rakhel Feygenberg", "David Fram", "Mordecai Gebirtig", "Di Goldene Keyt", "Abba Gordin", "Yehezkel (Ezekiel) Kotik", "Morris Myer", "Moshe Oved", "Jacob Meir Salkind", "George (Getzel) Selikovitch", "William Shakespeare", "Isaiah Spiegel", "Abraham Nahum Stencl", "Joseph Tunkel", "Yiddish Literature" in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd Edition, Thomson Gale and Keter, 2007. [various volumes] [revised from the first edition]

[encyclopaedia entry] "Leyb Rashkin," Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd Edition, Thomson Gale and Keter, 2007 [new entry]

[encyclopaedia entries] "Gershn Levin," and "Yiddish Literary Journals," Yivo Encyclopaedia of Jews in Eastern Europe," 2 vols ed. Gershon David Hundert, New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2008, 1020-1021 [Levin] and 1064-1068 [Yiddish Literary Journals].

 

E. Unpublished

"The Bitter Drop: Drink, Drinkers, Distillers and Innkeepers in Eastern European Jewish Life, Language and Literature" [Paper delivered (in Yiddish) at the Second Conference, Bund Institute of the University of Haifa, December 1992.

"The Deadly Affix: a Study of the English Suffix cide," [accepted for publication by publishers Peter Lang in the series Forum Anglicum but never actually published]

Literature and the Anglo-Yiddish Press, nd (9-page typescript)

"London as a Yiddish Center," [Paper delivered at the Fifth Annual Oxford Winter Symposium, December 1989]

"The Politics of Yiddish in Britain," [Paper delivered at the Fourth Annual Oxford Winter Symposium, December 1988], (23-page typescript)

"Songs of the Ghettos and Concentration Camps" (Based on texts compiled by Sh. Kaczerginski / Romanized and translated by Leonard Prager) [ no date. 12-page typescript, containing complete versions of 9 songs with brief notes]

4) ---------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
Subject: Leben iz Kedayer -- Leonards talk for Khulyot 10

Traditionally, in addition to writing an item, Leonard contributed editing and translating to English of all the abstracts of Khulyot issues. When Khulyot 10 came out, Leonard was invited to give an address in the ceremony conducted for the event in Jerusalem. Due to health problems, Leonard could not arrive in person. He sent his speech, which we received from Prof. Yechiel Szeintuch and Carrie Friedman-Cohen.

 

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The day Prof. Prager died, Volume 11 of Khulyot appeared.

5)------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Noyekh Miller (2008)
Subject: Leonard Prager z"l

Noyekh Miller, founder of Mendele, of which TMR is an offshoot, and a lifetime friend and colleague of Leonard, wrote the announcement in Mendele of Leonard's passing away. With Noyekh's kind permission we bring this touching announcement here.

Leonard Prager z"l by Noyekh Miller

Leonard Prager, editor of The Mendele Review, died on December 11. According to his son, he was working until the very end and suffered no pain.

Though Lennie and I grew up a few blocks from one another in Philadelphia -- where his sister Bertie and I were classmates for 9 years -- I never knew him until Mendele began to appear. Only then did it turn out that we had over the years occupied a number of intersecting worlds, and were thus old friends from the very start.

Lennie was an original. Though a Zionist, he rejected the denigration of Yiddish that was at one time virtually part of the party line. It certainly did not help his career at Haifa University. But what concerned him most was that Yiddish literature and its history was slipping into oblivion, that even those professing a love of the language rarely read it or at best limited themselves to sophisticated readings of a half dozen writers. The Mendele Review, which he edited and almost single-handedly wrote every month from 1997, is a lasting testament to his passion.

And he accomplished all this despite being seriously ill for years. We have lost a treasured friend.


Noyekh Miller

6)------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Itsik (Robert) Goldenberg
Subject: My friendship and collaboration with Leonard

My friendship and collaboration with Leonard by Itsik (Robert) Goldenberg

After hearing that Leonard Prager had so suddenly left us, I decided to look through the TMR archives, to refresh my recollection of the scope of his forum for Yiddish literature. For almost 12 years he presented us with over 200 issues of his eclectic panorama of Yiddish:  poetry, prose, folklore, music, art, bibliography, theatre and more.

My first contact with Leonard was in 1998, when I responded to his invitation for volunteers willing to assist him with the grunt work (i.e. typing, transcribing and proofreading Yiddish stories) in The Mendele Review, The Onkeles Project and Di Velt fun Yiddish. My first assignment was to transcribe Chaim Grade's "Musernikes." The most ambitious was Yehoyesh's Yiddish Tanakh, of which Leonard was so proud. The payoff for me was the awakening of my long dormant love for Yiddish. Leonard's curiosity, patience, warmth, humour and drive made the tasks something to look forward to. It was most gratifying to be able to contribute to his outstanding work. Leonard often reminded me that though books might eventually crumble, this work in Yiddish would live forever on the Internet. What began with me as a kind of technical and mechanical involvement gradually developed into a warm friendship and appreciation of mutual interests well beyond the work at hand. My world is diminished by Leonard's absence from it.


Itsik (Robert) Goldenberg, Canada

7)------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Zvi Mann
Subject: My Acquaintance with Leonard

My acquaintance with Leonard Prager by Zvi Mann

I spoke with Leonard Wednesday night, just several hours before he died. Leonard called me very excited to inform me of the arrival of the book I was long looking for, Di Shtilkeyt Mont by my father, Mendel Mann, which was printed in Lodz in 1945, in a limited number of copies. When I started to look for the book, I knew of one available copy in Paris, which I fell short to achieve. Leonard found another copy for me in New York, and this copy then just arrived to his house. Leonard even started to prepare the delivery of this book to me. On the envelope in which I received this precious copy, after Leonards passing away, the address was partly written by Leonards hand, and completed by his wife Barbara.

We had a long conversation that Wednesday night. Talking about the approaching Khanike (Chanuka), Leonard read Shtentsls song to me, which he included in his last TMR, that was published after he passed away. Inspired by the song, we talked about menoyres (Chanuka Menorot), and I sent him pictures of ancient menoyres I had from my fathers Judaica collection, which Leonard embedded into his TMR. We also discussed my fathers book Der Shvartser Demb, agreeing that Demb means oak as well as tree trunk. This book opens with a signed Chagalls aquarelle, symbolically depicting my father telling the story of the ruined Yiddishe Shtetlekh, which Leonard included, too, in this last TMR. We had been talking for a couple of hours, and were both very excited, when Leonard told me he felt weak and had pains in his back. We agreed to continue our conversation the next day, and now will never do.

I know Leonard for two years. Thanks to him I became closer to Yiddish, and managed to acquire eighteen books by my father which I had not had before. Whenever and whatever I asked him, he willingly and skillfully found and achieved for me, including books, pre-war periodicals, and all types of information.

Leonard was Yiddishs most loyal supporter and promoter I have ever met.

I wanted to express my deep gratitude and appreciation for him. I miss him and will always cherish his efforts he made for me personally and for the Yiddish language and culture in general.

Zvi Mann, Beer Sheba.

8)------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Dafna Sheinwald
Subject: The honor to have known Leonard

The honor to have known Leonard by Dafna Sheinwald

For several years, I used to visit Leonard's web site The World of Yiddish, trying to catch Yiddish words by comparing Hebrew bible verses against their Yehoyesh Yiddish translation that Leonard worked so hard to make available on the web. In 2004, when my family started a too late search for further resources about- and writings of my great uncle, author Leyb Rashkin, I turned to Leonard for help. This is when I first met this precious fountain of knowledge, who has been always willing to help, warmly, skillfully, and full engines. Leonard enlightened us with many new meaningful facts.

I then became aware of additional parts of his site that he developed dedicatedly, and, of course, his TMR project.

I did not expect a person of Leonard's generation to be so much aware of the internet power in spreading knowledge, education, and even nostalgic enjoyment, reaching readers all over the world. Leonard realized that many of his readers have the internet as their only resource for new information and education.

Meeting with Leonard, I earned the honor of taking a humble part in this significant project. I used to help with the technical stuff related to the actual production of the webpage itself. All the contents arrived from Leonard. He did not cease to amaze me by the amounts of text he would process, by the width of his knowledge, by his ability to reach old and rare publications, pictures, and recorded music and voice. In addition to all this, he invested much thought and labor in having his TMR issues educating, as well as pleasing and inspiring. He cared about every detail, and bothered to check and check again contents and formatting. He was always full of motivation, and could work very long and late hours.

I miss communicating with Leonard, his witty comments about daily events, about work and family. Through Leonard, I acquired many new interesting friends, usually out of my high-tech circles, I gained an inspiration from him for levels of dedication and professionalism. I consider myself fortunate to have known Leonard.

Dafna Sheinwald

9)------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Riki Greenberg
Subject: The Blog Entry of the University of Haifa Library

The University of Haifa Library, where Leonard was a loyal, enthusiastic visitor, dedicated a blog entry to him, written, in Hebrew, by Riki Greenberg. With her kind permission, Adam Prager translated the entry to English, for the benefit of many of TMR readers.
The library main search page links the 'Yiddish Studies' discipline directly to Leonard's The World of Yiddish.


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In memory of Prof. Leonard (Lenny) Prager by Riki Greenberg, the Haifa University Library

Several years ago we were introduced to Prof. Leonard Prager who requested to use the librarys digital services for his lifelong work of the research and preservation of the Yiddish culture.

Prof. Prager, a pleasant, smiling, modest and energetic man started working with us enthusiastically with full cooperation while succeeding in recruiting help worldwide.

The Journal Khulyot, one of his numerous projects, was the library first digitization of a Journal and was chosen as the pilot in the field of scanning and digitizing periodicals. Before the Journal became freely accessible to all on the internet, Prof. Prager made sure he contacted all the authors involved in order to receive their consent.

Every so often Prof. Prager would arrive at the library and tell us with great enthusiasm about the many volunteers around the world working to preserve the Yiddish language. With the help of these people Prof. Prager conducted the project of typing the Yiddish texts, translating them into Hebrew, preparing audio files with precise pronunciation and finally uploading all this material onto the internet sight: The world of Yiddish which he created, maintained and constantly improved.

Prof. Prager was an erudite person, a true scholar who understood the importance of the internet as a means of promoting and preserving the Yiddish culture.

We at the Haifa University Library had the honor of knowing and working with Prof. Prager. We are confident that his lifelong work of preserving the Yiddish tongue, literature and culture will be a source of inspiration to both researchers and students.

Blessed be his memory.

10)------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Dafna Sheinwald
Subject:
Funeral and unveiling of the tombstone

Funeral and unveiling of the tombstone

In very short notice, within a few hours, friends from all over Israel, and family gathered to pay their last respect to Leonard, in Kibbutz Sasa, at the very north of Israel. It was Leonard's birthday, December 12, and also the day of his funeral.

Leonard, or Lenny, as called by close friends and relatives, was a member of the HaShomer HaTsair group, originated in USA, that founded Kibbutz Sasa in January 1949. Many of the group members served as soldiers in the US Army, participating in War World II. After the war ended, they served with the Hagana, sailing Maapilim ships and bringing Holocaust survivors to Palestine. In my eyes, a Sabra and daughter of Sabras, they looked like Lenny: people in their 80-s, speaking English, nice and pleasant to one another. Some of them still live in the Kibbutz, including Yoel who helped with arranging the funeral there, and some have left to other Kibbutzim, or to the city. They all seemed to be very attached to the place and to one another.

Toward 3 pm, we drove from the house dedicated to the pioneers, where we met, to the Kibbutz cemetery, placed on a nearby hill, with a wide, open view of the hills of upper Galilee, South Lebanon, and the Golan Heights.

After the burial, Lenny's son, Adam, read from Emily Dickinson, who stated that a person's way of leaving his life indicates the fulfillment he feels he had achieved during his life. Lenny died peacefully, at home, surrounded by family, working and doing the things he loved and was dedicated to, until his last breath.

Shmuel delivered a loving eulogy. Then, friends told about their Lenny. One friend told about her first meeting with him, when they studied in college: she heard from her friend about a young man learning with her, who always draws examples from Hebrew or Yiddish to anything the teacher teaches. She was impressed and asked to meet with this young man. A professor from Lenny's department spoke highly of Lenny's professionalism, his dedication to the subjects of his research, and his uniqueness.

David Mazower, a generation younger than Lenny, and his good friend, sent from London a letter embedded with Lenny's witty comments and with the sadness his going away left, which I, a newer friend of Lenny, read, and then I told about the honor I gained in having known Lenny.

Son Adam and Son in law Shmuel led the Kadish and El-Male Rakhamim prayer.

It was a very bright and quiet day. Hills all around were clearly seen.

Thirty days later, we met for the tombstones unveiling. The day started rainy, but as the hour approached, and exactly for the ceremony, the rain gracefully stopped.

Lennys enthusiasm for Yiddish, and his contributions to it are engraved on the tombstone using a perfect Yivo Yiddish, which was so important to Lenny, written by his friend Prof. Yechiel Szeintuch.

Daughter Clara read from letters received, people told more about Lenny. A friend born in Los Angeles told about the tall handsome Navy soldier who would visit his friend from HaShomer HaTsair while posted in San Diego.

Shmuel read the prayers, and the attendees seemed reluctant to leave.

 


11)------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 December 2009
From: Carrie Friedman-Cohen
Subject: The Jerusalem Conference: A Century of Yiddish 1908-2008

TMR has gladly and proudly participated in announcing the upcoming conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This important conference will take place next week, Dec. 7 10. TMR readers may enjoy the Youtube movie, visit the conference website, and are cordially invited to attend.

The third session of the first day, Yiddish in the Soviet Union, in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and on the Internet Today, will be dedicated to the memory of Prof. Leonard Prager.


Excerpting from the announcement:

THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM

THE INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDIES
Israel Science Foundation

International Academic Conference

A CENTURY OF YIDDISH

1908-2008

December 7-10, 2009

All lectures will take place at the Wise Auditorium on the Givat Ram Campus

Organizers: Eli Lederhendler, Shaul Stampfer and Yechiel Szeintuch
(The Hebrew University)

 

(click on image to get a full resolution poster)

 

-------------------------------------------------

End of The Mendele Review Issue 12.022
Editors of this issue: Adam Prager and Dafna Sheinwald

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**** Getting back issues ****

The Mendele Review issues can be reached at: http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/tmr/tmr.htm

Yiddish Theatre Forum archives can be reached at: http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/tmr/ytf/ytf.htm

Mendele on the web: http://mendele.commons.yale.edu/

The World of Yiddish http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il

***

 

 

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