Dear Mendl, Dear Reyzl

Dear Mendl, Dear Reyzl : Yiddish Letter Manuals from Russia and America

4 (2 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


At the turn of the 20th century, Jewish families scattered by migration could stay in touch only through letters. Jews in the Russian Empire and America wrote business letters, romantic letters, and emotionally intense family letters. But for many Jews who were unaccustomed to communicating their public and private thoughts in writing, correspondence was a challenge. How could they make sure their spelling was correct and they were organizing their thoughts properly? A popular solution was to consult brivnshtelers, Yiddish-language books of model letters. Dear Mendl, Dear Reyzl translates selections from these model-letter books and includes essays and annotations that illuminate their role as guides to a past culture.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 20mm | 359.99g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 6 b&w illus.
  • 0253012031
  • 9780253012036
  • 1,402,607

Table of contents

Note on Translation
Introduction: A Paper Life
1. The World of the Brivnshteler
Encountering Modernity
The Brivnshteler and Traditional Education
The Brivnshteler and the history of model letters
Yiddish Language, Yiddish Publishing, and the Brivnshteler
The Brivnshteler and Yiddish Literature
What makes the brivnshteler Jewish?
2. From the Pages of Brivnshtelers
Modernity and Mobility
Parents and Children: Russia
show more

Review quote

Dear Mendl, Dear Reyzl delivers more than one would expect because it goes beyond a linguistic study of letter-writing manuals and explicates their genre and social function. It is appropriate for students of Jewish life generally and Yiddishists of any age. * Slavic Review * A great deal of history is covered in this book as the authors discuss the social and economic stressesthat Jews faced on both sides of the ocean throughout this time period. Each section begins with anexplanation of a particular issue, but the real delight of the book is in reading the letters themselves. . . . Highly Recommended. * AJL Reviews * Reproductions of brivnshtelers form the core of the book and comprise the majority of the text, providing a ground-level window into a largely obscured past. * Publishers Weekly * ...These manuals provide us with a lens to better understand Jewish life at the time, as they mirror many of the challenges and concerns that Russian and American Jews were experiencing, and as they resonate with the emotional registers found in Yiddish literature and letters more generally. * Jewish Book Council * ...[C]overs a neglected aspect of Jewish popular culture and deserves a wide readership. For all serious readers of Yiddish and immigrant Jewish culture and customs. * Library Journal *
show more

About Alice Stone Nakhimovsky

Alice Nakhimovsky is Professor of Russian and Jewish Studies at Colgate University, where she directs the program in Russian and Eurasian Studies. She has written extensively on Russian-Jewish literature and everyday life and served on the editorial board of The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe.

Roberta Newman is an independent scholar living in New York City. She is Director of Digital Initiatives at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and was Illustrations Editor and Director of Archival Research for The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe.
show more

Rating details

2 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 100% (2)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X