The Jewish Theological Seminary Library has just received the highly-regarded Sami Rohr Library of Recorded Yiddish Books. Lovers of Yiddish will be able to hear thirty well-known stories by great Yiddish writers, read by native Yiddish speakers.
How this project came about is a very interesting story in itself. Zachary Baker, current curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections at Stanford, was working at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal during the mid-1980s when a European-born library member, Shmulik Rosenfeld, sought to help his wife. She was losing her eyesight and unable to read the Yiddish literature that she loved for so many years. Rosenfeld gathered together a group of native Yiddish speakers–there was a sizeable community of them in Montreal at that time–to record these stories on tape, which were later transferred to CD. And according to Zachary Baker, “Thus was born the JPL’s Yiddish Talking Books program, which was modeled on similar programs for English-language books offered by the National Library of Canada, the Library of Congress, and other libraries.”
He adds that “it was thrilling to hear the familiar voices of the readers–most of whom are, sadly, no longer with us–and more importantly, to listen to some of the best works of Yiddish literature read out loud in the accents (plural) and cadences of Eastern European Yiddish.”
A complete list of titles in the set is here. They will soon be available; inquire at the circulation desk.
Hert zikh tsu gezunterheit! Mit fargenign!
(Listen in good health! Enjoy!)