Today My Best Poem's A Child: An Interview with Goldie Morgentaler

The UJA Committee for Yiddish and the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language (CIYCL) and Kulturkongres present

"Today My Best Poem's a Child":

Goldie Morgentaler and Chava Rosenfarb -- A Daughter Tackles Her Mother's Giant Legacy


How does a young girl respond when she's recruited to help translate her mother's landmark work from Yiddish?

What is it like to delve into the intimacies of your mother's words and life, some of which are harrowing?

When does an obligation become a sacred mission?

In this exclusive interview, Miri Koral and Prof. Goldie Morgentaler to explore the dynamic and the challenge of bringing the renowned Yiddish writer Chava Rosenfarb's brilliant works to the wider English-speaking world.

This program is in English, with some Yiddish.

Recorded live on Zoom from Los Angeles and Toronto
September 26, 2021, 2:00pm ET.





Once flowers would glimmer thin and pale
on the windowsill in my room.
Today on the lips of my child
glow smiles like the brightest bloom.

Once I would spin languid songs
with a lilt of barely heard chords.
Today my best poem's a child.
My silence sings brighter than words.

Once I would follow delights - 
today I supply them and gather
the blue-eyed light shining bright
from one end of my life to the other.

אַמאָל האָבן בלומען געבליט
אַזױ בלײך אױף מײַן שטוביקן פֿענצטער -
הײַנט בליט אױף ליפּ פון מײַן קינד
פֿון שמײכלען, דער שמײכל דער שענסטער.

אַמאָל האָב איך לידער געשפּינט
און דער ניגון - אַ קױם, קױם געהערטער.
הײַנט איז מײַן ניגון - אַ קינד
און מײַן שװײַגן זינגט העלער װי װערטער.

אַמאָל האָב איך פֿרײדן געזוכט -
און הײַנט קום איך פֿרײדן צו געבן
צום גרױסן בלױ-אױגיקן ליכט
װאָס שפּרײַזט דורך דער לענג פֿון מײַן לעבן.


CHAVA ROSENFARB was one of the major Yiddish novelists of the late 20th century. Her most important work is The Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Lodz Ghetto. She was also the author of numerous short stories, essays and three volumes of poetry. 

GOLDIE MORGENTALER is Professor of English at the University of Lethbridge. She is an award-winning translator from Yiddish to English, mostly of the work of the Yiddish novelist Chava Rosenfarb. She is currently working on the translation of Rosenfarb’s last novel, Letters to Abrasha. 

Interviewer MIRI KORAL is the CEO and Founding Director of CIYCL, the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language. She has taught Yiddish language and culture at UCLA and the American Jewish University, and is also an accomplished Yiddish poet and translator.

This program is co-presented by UJA Committee for Yiddish, the California Institute of Yiddish Culture and Language (CIYCL) and the Congress for Jewish Culture/Kulturkongres in New York.