Legendary Yiddish Advice Column Staged at Hudson Hall

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – A free staged reading of “A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower Eastside to the Jewish Daily Forward,” takes place at Hudson Hall on Sunday, May 28, at 3pm. The event will feature live musical accompaniment and a diverse cast of actors who will bring to life the history, the humor, and the struggle of the Jewish immigrant experience.

For more than 80 years the New York City-based Yiddish newspaper Der Forverts, also known as the Jewish Daily Forward, including an advice column, “A Bintel Brief” (Yiddish for “a bundle of letters”). The column, begun by legendary editor Abraham Cahan, dispensed shrewd, practical and fair-minded advice to its readers. Created in 1906 to help bewildered Eastern European Jewish immigrants learn about their new country, the column also gave them a forum for seeking advice and support in the face of problems and challenges ranging from wrenching spiritual dilemmas to family squabbles, predicaments when old world meets new.

The Bintel Brief became such a great cultural touchstone that is has been the subject of books, essays, a graphic novel, a Yiddish play, and now this staged reading. It is widely believed that the Bintel Brief was the direct forerunner of mainstream American newspaper advice columns including “Dear Abby” and “Ask Ann Landers.” The “Abigail Van Buren” and “Ann Landers” behind those two columns were actually twin sisters Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman, American-born daughters of Yiddish-speaking Russian-Jewish immigrants.

Refreshments will be served following the reading. Tickets are free; however, reservations are highly recommended. Visit Hudson Hall or call (518) 822-1438 to reserve.

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