In Autumn 2021, students in Prof. Naomi Sokoloff’s course on Modern Hebrew Prose translated chapters from a memorial book. Yizkor books of this sort are collections of writing that commemorate Jewish communities destroyed during the Nazi Holocaust. People who escaped before the catastrophe or somehow managed to survive it produced hundreds of such volumes after WWII, each one focusing on a particular place. Those compilations consisted of personal reminiscences, anecdotes about local customs and/or characters, folklore associated with a town or region, accounts of what happened during the genocide, photos, and more.
NELC’s Hebrew students worked on a book from 1961 that commemorates Jewish life in the Ukrainian town, Mizoch. The project was initiated and coordinated by Mr. Laurence Broun, whose family had roots in there. Students from George Washington University, under the supervision of Prof. Orian Zakai, and students from the University of Texas, under the supervision of Prof. Yitskhok N. Gottesman, have contributed translations from Hebrew and Yiddish. Dr. Hadar Khazzam-Horovitz of UW also participated in translation of several pieces.
Chapters in English currently appear online on the site of JewishGen, an organization devoted to genealogy and affiliated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Plans are underway to publish a hardcover edition of the Mizoch Book, and Prof. Dmytro Aladko of Rivne State Humanitarian University is working on a translation from English into Ukrainian.
Any students of Hebrew who would like to try their hand at translation and earn Independent Study credits, contact Prof. Sokoloff!