fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Forward-Looking Art

The Forward was one of the institutions in my house when I was growing up. Actually, it was the Forverts and it was the Yiddish newspaper, not the modern website (which is still an excellent source of Jewish news). My Yiddish is fairly minimal, mostly insults and food words. But my grandfather read the Forverts regularly and my father generally picked it up after he was done, though Dad's normal newspaper of choice was the New York Times.

Many years before that, the Forverts had an advice column, called A Bintel Brief (a bunch of letters). This may have been the first advice column in the U.S. and people wrote in about the same sorts of issues that they write to advice columns about now. Some of those letters were collected in a book in the early 1970's. It's fascinating reading and well worth seeking out a copy of.

I mention this because I went to the opening tonight of Lina Finck's gallery show at Sixth & I Synagogue. She's working on a graphic novel version of a selection of the letters. Her interpretations are intriguing anc cover a variety of the typical subjects. I'd like to particularly note the Gallery of Missing Husbands, a feature in which women wrote in (and sent photographs) of the men who had abandoned them. When I asked her, she said she had thought about hiring a translator for the material that was only in Yiddish, but was concerned that would be a breach of integrity. It's an excellent exhibit and the only flaw is that I found myself wanting more. (They do have a book out on a table with some of the other letters illustrated.)

The Forward is publishing excerpts from the graphic novel. I, for one, am looking forward to buying this when it comes out.
Tags: art, judaism

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