A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York

In an illustrative style that is a thrilling mash-up of Art Spiegelman 's deft emotionality, Roz Chast 's hilarious neuroses, and the magical spirit of Marc Chagall, A Bintel Brief is Liana Finck ’ s fantastical, elegiac love letter to the turn-of-the-century Jewish immigrants who transformed New York ity and America itself.

A Bintel Brief " A Bundle of Letters " —was the enormously popular advice column of The Forward, the widely read Yiddish language newspaper begun in 1906 New York. Written by a diverse community of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, these letters spoke to the daily heartbreaks and comedies of their new lives, capturing the hope, isolation, and misunderstandin of assimilation.

Drawn from these letters—selected and adapted by Liana Finck and brought to life in her appealing two-color illustrations— A Bintel Brief is a tour of Lower East Side New York, and includes an imaginative conversation with the Yiddish " Dear Poll, " Abraham Cahan, The Forward 's legendary editor and creator of the Bintel Brief column.

From premarital sex to family politics to struggles with jobs and money, A Bintel Brief is an enlightening look at a segment of America 's rich cultural past that offers fresh insights for our own lives as well.
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Published April 15th 2014 by Ecco
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gave it

But you don ’ t have to have a familiarity with Jews and the Old Country to love this slender book.Liana Finck has crafted a beautiful book recording the heartfelt letters sent to The Forward, the Yiddish newspaper that introduced Jewish immigrants to their new homeland.

gave it

It 's Liana Finck 's tribute to the Jewish Daily Forward ( Forverts in Yiddish) and its long-term editor 's answers to the problem and stories of eastern European Jewish immigrants flooding into the country and, specifically, New York City at the beginnin of the twentiet and early 20th centuries.

A Bintel Brief was published in 2014, but my read of it is timely, as Forward, having previously decreased in frequency and, in 2016, turned into a monthly magazine, has ended its 120-year print run and will henceforth be continuing in the digital mode only.

gave it

Cahan himself appears with his heart where his head should be, a lovely, poetic visual metaphor.Finck sets up a rhythm to the novel, opening each chapter with an illustrated letter, then Cahan 's response, and finally a scene in the present, where Finck talks to Cahan about his work, trying to get a better ense of the mysterious editor.

gave it

But as I read his more clear-cut responses, I wish I could reach back through the year and offer a little less " this is the answer plain and simple " and a little more " that sounds really complicated and hard. " It is interesting to think about Cahan 's almost rabbinic role as he responds to these letters, and his answers which are not always as talmudic as they might be, but maybe I wil read the nove again with this uestion in mind ( for it is short after all) and see if I ca n't find some ints of aggadah, and some questions answered with questions.

gave it

Also this is a review I wrote for my work blog [email protected] MPL.It 's a very simple idea: a woman receives a notebook with newspaper clippings from the Bintel Brief, a long-running letter column in turn of the century Yiddish newspaper

As she reads The Bintel Brief, she gets to know centuries of New York immigrant Jews and she gets to know Cahan himself.

It can also be possibl to interest younger people in 100 year old advice columns when there is so much else to read, see, and do.

These letters can tell you as much about peoples' lives at that time than any article about working conditions, poverty, or immigration ever could.If you read this essay and you want more ( as I did), you can read the original columns in A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward.

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