Yid­dish Book Cen­ter’s Wexler Oral His­tory Project Launches Kick­starter Cam­paign

“BEYLE: The Artist and Her Legacy” A Doc­u­men­tary Short Film

The Jewish Voice - - ARTS AND CULTURE - Edited by: JV Staff

The Yid­dish Book Cen­ter’s Wexler Oral His­tory Project has launched a Kick­starter cam­paign to com­plete a new doc­u­men­tary short film BEYLE: The Artist and Her Legacy. The film cen­ters on the life and legacy of poet, artist, and ac­tivist Beyle Schaechter-Gottes­man, whose poems and songs be­came an in­te­gral part of the fab­ric of post­war Yid­dish cul­ture.

The film seeks to present Beyle’s story in a way she would have ex­pressed it—through many medi­ums: song, po­etry, paint­ing, and an­i­ma­tion. It in­cludes exclusive oral his­tory in­ter­views with Beyle, her son Itzik Gottes­man, her grand­daugh­ter Es­ther Gottes­man, Yid­dish-lan­guage in­struc­tor and scholar Asya Vais­man-Schul­man, and sev­eral Bain­brid­givke res­i­dents. Flow­ing through these sto­ries are Beyle’s draw­ings, paint­ings, poems, record­ings of her songs, and family pho­tos that fol­low the timeline of her life. The film seeks to an­swer ques­tions about what it means to be a Yid­dish writer, to be the de­scen­dants of a Yid­dish writer, and to cre­ate and trans­mit a his­tory and cul­ture.

Born in 1920 in Vi­enna and raised in Cz­er­nowitz, Ukraine, Beyle in­her­ited a love of song and po­etry, a vast mem­ory for words and sto­ries, and a unique, pro­tec­tive love of Yid­dish from her fa­ther, a proud Yid­dishist, and her mother, an ad­mired folk singer. Af­ter sur­viv­ing the Holo­caust in Europe, she sought to build a last­ing sec­u­lar Yid­dish-speak­ing com­mu­nity—a small pocket of New York City that be­came known as “Bain­brid­givke” where she raised her chil­dren along­side other fam­i­lies com­mit­ted to pass­ing the lan­guage and cul­ture down to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

An in­flu­en­tial teacher and writer, Beyle be­gan to write songs, plays, and poems so her chil­dren would have ma­te­ri­als to read in Yid­dish. Once her chil­dren out­grew chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, she be­gan to write for her­self and a gen­eral au­di­ence. She pub­lished her de­but po­etry book Steshkes tsvishn moy­ern (Foot­paths amid Stone Walls) in 1972, and continued to pub­lish sev­eral col­lec­tions of poems and art­work, as well as CDs of her songs per­formed by her­self and other Yid­dish singers and per­form­ers. She re­ceived a Na­tional Her­itage Award from the Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts in 2005 for her vast and vi­brant artis­tic con­tri­bu­tions.

Th Kick­starter cam­paign, which runs through Oc­to­ber 31, 2017, seeks to raise $18,000 to com­plete the film. Learn more and make a tax-de­ductible do­na­tion to sup­port the film at: www.kick­starter.com/projects/ yid­dish book cen­ter/ bey le-the artist-and-her-lega­cya- yid­dish book-cent.

About: The Yid­dish Book Cen­ter is a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion work­ing to re­cover, cel­e­brate, and re­gen­er­ate Yid­dish and mod­ern Jewish lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture.

The Yid­dish Book Cen­ter’s Wexler Oral His­tory Project is a grow­ing collection of more than 750 in-depth in­ter­views with peo­ple of all ages and back­grounds, whose sto­ries about the legacy and chang­ing na­ture of Yid­dish lan­guage and cul­ture of­fer a rich and com­plex chronicle of Jewish iden­tity. Our oral his­tory and short film se­ries Be­yond the Books: Yid­dish Writ­ers and Their De­scen­dants ex­am­ines the lives and lega­cies of Yid­dish writ­ers through an in­ti­mate lens.

The Yid­dish Book Cen­ter’s Wexler Oral His­tory Project has launched a Kick­starter cam­paign to com­plete a new doc­u­men­tary short film BEYLE: The Artist and Her Legacy. The film cen­ters on the life and legacy of poet, artist, and ac­tivist Beyle Schaechter-Gottes­man, whose poems and songs be­came an in­te­gral part of the fab­ric of post­war Yid­dish cul­ture.

The poems and songs of Beyle Schaechter-Gottes­man be­came an in­te­gral part of the fab­ric of post­war Yid­dish cul­ture.

Yid­dish Book Cen­ter on Hamp­shire Col­lege grounds, Amherst MA

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