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Yiddish Research: Folklore

Yiddish research guide covering general resources, article and books, folklore, genealogy, linguistics, literature, music and dance, oral history, theater, film, radio, translation and student resources.

Books and Websites


AHEYM: The Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories

Archive of ethnographic interviews with elderly Jews in contemporary Eastern Europe. Includes online exhibits and videos, searchable by name, subject and place. 


Ben-Amos, Dan. "Jewish Folklore". Oxford Bibliographies Online. Accessible with a Library card and PIN.


ElswitSharon. The Jewish Story Finder: A Guide to 363 Tales, Listing Subjects and Sources. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2009.
Folktales are listed by theme. Each story is summarized, variant versions noted, and detailed bibliography given. A story title index allows another way to search.


Image: Peacock cigarette card. NYPL Digital Collections.


Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore. Raphael Patai, founding editor; Haya Bar-Itzhak, editor. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2013. Includes some Yiddish folklore, although coverage and transliteration is uneven.


Gottesman, Itzik. Defining the Yiddish nation : the Jewish folklorists of PolandDetroit : Wayne State University Press, c2003.

Study of folklore and ethnography in Poland; includes bibliographical references and index.


NigalGedalyahLeksikon ha-Sipur ha-Hasidi. Jerusalem: ha-Makhon le-heker ha-sifrut ha-hasidit, 765/2005.
Comprehensive Hebrew-language encyclopedia of Hasidic literature, authors, characters, tales, ritual concepts, places, and works.


The Tartu Jewish Folklore Collection: 1926-1938, 1946

This is a collection of Jewish folklore mostly in Yiddish and Tartu in 1926-1938 for the Estonian Folklore Archives. The site (in Estonian) includes anecdotes, songs, curses, riddles, and sayings. Visit Part 1 and Part 2. Find more information in English here.


Weinreich, Uriel and Beatrice. Yiddish Language and Folklore: a Selective BibliographyGravenhage: Mouton, 1959.


Weinreich, Beatrice, ed. Yiddish Folktales. Trans. Leonard Wolf. New York: Pantheon Books/YIVO, 1988.
Folktales arranged thematically; includes a bibliography, glossary of Yiddish words, and scholarly introduction.


Yassif, Eli. Jewish Folklore: an Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1986.


Yiddish Wit and Wisdom
Collection of Yiddish expressions and idioms in Yiddish and transliteration.

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Image: Photo of Molly Picon and Sam Levene in Paris is Out! 1970, NYPL Digital Collections.