Ústav pro českou literaturu AV ČR Institute of Czech literature of the CAS
Obsah vašeho košíku

Nemáte žádné položky v košíku

Joanna Degler (Lisek) – Prague as an important center for the development of early Yiddish literature written by women

16. 1. 2024 (17:00), horní sál Ústavu pro českou literaturu AV ČR (Na Florenci 3, Praha 1)

Cyklus přednášek literárněvědného fóra, v němž se nyní věnujeme jidiš a jidiškajt, uzavře 16. ledna 2024 Joanna Degler (Lisek) z Vratislavské univerzity s příspěvkem Prague as an important center for the development of early Yiddish literature written by women.

Aktuální sérii přednášek organizujeme ve spolupráci s Centrem pro studium holokaustu a židovské literatury, sledovat je můžete osobně v horním sále Ústavu pro českou literaturu AV ČR (Na Florenci 3, Praha 1).

Přednášející bude hovořit anglicky.


Prague was a very important center for the development of early Yiddish literature between 16th and 18th century, so in this period when it was strongly associated with women as its main readers, but also as creators. I will discuss this topic using the example of three authors directly related to Prague and one whose father probably came from this city.

One of the first Yiddish women-poets about whom some information has reached our times is Ryvke Tiktiner, a preacher and writer who enjoys the greatest recognition. In the middle of the 16th century, she was a zogerin in Prague. She is the author of the famous moralizing work for women entitled “Meynekes Rivke” (Rebekah the Feeder) and the hymn for the holiday of Simkhes Toyre.

Another example of an outstanding Yiddish writer from Prague is Toybe Pan, daughter of Leyb Pitsker, who lived in the 17th century. Her poem “Eyn sheyn lid naye gemakht beloshn tkhine iz vardin oysgetrakht” (Beautiful, freshly composed song, invented in the style of tkhine) combines elements of historical account and traditional tkhine (prayer). The impulse to write this poem of fifty-four stanzas was an epidemic that took a terrible toll.

The last woman-poet I will pay attention to will be Gele (born in 1698), a typesetter who, as a twelve-year-old girl, wrote a beautiful, touching poem, which she added to the prayer book she was working on as a typesetter.

During the lecture, I will show various strategies for Jewish women to appear in the written word.


Joanna Degler (Lisek) – Associate Professor at the Taube Department of Jewish Studies (University of Wroclaw).  Her research interests focus mainly on Jewish poetry and the role of women in Yiddish culture. In 2005 she published the book Jung Wilne – A Jewish Artistic Group in which she presented the history of the Jewish artistic ensemble Jung Wilne (1927-1943) in the historical and social context. In 2018 appeared her monograph entitled Kol ishe – The Voice of Women in Yiddish Poetry from the 16th Century to 1939. The main purpose of the book is to examine the manner in which feminine subjectivity became a distinct phenomenon, and the various strategies of self-expression that were developed to that end over centuries. Degler is a co-editor of the anthology My Wild Goat – Anthology of Yiddish Women Poets, which was published in 2018.

She is also the editor of Silent Souls? Women in Yiddish Culture (2010), and Mikvah – Ritual and History (2015). Lisek has translated from Yiddish to Polish, among others, the works by Chaim Grade, Abraham Sutskever, Moshe Broderson, Puah Rakovsky, Kadia Molodowsky, Chana Lewin, Yente Serdatsky and Chava Rosenfarb. Since 2017 she has been the project manager of a five-year project entitled “The Literary Canon of Memoirs by Polish Jews”. In this project she is also the editor of the series which will produce 28 volumes of translated Jewish memories.