Isaac Bashevis Singer: Before Everything Else a Writer

Wed. Oct 10, 2018 at 6:30pm EDT
All Ages
All Ages
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All Ages
Event Description

With unprecedented access to I.B. Singer’s original Yiddish works newly available via the Yiddish Book Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library,  authors and scholars reflect on the lasting impact of the Nobel Prize-winning writer.


  • Rivka Galchen

  • Rebecca Goldstein

  • Anita Norich

  • Eleanor Reissa

  • Ilan Stavans

  • David Stromberg

“I have a Yiddish typewriter which is very capricious and highly critical,” Isaac Bashevis Singer said. “If this typewriter doesn’t like a story, it refuses to work.” This fall, a vast collection of works by the Nobel Prize–winning writer in his native tongue will become freely available online for the first time through the Yiddish Book Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library. 

This is a major milestone for readers and scholars alike as the Yiddish originals were never widely distributed and often differ significantly from their more familiar English versions, which Singer reworked for an American audience. The availability of these works was made possible by permission of the Singer Estate.

In honor of the great author’s body of work, the evening will include a reading of one of his stories by Yiddish actress Eleanor Reissa; a conversation with prominent writers and scholars who will discuss the question, “Isaac Bashevis Singer: Time for a Reappraisal?”; and the screening of a seldom seen short film, Isaac Singer’s Nightmare and Mrs. Pupko’s Beard, directed by renowned photographer Bruce Davidson and starring Singer himself. 

Co-presented by the Yiddish Book Center 

For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form one hour before the program.

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc.) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Sara Beth Joren at For all other inquiries, please contact

ASL interpretation and real-time (CART) captioning available upon request. Please submit your request at least two weeks in advance by emailing

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Venue Details
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Celeste Auditorium at South Court (1st Floor) The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street & 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016