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‎13 Iyyar 5784 | ‎21/05/2024

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Two Stories for Chanukah, by Sam Liptzin and Chaver Paver

Two Stories for Chanukah, by Sam Liptzin and Chaver Paver



Angels Stole the Latkes, by Sam Liptzin

Sam Liptzin was born in a small village called Lipsk, in Poland, in 1893. By the time he was 10 years old, he was already working as a tailor. He arrived in the US at the age of 15 and became involved in the United Garment Workers of America, as a shop worker. He became active in the Jewish workers’ movement and was critical of the Union leadership, which was corrupt at the time. He was ousted from the union and then started to write full time instead of only occasionally, which is what he had done before.

He wrote 21 books in Yiddish, and also a book in English called «In Spite of Tears«. He wrote about the shop and strikes and also humorous anecdotes, aphorisms, poetry, jokes, and was  always right on the mark, as it were, with his satire and sometimes subtle attacks on the worker-boss situation. He was considered a real workers’ writer and was much beloved by the reading public. Liptzin died in New York in 1980.

This story was published in Poland in 1963 in a book called Mit a Fraylikh Ponem , («With a Happy Face»).  I’d like to thank my mother, Rose Jimenez, for translating it so that I can share it with you.


The Pan of Oil, by Chaver Paver

Yiddish writer Gershon Einbinder, who used the pen name Chaver Paver, was born in what is now Ukraine in 1901. He fled pogroms by emigrating to Romania in 1921 and then to New York in 1923, where he published his first two volumes of children’s stories, Mayselekh fun Khaver Paver («Stories by Chaver Paver»). He worked as a teacher and curriculum-writer in the Yiddish schools run by the International Workers Order (IWO), a left-wing mutual-aid based fraternal organization.

His best-known work, Labzik: mayselekh vegn klugn hintele («Labzik: Stories of a Clever Puppy»), was published in 1935 and involved a dog and its youthful human friends who fight for social justice on the streets of New York. Later in life he wrote Yiddish novellas and novels for adults, including Heroes of the Night, about Jewish anti-Nazi partisans in Poland, published in 1950. Chaver Paver moved to Los Angeles in 1935 and lived there until his death in 1964. His West Coast life was reflected in his novel, Zalmen the Cobbler, published in 1955, which included vivid descriptions of the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Boyle Heights and of other Los Angeles neighborhoods and landmarks. Clinton Street and Other Stories, published in 1974 on the tenth anniversary of his death, is a representative collection of four decades of Chaver Paver’s literary work.

This story is taken from the book Yiddish Stories for Young People,  Compiled and edited by Itche Goldberg, and published in New York by Kinderbuch Publishers in 1987.