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A Bintel Brief : Sixty Years of Letters from…

A Bintel Brief : Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the…

by Isaac Metzker

Other authors: Harry Golden (Foreword), Diana Shalet Levy (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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A collection of letters written to the Jewish Daily Forward with responses, this book gives a feel for what life was like for Jewish immigrants in New York City.
  raizel | Jun 28, 2012 |
Despite its small size (214 pages), A Bintel Brief contains the very essence of Jewish-American New York. Between its pages the culture, society, ideals, hopes and dreams of immigrants struggling to call America their own come pouring out. As a section in the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper, the Bintel Brief was a section of letters to the editor, edited by Isaac Metzker. Many of the letters were based on ethical conundrums; people seeking advice on issues like relationships, work ethic, and the daily struggle to make ends meet. The writers of these letters placed a high value on the opinion of the editor, seeking his advice, his blessing, his approval. However, some are attempts at communication with a missing loved one; a calling out of sorts. The Bintel Brief was a vehicle for exposing mistreated spouses, publicizing petty family arguments, and searching for loved ones. ( )
  SeriousGrace | May 16, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isaac Metzkerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Golden, HarryForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Levy, Diana ShaletTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Golden, HarryForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'A Bintel Brief' was translated by Diana Shalet Levy.

I wish to express my gratitude to my wife, Bella S. Metzker, for assisting in the translation, for helping me with the revision and corrections of the manuscript.

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In 1880 when America had a population of fifty million, one quarter of a million of that total were Jews.

The "Bintel Brief" (letters to the editor) is indeed a concise and poignant history of the way the immigrant Jews fitted into their new adopted home, America.
A Bintel Brief

Esteemed Editor,

I hope that you will advise me in my present difficulty.
Dear Editor,

          . . . three hundred and sixty five days, have gone by since I left my home and am alone on the lonely road of life. . . .
         . . . I want to run back, but I am powerless. I am a coward, because I know that I have to serve under [the Czar] for three years. I am lonely in my homesickness and I beg you to be my counsel as to how to act.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805209808, Paperback)

For more than eighty years the Jewish Daily Forward's legendary advice column, "A Bintel Brief" ("a bundle of letters") dispensed shrewd, practical, and fair-minded advice to its readers. Created in 1906 to help bewildered Eastern European immigrants learn about their new country, the column also gave them a forum for seeking advice and support in the face of problems ranging from wrenching spiritual dilemmas to petty family squabbles to the sometimes hilarious predicaments that result when Old World meets New Isaac Metzker's beloved selection of these letters and responses has become for today's readers a remarkable oral record not only of the varied problems of Jewish immigrant life in America but also of the catastrophic events of the first half of our century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:26 -0400)

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