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Reviewed by:
  • The Dance of the Demons
  • tova stabin
Esther Singer Kreitman; The Dance of the Demons. Translated from Yiddish by Maurice Carr. (The Feminist Press, 2009).

If you are interested in themes in Bridges, you will be drawn in by Dance of the Demons. Originally published in Yiddish in 1936 under the title Deborah, the book is decidedly Jewish, feminist, literary, bi-cultural, and historical, with evocative detail retaining a Yiddish inflection. Within the first page we hear: "It was the Sabbath. And even the wind and the snow rested from their labors…The warmth and the shadowiness of falling dusk were cozy inside the Rabbi's house, but Deborah, as she sat aside the tiled stove, reading, felt lonely and sorry for herself to the point of tears." Earlier, Deborah heard her father glowing about how her brother is going to be a great Talmudist. When Deborah asks what she will become, her father replies, "What are you going to be one day? Nothing, of course!" The work moves on in this autobiographical novel exploring a teenage girl's struggle to find a role for herself without role models in a traditional Polish Jewish family, including her relationships with a group of socialists and an arranged marriage. Author Esther Singer Kreitman is the older sister of I.J. and Issac Bashevis Singer, who received the education, opportunity, and notoriety that Kreitman did not. The "story within the story within the story" is that Kreitman's story was Bashevis Singer's inspiration for the story "Yentl," later romanticized and Hollywood-ized into the film. This "original" is certainly worth the read. [End Page 154]



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p. 154
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2012
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