Jun 11, 2020

Vancouver, BC – Rachel Mines, a lifelong Vancouverite and (now retired) Langara College English instructor, is introducing 19 original stories by writer Jonah Rosenfeld (1881-1944) to English-speaking audiences. Translated from Yiddish, her book, The Rivals and Other Stories, is a remarkable collection that explores the limits of loneliness, social anxiety, and longing for meaningful relationships in a multicultural, rapidly changing society.

In Novemeber 2021, The Rivals was selected by the Yiddish Book Center as one of its picks for the 2022 Great Jewish Books club. The book is available through the Yiddish Book Center’s bookstore and online booksellers, including Amazon and Chapters/Indigo. 

Although the stories focus on Jewish communities in Europe and New York City prior to World War II, they are no less relevant to a general audience today. Rachel has taught the stories to first-year students at Langara College to an enthusiastic reception.

Rosenfeld, a New York-based Russian writer, was the author of twenty volumes of short stories, three novels, and a dozen stage plays. Highly praised in the Yiddish press, he was known for writing alienated characters with complex psyches, and as a self-described “Yiddish Maxim Gorky” he was well known for chronicling the inner lives of his characters.

Unlike much of Yiddish literature that offers a sentimentalized view of the tight-knit communities of early twentieth-century Jewish life, Rosenfeld’s stories portray an entirely different view of pre-war Jewish families that probe the disjunctions between men and women, parents and children, rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles, self and society.

"This comprehensive collection of Jonah Rosenfeld’s piercing short fiction is an original contribution to the art of Yiddish short fiction in English translation,” says Jan Schwarz, Lund University.

Rachel Mines was a Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow in 2016. She holds a PhD in English from King's College, University of London, U.K. and an MA in English from the University of British Columbia. The Rivals and Other Stories is her second book.

A trailer for the book can be viewed online.

For more information, visit the University of Syracuse Press website.

About snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College
Located in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓, a name given to it by the Musqueam people on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located.

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Leanne Prain
Marketing and Communications Manager
Langara College