A Legacy of Passionate Journalism

From 1940, when the Shneidermans arrived at Ellis Island, they became central to Yiddish journalism and eventually respected writers in English publications such as The National Jewish Monthly, New York Times, Hadassah Magazine, and The Reporter. In 1996, when S. L. Shneiderman (1906-1996) passed away, Eileen Shneiderman (1908-2005) donated a collection of 395 Yiddish books, nearly half of which bear the autographs of prominent Yiddish writers from Russia, France, Israel, Canada, and the United States, to the University of Maryland’s McKeldin Library.

In 2022, the Shneidermans’ son Ben donated additional material related to his parents to the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History. This virtual exhibition by The Weitzman Museum presents the stories about the Shneiderman’s work in Yiddish and English, including articles, books, poems, and a documentary film in English about the 100 year history of Polish Jewry.

Ben Shneiderman recalls that his parents always worked as a team. “I often heard my father dictating in Yiddish, while my mother wrote her mystical shorthand notations. She would re-read sentences while suggesting improvements and he would revise repeatedly, searching for the appropriate phrasing and asking her for names, dates, etc. Then she would repeatedly re-type the text for several passes of cutting and pasting with strips of white and yellow paper covered with handwritten revisions. The final retyping would be with multiple carbon copies to be mailed to papers in New York, Israel, France, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, or Australia. It was accepted that articles appeared with his byline, but my father did acknowledge the vital partnership with my mother, who, in turn, admired his ability to create a story and find a powerful way to tell it.”

The Collection 
At McKeldin Library, these Yiddish books take their place alongside other Jewish literature in Hebrew and all the major languages of western civilization. The books in this collection range from fiction to journalism, from poetry to memoirs, from evocations of the shtetl (small town) to analyses of contemporary Israeli foreign policy. There are autographed volumes from famous poets like A. Sutzkever and J. Glatstein, and Yiddish historians and religious thinkers like Isaac Lewin. This Virtual Exhibition focuses on the writings and influence of S. L. and Eileen Shneiderman.

Image above: S. L. and Eileen Shneiderman, Paris, France, ca. 1933. Photograph by David Seymour, Courtesy of Ben Shneiderman.

HAPPY PASSOVER | Special Holiday Hours

Happy Passover

The Weitzman Museum, offices, and store are closed Tuesday, April 23 in observance of Passover. The Museum Store will re-open with regular hours on April 24. The Museum will be open Thursday, April 25, through Sunday, April 28. Chag Sameach!

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