Post 148: A Call to Retreat to the Ghettos by Yankev Glatshteyn Apple Crumble a la Victoria Barayev

How did I come to know about Brian Diamond the translator of Yankev Gladshstyeyn? There are a series of benches across from my building. The local second hand bookstore chooses to discard books to the bench closest to his shop.. Others follow suit….

When I see an old book, I take it home and look at the the contents. The particular book, that intrigued me is The Story of Yiddish Literature, by A.A. Roback (1940) Pub. Yiddish Scientific Institute. The age, the title, publisher, all unknown to me as was the prior owner J.A. Jaffe. Many times children dredge out their relative’s apartment and  the book may have just been discarded. The poetry of

Yankev Gladshstyeyn is mentioned in the book.

Professor Diamond, the translator, teaches in California. He has translated many Yiddish poems and I hope to hear more details of his work from him.

A Call to Retreat to Ghettos by Yankev Glatshteyn

No. 14. Good night, world Good night, wide world, big stinking world. Not you but I slam shut the gate. With a long gabardine, with a fiery yellow patch, with a proud stride, because I want to, I’m going back to the ghetto. Wipe away, stamp put every vestige of conversion. I roll around in your garbage – praise, praise, praise, – hunchbacked Jewish life. Damn your dirty culture, world. I wallow in your dust even though it’s forsaken, sad Jewish life. German pig, cutthroat Pole, Romania, thief, land of drunkards and gluttons. Week-kneed democracy, with your cold sympathy-compresses. Good night, electrified arrogant world. Back to my kerosene, candle shadows, eternal October, candle stars, to my crooked streets, humped lanterns, my sacred pages, my Bible, August 1938. my Gemorra, to my backbreaking studies, to the bright Yiddish prayerbook, to law, profundity, duty, justice, – world, I walk gladly towards quiet ghetto light. Good night. I’ll make you, world, a gift of all my liberators. Take back your Jesus-Marxes, choke on their courage. Croak over a drop of our christianized blood. For I have hope, even if He is delaying, day by day my expectation rises. Green leaves will yet rustle on our sapless tree. I don’t need any consolation. I’m going back to my very beginnings, from Wagner’s pagan music to melody, to humming. I kiss you, disheveled Jewish life, I cry with the joy of coming back. (Translation by Ruth Whitman.)

Apple Crumble a la Victoria Barayev

1 ½ cups gluten free rolled oats

1 ½ cups flaxseed meal

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans, or a mixture of all

½ cup dried currants

½ tsp sea salt

½- ¾   cup corn oil or cold pressed safflower oil

½ cup maple syrup or rice syrup

1 tsp vanilla




10 medium apples washed, peeled, and quartered

2 cups raspberries rinsed

1-2 cups apple juice

1-2 tbsp kuzu diluted in a little cold water

pinch sea salt


Place the apples,  juice and salt in a pan. Bring to a boil on a medium flame, cook on low for 10 min. and add the kuzu. Stir until thick. Add raspberries and turn off. Remove into a pyrex dish.

Place the oats, flaxseed meal, nuts, currants and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil and vanilla and rub into the mixture. Add the  sweetener in a bowl and mix in with a fork.  Sprinkle over the fruit. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 25 min. or until nicely browned.

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