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Estraikh, Gennady

ESTRAIKH, GENNADY

ESTRAIKH, GENNADY (1952– ), Yiddish scholar, writer, and journalist. Born in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, into a Yiddish-speaking family from a Jewish agricultural colony, he received his first degree in electronics and lived in Moscow (1976–91). In 1979 his family's application for an exit visa to Israel was rejected. In 1981 he joined the Jewish Historical and Ethno-graphical Commission, an independent scholarly body that sought to revive Jewish scholarship in the Soviet Union. From 1985 he regularly published short stories about contemporary Jewish life and essays on Jewish culture in the Moscow Yiddish monthly Sovetish Heymland, which he joined in 1988 as managing editor. His collection of stories Di Royte Balke ("The Red Ravine," 1988) and two editions of Kratkiĭ Idish-Russish Slovar' ("Concise Yiddish-Russian Dictionary," 1989/1990) appeared as supplements to that journal. In 1991 he moved to Oxford to pursue a doctorate, resulting in the book Soviet Yiddish: Language Planning and Linguistic Development (1999). In 1994–2002 he edited the Yiddish literary monthly Di Pen, worked at the Oxford Institute for Yiddish Studies, and taught Yiddish language and culture at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies. In 2003 he was appointed visiting professor of Yiddish studies at New York University. He is a regular columnist for the New York weekly Forverts (also under the pseudonyms G. Yakobi and Yakov London). He has published numerous scholarly articles on 20th century Yiddish culture in English and Yiddish. Other books include Moskver Purim-Shpiln ("Moscow Purim Plays," 1993), Intensive Yiddish (1996), and In Harness: Yiddish Writers' Romance With Communism (2005).

[Mikhail Krutikov (2nd ed.)]

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