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Molodowsky, Kadia


MOLODOWSKY, KADIA (1894–1975). Yiddish poet and novelist. Born in Bereze (Bereza Kartuska) in Belorussia, Molodowsky was educated by her father, grandmother, and tutors. After passing the gymnasium exams, she departed for Warsaw and Odessa to prepare for a teaching career. Following the 1917 Revolution, she participated in the publications of the Kiev Yiddish Group before returning to Warsaw to teach in the cysho Yiddish secular schools; she also taught Hebrew to workers in a Jewish community night school. For her pupils she wrote playful verses, ballads, and poetic tales, some of which were set to music and sung in Yiddish schools throughout the world. In 1935 she settled in New York and founded and edited the journal, Svive (1943–4 and 1960–74). Her many volumes of poetry reflect her experiences in Europe, the U.S., and Israel, displaying her concerns for women, the oppressed poor, the tragedy of war, and the Holocaust. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, a new joyous tone appeared in her lyrics, many of which were publicly sung and broadcast in Israel. A book of her children's poems translated into Hebrew, Pitḥu et ha-Sha'ar ("Open the Gate," 1945), was taught in Israeli schools. Her drama Nokhn Got fun Midber ("Toward the God of the Desert," 1949) was staged by Israel's Ohel Theater in 1956, and her novel Baym Toyer ("At the Gate," 1967) described the fate of new immigrants, life in the kibbutz, and the forging of a nation. Other works of fiction include a novel, Fun Lublin biz Nyu York ("From Lublin to New York," 1942), and a short story collection, A Shtub mit Zibn Fentster ("A House with Seven Windows," 1957). Among her volumes of poetry are Kheshvendike Nekht ("Nights of Kheshvan," 1927); Dzshike Gas ("Dszhike Street," 1933), Freyd ke (1935), In Land fun Mayn Gebeyn ("In the Country of My Bones," 1937), Der Melekh Dovid Aleyn iz Geblibn ("Only King David Remained," 1946) and Likht fun Dornboym ("Light of the Thorn Bush," 1965).


M. Ravitch, Mayn Leksikon (1945), 122–4; E. Auerbach, in: jba, 24 (1966–7), 97–106; C. Madison, Yiddish Literature (1968), 319–20. add. bibliography: K. Hellerstein, Paper Bridges: Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky (1999).

[Sol Liptzin /

Kathryn Hellerstein (2nd ed.)]

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