I learned about this new genre on our summer vacation.  Once they started reading and writing, those women in the shtetel* had their own best-sellers.  Soap opera drama, Yiddish versions of classic European themes like Bovu-Bokh, a tale of chivalry. (Bodice busting romances?) Of course, women weren’t permitted then to learn Hebrew, the language reserved for the sacred texts.  But they devoured newspapers and books written in Yiddish.  After all, it was the mamaloshen**.

My husband, Eli, and I recently spent a week in the Berkshire Mountain area of western Massachusetts.  It’s a bounty of glorious nature and culture: Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Jacob’s Pillow Dance Center; the fabulous Clark Art Institute; the Norman Rockwell Museum and others; theatre festivals.  We were busy and enjoyed it all.

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