Esther Singer Kreitman; Anita Norich, Afterword
The lost world of early 20th century Jewish life in Eastern Europe-of lively shtetls and ghetto streets-is known by many through the books of I. B. and I. J. Singer. But few know the Singers had a sister who was also a gifted writer and who saw this same world through a woman's eyes. Originally published in Yiddish in 1936, Esther Kreitman's vivid and poignant autobiographical novel follows the life of Deborah, a rabbi's daughter, from the ages of 14 to 18. Because she is a girl, Deborah is condemned to household chores, barred from the books she yearns for and destined for an arranged marriage. I. B. Singer has said that his sister Esther and her thwarted hunger for learning and experience inspired his story "Yentl."
Written with grace and passion, "Deborah" is a rare gem by a writer undervalued in her own time and too long forgotten in ours.