MIRIAM UDEL is associate professor of Yiddish language, literature, and culture at Emory University, where she studies the Jewish encounter with modernity.
She holds an AB in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, as well as a PhD in Comparative Literature from the same institution.
Her academic research interests include 20th-century Yiddish literature and culture,
Jewish children’s literature, and American-Jewish literature, and genre studies. In
Honey on the Page
(NYU Press, October 2020), Udel delivers to students of Jewish
history and literary culture a rich resource of nearly fifty Yiddish stories and poems
from around the globe, most of them appearing for the first time in English
translation. The collection offers Jewish families, educators, and librarians a treasure
trove of Yiddish tales for children of all ages that will illuminate their religious,
cultural, and ethical heritage. She views the project as a convergence of her work as
a researcher, language teacher, and mother—reclaiming and surfacing a textual
legacy that she is enthusiastic about sharing with her students and her own children
as well as other curious readers.
Udel is also the author of Never Better!
: The Modern Jewish Picaresque (University of
Michigan Press, 2016), winner of the 2017 National Jewish Book Award in Modern
Jewish Thought and Experience. She is currently working on a critical study of Yiddish
children’s literature that will serve as a companion to Honey on the Page.
Udel was ordained in 2019 as part of the first cohort of the Executive Ordination
Track at Yeshivat Maharat, a program designed to bring qualified mid-career women
into the Orthodox rabbinate. In the Jewish community, she enjoys teaching about
narrative midrash and medieval biblical interpretation as well as Yiddish culture.
With grace and imagination, she stages meaningful textual encounters between
classical and modern Jewish literary sources. She uses “darshanit” (interpreter) as
her rabbinic title, both as a descriptor of her contribution and in tribute to such
historical figures as Rivka bas Me’ir Tiktiner, the first woman known to have
published a book in Yiddish, identified as “rabanit vedarshanit.”
Udel lives in Atlanta with her three sons and her husband, dance partner, and
sharpest and most tender interlocutor, Dr. Adam Zachary Newton.