Kadia Molodowsky’s “God of Mercy"

Resource Kit by
Josh Lambert

Module Content



Kadia Molodowsky’s “God of Mercy” ("El khanun") is a moving, fascinating, and challenging Yiddish poem written in 1944. It has been translated multiple times and adapted for use in a Hollywood movie. Molodowsky, a leading poet of her generation, lived in Warsaw, where she taught Yiddish and Hebrew from 19211935, before settling in New York. The poem was written with full knowledge of the events of the Holocaust, by a writer whose intellectual and cultural development took place in Eastern Europe but who had observed the horrors from a safe remove. This resource kit includes materials that will help teachers tease out the complexities in the poem and the various ways in which it has been received and adapted.

Cover image: Photograph of Kadia Molodowsky by Arnold Chekow, 1970, courtesy of the photographer.